Robert Arends

5 Things I Love about Coronado

Coronado Beach - OrangeandPark.com

Beautiful Coronado Sunset. Photo courtesy of OrangeandPark.com

Oh Coronado, the “Enchanted Isle,” how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

OK, that’s a little sappy, but I can’t help it. Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and love is in the air. What better time to talk about five things I really love about the Emerald City.

1. The Restaurants

Fabulous views of San Diego Bay from Mistral

Fabulous views of San Diego Bay from Mistral

I love that Coronado was made for romantic dining, with fabu restaurants from the Pacific to San Diego Bay beckoning couples to gaze into each other’s eyes over a delectable candlelit dinner. Two of my personal favs: Chez Loma, an intimate, authentic French bistro, and Mistral at Loews Coronado Bay Resort with views as phenomenal as the cuisine.

2. The Journey Around Coronado Island

Tweet! Aviary at Coronado Island Marriott Resort

Tweet! Aviary at Coronado Island Marriott Resort

I love the joy in the journey to and around the island. The views by car from the graceful blue arch of the iconic San Diego-Coronado Bridge are second to none! You can see as far as Mexico and the ‘lil Islas Coronadas (crowned islands) off the coast. Better yet, take a fun ferry ride over from downtown San Diego! Then explore the island by beach cruiser (there are bike rental shops throughout the island), Segway of Coronado or Pedego electric bike.

3. Playing in the Water

Kayak Under the Coronado Bridge

Coronado Kayak Tour adventure!

I love all the ways to play in the ocean and bay. There’s stand-up paddleboarding with SUP Coronado, surfing with Coronado Surfing Academy, the new Coronado Kayak Tour, The Gondola Company’s authentic Venetian gondola rides and San Diego Seaplanes, launching from the bay by the Coronado Ferry Landing!

4. The Island’s Secrets

The "Baby Del" (144 Isabella Ave.)

The “Baby Del” (144 Isabella Ave.)

I love the “secret” sights around the island, from sand dunes on the beach that spell C-O-R-O-N-A-D-O and the flock of flamingos and aviary at Coronado Island Marriot Resort, to Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum’s cottage on Star Park Circle, the ghost of Kate Morgan’s room at the Hotel del Coronado and the “Baby Del” on Isabella Ave.

5. The Sunsets

sunset2

I love the stunning sunsets. I took the photo above just last weekend. No matter how many times I see the sun set in glorious hues of yellow, orange and red over the beach, it’s never ceases to leave me in awe.

Coronado, what’s not to love! 😉

Happy Valentine’s Day! <3

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! 🙂

Robert Arends

5 to Try Spook-tacular San Diego Halloween Haunts

Evil Ringmaster - Scream Zone

Sinister welcome to the Scream Zone!

BOO-yah! It’s the most wonderful time of the year… yep, Halloween! San Diego celebrates the season with creepy cool events and fun-filled spots to seriously get freaked out. Word of warning: A few of these are not for the faint of heart. Translation: not for the kiddies (best to take them to LEGOLAND’s Brick-or-Treat instead 😉

1.  The Scream Zone at the Del Mar Fairgrounds

Haunted Hayride passenger about to scare an unaware victim at the Scream Zone

Haunted Hayride hijinks in the Scream Zone.

The Scream Zone at the Del Mar Fairgrounds features a Haunted Hayride (creepy clowns, zombies and aliens, oh my!), House of Horror (beware the chainsaw-wielding maniac!) and Chamberlabyrinth (I almost lost my balance in the giant spinning tunnel!) all wrapped into one big scare fest.

2.  The Haunted Hotel

Haunted Hotel Sign

The Haunted Hotel is now open for guests! Photo courtesy of Mike Rollerson.

The Haunted Hotel in the downtown Gaslamp Quarter is where horror movies come to life; as in you WILL meet Freddie Krueger and Jason from Friday the 13th face to face! This is San Diego’s longest-running haunted house and one of the Top 13 haunted houses in the U.S.!

3. Ghosts & Gravestones

Grave Digger - Ghost and Gravestones

There’s a plot…I mean spot waiting for you on the tour.

Take a ride on the dark side on San Diego’s original “frightseeing” tour, Ghosts & Gravestones.  Hop on a trolley of the doomed to discover the El Campo Santo Cemetery in Old Town (bodies are actually buried under Old Town Ave. – zoinks!), The Whaley House, America’s most haunted house (The Travel Channel) located on a former gallows site (double zoinks!), and the Maritime Museum’s haunted Star of India tallship and Berkeley ferryboat (SciFi’s Ghost Hunters filmed here!).

4. Haunted Trail of Balboa Park

A crashed bus at the Haunted Trail of Balboa Park.

The driver never made it through the Haunted Trail! Photo courtesy of Mike Rollerson.

Fog-shrouded Balboa Park with its gnarled grove of 100-year-old trees towering overhead is the site of the wickedly fun, mile-long Haunted Trail. It’s the great outdoors gone awry – very Blair Witch Project! Also features a manic maze called “The eXperiment.”

5. Scary Maze at Cottonwood Golf Course

Scary Maze at Cottonwood Golf Course Logo

Cottonwood Golf Course in East County goes into fright mode with its 10,000 sq.-ft. Scary Maze. Truth be told, this one’s more family-friendly. The object: find your way out of the maze while encountering “dead” ends and creatures of the night. There’s also a beer garden, live music, dancing, devilishly-delectable food and scary movie showings outdoors.

Happy (early) Halloween!