Sunday, June 16, 2013

California! (Part 1)

I spent most of the past week teaching and speaking in the Los Angeles area, for two wonderful guilds: Orange County Quilters and Beach Cities Quilting Guild. My flight took me past some wildfires burning in the mountains (you can see the smoke in the photo above).

I knew I was almost  there when I saw the freeways:

I stayed at a Howard Johnson hotel across from Disneyland. It has been there for a long time, and has been renovated in a fun retro style. You can see some of the rides, including the Tower of Terror from the lobby building! They had some plants that don’t grow around Charlotte… Allow me to indulge my inner botanist for a moment. Here is Agapanthus, or Lily of the Nile:

An huge fern, with amazing fiddleheads:


These pines (cedars?) were taller than the 7-story hotel, and very tall and spindly. They looked rather Dr. Seuss-ish.

Outside of the quilt shop where I taught on Tuesday (the fabulous Orange Quilt Bee), I discovered an olive tree; I had never seen one! (I love olives.)

My gracious hosts took me to downtown Orange for dinner. It is surrounded by beautiful old homes. The tree with purple blooms in the photo below is a jacaranda tree.

Here’s where we ate dinner, at Avila’s El Ranchito, in a former church:

Luscious guacamole:

Next, we strolled around the charming town of Orange. A quirky mix of restaurants and shops:

This is the front of the Orange County Fruit Exchange, built in the 1890s as a growers’ association to pack and ship fruit:

The antiques stores had an ecclectic mix of glamorous and kitschy. Look at these amazing old ranges:

The Plaza:

The old theatre is now occupied by a church, but it has retained its old marquee:

This old gas station is now a restaurant called The Filling Station:

Watson Drugs and Soda Fountain:

I have more photos from my California trip to post later this week, including my visit to Jamie Fingal’s studio!