Sunday, 10 July 2011

Claremont - City of Trees and PhDs

I think I altered my definition of a good place to live on this holiday.  I used to think it was having a big house in a prestigious neighbourhood with easy access to highways that made commuting simple.  Perhaps influenced by living in England for 16 years and being retired, those ideas have faded.  A smaller, uncluttered house seems more the ideal.  Some Brits will pay through the nose to be able to say they live where doctors and football stars live.  I just want a nice, safe area that will hold its value.   I've also discovered that living in a place that is pleasant for walking adds immeasurably to one's quality of life.  I saw this demonstrated in the US at first and the last places we visited.

Never heard of Claremont, California?  Me neither.  Not until I first 'met' Sandra via email about two years ago.  She and John are practically ecstatic about where they live and I can see why.  One of the main things they enjoy is going for a walk to interesting and exciting places. 

The village of Claremont is one of them.  John said there were something like 34 different restaurants and I began to believe he was intimately acquainted with each one; he told me about places that had the best ice cream, the best breakfast, the most stupidly expensive drinks (I think it was called Cadillac margarita...). 

I had the impression that Sandra would like to admonish every single waitress in Claremont not to let John have unhealthy foods, but she's on a hiding to nothing other than feeding him healthily at home.  If the luscious meals she fed us were any example, she's doing great:  they managed to be light and filling at the same time.  Best of all, we ate several meals outside, sitting in their shaded garden.  It was bliss.

John seemed to be doing pretty well, aside from a dinged knee he'd got from a table.  Bill knew all about knee problems, having reaped that consequence from too many 20 miles walks.  When we stopped at a pharmacy to get John the knee brace Bill recommended, there was a free blood pressure machine; mine was the worst result!

We stopped an amazing music store; it had any and every instrument I could ever name and loads I never heard of.  It was a fun place.  John and Sandra seemed to enjoy browsing even though they've been there many times. 

It has a big poster of Ben Harper, a local artist, whose grandparents founded the store.  I wasn't familiar with his work, but he writes great songs.

This gorgeous purple tree is a Jacaranda, something I associate with Australia only the ones I've seen there are red. Purple Jacarandas are everywhere in Claremont. It's one of the main things I'll remember about the place; they were absolutely stunning.

We stopped at the City of Claremont office for a tourist map and a rest.  John took the car home to ice and rest his knee and Sandra took us to see the Colleges. 

But that will be another post...

By the way, I've just changed some of the setting for 'comments' to hopefully make it easier to get through to leave a comment.  I struggle with loads of other blogs on this, so I'd love to know if this works!


annie said...

I've lived in CA for 2 years and just through reading your post today did I learn the name of those beautiful purple trees. Purple Jacarandas...thanks! Claremont does look charming.

Revanche said...

Oh, we could have run into each other, very nearly!

Anonymous said...

One of my favourite trees the Jacaranda. Here in Australia they are so common many think they are native though they are from Brazil originally. I have never seen a red one though. The Blue/Mauve colour of the one in your photo is the common colour though there is one less often seen which is white and is commonly called "White Christmas" (the closest we will ever get to that). Love reading your California posts. So wish I had been there with you all.