In this day and age, it’s so easy to fall in the vanity trap. Our celebrity-obsessed culture has conditioned beauty standards and fueled the expectations to be pretty and young forever. To escape the Hollywood pressure, one might think that a short trip to the LA Arboretum could cure any insecurity for a while. After all, being immersed in nature is the most poetic and soothing remedy to any languish or vanity obsession … but what if you have a close encounter with the king of vanity, the Peacock himself? Then, there is really no escape!! What a character this bird is! He has the most magnificent electric blue plumage (almost as glorious as my new stiletto pumps), the most elegant walk, and the highly elongated upper tail coverts. Did I mention that he also wears a crown? How royal is that?!?
There are dozens of them at the Arboretum — I didn’t realize that at first, so I snapped so many pictures of the first one I saw. But loud noises right behind my back (that scared me to death) revealed that there were many more screaming cheerfully from the trees, the bushes, and by the water as if to say “Look at us folks! Aren’t we pretty?”
With different gardens and landscapes fit for kings, the Arboretum, is the perfect habitat for them. I loved walking through the Australian and English gardens. The waterfalls were pretty impressive and the little pond at the very top of the hill could have easily come out from a Monet painting. But the exquisite Herb Garden, with its geometrical precision, tops my list.
The big revelation of the Arboretum, though, is Queen Anne’s Cottage. Constructed in 1885, this building is an ornate example of Victorian extravagance. It’s set in a lakeside landscape featuring prennial color and huge Blue Gum trees (Eucalyptus globulus). It’s truly romantic and so Old World — so perfect for a sunset stroll.
I had lots of fun visiting the Santa Anita Depot. A typical half-passenger, half- freight depot with living quarters upstairs for the agent and family; the Santa Anita Depot was an active local station stop. If you peak through the windows, you can see all turn-of-the-century housewares and period railroad equipment that recreate the ambiance of the bustling station stop it once was.