A couple of weeks ago Pam commented on someone’s blog that we were staying here at Santee Lakes near San Diego. Another couple commented on the same blog that they were also in this park, not far from our site. Turns out Hans and Lisa began full timing a few months ago and have returned to their home town of San Diego to visit friends. They are avid hikers and know a zillion neat, out of the mainstream hikes in the area. They kindly volunteered to take us on one along the coast in the Torrey Pines Preserve and into some neighborhoods along the coast in Del Mar. So yesterday we picked them up in the morning and Hans directed us to a parking spot just east of Torrey Pines State Beach. The trail is unmarked and would be easily missed if you didn’t know it was there.
The trail went up between some houses, then into a ravine before exiting on to a street by an elementary school. Pam tried to go into the school to apply for a teaching position, but we were able to hold her back until the urge passed.
Along the way we were treated to some great views of the ocean.
After returning to the car, we drove a short distance to Del Mar and found a parking spot near the ocean. The Amtrak trains go right along the coast at this point, providing some very scenic views for passengers.
After stopping for a sandwich at the Board and Brew in Del Mar, we drove south to visit the Torrey Pines Gliderport. This grassy area along the cliff overlooking the ocean is owned by the city of San Diego and has been known as a soaring site since the 1930s. The updrafts along the cliffs from ocean breezes make it an ideal location. We stood and watched while numerous paragliders enjoyed the ride.
The views here are pretty impressive!
After enjoying the paragliders for a while, we continued to drive south, taking I-5 through the city, then going across the Coronado Bridge over the San Diego Bay to visit Coronado. Coronado is an upscale community of over 24,000 people. It lies on a peninsula connected to the mainland by a 10-mile isthmus called the Silver Strand.
Our destination in Coronado was one of San Diego’s most famous landmarks. Hotel del Coronado is a beachfront luxury hotel right on the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the few surviving examples of a wooden Victorian beach resort. The hotel is one of the oldest and largest all-wooden buildings in California and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977. When it opened in 1888, it was the largest resort hotel in the world. It has hosted presidents, royalty, and celebrities through the years and has been featured in numerous movies and books.
The back of the hotel is even more impressive than the front and is on one of the nicest beaches in the U.S.
The day was sunny but a bit cool, so the beach was pretty empty. One dedicated sand artist was creating some great castles in the sand. Check out the group just behind the castle. There was a wedding in the hotel and the wedding party was heading to the ocean for photos.
It’s kind of difficult to see, but look at the blue in the center of the picture below. Yes, that’s an ice rink! Just because you can see Mexico from here and the palm trees wave in the breeze doesn’t mean you can suppress the urge to lace up the skates in December. There must be some Canadian’s somewhere in the area!
The tree below is called Dragon Tree. Native to the Canary Islands, this tree was planted at the hotel over a hundred years ago and thrives in the temperate coastal climate of San Diego. It was used as a backdrop in the Marilyn Monroe movie “Some Like It Hot,” which was filmed at the del Coronado in 1958.
The holiday spirit is evident in the hotel where there is a large, highly decorated Christmas Tree in the main lobby.
We had a great time seeing some of the site in the San Diego area and really appreciate our tour guides, Hans and Lisa. Check out their blog, Metamorphosis Road, if you have a chance.