A Change of Scenery

What a difference a few hours of air travel can do… this past week I’ve come out of hibernation above the 49th parallel and travelled to balmy San Diego. My world was transformed from snow-capped rockies to surf’s up ocean… and was rewarded with some spectacular sights.

Surf's Up
Birds of Paradise
Birds and seals at La Jolla Cove
Palms in Sihouettes
Pacific Sunset

From the ocean to inland, with my Ohio cousin in Thelma and Louise style, we drove through the Mojave Desert, and arrived at Las Vagas. No, not for the slot machines, but was amused to see the town literally painted red celebrating the Chinese New Year: The Year of the Dragon. Here’s a fascinating masterpiece from Jean Philippe Patisserie: A life-size dragon, about 8 feet long and a cherry blossom tree all made of milk, dark, and white chocolate, lanterns of rolling fondants, pearls and flowers of sugar:

The next day, we took a bus tour into Arizona, a five hour drive to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon… a sight no dragon can match:

The Grand Canyon: view from the South Rim

Fred Harvey, a visionary immigrant from London, started the Fred Harvey Company there in the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. In the late 1800’s to the turn of the century, his company and the Santa Fe Railway changed the scene of hospitality by creating comfortable and reasonably priced tourist facilities and meals. Above all, he had the revolutionary spirit to hire a female architect Mary Colter to design the buildings at a time where the Southwest was dominated by macho inhabitants. Her buildings are all on the National Register of Historic Places today.

Mary Colter was an architectural pioneer. For forty years, she designed for the Fred Harvey Company. Her works blended with the natural environs and the native inhabitants of the Grand Canyon. Her materials were mostly wood and stone, her style rustic. Here’s the Bright Angel Lodge where Harvey offered many women employment opportunities. The waitresses in the dining room were known as Harvey Girls.

Bright Angel Lodge

Another Colter work: The Lookout Studio, which offers a breathtaking vantage point to the Grand Canyon.

Lookout Studio

I was pleasantly surprised to find this plaque at the entrance of the Lookout Studio:

The Grand Canyon Railway begins in Williams, Arizona, and for 60 miles, bring its passengers north through beautiful forest and mountain scenery to their destination at the Grand Canyon. The first passenger train arrived at the Canyon in 1901. During the 1960’s, travel was taken over by the automobile. But today, it has resurfaced as a vibrant mode of tourist attraction.

More sights to share… coming up.

***

Published by

Arti

If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

16 thoughts on “A Change of Scenery”

  1. Sounds like a wonderful trip! The colour and the atmospheric perspective in your first canyon shot is amazing…We have an old “Santa Fe” railway station in Oklahoma City. Looking forward to part 2!

    .
    Michelle,

    For some reasons it was quite hazy that day so the distant Canyon looks blurry. But, glad to have seen its magnificence. Part 2 will be a bit different. 😉

    Arti

    Like

  2. Your trip sounds like it was full of sights and sunshine — hope you got to soak it all in. I have yet to get out to the Grand Canyon but have some tentative plans. Gorgeous views.

    .
    nikkipolani,

    I just took a bus tour. But in warmer weather, should actually hike the trails. It was quite cold and with snow on the ground. I think going in spring or fall would be best.

    Arti

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  3. Wow…you’ve really covered some ground for sure! I was in San Diego last week…small world. How great to see the Grand Canyon. Love the scripture that was on the plaque!

    .
    Ellen

    Oh wow… we could have crossed paths! San Diego is such a beautiful place, weather and the environs, trees, flowers, natural habitats for wildlife. I’d love to go again. Grand Canyon is something else.

    Arti

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  4. I enjoyed your beautiful photographs of San Diego, but I’m crazy about the Grand Canyon. I walked down it when I was 11 years old, by myself, and it’s one of the highlights of my life. Especially touching are the verses you posted at the end. Like my husband just said when he saw your post over my shoulder, “How can you go there and not praise the Lord?” 🙂

    .
    Bellezza,

    So true. And what a marvellous experience to walk down there at such a young age. I just took a bus tour. Would definitely want to hike the trails the next time… there’s white water rafting too. But maybe just hiking would be gratifying enough.

    Arti

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  5. Having spent quite a bit of time in these areas, Arti, I thank you for the trip down memory lane. I look forward to more images from your trip!

    .
    WG,

    I didn’t realize you used to live in … San Diego? You must have some impressive experience there. Love to hear your stories! 😉

    Arti

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  6. I loved your pictures – they are wonderful! I have to admit I had a very special interest in the chocolate dragon, given my son’s adventures in baking this year. Not that we are ever going to make anything quite so wonderful! I will show him the picture, though, when he has a moment.

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    litlove,

    I should have taken a picture with a person standing next to the glass case… for the actual comparison of size. It must be at least 8 – 10 feet long. Real impressive considering it’s all in chocolate.

    Arti

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  7. These are absolutely stunning pics of San Diego, Las Vegas & Grand Canyon. So envious of you, sounds like a wonderful trip, it definitely beat the deep freeze in Alberta & the recent cold spell in Hong Kong!
    Thanks for sharing Arti.

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    MM,

    Good to get away and drive so freely. Mind you, our temp. here is unseasonably warm, above 0 can you believe it. Warmer than HK and other countries right now. Maybe you should think of getting away from the cold and come here to Cowtown. 😉

    Arti

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  8. Please show us more pics from your trip down South. Yes, there is another cold spell heading to Hong Kong, it’s already misty and dull.
    San Diego is so tempting, never been to that part of the States.
    I await more images from you Arti….thanks!

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    MM,

    My next post will be very different.

    A.

    Like

  9. What a wonderful trip! I grew up in San Diego and know those scenes well! I’m glad you had a good time.

    .
    Stefanie,

    So fun to hear people affiliated with San Diego! Just last night in my small group a girl told me she’s just come back from a two week internship from San Diego. And Ellen comments above that she was in SD too while I was there, and then there’s WG’s comment…

    Arti

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  10. So excited to see your travels! My one day in San Diego found it a terrific city, but the Grand Canyon steals your heart and soul with its majesty, doesn’t it? Sounds like you are really doing it right, too! Love the photos — they’re gorgeous. But mostly, I’m just thrilled you are having a terrific time! Can’t wait to see more!

    .
    Jeanie,

    Thanks for the thought. Yes I did have a time to freely be. Love the 5 hr. drive through the desert. A change of scenery really.

    Arti

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  11. I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon or southern California, so it’s a delight to see your photos. It’s even more of a delight to know that you got away for a time. I do remember how special it was to have some time of my own while Mom still was alive. It’s important, to keep the creative juices flowing.

    I know what to do with a chocolate rabbit – you eat the ears first. But that dragon? I wouldn’t know where to start! (I’d give it my best shot, though.)

    Your first photo of the Canyon is magnificent. The contrast between the foreground and the rest of the canyon is striking.

    And now I’m curious about your next post!

    .
    Linda,

    You know the feeling… yes, it’s good to be away for a while, to shed all duties. It’s one of the most pleasant trips I’ve taken in recent years. About the chocolate dragon, I don’t think they’ll eat it, I mean, having displayed there for days. And for my next post, I know you’ll enjoy… coming up real soon. 😉

    Arti

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  12. Oh you fortunate woman! I still have not been to the Grand Canyon, but I will, I will get there. Your photos are so wonderful, and imagining being there in that space just fills me up.

    I have been to San Diego and La Jolla, in our days of living in Pasadena, and you make me miss it, when Birds of Paradise were our shrubs, along with jade and poinsettias.

    .
    Ruth,

    Dear, I’m one ‘fortunate woman’ indeed! And you too, having had your Californian experience. Yes, the air, the natural environs, the shrubs and flowers, all so fresh and beautiful esp. to one who came in from the cold. 🙂

    Arti

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  13. You had me with the Grand Canyon photos. We went a few years ago and it is spellbinding and sacred and inspiring. Gorgeous photos!

    .
    Deb,

    Welcome! Yes it was quite a sight. But I admit, I haven’t really hiked the trails or done anything in the Canyon. That’ll be for my future trips. At least, I got to see it this time, albeit just from afar. 😉

    Arti

    Like

  14. Thanks for the photos…especially of the Mary Colter buildings. I have shared them with a Spanish architect who is staying with me at the moment.

    Like

    1. Alison,

      I’d really enjoyed the trip, and just wish I could have spent more time in the Mary Colter museum inside the lodge there. Thanks for inviting an architect to visit here!

      Like

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