Category Archives: Uncategorized

San Diego Harbor

San Diego Harbor is undergoing a major revamp these days. As you can see from my pictures below there is construction equipment in the background and old buildings being torn down to make way for the new. It is hoped that the future harbor will rival big city waterfronts like San Francisco or Seattle at some point. The most recent projects to have completed were the cruise ship terminal and the visitor information center and kiosks such as the popular Carnitas Snack Shack.

 

Phase 2 and 3 remain to move forward on what is known as the Embarcadero re-development project. If you are interested, you can find out more here: https://www.portofsandiego.org/central-embarcadero.html and here: http://fw.to/o2HaWMK

The San Diego harbor is really a gateway to San Diego and downtown though, so it is a great place to either start your visit to San Diego, check out what is happening as a local, get some exercise on the walking paths, take the kids for some low cost fun at the new waterfront park or even head on over to Little Italy for some great dining options.

Waterfront Park

Parking can be a bit tricky in this area, the waterfront park pictured above has some underground parking for a fee, otherwise you may have to lace up those walking shoes and be prepared for hitting the blocks down here or opening up the wallet for some pricey downtown parking fees–whichever eases your mind the most is up to you.

One of the biggest attractions here is the San Diego Harbor tours–Hornblower and Flagship are the two main ones and they are all located just to the left of the above photo. You can do a 1-hour tour or go out further for some whale watching which is a nice, relaxing way to see San Diego from another perspective.

Tour Boats lined up

The Embarcadero walking path also tells a little history of San Diego’s military and its contributions. At the southern end of the walking path, you will see one of San Diego’s more famous landmarks, (which can also be seen in the background of my homepage ;-)) along with other memorials and sights to see.

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All in all, there is a little something for everyone at the Embarcadero and is an area with a lot of history for San Diego.

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Nice, new dog park in Mission Valley

Living in central San Diego, there are few options for dog parks if you have a small to medium-sized dog that cannot go off-leash without fencing. Until now. The Civita development

as part of the master plan for this 14.3 acre park located off of Friars Road and Russell Parkway has recently unveiled the first phase of a large, open space park with multiple attractions with plans to open the next phases in the coming months. When completed it will include an outdoor, small amphitheater, a museum of Mission Valley history, community garden, recreation center and pools for the homeowners of the Civita community, walking trails, basketball court, ping pong tables and more. You can find out more information here.

Bathroom signOutdoor Amphitheatre

While exploring this new park, I saw an interesting crysal sculpture and learned on the Civitas blog of a pop-up art exhibit coming to town in the next two weeks. It looked intriguing so I purchased tickets. You can find out more on the exhibit’s website–Wonderspaces. It proclaims to be an event with food trucks, beer and interactive art spaces. Lots of exciting stuff!

Wonderspace

This article mainly focuses on the dog park, which just opened about two weeks ago. It is located at the top of the park, after climbing several flights of steps or coming from Murray Ridge Road, you can park at the top. The park has two runs, one for small dogs and one for larger breeds. In the dog parks are drinking fountains, trees that provide shade, several structures for agility training or play and plenty of grass.

Large Dog Run

It is nice to have something as equally nice as the dog park up in Encinitas without having to make that long drive.

 

Bliss Path

Yesterday, I had woken up remembering my dream from the night. In my dream, I had gone into a dark temple which was empty except for the Priest who I could not see. I sat down in this circular space and crossed my legs and the Priest started the chant, “Ommm”. I joined along with the chant “Ommmm”. It sounded empty and dull at first. Soon after there was another voice joining in and gradually the chant multiplied and before I knew it the room was full of people chanting and forming dance circles.

This was the right frame of mind to start off my day and serendipity led me to this trail that I had no idea existed. I found the San Dieguito River Trail by chance, I had planned on going to Del Mar dog beach but the tide was so unusually high that there was not much of a beach for the pooch to run around. So we ventured down the road to look over the marsh that was now a large body of water on the east side of the road. I crossed over the road to that side and saw a walking path and took the road less taken. Apparently, many people are also not aware of this trail because it was virtually empty save for the three to four people I came across in the 3 miles that I walked this trail.

Not long after I started walking you come upon the train tracks for the Coaster and so the trail does not officially start until after the train tracks. I cannot endorse crossing the train tracks, there is little warning of an oncoming train and they are fast so best to start after the train tracks. There is parking, I believe just where the path starts, you can consult the map I linked here or find parking just outside of the Del Mar Public Works building.

Continuing on this path were landscaped trails, benches, tranquility, peace and all kinds of different varieties of birds that crossed my path. There are signs posted allowing fishing in certain areas as well. The fog tempered any glare from the sun and made me feel that I was up in the Pacific Northwest, perhaps walking along the Deschutes or some other river trail in a cooler climate.

There are informative signs posted along the trail and I learned that this is a newer portion of the Coast to Crest trail and work began on this portion in May 2016. There was a walkway that also goes down into the middle of the marsh but it was closed at this time for construction to protect the wetland habitat.

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As I crossed Jimmy Durante Blvd. to get to the other side of the trail, I passed what looked to be a new brewery being constructed. That will make for a nice riverside summer stop for a local brew and relaxing views.

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Along this stretch of the trail, it looked more landscaped and more signs were posted listing volunteers and the history and biology of the area. One engraved plaque on a stone really caught my eye though..

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It is hard to read from the photo, but it says, “This Riverpath made possible in part through the generous donation of land by Mary Lou Jefferson in memory of her husband Philip Jefferson”. I thought what a loving tribute to her husband to share this beautiful space with others in memory of her husband. So fitting for Valentine’s Day coming  around the corner. Evidently, many volunteers and donors put a lot of work into making this path a reality.

At this point, the trail or path seems to end at an overlook, former site of the  ‘Grand Avenue Bridge’. The Del Mar Sandpiper, a local paper, provides some interesting information on the origins of this former bridge, which is now a wetlands overlook deck.

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I look forward to the completion of this ambitious Coast to Crest trail project. For more information on that, the San Dieguito River Park website has a plethora of info by clicking on the hyperlink under Coast to Crest trail project.

After my dream, I truly found my bliss on this path and that my friends in these crazy times is much-needed. Namaste.

 

 

 

Korean Kool in Hillcrest

Hillcrest has a new Korean quick service restaurant, HoM KOREAN KITCHEN | HōM Made From Scratch. They took over the former ‘Which Wich’ space and it is a welcome addition to keep Hillcrest up there as a food destination. We had some tough contenders on this block, but Hom offers fresh, quick and unique offerings that ultimately drew us in.

The vibe there is light and airy and young. It makes one feel like you are in some trendy district of Seoul where the young people go with the modern interior, modern pop music and the unique, yet traditional toppings or ‘banchan’, as they call it.

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Portions were very large, enough for an extra meal and they also have homemade ginger soda, which is really, really good. Definitely recommend.

With the menu offerings, you can get as intricate or as simple as you’d like, from Nori chip tacos to beef bone soup.

I am already hankering to go back soon to get my Korean Bibimbap fix.

 

Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala

Many San Diegans such as myself have driven by this sight for years and had no idea how truly beautiful the mission and the surrounding property is right in the heart of central San Diego. It is located in Mission Valley adjacent to Qualcomm stadium, home to the San Diego Super Chargers, amidst a sea of condominiums and lifestyle apartments and strip malls and franchises. Not the most graceful location for this storied facade of California’s earliest history of settlement.

Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala is heralded as the first mission in the western United States. According to the information I read at the museum, the Spanish King had sent Franciscan missionaries to the area to establish missions and convert the natives to Christianity under the guise of establishing a presence amidst territory encroachments by the Russians and other foreign powers. Father Junipero Serra was to lead the Franciscan missionaries in establishing these missions. And it is telling that the purpose of these missions is in the name as Alcala means ‘Citadel’ in Arabic/Spanish.

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Can you imagine if Father Junipero Serra had not undertaken this mission impossible to convert the resistant natives to Christianity? We would be eating goulash and blintzes at happy hour instead of Taco Tuesdays and Corona–so unAmerican!

I am grateful that Father Serra settled and established a missionary colony of 21 missions across Alta California as far north as San Francisco with the San Francisco Solano mission built in 1823. The Mission San Diego is quite different than when it was first constructed in 1774. It has withstood Indian attacks, abandonment, conversion to a citadel and fire.

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I believe this is an important and often over-looked part of San Diego history and amidst the chaos that is Mission Valley, this site is a peaceful oasis and a serendipitous discovery.

For $5 you can spend an hour meandering through the mission and exhibits, look at finds from archaeological digs on the site such as military buttons and 19th century spectacles and delight in the beautiful native landscaping.

A San Diego treasure!

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Fiesta Island Dog Beach

I’ve lived in San Diego half my life and recently discovered dog shangri-la. Partly because I had never been a dog owner before, but this is to my knowledge, the largest, enclosed (mostly) dog park/beach that I know of in San Diego. If any reader knows of a larger one, please share in the comments below.

Fiesta Island is about 97 acres of beach park with any number of events going on there at one time from races to jet skiing and the annual Over-the-Line Tournament. It is a “Yah Yah boy” central, what my Mom would call the pick-up truck, bandanna-wearing, hootin’ and hollerin’ youngins’ you would see flying by on the road. I always wanted to be one of those “Yah Yah” boys because they looked like they knew how to have a good time. Anyhow, I digress…

My dog loves this place, he can run and run without hitting a fence for some time and there are the calmer waters that he likes to wade in and lots of friends to play with. It is our happy place.

On one side is the bay and on the other side of the dog park is an enclosed part of the bay with more water, a large meadow in the middle with some trees, you can even exercise leash-free with your dog running laps inside the fenced area! Seaworld forms the southern part of the border across the water and there are more meadows that are leash free outside of the fenced in part.

For more information, I found a You Tube video that shows video footage of the dog beach:

And Fiesta Island also has a Facebook page for dog owners called Fiesta Island Dog Owners (FIDO):

https://www.facebook.com/FIDOSD/

If you have a pet or even if you don’t and need some cheering up, this is a great place to go. Bring a bowl and water for your dog as I do not know where there is available water and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Oh! Ramona

The Ramona Grasslands Preserve encompasses approximately 3 miles of trail looping around a mostly flat open space preserve off of Highland Valley Road just past the more popular Potato Chip Rock trail. This trail is frequented by horseback riders, dogs and their owners and hikers and bikers. It is also home to many different varieties of birds, coyotes, squirrels and snakes (fortunately, not seen on this day!).

As the pictures show, it is a beautiful hike with views for miles and many different wildflowers along with a lot of pea vines (?), sage, rosemary and other varietals growing in abundance. I wouldn’t mind being out here for any one of those episodes of “Alone”, “Survivor”, “Naked and Afraid” as I think I would do quite fine. They even have a crop of cows alongside the fence line which were not view-able the day we were out here.

This trail is mostly fire road with minimal climbing and there are picnic tables scattered throughout the hiking trails so it is a nice place to bring a lunch or snack and sit a little and immerse yourself in the quiet. Ramona Grasslands isn’t the hotbed of activity that nearby Potato Chip and Iron Mountain are so you can feel like you are getting away from it all and only see maybe 1-2 groups of other people without having to drive to much out of San Diego. Bring water for sure and sunblock though and it is probably nicest to visit in the spring and late fall.

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