Robert Arends

Coronado November Events: A Cornucopia of Fun!

Skating by the Sea-Coronado Beach

With sunny skies, glistening crowd-free beaches and temperatures averaging 70 degrees, November is the perfect time to visit Coronado, located a bridge or ferryboat ride away from downtown San Diego. There’s so much to do, from craft beer tastings and lavish Thanksgiving feasts to ice skating by the beach, that you won’t know where to start!

The following are my Top 5 to Try in Coronado this November.

Good Times on Tap: San Diego Beer Week in Coronado

Craft beer by the bottle at Coronado Brewing Company

Craft beer by the bottle at Coronado Brewing Company

During San Diego Beer Week, Nov. 1-10, visit the award-winning Coronado Brewing Company to sample tasty ales like Orange Avenue Wit. Also, Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge on Orange Ave. features a “Local Tap Takeover,” pouring only San Diego beer on all 16 of their taps!

Talking Turkey: Thanksgiving Dinner

san diego hotel del coronado crown room thanksgiving 2013

The luxurious Crown Room at the Hotel del Coronado will host this year’s Thanksgiving feast.

Let the Hotel del Coronado and Loews Coronado Bay Resort do all the cooking this Thanksgiving Nov. 28 as they serve up turkey with all the fixings in festive elegant style. The Del presents a lavish buffet spread in the Crown Room and Ballroom, with live entertainment. Loews hosts a fab champagne brunch buffet in its main dining room, plus a prix fixe family-style dinner in Mistral.

Ice Skating by the Sea

Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado

Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado

Lace up your skates and head to the Hotel del Coronado on Nov. 27 for the launch of Skating by the Sea, a magically surreal SoCal experience like no other where guests can practice their axel jumps just steps away from Coronado Beach. A portion of ice skate rental proceeds benefit San Diego’s Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Silver Strand Half Marathon and 5K

Rollerblading the Silver strand Half Marathon

Rollerblading the Silver Strand Half Marathon

Hightail it to the scenic Silver Strand for the popular annual Silver Strand Half Marathon and 5K on Nov. 17. Participants can run, walk, even rollerblade or rollerskate  from Coronado to Imperial Beach; handcyclists and wheel chair participants are welcome too!

Rock n’ Roll: “Suds” at the Coronado Playhouse

Suds Coronado Playhouse San Diego Theater

Suds hits the stage at the Coronado Playhouse this November.

Audiences are in for a rocking good time at the Coronado Playhouse– a 100-seat, cabaret-style theatre on lovely Glorietta Bay – presenting the 1960s musical soap opera “Suds” through the end of the month.

Want to win your own getaway to Coronado? Visit Authentic Luxury Travel to win a romantic Coronado stay!

Robert Arends

Family Fun for Free in San Diego’s Coronado!

Coronado Beach
Coronado Beach

Family fun in the sun in Coronado! Courtesy Joanne DiBona, SanDiego.org

The Kidvasion has begun! Kids Free in San Diego month is in full swing. As you and your family are in town enjoying the numerous (100+) free deals, be sure to visit sun-kissed Coronado, a bridge away from downtown San Diego.

Kids are sure to get a kick out of these free activities around the island:

The Beach

Build a Sandcastle at the #1 Beach in America - Coronado Beach

Build a Sandcastle at the #1 Beach in America – Coronado Beach

Make sandcastles at Coronado Beach – the #1 beach in America – with its expansive stretch of soft white sands. To the north, check out the tail-wagging fun at Dog Beach where friendly fidos splash in the surf and play fetch. Along Ocean Blvd., can you spot the giant sand dunes that spell C-O-R-O-N-A-D-O? Pretty neat!

Coronado Museum of History & Art

US Navy's aircraft carriers at NAS North Island

Mighty aircraft carriers and high-flying jets at NAS North Island

Fly by the Coronado Museum of History & Art (kids under 12 are free with 1 adult paid admission) to check out their new 100+ Years of Yachting exhibition, plus cool U.S. Navy display. To see the real thing, head to Shoreline Park (First St. & I Ave.) for a peek at the Navy’s mighty aircraft carriers. A free air show of sorts can be seen almost daily at Coronado Beach, with Navy jets and helicopters flying overhead on their way to NAS North Island.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Coronado Public Library

Wizard of Oz Glass Panels - Coronado Public Library

Wizard of Oz scenes at the Coronado Public Library

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Coronado Public Library to gander at massive glass panels depicting scenes from the Wizard of Oz. Oz author L. Frank Baum lived in Coronado! Join Coronado Touring on a walk back in time through the Hotel del Coronado (Baum’s inspiration for the Emerald City) and past the yellow cottage where Baum wrote a few of his fantastical children’s books. Tour is free for kids under three ($12 each for mom and dad).

Secret Art of Dr. Seuss

The whimsical "Secret Art of Dr. Seuss" at Stephen Clayton Galleries

The whimsical “Secret Art of Dr. Seuss” at Stephen Clayton Galleries

Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat greets kids at Stephen Clayton Gallery

Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat greets guests at Stephen Clayton Gallery

Another famous children’s author who lived in San Diego was Dr. Seuss. Discover the “Secret Art of Dr. Seuss” – including sculptures of magical creatures and other-worldly paintings – at the Stephen Clayton Galleries at the Coronado Ferry Landing.

And don’t forget Coronado’s Kids Free month participants and special deals, including:

Coronado’s fun and free playground of activities awaits! 🙂

Robert Arends

Follow the Yellow Brick Road…The Wizard of Oz and Coronado!

Wizard of Oz

Wizard of Oz

On the heels of today’s premiere of the new Disney movie “Oz The Great & Powerful,” I thought it might be fun to spotlight Coronado’s remarkable link to author L. Frank Baum and his famous Wizard of Oz book series.

Between 1904 and 1910 Baum and his family frequently vacationed in Coronado, located a bridge away from downtown San Diego. He was so fond of the island’s magical setting, that he wrote several of his Oz books here.

Following are six fun and surprising sights in Coronado that either inspired Baum’s whimsical literary works directly or were inspired by the author’s visits to the enchanted island:

1. Hotel Del Coronado

Coronado Beach and Hotel del Coronado - photo credit Brett Shoaf

Coronado, the “Emerald City”

They say the Hotel del Coronado with its iconic red castle-like turrets and enchanting fairy tale setting, was Baum’s inspiration for the Emerald City. He and his family often stayed at The Del on their Coronado vacations. Did you know: Coronado is nicknamed the “Emerald City.”

2. The Crown Room

Crown Room chandeliers by Baum at The Del.

Crown Room chandeliers by Baum at The Del.

The Del’s grand Crown Room is home to four spectacular crown-shaped chandeliers designed by Baum; his lasting legacy to the hotel he loved so much.

3. Baum’s humble Coronado home

L Frank Baum house on Star Park Circle - Photo credit Coronado Historical Association

L. Frank Baum’s home on Star Park Circle.

The charming yellow house he rented on Star Park Circle is where he wrote several Oz books: Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, The Emerald City of Oz , The Road to Oz  and parts of The Marvelous Land of Oz. From the sidewalk, you can spot the face of the Wicked Witch peering out from the side of the house.

Please Note: This is a private residence, so please be respectful to its occupants and view the house from the sidewalk.

4. Wizard of Oz Glass Art Exhibit

Wizard of Oz Glass Panels - Coronado Public Library

Wizard of Oz glass panels at Coronado Public Library.

The Wizard of Oz Glass Art Exhibit at the Coronado Public Library is where  Baum’s storybook jumps off the pages onto nine huge glass panels depicting Dorothy, the cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Glenda the Good Witch, Munchkins and more.

5. Three Rare First Edition Oz books

Check out three rare first edition Oz books by Baum on the “Celebrities” wall at the Coronado Museum of History and Art on Orange Avenue; admission is free.

6. Author’s Study

Author's Study at 1906 Lodge

“There’s no place like home…” in the Author’s Study at 1906 Lodge.

In addition to spending the night at The Del, celebrating its 125th anniversary, guests can rest their heads in the Baum-inspired “Author’s Study” at 1906 Lodge at Coronado Beach, featuring framed art prints of the glittery Ruby Slippers, Dorothy and the cowardly Lion and the classic front cover of The Wizard of Oz book, plus an autobiography on Baum and a writing desk with antique-looking typewriter bookends.

This spring, ease on down the road to Coronado to discover our merry little land of Oz! While you’re there, why not catch a screening of Oz The Great & Powerful at the beautifully restored Coronado Village Theatre.

Wizard of Oz Weekend (WOW!)

Oh, and next fall the city is planning its premier Wizard of Oz Weekend (WOW!), celebrating Coronado’s love of all things Oz and the 75th anniversary of the original Wizard of Oz movie!  I’ll have all the exciting details later this summer! 🙂

Robert Arends

Coronado: Essential Summer Guide, Part 2

Summer sun, surf and sand in Coronado! (photo credit: Brett Shoaf)

It’s almost the weekend and sun-kissed Coronado is calling! In between boogie boarding and wiggling your toes in the sand on America’s #1 Beach (thank you, Dr. Beach!) following are a few fun – and free – lesser-known “secret” sights and activities around the island to check out.

Del-ightful!…The Diminutive Del

Coronado Boathouse 1887 – The “diminutive Del”

So we all know about the famous Hotel del Coronado. But did you know that just down the block is a building referred to as the “diminutive Del:” The Coronado Boathouse 1887 restaurant on Glorietta Bay. Pretty as a postcard!

The Baby Del

The “Baby Del” (144 Isabella Ave.)

There’s also the eye-catching “Baby Del,” a beautiful private home at 144 Isabella Ave. that will be the site of the 21st Annual Coronado MainStreet Garden Party on September 8 (buy your tickets now!).

Art & Sol…

“My Bike” trekking across the San Diego-Coronado Bridge!

In Coronado’s Tidelands Park is one of the coolest public art pieces on the island, “My Bike,” which seemingly flies through the air as it catches the bay breezes, shining in the sun. Stand back a bit, though, and view it with the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in the background and you’ll notice it’s actually riding across the bridge – a really cool visual effect! Check out the video.

Afternoon Delight…

Catching some rays in Coronado Island Marriott’s double hammocks.

There’s nothing like a lazy afternoon nap after a long day of play in the sun. Just around the corner from Tidelands Park at Coronado Island Marriott Resort, head out back behind the resort’s pool to find two big double hammocks just waiting for couples to catch 40 winks. The views are spectacular…this is the life!

Have a great weekend – see you in Coronado!

Robert Arends

Coronado: Essential Summer Guide, Part I


As Coronado counts down to its big annual, star-spangled 4th of July bash, I thought I’d give you the lowdown on what’s hot and what’s new on the island, as well as some incredible lesser-known sights that are sure to delight visitors this summer.

I’m calling it the Essential Summer Guide to Coronado. Since there SO many cool things to see and do, I’ll present them a few at a time throughout the summer months.

These first ones just happen to be 3 for Free – as in there’s no cost to check them out!

  1. Flock to The Del… I thought the strangest thing I’d ever see at the Hotel del Coronado was an ice skating rink on the Windsor Lawn (every winter holiday season), out back by the beach (the #1 beach in America, BTW) Boy was I wrong! Now you can see about a half dozen falcons and hawks on perches eyeing the skies for pesky seagulls and doing a fantastic job of scaring them away from the resort! Visitors can enjoy thrilling up-close encounters with these majestic raptors, courtesy of X Falconry, every Thursday through Sunday.
  2. Lark in the park… My latest discovery on Coronado Island is a little slice of paradise that visitors can have all to themselves (shhh! Don’t tell anyone 😉 ) for picnics on the bay, panoramic backdrops to take family photos and even fishing! It’s called Shoreline Park, located on First St. at I Ave. I’d never been there until I bicycled out with a Coronado Biking Adventure Tour last week. In a word, “Wow!” You can see the sparkling bay, San Diego skyline and an aircraft carrier at NAS North Island next door. It’s an incredible pocket park – my new favorite spot!
  3. Tide you over… If I had to pick one place where you can do just about anything under the sun, it’d be Tidelands Park on the bayside of the island. On any given day, you’ll spot joggers, bicyclists, kayakers, sailboats, volleyball, soccer and frisbee games, swimmers, sunbathers, and families picnicking and just taking in the great outdoors. It’s a vast aquatic wonderland hugging San Diego Bay – the perfect setting for a summer outing in Coronado!

 

 

 

Robert Arends

Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition “high-tails” it this Saturday!

Dog and owner “Hang 20” at Loews Coronado Surf Dog Competition.

See spot run… See spot SURF!

The 7th Annual Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition laps up the fun tomorrow in Imperial Beach (at Dunes Park/Beach, 700 Seacoast Dr.), just down the peninsula from Coronado. See dozens of happy hounds of all shapes and sizes hang 10 – and “hang 20” with their owners – from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Admission is FREE for spectators, so bring the whole family!

Cowabunga canine!

It’s not too late to enter your doggie in the competition. Cost is $50 for singles (one dog) and $55 for teams (dogs and people or multiple dogs). Proceeds for the four-legged fundraiser will benefit the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Each canine will have 10 minutes to catch the waves and show whose top dog. They’ll be scored on confidence level (Hmm…does the bulldog below look confident?), length of ride and overall ability to “grip it and rip it.”

Top dog at Loews Coronado Surf Dog Competition!

There’s even a celebrity dog category this year. Bring your autograph book!

While you’re there, be sure to wave to the TV cameras. There will be plenty of news crews on hand, including “Good Morning America”/ABC (booked by yours truly), capturing every tail-wagging moment! Former “All My Children” soap star and “Dancing with the Stars” (season 5) contender Cameron Mathison will be GMA’s correspondent on the scene. His segment is scheduled to air in the upcoming weeks. I’ll keep you posted on the airdate.

Coronado’s woof-worthy Dog Beach

While you’re in the area, and if you’re with your dog(s), head north to Coronado’s Dog Beach, for a day of play on the sands of the #1 Beach in America! Out-of-town guests can take advantage of a special $169 guestroom rate at the pet-friendly Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

See you in I.B.! I’ll be there knee-high in the surf trying to get some good shots on my iPhone. Stop by and say hi 😉

Robert Arends

Just Beachy: Coronado Named #1 Beach in America!

Coronado Beach - Brett Shoaf
Coronado Beach - Brett Shoaf

We're #1 - Coronado Beach! Photo courtesy of Brett Shoaf

Shhh… can you keep a secret? I almost couldn’t. I’ve known for weeks that postcard-perfect Coronado Beach was going to be crowned America’s Best Beach by “Dr. Beach.” However, I couldn’t tell a soul. I promised coastal expert Stephen Leatherman (aka Dr. Beach), that mums the word until May 25.

And today’s the day! I’m shouting it from the highest sand dunes on the island that Coronado is the #1 stretch of sand in the United States!

Coronado Beach - OrangeandPark.com

A Beautiful Coronado Sunset. Photo courtesy of OrangeandPark.com

The timing is perfect. Memorial Day weekend is here and AAA ranked San Diego the top Memorial Day destination! The official summer season has begun. Pack the beach towel, sunblock and boogie board and head to the sunny shores of Coronado!

(photo credit: Hotel del Coronado)

A few fun facts about Coronado Beach:

  • The 1.5 mile long beach has a silvery white sheen because of the presence of mica.
  • The northernmost section is known as Dog Beach (woof!), where four-legged visitors are permitted off leash!
  • The giant sand dunes along Ocean Blvd. spell C-O-R-O-N-A-D-O

If you’re heading to Coronado this summer, I’ve got the inside scoop on a couple more “must-sees” in the area.

Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition!

The Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition, America’s original surf dog competition, is June 16 at Imperial Beach – just south of Coronado’s Silver Strand. See hounds hang 10 solo (!) or with their owners. Tune in to ABC’s Good Morning America that weekend. Their crew will be filming the whole tail-wagging event with TV star Cameron Mathison!

Coronado - Silver Strand Beach

Silver Strand State Beach

Visitors are also welcome to join in the fun on the Explore & Restore Silver Strand State Beach interactive nature tours of the beach’s rare plants, animals and birds. Tours depart every Saturday and Sunday morning from the lobby of Loews Coronado Bay Resort. Sign up by calling the Loews concierge at 619-424-4000.

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend everyone and I’ll see you in sun-kissed Coronado!

Robert Arends

Sparkling New Year’s in Coronado

Ice skating into the New Year at Hotel del Coronado

I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas! Shopping is almost done (THANK YOU, Coronado, for 2 hours of free metered parking!) and the last batch of cards are being sent out tomorrow. I’m definitely in holiday mode… Yesterday I visited the Hotel del Coronado and took some photos of their gorgeous lobby Christmas tree and Skating by the Sea.

Christmas tree at The Del

Now, though, I have my sights set on New Year’s. Where can you ring in 2012 on the enchanted island? There are a few fabulous fetes in store at the resorts, plus some wintery fun just steps away from Coronado Beach: 

  • The Hotel del Coronado is throwing a New Year’s Eve Gala, including a reception in the Crown Room, lavish dinner in the oceanfront ballroom with dancing to the contemporary sounds of the Mar Dels, plus a champagne toast at midnight ($275 per person). 

The Del also offers separate parties for kids ages 4-12 at the resort’s Kidtopia and teens ages 13-17 at Vibz Teen Lounge; includes dinner, crafts, beach parties, bonfires and more.

Crown Room at The Del

The party continues on New Year’s Day with a champagne brunch in the Crown Room from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Toast the New Year at Mistral, Loews Coronado Bay Resort

  • Loews Coronado Bay Resort kicks off its New Year’s Eve festivities from 5–10 p.m. at Mistral restaurant. There will be live music and an exquisite five-course prix fixe menu featuring the best of Chef Patrick Ponsaty’s award-winning modern French cuisine ($95 per person). From 10 p.m.–1 a.m., ring in the New Year in Cays Lounge with dancing and live music. Complimentary for restaurant goers and resort guests. Space is limited.

For children, there’s Party Hat Decorating from 4-5 p.m. ($5 per person) and Loews’ Kids’ Club will be open until 1 a.m.

Add some pizazz to your New Year’s party look with the New Year’s Eve “Glam” package being offered at Sea Spa, 3-7 p.m.; includes hair style and makeup ($120) and a “Razzle Dazzle” manicure & pedicure ($90).

Enjoy champagne brunch at Market Cafe on Jan. 1

On New Year’s Day from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., enjoy a Champagne Brunch buffet in the Market Café ($36 for adults and $18 for children).

Dining room at Current, Coronado Island Marriott Resort

  • Revelers can also ring in the New Year at Current Restaurant in the Coronado Island Marriott Resort. Festivities include live music, a special four-course dinner with wine pairing and a champagne toast at midnight. 
  • And if you haven’t gone ice Skating by the Sea yet at the Hotel del Coronado, there’s still time to practice your axel jumps and spirals! The rink on the Windsor Lawn is open through Jan. 2. Check out this cool video I shot!

Happy (early) New Year from Coronado! We’ll see you on the island 🙂

Robert Arends

A Shore Thing: Coronado Named #2 Best Beach in America by Dr. Beach

The doctor is in and his prognosis is just beachy!

Dr. Beach, aka Florida International University professor Stephen Leatherman, has announced Coronado Beach is the #2 Best Beach in the USA!

Each year Dr. Beach visits America’s finest stretches of sand and rates them based on a long list of criteria including sand softness, water quality, waves, weather, facilities and crowds. It’s no surprise that San Diego’s beaut of a beach (and my personal favorite!) on the enchanted isle of Coronado scored high marks, as it did on a number of recent top 10 beaches lists.

According to the famous sand specialist, “Coronado Beach is the toast of Southern California; it is a veritable oasis by the sea, measuring hundreds of yards wide.  With its lush subtropical vegetation, unique Mediterranean climate, and fine sparkling sand, beach-goers flock to this beach for great ship watching and the summer’s mild surf.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Dr. Beach’s news made headlines across the country, from ABC and CNN to USA Today.

Speaking of sandy sound bites, Sherman’s Travel called Coronado Beach (which nabbed the #4 spot in their Top 10 Beaches for Families) “a prime spot for fun-seeking families looking to boogie board, surf, and swim – all just a bridge or ferry ride away from downtown San Diego.”

All this talk of beaches is making me want to play hooky, slather on the sunblock and head to Coronado… See you in the surf!

Robert Arends

Coronado Named one of America’s Top 10 Beaches!

{cue The Go-Gos} Staycation all I ever wanted. Staycation, had to get away…

Hanging 10 in Coronado!

Yep, I’m taking a little break this weekend, but not going too far. For a little R&R I’m heading to sun-kissed Coronado – just a bridge away from downtown San Diego – to stay at the charming Glorietta Bay Inn and luxurious Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

My timing is perfect, as the weather forecast is sunny blue skies and temps around 70! With towel and sunblock packed and ready, I’m heading to the beach, of course. Actually, two in fact: Coronado Central Beach by the Hotel del Coronado and the Silver Strand just a seagull swoop away from Loews.

Speaking of sparkling stretches of sand, San Diego was named the #3 “Best Family Beach Vacation” in America by U.S. News & World Report!

Family-friendly San Diego and Coronado.

Coronado is also making headlines as a top beach spot in the USA.

Coronado Beach will soon be crowned the #4 beach in Parents Magazine’s 2011 “10 Best Family Beaches” in the U.S., running in their June issue (goes on sale May 17!).

Coronado Beach beckons...

And Sherman’s Travel named Coronado the #4 best beach in their “Top 10 Beaches for Families.”

I can’t wait to nap to the gentle sounds of the surf and wiggle my toes in the sand! Two days to go…