You have got to go here...Arden, the Helena Modjeska Historic House and Gardens.
Did you know that the most famous actress in Poland once lived in our neighborhood? She came to Southern California in 1876 and went on to become one of the most recognized Shakespearean actors of her time. Why is this important you ask? Well, because of her migration to America and settlement in Orange County we are left with a beautiful home and majestic gardens to tour.
Helena Modjeska--yes, the canyon and peak are named after her--fell in love with the forested area below the mountains while on a trip to Anaheim.
In 1888 a sprawling estate designed by famed architect Sanford White was brought to reality. Modjeska named the picturesque grounds Arden, after a scene in the Shakespearean play "As You Like It".
Flash forward to 2012 - located in Modjeska Canyon, Arden is owned by the County of Orange (many thanks to the Walker family who sold the house and grounds with the intent that it be made into a historic park) and in 1990 was named a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.
Nestled among quaint canyon homes, Arden is a treat for any who are lucky enough to visit.
As you walk through the iron gates, still adorned with the initials of Modjeska, you are greeted by lush greenery–my favorite, Redwood trees. Yes, Redwood trees!!!
Scattered through out the grounds are many different varietals of trees and flowers…it is worth your time to really stop and take in all of the sights. Round the garden fountains, stop and smell the roses, take a stroll on a bridge over the creek…you never know what you will discover!
In addition to nature at its best, there are also many intriguing historic buildings and artifacts to be seen. A pool, circa 1899, guesthouse and store are just a few of the places on the grounds that are worth a visit.
OK, so you may be asking yourself…what about the house? All I can say is that it is breathtaking!
The architecture both inside and out is magnificent. All of the unique details that historic homes have to offer are always fun to see…from the pantry, to the modern (for the time) kitchens and bathrooms, a tour of the home is for sure a must!
That can’t be it, right? Want to know a secret? I left a lot about this house and gardens out.
Why you may ask?
I challenge you to visit, fill in the blanks and see the wonders for your own eyes…find the red window in the house and discover why it is that way!
While this house is rarely open, interested visitors are in luck!
Arden will be open again on Saturday, May 19, 2012, as part of the Canyon Garden Tour.
Tickets are $20 and include tours of canyon gardens, a catered lunch at Arden and a tour of the home and gardens.
To purchase tickets or for more information, contact Bonnie Smith at email@example.com or (714) 649-2382.
Can’t visit Arden on May 19? Please visit http://www.ocparks.com/modjeskahouse/default.asp?Show=Introduction for more information and visiting hours.