Stealing Kisses and Strolling Hand-in-Hand Through the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens

Posted February 12, 2009 in Feature Story

Before you head out for the candlelight dinner at your favorite restaurant, surprise your sweetheart and take her for a leisurely stroll hand-in-hand through the meandering pathways of the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens, one of the largest wild gardens of Southern California. The gardens were established in Orange County in 1927 by Susana Bixby Bryant, who sought to preserve California’s native flora on her rancho. In 1951, the entire collection moved to its current home in the San Gabriel foothills, where it now serves as home to over 70,000 plants. It’s winter, the season when the manzanitas and wild lilacs are in full bloom, the citrusy aroma of the gooseberry and currants invade the senses, and stolen kisses taken underneath large oak trees are moments imprinted forever in journal pages and in memory. Best of all for the cost-conscious date, admission is free, although a $4 per person donation is urged. Considering that a movie and popcorn, in addition to the expensive three-course dinner, will empty your pockets in the span of a few hours, a romantic day at the gardens and a step back through time is indeed priceless. (Nancy Powell)


Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens, 1500 N. College Ave., Claremont, (909) 625-8767


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