Monday, May 2, 2011


The pageant in Hemet is an outdoor dramatization of  Helen Hunt Jackson’s 1884 novel  about  the Indian’s eviction from Temecula with a cast of more than 400.  The stage is  a hill with a ranch house on the part of the flat section and steep trails that actors and horses use as well  The story revolves around  fictional Ramona and Alessandro and destruction of the Luseno village.  The drama is told through a large chorus of Spanish singers, over 50 local Indians performing native dances and music,  dozens of horseback riders and many actors who create the joys and sorrow of  early  California
history. This year is the 88th season.  There are only a few performances on a couple of weekends in April each year.
The Lions club has a BBQ lunch available before the mid-afternoon  show. There is a small museum with the history of the pageant, a gift shop, snack booths and entertainment in an open area before show time. I took this day trip with Kathy Wong with an Oasis group. 

This video will add to my description about the pageant as well. 


Henry Huntington built a financial empire with railroad companies, utilities and real estate.  He amassed one of the finest research libraries in the world, established a significant art collection and developed an array of botanical gardens.
The library houses one of the world’s greatest collections of rare books and manuscripts including  a Gutenberg Bible and early editions of works by Shakespeare.
The European art collection is in the original Huntington mansion.   The British portraits of the 18th and early 19th century is considered one of the greatest outside of London. There are several by Thomas Gainsborough including Blue Boy. Pinkie is among paintings by Thomas Lawrence.  Landscape paintings by well known J.M.W. Turner and John Constable are represented.  Priceless French furniture is seen in the period rooms. There is much to see with 2 levels of many rooms.

The Virgina Steele Scott Gallery of American Art displays paintings from the 1730s to the mid-1900s as well as Arts and Crafts architecture and furnishings of Greene and Greene.  There are wonderful examples of the Hudson River School landscape paintings, American Impressionism, Colonial Period paintings etc. The lighting in this newer building is especially good.

Spring is a good time to see the botanical gardens that cover over 120 acres of  with groupings of cacti, succulents, roses, herbs, etc. as well as Japanese and Chinese themes. Part of a large conservatory is a teaching greenhouse. 
A cafĂ© with outdoor tables under shade trees was a good spot for sandwiches and snacks.  An English Tea is served in the Rose Garden Tea Room.
It is a challenge to see everything in one visit so it is worth several visits to see the seasonal flowers and changing exhibits.  We took this trip with DayTrippers.