Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Vacation on the Palos Verdes Peninsula: The Wayfarers Chapel

Wayfarers Chapel

Rather than brave a lengthy road trip or pay for exorbitant plane tix, for our vacation this year we kept it local. Palos Verdes Peninsula, if you imagine hard enough, could very well be the coast of a Hawaiian island. (You've got the topography, the blue waters and the island in the distance -- in this case, Catalina.) There are the sites and attractions in nearby San Pedro to visit; a pair of lighthouses to check out (more on those in future posts) and the brand-new Terranea resort.

The most calming of attractions on the peninsula? It's easily the Lloyd Wright-designed Wayfarers Chapel.

The Wayfarers Chapel is a popular spot for small Southern California weddings, but it's much more than that -- including, of course, a house of worship. Here's some history from the chapel's website:

When the Chapel was built in 1951 it stood alone like a precious jewel on a deserted dusty knoll overlooking the blue Pacific. It was soon to be known as “the glass church” after its most prominent architectural feature.

The completed Chapel was dedicated as a memorial to Emanual Swedenborg, theologian and scientist from the 1700’s. His spiritual illumination of the Bible is the basis for its sponsoring Christian denomination, the Swedenborgian Church.

Today, what you are looking at is not a glass church but a “tree chapel.” Chapel architect Lloyd Wright, son of the renowned American architectural pioneer Frank Lloyd Wright, had been inspired by the cathedral-like majesty of the redwood trees in northern California. The redwood trees that surround the Chapel are forming living walls and roof. Since its dedication in May 1951, millions of visitors have toured the Wayfarers Chapel and its surrounding gardens.

Like so much of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the views are stunning from the Wayfarers Chapel. A new Visitor's Center provides more history and a gift shop, while the grounds are free to roam.

Some pics from the Wayfarers Chapel:

Wayfarers Chapel

Wayfarers Chapel

Wayfarers Chapel

Wayfarers Chapel

Wayfarers Chapel

Wayfarers Chapel

Wayfarers Chapel

Wayfarers Chapel

Wayfarers Chapel

Wayfarers Chapel

Wayfarers Chapel

Wayfarers Chapel

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