Weekend in San Diego

We returned Monday evening from a four-day excursion with our friends Tommy and Toni to the San Diego area, and had a wonderful time. It was Debbie's and my first visit to the area and we'd happily go again. Following is a brief photo-essay of the highlights from the trip.

As you may recall, San Diego experienced some cataclysmically bad weather last week, with torrential rains that led to life-taking mudslides, high winds, and hail. We didn't know if we'd be dropping into the middle of that weather, or if the front would move out by the time we arrived on Friday. Fortunately for us, we caught the tail-end of the bad weather, experiencing occasional showers interspersed with sunshine Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, but by noon of the second day, the skies cleared and stayed that way until our departure on Monday.

We stayed at the Glorietta Bay Inn in Coronado (link shows the area on a Google Map), a community on the northern tip of the peninsula that runs for about twenty miles along the western edge of San Diego Bay. Driving access to Coronado is via the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, a beautifully spindly structure that swoops across the Bay. Both of the following photos were taken from the car. The second photo shows a view of Coronado from the bridge.

Photo - San Diego-Coronado Bridge
Photo - San Diego-Coronado Bridge

Incidentally, those concrete dividers in the first photo can be repositioned to accommodate rush hour traffic, inbound or outbound depending on the time of day. The machines used to reposition them are fascinating, but by the time we figured out what they were doing, it was too late to get a photo.

The Glorietta Bay Inn is a 100+ year old Edwardian-style mansion that has been restored and converted to a cozy hotel. Our room was small but entirely adequate, and much more reasonably priced than some of the huge beachfront resorts across the street.

Photo - Glorietta Bay Inn

After we got settled in, we crossed the street to the Hotel Del Coronado (referred to by the cognoscenti as "the Del" and definitely in the category of "huge beachfront resort," with room rates to match) and watched the sun set over the huge breakers that were left over from the record low barometric pressures the area experienced a day earlier. We then headed for dinner (in the rain), taking the advice of the young lady at the Glorietta's front desk. It proved to be a mistake, as the Brigantine was disappointing in just about every aspect. Things would get better, however.

Debbie and I awoke Saturday morning fully intending - however grudgingly - to get in a run before breakfast (the GBI has no workout facilities). Fortunately, it was sprinkling again, so we got a reprieve...and the sun was breaking through the clouds by the time we headed for the GBI's free continental breakfast, where we were entertained by the sight of a couple of young boys shredding bagels and throwing them on the floor to feed the birds that had found a way inside the dining room.

We had decided to spend Saturday sightseeing and so we headed for the Cabrillo National Monument, located on the spot where the first European set foot on the west coast of the United States. Cabrillo is also home to the Old Point Loma lighthouse which was first illuminated in the mid-1800s.

The whole area has an interesting military history as well (there were two 16-inch guns in place there during WWII; those bad boys could fire a shell almost 30 miles), and it's the home of the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. The setting for this cemetery is very dramatic, high on a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean on one side and the entrance to San Diego Bay on the other.
Photo - Rosecrans National Cemetery
Photo - Rosecrans National Cemetery

The aforementioned Old Point Loma Lighthouse is just down the road from the cemetery, as is the Cabrillo National Monument. The first two photos below are obviously of the exterior of the lighthouse; the third one is taken from the inside, looking up the spiral staircase.
Photo - Old Point Loma Lighthouse
Photo - Old Point Loma Lighthouse
Photo - Old Point Loma Lighthouse

As you might imagine, the views from Point Loma were spectacular, including those looking back toward San Diego. The first photo below shows the Cabrillo Monument set against the backdrop of downtown San Diego, across the bay, and the naval complex in the foreground. The second photo is looking more to the south; somewhere out there (in the foreground) is Coronado.
Photo - Cabrillo National Monument
Photo - View of San Diego and Coronado from Point Loma

From there we drove down to the western shoreline of Point Loma, and hiked a mile or so to see the tide pools. Again, the adjective "spectacular" seems entirely appropriate. I don't know if the surf is always so active, or if we were seeing the remnants of the earlier storms, but it was certainly pounding the shoreline that day.
Photo - Cabrillo Tide Pools
Photo - Cabrillo Tide Pools

This is the area where the pelicans were making the drag, gliding on thermals from the northern cliffs down to the southern tip of Point Loma and back again. We hadn't a clue as to why this route was so appealing, but perhaps they just enjoyed the people-watching.

Photo - Pelican gliding above the surf

This kind of active sight-seeing generates a powerful hunger, so we headed back to civilization for some lunch. Serendipity landed us at Humphrey's By the Bay overlooking the San Diego Yacht Club marina on Shelter Island Drive. We scored a window table and had a great time inspecting the yachts, both huge and modest, and watched as a black-and-white duck put on a great underwater swimming display. The food was excellent; we strongly recommend Humphrey's.

Photo - View from the window at Humphreys

We then headed back to San Diego proper and walked through a nice little shopping area, although very little shopping was accomplished (whew!). Dinner that evening was from another front desk recommendation, but this one was much better. The Boathouse was just a couple of blocks from our hotel and we enjoyed an excellent meal of fresh seafood.

The next morning dawned bright and cold (44 degrees, in fact), and Debbie and I had no excuse so we set out for a pre-breakfast run. We headed south on the peninsula, where Orange Avenue becomes Silver Strand Boulevard. We passed the Naval Amphibious Base - the one where Navy SEALs train - and imagined that we were challenging the fitness of those guys by our very presence. Or not. Anyway, there's something about running in such a beautiful setting that makes it seem less like work and more like play (although our legs begged to differ the next morning).

After a nice little breakfast at the local Panera Bread (we could only begin to imagine how lucrative a Panera location in Midland would be...if any of the company's reps are reading this), we headed for the world famous San Diego Zoo, our home for the next six hours. Much taking of photographic clich├ęs ensued, to wit:

Photo - Condors at the zoo
California Condors aggravating one another
Photo - Crocodile at the zoo
Little bitty crocodile, up close and personal
Photo - Gorilla at the zoo
Big honkin' gorilla, up close and personal
Photo - Lizard at the zoo
Little green lizard, up close and personal
Photo - Meerkats at the zoo
Meerkats basking in the sun
Photo - Rhinos at the zoo
Rhinos eating dinner. LOTS of dinner.
Photo - Warthog at the zoo
The photogenic side of a warthog

We left the zoo around 5:00 p.m., pleasantly tired and quite happy, despite our disappointment that the polar bear exhibit was temporarily closed, and that the line to see the baby panda bears was too long to bear (ha!). Dinner that evening bordered on amazing, and it was another fortunate accidental discovery: Chez Loma. Never mind that the bill for the four of us was more than our rental car for the four-day weekend; we were on vacation and it was worth it! (More seafood, of course.)

We repeated our workout routine the next morning, only we ran the opposite direction, to the North Island Naval Complex, then returned through some residential streets of Coronado. Another continental breakfast, then off to the airport for the beginning of a very long journey back to Midland (thanks to mechanical issues in San Diego, and a strange route that took us to El Paso, then to Dallas, before returning to Midland).

It was a fast trip, but a good one, and again, we all agreed that we'd return to San Diego in a heartbeat, given the opportunity.

6 Comments

Very nice pictures. Thank's for sharing them with us.
It's amazing what a person cas see, just a few hundred miles
from home. Such dreams of living in a place like San Diego.
Oh well, such is life.
Thanks again for the pictures.

Beautiful photos of a beautiful place. I've been to SD many times but never to the Nat'l Cemetery...what a wonderful location; can't believe I've overlooked that! My last stay at the Del (company paid) was accompanied by construction debris and jack hammers and a parking lot view. I remember wishing I was at the Glorietta. Glad the weather cleared for you!

Well, I thought I'd been to Point Loma, but I see in looking at the map that I've never been all the way to the Point. We looked at a lot of boats for sail in the marinas along Shelter Island Dr and ate at Humphrey's too. Just wish we'd driven a little further. Next time, I guess.

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This page contains a single entry by Eric published on January 27, 2010 10:40 PM.

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