This adventure began with a text. There I was, sitting at my local coffee shop transcribing annotations I'd made in Le Naour's phenomenal biography "The Living Unknown Soldier" into my dissertation's outline when my brother texted me asking if I was up for a road trip. Me, being Anna, was already packing my things up before I found out where I was going. Turned out, my brother, who works in San Dimas, had forgotten his backpack this morning. Thus, to San Dimas I went, hitting the 60 freeway to the 71 and off at Arrow Highway. I was parked out front my brother's work and wandering around into a small antique store off Bonita Ave by 10:30am. Here we go y'all.
San Dimas is a small town situated at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California. Originally a cattle, horse, and farming town; during the 1880s citrus boom San Dimas became a major producer and shipper of citrus. Originally known as Mud Springs for the swampy marshland that lay adjcant to it, it claimed its new name from Saint Dismas after the Santa Fe Railroad built a stop there. With three separate railroad lines criss-crossing through its center San Dimas has one of the rare luxuries of having an intake Railroad Hotel. Walker House, built in1887 for the railroad visitors before the land bust, has been maintained through the years by private ownership and is now a registered National Historical Landmark.
I suggest y'all start your day with a coffee pick-me-up, Klatch and Cactus Coffee are my two go-to's out there. From there, take your caffeinated buzz to Bonita Avenue where you'll find the historic main street of San Dimas built right along side the Union Pacific's Santa Fe line's railroad station. There, you'll notice the station now operates as museum. Stop in and get a very detailed and one-on-one docent lead history of the town.
After you get your history on, check out the multiple antique stores Bonita Ave boasts. With a total of five antique stores I have no doubt that you'll find some treasure to commemorate this outing. My top favorite finds there were the beaded flapper purses, vintage perfume bottle, leatherwork belts and purses, and the variety of rings, bracelets, and necklaces which can accent any outfit. Word to the wise, San Dimas features free downtown wifi. Once finished with Bonita Ave, head to Walker House, the old railroad hotel, make sure to go on a Tuesday or Thursday as those are the days that the museum is open. Built in a classic craftsman-meets-victorian-manor style, this imposing multi-story home will impress you with its period-significant coloring and sheer size.
After being shopped and history-ied out on Bonita Ave, grab some picnic food and stop off at the Puddingstone Reservoir to bask in the beauty of a waning sun over sparkling water. For the more outdoorsy types, take a hike or bike through the rolling hills surrounding the reservoir or if you're more inclined to hit the sparkling water rent a kayak or paddle board.