Maren

San Diego’s Outdoor Museums: Architectural Art

See the architectural design of the Salk Institute in La Jolla

The best art isn’t always behind closed doors hanging on a gallery wall in. Sometimes the art IS the wall, and the door and roof for that matter. San Diego’s architectural history is not to be missed and is easily enjoyed during numerous walking tours throughout San Diego’s lovely summer weather. See some of the finest examples of early 20th century Arts and Crafts style in the Banker’s Hill neighborhood, or head up to La Jolla to see the awesome collaboration of science and space at the 1960’s masterpiece, the Salk Institute. And when you want to take a rest inside, make sure to stop by the Museum of Art (a building of Spanish Revival beauty itself) to see the genius of 18th century Roman architect and printmaker, Giambattista Piranesi.

Piranesi, Rome, and the Arts of Design

Piranesi's two-demensional renderings are brought to life at the San Diego Museum of Art.

Piranesi’s two-demensional renderings are brought to life at the San Diego Museum of Art.

The San Diego Museum of Art (SDMart) pays homage to one of Rome’s foremost artistic personalities of the 18th century, Giambattista Piranesi. As a printmaker, architect, antiquarian, art dealer, theorist, and designer, Piranesi’s genius spanned creative forms, which lead the SDMart to pair more than 300 original prints with modern-day interpretations, including the three-dimensional creation of some of Piranesi’s two-dimensional renderings. Those unfamiliar with Piranesi might say the works lie somewhere between the minds of M. C. Escher and Tim Burton for the common ability to meticulously bend reality and fantasy into something simultaneously believable and fantastical.

Where: San Diego Museum of Art – 1450 El Prado, San Diego, CA
When: through July 7, 2013
Cost: $12
> Find out more about  Piranesi, Rome, and the Arts of Design

Salk Institute Architecture Tour

See the architectural design of the Salk Institute in La Jolla

The beautiful marriage of science and architecture at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, San Diego.

The Salk Institute was established din the 1960s by Jonas Salk, M. D., the developer of the polio vaccine. He enlisted world-renowned architect Louis I. Kahn to develop spacious, unobstructed laboratory spaces that could be adapted to the ever-changing needs of science, and Kahn’s influence can be seen in the imaginative use of space and his high regard for natural light. In 1992 the Salk received a 25-Year Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and was featured in the AIA exhibit Structures of Our Time: 31 Buildings That Changed Modern Life.

Where: Salk Institute – 10010 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037
When: Weekdays
Time: 12:00 to 1:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about a Salk Institute Architecture Tour

Urban Orchid Tour: San Diego Architectural Foundation

Vin de Syrah

Vin de Syrah, 2010 Interior Design Orchid Winner, hosts the Urban Orchid Tour reception. Photo courtesy of Vin de Syrah.

The San Diego Architectural Foundation offers geographically segmented, self-paced architectural walking tours around San Diego. First up for the summer is Urban Orchid Tour, on June 16-17, 2013, which will focus on – you guessed it – thoughtful and inspired designs in San Diego’s urban landscape. The tour also kicks off on June 14th with an evening reception at 2010 Interior Design Orchid Winner, Vin de Syrah, where you can mingle with other attendees while sipping on complimentary drink and hors d-oeuvres.

Cost: $30-$75
> Browse the Urban Orchid Tour Schedule

Bankers Hill Historic Walking Tour and Marston House Museum

Marston House

The Marston House Museum is a fine example of the California Arts and Crafts movement. Photo courtesy of sohosandiego.org

Summer hours begin the weekend of June 16 for Save Our Heritage Society’s range of early 20th century home tours in the Banker’s Hill region of San Diego. Visit the Marston House Museum, which stands as one of California’s finest examples of the Arts and Crafts movement, and then take a walking tour of the beautiful, 5-acre estate. Also available on every third Sunday of the month through Labor Day is the Bankers Hill Historic Walking Tour, which meanders through San Diego’s finest residential streets built in the late Victorian era and early 20th century with masterpieces from Irving Gill, William S. Hebbard, and Frank Mead, to name a few.

Cost: $10-$20
> Browse the SOHO Bankers Hill Historic Walking Tour and Marston House Museum Schedule

Do you have any favorite buildings in San Diego deserving of architectural praise?

Robert Arends

Mother’s Day Delights in Coronado!

Mother's Day in Coronado
Mother's Day in Coronado

Mother’s Day in Coronado

So have you made plans yet for mom this Mother’s Day? Best hop to it! 😉

Coronado has the holiday ALL wrapped up with some fun – and delectable – ways to show mom she’s #1:

Mother’s Day at the Hotel Del Coronado

Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch

Crown Room at the Hotel del Coronado

Treat Mom to a Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch in the Hotel del Coronado’s Crown Room.

The Hotel del Coronado’s annual Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch in the magnificent Crown Room and oceanfront Ballroom features a cornucopia of culinary delights. It’s the most lavish brunch around and the Del makes it extra memorable with live music, a rose for mom and special children’s buffet.

When: May 12, 2013
Time: 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Cost: Adults – $82.50. Children – $35. Children under 5 – Free.
Reservations: 619.522.8490
> Find out more about the Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch at the Del

Spa at the Del for Moms and Mommies to Be

Help Mom relax with a day at the Spa at the Del

Help Mom relax with a day at the Spa at the Del

After brunch, help Mom rejuvenate with a spa treatment at Spa at The Del. Even mommies to be can relax with a special a maternity massage for only $109, from May 1 through May 23rd (Sunday-Friday) for 2nd or 3rd trimester only.

Mother’s Day at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort

The Gondola Company at Loews Coronado Bay Resort

The Gondola Company at Loews Coronado Bay Resort

The luxe Loews Coronado Bay Resort features a Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch on May 12 (12:00 to 3:00 PM) in the Constellation Ballroom. Menu includes breakfast classics like omelets and eggs made to order, oysters, crab claws, shrimp, sushi, prime rib, salads and greens, cheeses and charcuterie, a Bellini bar and grand dessert spread (yum!). For kids, there will be an activity room and buffet. Classical piano music and long-stem roses for all moms stylishly set the mood.

Afterward, go on a relaxing gondola cruise through the Coronado Cays and San Diego Bay with The Gondola Company. The gondoliers sing in Italian…Mom will feel like she’s on a chic European getaway!

Coronado Historic Home Tour

Coronado Historic Home Tour beckons moms this Mother's Day

Coronado Historic Home Tour beckons moms this Mother’s Day

The Coronado Historic Home Tour has become a Mother’s Day tradition on the island. Guests have a rare opportunity to walk through and admire six gorgeous Coronado homes, ranging in architectural styles from a Queen Anne built in the 1880s to a mid-century modern and Spanish Revival.

Where: Coronado Visitor Center – 1100 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118
When: May 12, 2013
Time: 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Cost: $40
Reservations: 619.482.6148
> Find out more about the Coronado Historic Home Tour

Happy Mother’s Day (almost) from Coronado! 🙂

Brent Bernasconi

San Diego Padres Home Opener and More Top Things to Do – April 9-14, 2013

This week in San Diego, enjoy America’s favorite pastime with a baseball game during the San Diego Padres home opener week and/or one of these other top things to do:

San Diego Padres Home Opener Week

[youtube http://youtu.be/ATucvvjEUCU]

It’s not spring in San Diego until the first pitch is thrown at Petco Park. Here’s a rundown on what’s going on this week during the San Diego Padres Home Opener week:

East Village Association Opening Day Block Party

Join in with locals to celebrate the San Diego Padres home opener as they take on the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park. Enjoy a Stone Brewing Beer Garden, live entertainment, DJs, tastes from local restaurants, food trucks, local artisans and businesses, and live broadcasts of the ball game from local radio stations.

> Find out more about the East Village Association Opening Day Block Party

Home Opener Series – Padres v. Dodgers – April 9-11, 2013

To open up the 2013 home games, the Padres will take on their bitter rivals, the LA Dodgers. If you are lucky enough to have tickets, I would suggest wearing Padres brown or the free opening day t-shirt. Home opener starts at 3:40 PM PST.

> Find out more about the Padres v. Dodgers Home Opener Series

Padres v Colorado Rockies – April 12-14, 2013

After the home opener series, the Padres are set to beat the Colorado Rockies over the weekend. Snag tickets to the Saturday game and receive a free Chase Headley Bobblehead.

> Find out more about the Padres v. Colorado Rockies series

Dining Before and After the San Diego Padres Home Opener

So many options! You could grab a beer at the Mission Brewery located a block away from the stadium or you could try one of these dining options around Petco Park. Also check out UT San Diego’s rundown or Eater San Diego’s exhaustive review of dining in Petco Park.

Spring into Night at SeaWorld San Diego

Shamu Rocks at SeaWorld

Shamu Rocks at SeaWorld

This Saturday, SeaWorld San Diego will stay open late so you can enjoy all your favorite attractions by day and then stay late to enjoy the nighttime killer whale rock ‘n’ roll show, Shamu Rocks.

Where: 500 SeaWorld Drive, San Diego, CA 92109
Date: April 13, 2013
Time: 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM
> Find out more about Spring into Night at SeaWorld San Diego

Third Avenue Village Street Faire

Third Avenue Village Street Faire

Kids will enjoy the balloon animals and other activities at the Third Avenue Village Street Faire

Here you can enjoy live entertainment on two stages, diverse food items, custom-made crafts, business specials, classic car displays and more. Bring the kids for carnival games and inflatable rides, face painting, balloon making and magic shows, and educational exhibits and more. The 21 and up crowd can kick back, enjoy the scenery and take advantage of drink specials at participating Third Avenue eateries.

Where: Third Avenue between E Street and G Street, Chula Vista, CA 91910
When: April 14, 2013
Time: 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Third Avenue Village Street Faire

Adventure Sail Aboard the Californian

Tall Ship Californian - Maritime Museum of San Diego

Take to the high seas on an adventure cruise aboard the tall ship Californian

This Sunday, join the crew of the tall ship, Californian, and haul a line, man the helm and end the day with a cannon salute. Watch the crew as they scamper up and down the rigging to set and furl the sails. Listen as the Californian’s crew relates the history of sailing and exploration in San Diego, tales of whaling and sea otter trade, local sea battles, the art of ship’s gunnery, life at sea and more.

Where: Maritime Museum of San Diego – 1492 N Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
When:
April 14, 2013
Time: 12:00 to 4:00 PM
Cost: Adults – $60. Kids (11 and under) – $48
> Find out more about Adventure Sail Aboard the Californian

Rocky Mountain Express IMAX at the Fleet

Rocky Mountain Express - Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

Take a trip to the Rockies while never having to leave San Diego

Rocky Mountain Express propels audiences on a steam train journey through the breathtaking vistas of the Canadian Rockies and highlights the adventure of building a nearly impossible transcontinental railway. Spectacular IMAX aerial cinematography, archival photographs and maps, and the potent energy and rhythms of a live steam locomotive immerse audiences in this remarkable story from the age of steam.

Where: Reuben H. Fleet Science Center – 1875 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
When: Through June 30, 2013
> Find out more about Rocky Mountain Express IMAX at the Fleet

> Browse more top things to do on the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of some other top things to do this weekend? Let everyone know in the comments below.

Robert Arends

Wild about Wildflowers in San Diego’s East County!

Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflower Season
Spectacular Anza-Borrego Desert wildflowers!

Spectacular Anza-Borrego Desert wildflowers!

April showers bring May flowers, the ol’ saying goes…

But in San Diego, it’s the winter rains that bring vibrant, colorful springtime floral displays throughout our East County region. From charming mountain daffodils and wildflowers in Julian to a surprisingly verdant transformation of the Anza-Borrego Desert, visitors are in for a fab floral, photo-worthy treat! (say that five times fast 😉 )

Desert Wildflowers

Each year between March and April, the dry rugged landscape of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is magically transformed into a spectacular display of color when the desert spring wildflowers bloom. The pristine terrain of California’s largest state park – encompassing over 600,000 acres – displays a kaleidoscope of wildflowers, from tiny bursts of color no larger than the head of a pin to towering ocotillos (my favorite!) with fiery spines of scarlet blossoms. Butterflies are also drawn to this spectacular floral pageant.

Ocotillo Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Here is a great wildflower guide showing the dozens of diverse desert blooms you may encounter.

When exactly the wildflowers bloom is up to Mother Nature (she can be a fickle), but we usually see the first blossoms arrive sometime in March, lasting two to six weeks. They also vary in intensity year to year.

If you decide to trek out to Borrego Springs (located about 2 hours east of downtown San Diego) to check out this floral spectacle, be sure to call the State Park’s 24-hour “Wildflower Hotline” at 760.767.4684 or visit their website for the latest greatest updates, including what types of flowers are being spotted and where.

Julian Wildflowers

Julian Daffodils

Beautiful Julian wildflowers.

Our East County mountains, which enjoyed a few nice snowfalls this winter, are also popular in the spring for wildflower viewing. The Julian Daffodil Show makes a colorful entrance in the charming historic mountain town of Julian, well-known for its gold mines and apple pies! Locals and visitors alike can spot daffodils – one of nature’s most cheerful blossoms – growing along Julian’s streets and in the surrounding hillsides, as well as on display from 12 noon to 4:00 PM at the Julian Town Hall and Blue Heron Garden Shop.

The Julian Women’s Club Wildflower Show is also worth mentioning. Wildflowers picked from the countryside are beautifully displayed at Town Hall from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM each day. Be sure to bring your camera!

> Marvel at even more wildflowers throughout San Diego County

Spring has sprung… We’ll see you in San Diego! 🙂

Suzzanne

A Whole New View of Balboa Park with Snap Photo Tours

I’ve been to Balboa Park countless times; visiting the museums, going on field trips with my kids, or simply enjoying the gardens. I thought I had seen it all…that is until I signed us up for a photo tour of Balboa Park.

We went with Snap Photo Tours, who specializes in photo tours of some of San Diego’s best sights including: Balboa Park, Coronado, and the Gaslamp Quarter. Their guides are just as much experts behind the camera as they are on the tours themselves.

Learning the Basics with Snap Photo Tours

Learning the Basics with Snap Photo Tours.

Our two-hour guided tour started with basic photo tips and how to avoid taking the “tourist shot” (which I’m sad to say I was guilty of). After learning the basics, we headed over to many of the famous and not so famous landmarks of Balboa Park learning a new “trick” for taking photos at each stop. From lighting, to angles, to framing, we were taking great photos in no time!

Different Perspective of the Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park

Different Perspective of the Organ Pavilion

One of my favorite stops was at the Organ Pavilion. I’ve walked past the Organ Pavilion numerous times, but never stopped to appreciate the details and lines of the building.

Exploring the Organ Pavilion

Exploring the Organ Pavilion

My two kids ages, 9 and 11 loved the tour and had a great time. I think they actually took better photos than I did.

Photo Tour of Balboa Park

A great shot of the kids that avoids the “tourist photo.”

> Find out more about Snap Photo Tours’ guided tours in Balboa Park

Candice

Seeing Stars: San Diego in the Movies

Anchorman - Panda Watch
Anchor Man - Movies Filmed in San Diego

Anchorman – Just one of the movies filmed in San Diego

As everyone’s eyes are on Hollywood this weekend for the Academy Awards, why not live the movies you love and explore some of San Diego’s famous locales. Everyone knows that Ron Burgundy calls San Diego his home, but the Anchorman isn’t the only famous face to film in San Diego:

Miramar

Years before he was jumping on Oprah Winfrey’s white couch, Tom Cruise and his Hollywood good looks made movie history as Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in the 1986 action-packed classic, Top Gun (1986). Inspired by a magazine article that highlighted the TOPGUN fighter pilots at the Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego, the self-nicknamed “Fightertown USA,” movie producers were intrigued by the fast-paced Navy pilot lifestyle in a laid-back Southern California beach town and set up shop in San Diego to film the blockbuster hit.

Hotel del Coronado

Since 1888, the Hotel del Coronado has attracted numerous world dignitaries, Hollywood stars and the discriminating affluent with its unique red peaked roofs, stunning Victorian architecture and serene ocean vistas. But perhaps is most important role was its casting as the backdrop for the wildly popular film, Some Like it Hot (1959), featuring Marilyn Monroe,Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon.

Balboa Park

Balboa Park is the largest urban cultural park in the United Sates with 15 museums, a Tony-award winning theatre, numerous gardens and much more. It has been nicknamed “The Smithsonian of the West” but it may be better known for its appearances in a number of movies, including Citizen Cane (1941), where the Spanish Colonial buildings served as Charles Kane’s (Orson Welles) mansion “Xanadu,” the appearance of the Museum of Man’s California Bell Tower in the film Almost Famous (2000), and the historic Organ Pavilion that was used to stage an explosion during the film Top Dog (1995), starring Chuck Norris.

Downtown San Diego

Downtown San Diego is ever evolving as new hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and retail shops open each year. A perfect location for shopping and dining by day, and the “hottest” destination by night. Who knew the downtown area would live up to its reputation when a controlled car explosion stunt took place in the middle of the downtown streets during the filming of Traffic (2000) starring Catherine Zeta Jones, Michael Douglas, and Benicio Del Toro; public safety agencies were present to make sure nothing got out of hand.

San Diego’s East County

In San Diego’s East County, a rugged landscape surrounds historic highways and provides scenic backdrops for colorful desert wildflowers and numerous outdoor recreational opportunities, but the deserted area has also starred in a handful of films. East County’s beautiful Anza-Borrego Desert State Park was featured in Into The Wild (2007) during a scene that took place while Chris McCandless (Emile Hirsch) road tripped to Alaska. Borrego Springs doubled as Mesopotamia 3000 B.C. in the Scorpion King (2007) and was also where the popular Sci-Fi TV series, The X-Files, came to an end during the filming of the series finale at the recreated Anazazi Village.

Ocean Beach

With perpetual sun, swaying palms and sparkling surf, the funky neighborhood of Ocean Beach, is the epitome of Southern California beach culture. Producers of Almost Famous (2000) thought this beach town’s 1970s hippie attitude was the perfect location to film. Many locals wore their normal clothes and used their own vehicles as extras in the movie.

Don’t forget: Anchorman 2 hits movie theaters later this year! Stay classy, San Diego.

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – February 19-24, 2013

It may not seem like it now, but Friday is just around the corner. To help you plan, here are our top things to do in San Diego this weekend.

Whale Watching

Whale Watching in San Diego - Top Things to Do

Whale Watching in San Diego is definitely one of the top things to do in San Diego during the winter season.

Winter is peak season for catching the magnificent sight of gray whales breaching the water during its annual migration. Whale watchers might even be lucky enough to see something else amazing…like last week’s sighting of thousands of dolphins swimming together to form a super-pod!

[youtube http://youtu.be/uZFa-OdyU84]

> Find out more about Whale Watching in San Diego

Kuumbafest San Diego

[youtube http://youtu.be/2loFweorVbs]

KuumbaFest is San Diego’s longest running and premier celebration of African-American expression, culture and heritage. The three day festival will include traditional African art and pageantry, drama, educational workshops, community leadership awards, an African marketplace, a health fair, Hip Hop Showcase, tribute to the famed Apollo Theatre “Live at the Lyceum,” a Gospel Concert, and powerful guest speakers and artists.

Where: San Diego Rep – 79 Horton Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101 (Gaslamp Quarter)
When: February 22-24, 2013
Cost: varies
> Find out more about Kuumbafest San Diego

San Diego Museum Month

San Diego Museum Month Logo 2013

This is the last weekend to take advantage of San Diego Museum Month. Pick up a coupon from a local Macy’s and bring it to 42 museums throughout the county to receive 50% off general admission. This is a great opportunity to check out these new exhibitions in Balboa Park.

Dates: Through February 28, 2013
> Find out more about San Diego Museum Month

Samson and Delilah by Camile Saint-Saens

[youtube http://youtu.be/FLiG_suSA04]

The Biblical story of Samson and Delilah returns to the San Diego Opera’s stage in a production described by the North County Times as …one of the most memorable San Diego Opera productions of the past decade (with) stunning and gargantuan sets, vivid lighting, gorgeous costumes, an erotic ballet and a seeming cast of thousands…” Samson and Delilah will be sung in French with English translations above the stage.

Where: San Diego Civic Theatre – 1100 Third Avenue, San Diego CA 92101 (Gaslamp Quarter)
When: February 19, 22 and 24, 2013
Times:
– Tuesday and Friday: 7:00 PM
– Sunday: 2:00 PM
Cost: $35-$275
> Find out more about Samson and Delilah

Hawk Watch – East San Diego

Harri Hawk -  one of the raptors you may spot at HawkWatch!

Harri Hawk – one of the raptors you may spot at HawkWatch!

Bring your binoculars and cameras to the Wildlife Research Institute in Ramona to spot magnificent wintering and resident raptors, including Golden Eagles, Ferruginous Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Prairie Falcons and Red-shouldered Hawks, to name a few. While you’re there, say hello to the herd of bison that call this “raptor hotspot” home!

Where: Wildlife Research Institute – 18030 Highland Valley Road, Romona, CA 92065 (East County)
When: February 23, 2013
Time: 9:00 to 11:00 AM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Hawk Watch – East San Diego

> Browse more top things to do on the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of some other top things to do this weekend? Let everyone know in the comments below.

Robert Arends

Valentine’s Day Ideas – Fall in Love with Coronado!

Valentine's Day Idea - Romantic Stroll on Coronado
Valentine's Day Idea - Romantic Stroll on Coronado

Take a romantic sunset stroll on Coronado Beach this Valentine’s Day!

Love is in the air! An enchanting Valentine’s Day getaway where couples can find everything their hearts desire is Coronado, located a bridge away from downtown San Diego.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, take advantage of beautiful weather and island charms that are sure to sweep your sweetheart off their feet. Following are 5 Fabulous Date Ideas and mini escapes:

Taste buds rejoice…

Eno Wine Bar

Fine wines, cheeses and chocolates at Eno Wine Bar.

Raise your glass and indulge in luscious wines, gourmet cheeses and chocolates at the swanky ENO Wine Bar in the Hotel del Coronado. Afterward, sneak off to Coronado Beach for a moonlit stroll, serenaded by the gentle surf. Equally indulgent is Weincakes Bistro, an intimate new spot in the Village for decadent desserts.

Pack a Picnic…

Gazebo at Spreckels Park - Coronado

Enjoy a picnic for two at Spreckels Park.

In the heart of the island, Spreckels Park welcomes couples to picnic under swaying palm trees or under an ol’ fashioned gazebo. For a secret picnic hideaway {shhh!}, cozy Shoreline Park at First St. & I Ave. offers a magnificent backdrop on San Diego Bay.

Say I Do… Again

Renew your vows in Coronado!

Renew your vows in Coronado!

Renew your vows at the charming new Coronado Wedding Chapel by the Sea, the first-ever wedding chapel on the island! This chic Crown City jewel is located less than a block from Coronado Beach, across the street from the Hotel del Coronado. Two other amazing storybook settings: Loews Coronado Bay Resort and Coronado Island Marriott Resort on San Diego Bay.

Ahoy!

Sailing San Diego Bay

Set sail on San Diego Bay.

Hire a licensed skipper for a romantic sunset sail on San Diego Bay or the Pacific Ocean. Seaforth Boat Rentals on Glorietta Bay and Action Sports Rentals at Loews Coronado Bay Resort promise to make it memorable. Don’t forget the champagne and chocolate covered strawberries!

That’s amore…

Voga Voyage at Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

Voga Voyage at Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

The Gondola Company offers intimate one-hour cruises and a “Voga Voyage” couples massage(!) on San Diego Bay. The authentic Venetian gondolas depart from Loews Coronado’s marina; a truly magical experience that’s made for marriage proposals!

Coronado…gotta love it! 😉

> Browse more Valentine’s Day Ideas and Packages in San Diego

Robert Arends

February Fun in San Diego’s East County!

Each winter, visitors – especially “snowbirds” – flock to San Diego’s East County to explore our desert oasis of Borrego Springs and charming mountain towns like Ramona and Julian, famous for its gold mines and apple pies.

February brings a few fun East County events and activities that are sure to make for a memorable backcountry visit.

Following are 3 that really piqued my interest:

1. Borrego Springs ARTWALK

Beautiful new Borrego Art Institute.

Beautiful new Borrego Art Institute.

Borrego Springs ARTWALK paints an eye-catching kaleidoscope of color over our desert landscape on February 1, 2013, from 5:00 to 8:00 PM.  Start your stroll at the beautiful *NEW* Borrego Art Institute, featuring their BIG. BOLD. BEAUTIFUL. exhibition of paintings, sculpture and other artworks. Then head up the street to check out other fantastic exhibits at Matson Gallery, Liesel Paris Arts Studio, Tumbleweed Gallery, The Galleria at The Palms at Indian Head and House of Borrego Springs.

2. Valentine’s Day in Julian

Loving the Orchard Hill Country Inn!

Loving the Orchard Hill Country Inn!

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Treat your sweetie to a gourmet, candlelit four-course dinner in the dining room of the Craftsman-style Orchard Hill Country Inn in Julian. As you swoon over the mountaintop views of the town below, your loved one also receives a box of chocolate truffles and a rose. Cost is $45 per person (and worth every dime! 😉 ).

3. HawkWatch

Harri Hawk -  one of the raptors you may spot at HawkWatch!

Harri Hawk – one of the raptors you might spot at HawkWatch!

Spread your wings and fly to the big annual (FREE) HawkWatch at the Wildlife Research Institute in Ramona, happening each Saturday, February 2, 9, 16 and 23 from 9:00 to 11:00 AM. Bring your binoculars and cameras to spot magnificent wintering and resident raptors, including Golden Eagles, Ferruginous Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Prairie Falcons and Red-shouldered Hawks, to name a few. While you’re there, say hello to the herd of bison that call this “raptor hotspot” home!

Happy exploring! 🙂

Robert Arends

Ghost Hunting in San Diego’s Coronado and Old Town!

Kate Morgan roaming the halls of The Del.
Kate Morgan Standing in front of the Hotel Del

“Ghost” of Kate Morgan at the Hotel del Coronado

“I ain’t afraid of no ghost!” No really, I’m not. I’m absolutely thrilled by the possibility of encountering a spirit from the beyond. Two places in particular that put San Diego on the map as a specter-friendly destination: the famous Hotel del Coronado and the Whaley House.

The Hotel del Coronado’s Kate Morgan

Kate Morgan roaming the halls of The Del.

Kate Morgan checked in, but never checked out of Room #3327!

The Hotel del Coronado’s grand Victorian halls and rooms are where the ghost of Kate Morgan purportedly roams, mischievously playing pranks on unsuspecting guests and staff. She checked into #3327 on the third floor…but never checked out!

I had a recent encounter with Ms. Morgan during an impromptu ghost hunt at The Del. The group I was with experienced a spine-tingling cold spot outside her room when we quietly summoned her to join us. At that moment, the word “beside” appeared on the Ghost Radar Legacy app on my iPhone. Coincidence?! I think not…

Soon after, the word “enough” appeared on my Ghost Radar and the lady standing next to me had her camera brusquely slung off her shoulder by an unseen force! It was startling, to say the least, and we quickly dispersed down to the lobby where we encountered another cold spot (Kate’s such a hanger-on! 😉 ).

Hotel del Coronado-Kate Morgan reading

Kate Morgan’s ghost “chillin’ ” in the lobby of The Del.

The Hotel del Coronado embraces and celebrates its well-known haunting each October with an annual “Hallo-wine & Spirits” party and “Room with a Boo” hotel package that includes a copy of their book, Beautiful Stranger: The Ghost of Kate Morgan and the Hotel del Coronado.

The Whaley House Family

My colleague Maren Severtsen took part in an exciting “Past & Presence” haunted tour of Old Town, including the Whaley House, the #1 haunted house in America (The Travel Channel) and one of only two official Haunted Houses designated by the U.S. Commerce Department.

> Read about Maren’s haunted tour here

Even More Haunting in San Diego

For other haunted spots, entities and everything else that “goes bump in the night” in San Diego, the San Diego Ghost & Paranormal Group and Pacific Paranormal Investigations are great local resources.

See you on the other side…Bwah, ha ha ha ha! 🙂