Sunday, November 18, 2012

Field Trip

If you live in Los Angeles or if you are planning a visit to the city, you must check out the husband and wife run Esotouric Bus Tours. The tours are sort of like the school field trips I'm sure we all remember from our childhood, but one thousand times better and a million times stranger. The Esotouric tours center around various facets of little known Los Angeles history and culture including true crime, architecture (kitschy, weird and inspiring) and literature. This Saturday we went on one such tour which took us on a magical field trip primarily through the Pomona and San Bernardino. You might not think there is anything special or unique about this area of Los Angeles, but unveiling the hidden gems that this city has to offer is what the Esotouric tours do best.

Since it was a rainy and miserable day I threw on some plaid flannel and rain boots to go trekking/mucking around in. Here I am, ready for adventure in my J. Crew Keats plaid flannel posing next to some graffiti adorning train tracks in Pomona.  I feel like this shot should give someone really preppy like me at least a little street cred! (Note: The brown boots in the picture belong to a homeless person, not me.)

So enough with the "fashion" and on to the meat of this adventure. Below are some photos of what we discovered on this particular tour. The photo below was the highlight of the tour for me. It is the Phillips Mansion located in Pomona. The house was built in 1875 and is supposedly the only example of Second Empire architecture in Southern California. While the house is not open to the public, we were able to get a sneak peak inside. It is inspiring that the the Pomona Historical Society was able to save this house from demolition in the 60's. Sadly due to budgetary issues only the first floor of this three floor mansion has been restored.

After our visit at the Phillips Mansion we ventured east into the Inland Empire to San Bernardino to the historic Santa Fe depot. Completed in 1918, the San Bernardino Santa Fe Depot was the largest train station west of the Mississippi at the time and is a beautifully preserved example of Mission Revival architecture with some elements of Spanish Colonial Revival and Moroccan Revival architecture.

Next, we moved on to the quirky and kitschy part of the tour. Opened in 1949 along the historic Route 66, the Wigwam Motel offers a unique motel experience for travelers to say the least. Apparently in post-war America these tee-pee styled dwellings were all the rage. I'm not sure how much it cost to stay here, but it sure would be fun! They allowed us to look inside one and the accommodations are actually more spacious than one might expect. 

As dusk approached we were able to admire some of the neon signs which dot Route 66 and are reminders of this road's colorful past. One such neon sign was for another motel, the Sand and Sage. I hope you enjoyed this epic adventure!


  1. ooooh katie, looks like a bunch of fun! and i'm loving the teal plaid shirt you have on, too!


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