Every time we go to Yosemite we pack a picnic lunch. On Friday we decided we were not going to eat a picnic in the snow or worse yet, in the car. I wanted to have lunch at the Ahwahnee.
A little Ahwahnee history:
The site for The Ahwahnee, once a village of the native Miwoks, was chosen because of its exposure to the sun and stunning views of Yosemite’s icons – Half Dome, Yosemite Falls and Glacier Point.
In July 1925, Gilbert Stanley Underwood was selected as the architect for Yosemite’s new luxury hotel. Due to its remote location, the construction of The Ahwahnee was the most complex trucking endeavor of its day. Over 5,000 tons of stone, 1,000 tons of steel, and 30,000 feet of timber were hauled over the challenging mountain roads. To protect The Ahwahnee from fire, a fate of many of the Park’s earlier hotels, its wood-like facade is actually concrete, poured into rough-hewn wooden forms and stained to look like redwood.
And over the years, celebrities have taken notice of this national historic landmark.
There’s a lot of famous people who have stayed here.
Late U.S. President John F. Kennedy, who pulled up to the Ahwahnee in style – a red convertible.
Back in 1962, Kennedy stayed the night in the second-floor suite.
Queen Elizabeth stayed in 1983 when she visited California. She closed down the whole hotel, she was the only one staying here.
But two of Hollywood’s television and movie icons have stolen the show for the most memorable stay at the Ahwahnee hotel.
In the 1950’s the hotel management got a complaint in the upper floor in the great lounge that that there was some wild piano playing and singing going on, and so management came out and it was actually Lucille Ball playing the piano and Judy Garland singing. They did not tell Judy Garland to stop singing!