Often times there are little bits of remarkable or fantastical things all around us and we pay them no mind. Sometimes it is because we aren’t paying attention. Other times we are simply unaware. We can look at things, walk right past them, and have no idea what they are. It isn’t always that we don’t stop to smell roses but more there is no one standing on the sidewalk saying, “excuse me, but were you aware that these plants right here are roses?”
That happened to me back in December.
I had a meeting to attend, a rather low key function, and I was emailed an address. Giving it no mind I punched it into the iphone/gps and hit the road. This is where it took me:
The Mission Inn was built, or rather begun, back in 1902. That was back in the day when people growing oranges starting making money in the venture and wanted nice stuff, or nice places, nearby. This place qualifies as nice.
The place is a decadent maze of arches and corridors. It changes styles and directions without warning but never fails to be interesting. It contains a cathedral, a collection of bells from across the world, and has a small museum of artifacts and items collected through the years. It has also collected quite the guest list; Booker T. Washington, Cary Grant, Einstein, Houdini, Barbra Streisand, W.C. Fields, Helen Keller, Joseph Pulitzer, Carnegie, Susan B. Anthony, Bancroft, and me of course.
Richard and Pat Nixon were married at the Mission Inn. Ronald Reagan honeymooned there. Presidents Taft, Roosevelt, Harrison, McKinley, Kennedy, Hoover, Ford and W. Bush have all visited. So did the Governator.
I had no idea the place existed. Not a clue. Well, mostly not a clue. I had heard about it, people had told me to go there before. I didn’t realize people had told me about it because no one told me to go see the hotel.
I went back later to look at the lights. They were impressive, maybe a little gaudy.
But if all you go for is to look at the lights, I would argue you only sniffed the stem.