Today is going to be a beautiful sunny day. We are later than usual starting off because we are not going too far – Palo Alto to be exact.
Our mission today is to find an outfit for me to wear to my daughter’s wedding in five weeks time. For several weeks I have been searching for something suitable but without luck. Yesterday I spent several fruitless hours at the Gilroy Outlets but everything was far too young and strappy for me. I even stopped off at a bridal shop on the way home and checked out their outfits for the ‘Mother of the Bride’ but these were not only far too ornate but out of my price range.
So today It will be Stanford Shopping Center where I’ll check out Talbots, Bloomingdales and possibly Nordstrom. Let’s hope I will be successful.
Our first stop though is Stanford University. It’s a lovely campus with many
grand Italian Spanish-colonial style buildings (thanks to Dave for pointing out my mistake) but they were not on our itinerary. There were two places we wanted to visit – the Stone River sculpture and the Cactus Garden.
We knew roughly where they were but were not a 100% certain. I knew the Stone River sculpture was near the Cantor Arts Center so when we stumbled on that building we knew we were close. But it is hard to find because a) there are no directions to be seen and b) it can’t be seen from the road as it is below ground level. If you have a desire to see it for yourself here are the directions. The Cantor Arts Center is on Lumita Drive. When you stand on the steps in front of the Cantor, you can see Museum Way in front of you. Walk across the road to Museum Way. There is a car park on your left. Behind the car park look out for two granite blocks and walk towards them. You will then see the Snake River to your left.
It was designed by the British sculpture Andy Goldsworthy. If you have never heard of him or seen any of his work, let me introduce you. He was born in the north of England and his sculpture is unique as he uses basic tools and his works consist of twigs, thorns, stones, ice, leaves, rocks, chalk and literally anything natural in the vicinitiy. Most of them are reclaimed by nature pretty quickly but he takes photographs as a record. For a fascinating documentary of his life and work see if you can lay your hands on the DVD entitled ‘Rivers and Tides’.
The Stone River is a dry stone wall which took eight men, working six days a week, 11 hours a day, three and a half weeks to construct back in the summer of 2001. Another place to see a permanent piece of work by Andy Goldsworthy – ‘Faultline’ – is outside the entrance of the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.
While Tom was taking photos, I walked over to the Cantor Arts Center. Off to the left of the building is the Roden Sculpture Garden where some of Auguste Roden’s sculptures are displayed in a pleasing setting. Roden is famous for his sculpture entitled ‘The Thinker’. Here though you will see his ‘Gates of Hell’, ‘Adam’, ‘Eve’, ‘The Martyr’, ‘The Three Shades’ plus fifteen more.
To the right of the Cantor is a completely different sculpture. This is large and red and built out of stainless steel girders and is called ‘The Sieve of Eratosthenes’ by Mark di Suvero.
In front of the Cantor are some bike racks and what really amused me is that some of the bikes, firmly secured to the racks, must have been there for some considerable time.
Now for the Cactus Garden. Once again it is hard to find as it is not marked in any way. We have been here before and we knew it was near the California Cafe. The exact location is on Quarry Road, just off the car park opposite the Wells Fargo bank. Look out for the wooden posts which mark the start of the a footpath.
The actual name of the garden is Arizona Garden. It was laid out in 1880s for Jane and Leland Stanford (Leland Stanford was the founder of Stanford University). They planned to build their home nearby but it was never constructed. Their son, Leland Stanford, Jr. died of typhoid just before his sixteenth birthday and they used the land to build the Stanford family mausoleum instead.
The time is 8.30 in the morning and it is very peaceful. I wandered around looking at the many different cacti and succulents and then found a bench in the sun to write my journal. It’s a perfect day with hardly a breeze to stir the leaves. Every so often I gaze at the garden, which is showing its age a bit. Up to the 1920′s it was well maintained but then left completely untended until it was restored in 1997. There are some original plants still in existence but not all of them are in good shape. It adds to the charm of the place though.
Time for breakfast and then we will hit the shops.
PS – I did find the perfect outfit at Stanford Shopping Center – mission accomplished.
March 25 2008 05:42 pm | Special Places