Book Club Travel

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Connecting the Dots

I discovered Helen of Pasadena when my friend and swimming partner, Amy, was planning a girls trip to Pasadena.  I said “Hey, let me find a book for your girls to read!”  It was early – she picks me up at six in the morning – she grumbled and I took that as a “Yes!” I got home and quickly found Helen of Pasadena!  Amy’s trip was cancelled but my enthusiasm for the Helen never waned so I wrote up a travel guide. The sites to see are fantastic. I ended up taking my mother-in-law, Mary Huntington, who lives in Los Angeles, on a swing through Pasadena and we had a blast!  How can you go wrong with the Langham Huntington Resort and Spa and the Huntington Library and Gardens.  If you are really into it you could throw in the Rose Parade to take it over the top!  I’ve created two different itineraries for tripping out on Helen of Pasadena.

Helen Of Pasadena

Sample Itinerary


Check In

Langham Hotel

Oak Knoll Walking Tour

Movie House Tour

Dinner at Mujares


Walk the Rose Bowl

Huntington Library and Garden Tour

Tea and Book Discussion at the Garden

Dinner at Bistro 45


Brunch at Langham’s



Rose Parade Weekend

New Year’s Eve

Check In

Langham Hotel

Oak Knoll Walking Tour

Movie House Tour

Dinner and Book Discussion at Mujares Mexican Cantina

New Year’s Day

Rose Parade

 Brunch at Langham

Naps and Spa

Dinner at Bistro 45

January 2

Walk the Rose Bowl

Huntington Library and Garden Tour

Tea at the Huntington Tea Room

Late Check Out and Departures

Getting Around                    

It might be easier to fly into Burbank. It’s closer to Pasadena and that move might help you avoid LA gridlock traffic.  You’ll have to rent a car, there is just no way to get around to all these places without one.  And if you fly into LAX, try to time your travel to avoid rush hour or your visit could come to a big standstill before it’s begun.

Building the Excitement

Talking it Over

In Helen of Pasadena Lian Dolan explores marriage and through Helen examines what might lead to infidelity.  What do you think of Helen’s conclusion about why her husband cheated on her.

Helen had the right life.  The right husband, the right house, the right neighborhood, the right everything.   Talk about what she realized when that life fell apart.

Dolan spends a lot of time talking about schools.  The IT schools, the chances of getting in, what it takes to get in.  In the end what does the choice of school her son made tell you about that exhausting process.

Helen has great friendships.  Do you remember why the three girls bonded.  Can you give examples of how they supported each other.

What message does Helen send about Pasadena society.  Do you like the people she talks about.

What role does Helen’s mother play in her life.  How about her mother in law?

Is Dolan sending a message about being a mother and working at the same time.

Let’s talk about love.  Explore the differences between Merritt Fairchild and Dr. Patrick O’Neil.

Does Helen live happily ever after.

Literary Loot

Throw a fun gift bag together!  Here are some ideas!  Anything Rose Parade would be great and of course anything from the Huntington Library and finally you could get the whole party started by sending everyone a rose bush!

Rose Parade Pins

Rose Parade Mugs

Roses Tea Bags

Huntington Library, Art Gallery and Gardens Gifts

Archeology Pins

Archeology Gifts

Rose Bush


The Little Old Lady From Pasadena by Jan and Dean

It’s a Long Way to Pasadena by John Paul Young

Your Cheatin’ Heart by Hank Williams

Whoever’s in New England  by Reba McEntire

Ramblin’ Rose by Nat King Cole

Ramble on Rose by Grateful Dead

I am Woman by Helen Reddy

Working Class Hero by John Lennon

Heard it in a Love Song by Marshall Tucker

Carried Away  by George Strait

Literary Links

Rose Parade

Learn about the Rose Parade.  It has a long history in Pasadena.  And it usually doesn’t kill people.

Heinrich Schliemann

Heinrich Schliemann does exist and so does his wife Sophia.  You can read about them at The UnMuseum in The Treasure of Troy.

This Archeology Magazine  article talks about doubts about Heinrich Schliemann’s work.

Check out Sophie wearing some of Priam’s Treasure.

Save the Deodors

There is no Save the Deodars organization, as far as I can tell, but the Deodars do exist.

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