We’re a lucky bunch at Hometown Pasadena, and we know it. So each of us decided to share one thing about our hometowns that we’re particularly grateful for.
1. The Rose Bowl Aquatic Center. I’ve been swimming laps there for 25 years, and while it has grown more crowded and you encounter the occasional breach of swimmer’s protocol (you know who you are, Mr. Splashy), I am so grateful for it. After living here for 25 years, this New York girl is still awed by the mountains I see from my bedroom window and the fact that I can swim outside in January and watch the hawks and woodpeckers while I do so. I love Pasadena.
— Jill Ganon
2. Daisy Mint. This cozy little restaurant is the perfect intimate go-to for lunch or an eclectic dinner of Thai and other Eastern dishes. I like the wall of frames with no pictures. I dream up my own while the tea infuses.
— Jean Gillis
3. The San Gabriels. I’m grateful for the influence of our mountains on our daily life; I’m grateful that my 18-year-old son was born in Pasadena, raised in Altadena, and loves the mountains he has always been in and around…except for two years when we were uprooted to Orlando, Florida. My indignant, then 3-year-old foothill native cried, when landing at the airport, “It’s as flat as my hand!” We all hated our inability to navigate by the mountains, to escape to the mountains, and to enjoy the burn in calves and quads as we hiked.
— Mel Malmberg
4. T. Boyle’s Tavern. When we reviewed it twenty-some months ago, T. Boyle’s was a pleasant, affordable, usually empty place to have a beer and play a few rounds of free pool. We assumed, correctly, that pool would not always be free, that prices would go up, and that the crowds would inevitably discover it. And though all this came to pass, T. Boyle’s is still one of my favorite places to have a beer after work. And the peanuts are still free.
— William Goldstein
5. The Del Mar jacarandas. After their astonishing bi-annual blue-violet bloom, I completely forget their existence, only to be awed yet again when I least expect it. Such a potent reminder to stop, look and protect the ephemeral natural beauty around us.
— Patty O’Sullivan
6. My street. My daughter and I moved from the hubbub of Hollywood to the quiet of South Pasadena this last February, and I’m thankful for our beautiful street lined with trees and California bungalows. I walk every day and look at each house with its unique trim, paint, windows and doors, soaking up their deliciousness. I love the wind that churns the leaves; my neighbor and I watched the recent thunder and lightning storm from her front porch while sipping Manhattans. I can’t believe I can walk three blocks to my new favorite spot, the South Pas Library, then continue on and buy fresh bread and organic veggies at the farmers’ market. I especially love my new street because there are no sirens, dumpster divers or helicopters—I can actually sleep through the night! I’m even learning—sort of, kind of, maybe—to like the Hitchcockian sound of the screeching swarms of parrots that descend at sunset.
7. The vegetarian-friendly restaurants. I’m thankful for the bounty of new (and old) that cater to me—a vegetarian. Almost every Sunday night my husband and I go to the Luggage Room for the baby gem salad and the Mother Earth pizza (no peppers, sub fennel). For a salad or a veggie reuben, nothing beats Four Café in Eagle Rock. And Settebello has introduced me to the perfection that is Neapolitan pizza. Last, but certainly not least, is our go-to restaurant for family meals and business lunches, where they make the best stuffed artichokes for miles around and they know your name: Gale’s.
— Mary Jane Horton
8. The view out my office window. Our southwest Pasadena office is in the most nondescript building in town, and it’s furnished like a garage sale, but I love it for the big window across from my desk. We’re on the second floor, facing north, so every day I am dazzled by the San Gabriels: sometimes washed in sunset pink, sometimes capped with snow, sometimes green with new growth, and always grand, awe-inspiring and yet somehow comforting.
— Colleen Dunn Bates
9. The schools. I’m feeling nostalgic about both of my children graduating from their longtime schools this year—Flintridge Prep and Sequoyah School—each with such distinct character and values. The schools in and around Pasadena run the gamut from small and private to large and public, and from hyper-academic to shoes-optional progressive, and they’re all good.
— Caroline Purvis
10. The urban forest. I am thankful for the San Gabriel Valley’s glorious urban forest, which enhances our lives in countless ways. Thanks to the people who have answers, often before the rest of us know the questions: The L.A. County Arboretum, Descanso Gardens, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Council for Watershed Health, Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy, Pasadena Beautiful, Street Tree Seminars, University of California Cooperative Extension, University of California Riverside, Mt. SAC, Cal Poly Pomona, and my mom, and your mom, too, who always believed in trees. I am thankful daily to be able to borrow the many benefits of the San Gabriel Valley’s glorious urban forest before we pass it on to the next generation.