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Los Angeles Walks: Alhambra: The San Gabriel Valley Gateway Tour

Saturday, January 9, 2016, my friend Lori and I joined Los Angeles Walks for a walking tour of Alhambra, “Gateway of the San Gabriel Valley” (SGV). 
Los Angeles Walks is a pedestrian advocacy non-profit that “makes walking safe, accessible and fun for all Angelenos”.
The meetup location was the home of our tour guide and urban planner, James Rojas. He lives with his mother in her amazing 1913 (?) craftsman home, which she purchased in the 1970s. They were kind enough to let us go inside and  drool over all the gorgeous wood in both the built-ins and in the art deco furniture.
Alhambra / San Gabriel were easy to get to back in the good ol’ Red Car days, but now it’s rather tricky and not convenient at all via public transportation, so I drove us. Since I didn’t have time to print out directions we had to rely completely on the navigation of my Google Maps app. At one point The Map Lady was silent for so long I started getting worried that she’d stopped working so I pulled over on a side street to check the status of the app. That, of course, annoyed The Map Lady because she had to recalculate the route. Sorry!
The description of the walk promised our sights would include the San Gabriel Mission (check!), the Garfield Area Redevelopment (check!), Fosselman’s Old Ice Cream Parlor (um…), the old Sears headquarters (uh…) and more. It also said “tour participants may opt to join James for lunch on Main Street after the walk”.
Well, we never saw Fosselman’s or the old Sears headquarters and James never mentioned lunch so Lori and I ended up walking back to San Gabriel to a cute Italian place we had noted earlier in the day.

One thing we did see was the San Gabriel Mission so I get to check another one off my list. Yay! And after our delicious lunch, Lori and I toured the Ramona museum.

Now, as for Main Street Alhambra, that just made me mad! So many historic buildings demolished to build ugly mixed use monstrosities. Kind of a half-assed attempt at being like South Pasadena. 

Some famous people have lived in Alhambra, like Hillary Clinton’s mother, Dorothy, who lived at 320 E. Park Street, fashion model Cheryl Tiegs, musician Kenny Loggins, and I’m not sure if James said Cheryl Tiegs or Chrissy Teigen.

Lori & I want to see a show at the beautiful San Gabriel Playhouse and I still need to get my ice cream from Fosselmans so we will be back!

  Mission San Gabriel Arcángel

 The six-bell campanario (“bell wall”) that was built after the original bell structure toppled during the 1812 Wrightwood earthquake.

  1927 San Gabriel Mission Playhouse 
   Those rolls though!!! They were so soft & had Parmesan cheese on top. We plowed through two baskets of them!

  Chicken ravioli with wild mushroom cream sauce was delicious. Definitely check this place out if you go there. Pizza Place, CA 

Sierra Club Urban Hike: Mission San Fernando Rey de España

November 25, 2012 5 comments

Mission San Fernando Rey de España may be California’s 17th Mission but it was my 1st Mission. I think my parents took me to Mission San Juan Capistrano when I was little, but I don’t remember it so it doesn’t count. 😉

Our Sierra Club leaders, Sandra Tapia and Gerrie Montooth, did a great job making this outing fun and interesting. First we toured the Memory Garden located in Brand Park on the other side of the boulevard. My first thought was that I’d like to sit on one of the benches surrounded by the roses and read a book. Then I remembered that I’m terrified of bees so maybe that wouldn’t be such a good idea.

Next, after paying the $4.00 admission fee, we toured the museum and Convento building. The Convento building is the only original building that remains on the site. It’s the largest adobe building in California and the walls are four feet thick. It felt good to step out of the hot sun into the much cooler adobe.

The Convento was built between 1808 and 1822 and served as a residence for the Bishop and missionaries. You can see the Bishop’s Room and the Governor’s Room, which is where visiting VIPs stayed.

The church was destroyed in the 1971 Sylmar earthquake so an exact replica of the 1806 church stands there now.

I enjoyed the tour of the mission very much and would like to go back sometime just to sit on one of the many benches and enjoy the beautiful grounds. One nice spot is the Bob Hope Memorial Garden where he and his wife, Dolores, are buried on what looks like the stage of a band shell.

After the tour, six of us had lunch at The Bear Pit Bar-B-Q, which has been in business since the late 1940s. I prefer pulled pork to the Bear Pit’s sliced, but I must say they have the tastiest bbq beans I’ve ever had in my life.

I hope I can visit another California mission soon. One down, 20 to go!