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Mission Inn~

The historic Mission Inn which occupies several blocks in downtown Riverside California is the largest Mission Revival building in the United States.

The Inn was built in 1902 by an engineer named Christopher Columbus Miller. His son Frank expanded his father’s original efforts, and added wings, rotundas, chapels, museums and galleries.

The building contains a mixture of Spanish Gothic, Moorish and Mediterranean revival architectural styles. There is a Spanish Wing, an Alhambra Wing, and flights of fancy everywhere you look.

Frank Miller traveled the world collecting museum quality treasures to fill the inn, including what some say is the oldest bell in in the new world dating from 1247.

There are two chapels on the property including the one pictured dedicated to St Francis of Assisi.

Louis Tiffany designed two of the mosaics in the chapel.

The Rotunda Wing features a five story open air staircase.

The rotunda tops a suite dedicated to the writer Anne Rice.

Presidents, world leaders, and many famous folk have stayed in the inn over its history and the inn has a presidential lounge dedicated to the many presidents who have stayed here.

The Inn began a period of slow decline in the 1960’s where ownership changed hands multiple times and bankruptcies occurred, eventually forcing the city of Riverside to purchase and close the property for eight and a half years. In 1992, The Historic Mission Inn Corporation purchased the property and reopened it in all its former glory.

I will show you more details and the interiors of this amazing building in my next post. Until then, cheers to you from The Mission Inn in Riverside California~

Port Townsend’s Painted Ladies~

Port Townsend has to be one of the most charming towns we have visited.

It is a historic Victorian seaport on the edge of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state.

Click to enlarge if you want to see the details of this amazing house and garden.

The town is bordered by the stunning Puget Sound and the Straight of Juan de Fuca.

It has panoramic views of the sound and the snowy Olympic Mountains.

This beauty with her Mansard roof is perched overlooking the water, with windows everywhere, to capture the views.

Port Townsend is full of art galleries and artists.

The residents have restored the town’s many painted ladies to surpass their former glory.

Bounded by seas and sounds, Port Townsend has wonderful restaurants, as well as fun pubs and cafes.

St Paul’s Episcopal Church is a gothic revival built in 1860.

Wandering the the old Victorian neighborhoods is a architectual browsers paradise.

Cheers to you from stunning and historic Port Townsend~

Valparaiso Open Air Art II~

The city of Valparaiso Chile is full of over a thousand large scale open air art murals, some like the one above, cover the walls of multi-story buildings.

The first murals were painted by art students from a local university in the 1960’s and 70’s, in an area of the city called Cerro Bellavista.

This area is now a landmark named El Museo a Cielo Abierto (The Open Air Museum).

Valparaiso in entirety was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.

Walking in this city wide open air art museum, one is struck not only by the talent of the amazing artists,

but also by their appreciation of the beauty,

joy, and humor of life.

To this day, artists are continuing to add their talented contributions to this remarkable city.

Valparaiso is a magnet attracting artists of all kinds. Their artistry makes visiting here a pure joy.

Cheers to you from beautiful Valparaiso and her amazing artists~

Serenity in La Serena~

El Parque Jardin del Corazon (Garden of the Heart) is the largest Japanese garden in South America.

It is located in La Serena Chile.

La Serena is Chile’s second oldest city, know for its historic neocolonial architecture.

The garden was built in 1994 as a cooperative effort by businesses in Japan and Chile to celebrate La Serena’s 450th anniversary.

It is full of lagoons, waterfalls, and native Japanese flora and fauna.


This is a Spot Flanked Gallinule, native to distinct areas of Chile and South America, making himself quite at home in the lush Japanese gardens!

Note: There are Golden Carp swimming in the gardens, but I photographed the Koi in San Diego and added them, feeling they fit in nicely with the landscape ambience.

Cheers to you from Chile’s Garden of the Heart~

Valparaiso Open Air Art~

There are hundreds of wall sized open air painted murals all over Valparaiso.

Click to enlarge this photo to see how the artist recycled plastic soda bottles to create living window planters for her imaginary town and writes about the need to creatively recycle plastics .

The talent and creativity of these artists blows me away.

In this hostel, I zoomed in on the art around the doorway in the photos below, so you can see the detail.

What strikes me is how talented these artists are,

and how many of them will remain unrecognized.

It is often luck that makes one famous, and another unknown.

In a fairer world, all these artists would be recognized for the true talent they have.

Valparaiso is full of gifted artists, but it also has so many poor people, and the largest slums in Chile.

The unfair fact this illustrates is that talent and poverty often reside together.

Please note: I am traveling by sea now and have limited access to internet. I will check in when possible but please excuse my inability to be responsive online.

Cheers to you from the talented artists of Valparaiso~

Café del Pintor~

Wow! The everywhere art in Valparaiso Chile exceeds it’s reputation for being arguably the best street art in the world.

There is so much amazing talent to share with you, but let’s start here, this is the front door of the ‘Café of the Artist,’ painted by a male Chilean art student depicting everyday scenes from the town of Valparaiso.

The waiter explained to me that the art in this restaurant was painted by two art students, one a French female whose mind boggling talent you are looking at now. (Please click to enlarge).

Since internet is slow, I can’t look these artists up, but I will when I can.

Maybe you can find out for me?

All I know is pure talent when I see it.

The first two paintings of the café sign and the entry door were done by the Chilean student, and are depictions of Valparaiso, as is the one above.

Here is another mural focusing on culture and heritage.

I didn’t take photos of the food which is a shame because I was too distracted by the art, but the food was ethereal. If you come to Valparaiso, eat here and bring your camera.

Cheers from Valparaiso, the city of living art and excellent food~

La Quinta~


La Quinta Resort was built-in 1926.

It is located in the town of La Quinta, which is in the northwestern portion of The Sonoran Desert, in Southern California’s Coachella Valley.

The resort is adobe, made of over 100,000 handmade adobe bricks. The roofing contains over 60,000 handmade terracotta tiles.

Hand painted Talavera tiles are everywhere.

The resort is famous for it’s extensive floral gardens and fountains.

It is especially beautiful when the cactus are blooming!

Cheers to you from hot, but lovely La Quinta California~