Robert Arends

Resort to Fun with Outdoor Activities in Coronado this Spring!

Coronado Beach
Coronado Beach

Spring over to Coronado Beach, the #1 beach in America

Spring is just around the corner (March 20) and with the weather warming up, now is a perfect time to plan your Spring Break and discover the great outdoors of Coronado Island!

With miles of beaches and coastline on the sparkling Pacific and San Diego Bay, there are countless options for fun in the water including surfing, sailing, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding and more.  On land, the “Crown City” has just as much to offer: bicycling, inline skating, golf, tennis… and the list goes on.

Here are my top picks of things to do at Coronado’s big four fab resorts and hotels where outdoor activities abound:

The Gondola Company near Loews Coronado Bay Resort

The Gondola Company near Loews Coronado Bay Resort

Loews Coronado Bay Resort was made for play and enjoys the best of both watery worlds, situated on a peninsula on San Diego Bay just steps from Silver Strand State Beach and the ocean. Fun ways to soak in the sun include swimming in three pools (including one for adults only), surfing, sailing, kayaking, bicycling, rollerblading, cool interactive nature tours of the Silver Strand (a pristine preserve of rare plants, animals and birds) and tours of the resort’s herb garden.

Did you know: Just down the road from Loews, The Gondola Company offers enchanting cruises on authentic Venetian gondolas!

Flamingos, finches and ducks - oh my! - at the Coronado Island Marriott

Flamingos, finches and ducks – oh my! – at the Coronado Island Marriott

I recently stayed at Coronado Island Marriott Resort where surprising outdoor finds made for quite a memorable visit, especially the aviary of finches, a flock of pink flamingos and families of ducks wading in ponds; photo opps galore! There’s also bicycling along beautiful bay-side paths, tennis and swimming/sunbathing in three pools. The resort even has its own private pier where you can take a water taxi across the bay to downtown San Diego.

Kayak Under the Coronado Bridge

Coronado Kayak Tour

Did you know: At the nearby Coronado Ferry Landing, the new Coronado Kayak Tour is San Diego’s only urban kayaking adventure, and glides under the iconic blue arch of the Coronado Bridge!

The landmark Hotel del Coronado is a grand playground to explore with recreational options that take full advantage of its location on the #1 beach in America.  There’s yoga on the beach, beach volleyball and beach rentals including boogie boards, surfboards and beach cruisers from PeDels (gotta love the name!). At night, s’mores on the beach is a sweet way to end the day.

Did you know: The Del’s tide break of giant boulders is a great spot to explore tidepools teeming with marine life.

Fore! at Coronado Golf Course

Fore! at Coronado Golf Course

The charming Glorietta Bay Inn is in a prime location overlooking Glorietta Bay, home to the Coronado Boathouse where sailboat, speedboat, water ski, jet ski, paddleboat and kayak rentals are available. The Inn is also just down the street from the Coronado Tennis Center (8 courts) and scenic Coronado Golf Course. Golfers will love Glorietta Bay Inn’s new Golf Play & Stay package which includes one round of golf and a golf cart.

Did you know: On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, Coronado Touring offers fascinating historic walking tours of downtown Coronado, departing from the Glorietta Bay Inn.

Happy Spring (almost)…See you in Coronado!

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

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Robert Arends

Holiday Cheer, Santa, Snow and more in Coronado!

Ho ho ho from Coronado! Just a bridge or convenient ferryboat ride away from downtown San Diego…

This weekend, the island kicks off its holiday fun with Santa Claus” arrival by ferryboat, snow for the kids to play in (yep!) and a good ol” fashioned parade down Orange Avenue.

Here”s a quick look at the day”s stocking full of fun, festive, free activities:

38th Annual Coronado Christmas Parade & Open House

Santa Claus

Santa Claus” festive arrival at the Coronado Ferry Landing!

3:20 PM: Santa Claus and his elves arrive by ferry-boat at the Coronado Ferry Landing.
3:00 to 7:00 PM: Snow Mountain at the Coronado Ferry Landing for sledding and making snowballs and snowmen! There will also be carolers, live entertainment, hot cocoa and photos with Santa.

Snow Mountain fun at the Coronado Ferry Landing!

Snow Mountain fun at the Coronado Ferry Landing!

5:00 to 9:00 PM: Merchants online casino Open House along Orange Ave. to find the perfect one-of-a-kind gift for everyone on your shopping list; there”s also free metered parking!
6:00 to 7:00 PM: Christmas Parade down Orange Ave. with floats, marching bands and Santa on a fire truck.
7:00 PM: Christmas Tree Lighting in Rotary Park with Santa Claus.

Skating by the Sea

Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado

Skating by the Sea at The Del!

Throughout the month there”s also Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado, just steps from Coronado Beach – so wonderfully surreal and magical! 😉

> Find out more about Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado

Festival of Christmas – “Catch a Falling Star”

Lamb”s Players Theatre presents its spectacular annual Festival of Christmas show through December 29 (I guarantee you”ll be humming Christmas carols long after the show is over!).

> Find out more about Festival of Christmas – “Catch a Falling Star”

“Buon Natale” Gondola Cruises

Singing Santa gondolier at Loews Coronado Bay Resort!

Singing Santa gondolier at Loews Coronado Bay Resort!

And at Loews Coronado Bay Resort, “Buon Natale” gondola cruises with a caroling Santa gondolier (cool!) take to the bay December 20-23. Also throughout December, The Gondola Company offers gondola rides to view dozens of boats and yachts in the Coronado Cays decorated with colorful holiday lights.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the Crown City”s First Annual “Mistletoe Magic” shopping night on December 11, 5:00 to 8:00 PM, with strolling carolers, visits with Santa, store specials and prize drawings along Orange Ave.

> Check out the new Coronado Holiday Guide PDF

Happy holidays from the sparkling warm sands of Coronado! 🙂

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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! 🙂

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Robert Arends

A Sparkling Coronado Christmas Celebration – December 7, 2012!

Seagulls sing, are you listening?
On the beach, sand is glistening
A beautiful sight, we’re happy tonight
Walking in Coronado’s winter wonderland!

Charming Coronado, located a bridge away from downtown San Diego, is gearing up for its big island-wide holiday bash, the 37th Annual Coronado Christmas Parade & Open House, on Friday, December 7. The “Crown City” has a stocking full of fun & festive activities that are sure to delight visitors of all ages.

Coronado Christmas Parade & Open House’s Free Festivities

3:30 PM – Santa Claus’ Arrival

Santa Claus’ festive arrival at the Coronado Ferry Landing!

Don’t miss Santa’s arrival by ferry boat at the Coronado Ferry Landing (fantastic photo opp!). Afterward, meet Santa and his elves, and tell jolly ol’ St. Nick everything you wish for!

3:00 to 8:00 PM – Snow Mountain

Children playing on Snow Mountain at the Coronado Ferry Landing

Let it snow! At the Coronado Ferry Landing shops.

No need to head out to the mountains when there’s snow at the Coronado Ferry Landing for sledding, making snow balls and snowmen (yes Virginia, there IS snow in San Diego!)

5:00 to 9:00 PM – Merchants Open House

The Merchants Open House features unique boutique shops and galleries for one-of-kind gifts for everyone on your shopping list!

6:00 to 7:00 PM – Christmas Parade

A Norman Rockwell-esque Christmas Parade down Orange Avenue, featuring floats, classic cars, marching bands and Santa Claus on a fire truck!

7:00 PM – Lighting of a 50-foot Christmas Tree in Rotary Park

More Coronado Christmas and Holiday Fun

Coronado Holiday Guide is chock full of fun holiday events and shopping ideas!

Hot off the presses is the new Coronado Holiday Guide which you can download off the Chamber of Commerce’s homepage or pick up at the Coronado Visitor Center (1100 Orange Avenue).

Skating by the Sea

Skating by the Sea Aerial - Hotel del Coronado

Magical Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado!

In addition to Coronado’s popular Christmas spectacular, visitors are invited to skate figure eights at the beachside ice Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado (open through January 5). A portion of the proceeds benefit Make-a-Wish Foundation! (Click here for more outdoor ice skating opportunities in San Diego)

Buon Natale Gondola Cruises

The Gondola Company’s Buon Natale gondola ride at Loews Coronado Bay Resort!

At Loews Coronado Bay Resort, check out The Gondola Company’s seasonal Buon Natale gondola cruise, featuring a Santa gondolier serenading guests with Christmas carols through waterways of the Coronado Cays. Oh what fun! 😉

Festival of Christmas – Christmas on my Mind

Festival of Christmas - Christmas on my Mind - Lamb's Players Theatre

A group of travelers snuck in a snowstorm create a holiday celebration during the Lamb’s Players Theatre Festival of Christmas.

And a magical escape to Coronado this winter wouldn’t be complete without enjoying Lamb’s Players Theatre‘s annual Festival of Christmas show on their resident stage (1142 Orange Ave.), November 30 through December 30. Every year my family and I attend this joyful musical and I guarantee it’ll have you humming “jingle all the way” through New Year’s! 🙂

> Discover more holiday fun in San Diego

See you in sparkling Coronado!

Robert Arends

Foodie Friday – A World of Great Eats in Coronado!

A world of fine dining awaits over the bridge in Coronado.

One of the favorite things about my job is trying new restaurants and sampling creative mouth-watering cuisine from cultures far and near. Coronado – a bridge away from downtown San Diego – has become a culinary hot spot, making waves with the opening of new restaurants that span the world of dining.

Coronado's newest restaurants opened along Orange Ave.

Set your course for our island paradise to enjoy everything from delectable English, French and Italian dishes to Japanese, Mexican and everything in between.

To help you navigate Coronado’s vast culinary map, following are 5 to Try this “Foodie Friday” that’ll take you around the world and back:

Patio at McP's Irish Pub.

1. The Tavern

Cheerio!…The Tavern, a new “vintage industrial” English pub ( located across the street from longtime local favorite McP’s Irish Pub) is the perfect spot for a quick pint while noshing on hearty traditional pub fare like chicken sliders, fish sandwiches, mac & cheese with breadcrumb topping and more.

Sushi delights at Saiko Sushi!

2. Saiko Sushi

Oishii!…The new Saiko Sushi features a sushi bar and progressive Japanese menu of sustainably sourced fish that’s as fresh as it gets, seasonal produce and micro-brewed sake.

Beautiful Candelas on the Bay.

3. Candelas on the Bay

Ole!…Candelas on the Bay at the Coronado Ferry Landing not only boasts panoramic views of downtown San Diego and the Bay, but also a sophisticated menu of  upscale Mexico City-style cuisine. Chef Eduardo’s masterpiece: Langosta Boaeza, lobster tail flambéed in tequila! (A close second favorite of mine for “south of the border” flavors is the festive Miguel’s Cocina.)

4. Vigilucci’s Ristorante Coronado

Mangia, mangia!…Vigilucci’s Ristorante Coronado (upstairs from The Tavern) is a local favorite, popular for its Italian classics, prime steaks and seafood. After dinner, take a side trip to Loews Coronado Bay Resort to ride on an authentic Venetian gondola!

The finest in French dining at Mistral.

5. Mistral

C’est bon!…With gorgeous views of San Diego Bay and the iconic San Diego-Coronado Bridge, Mistral at Loews Coronado Bay Resort offers a postcard-perfect backdrop for modern French delicacies prepared by Chef Patrick Ponsaty – who recently joined the elite ranks of the Maître Cuisinier de France (Master Chef of France)! (A close second French favorite is Chez Loma, serving French bistro  classics in an elegant, cozy candle-lit setting; perfect for date nights!)

See you in Coronado! Save room for dessert (if you can 😉

Tell us in the comments, what are your top five dining options in San Diego?

Robert Arends

Coronado Sets Its Sights on America’s Cup World Series!

Ahoy! The America’s Cup World Series is just around the corner, sailing into San Diego Bay – and into the history books – starting this Saturday, November 12 through the 20th.What makes these races so exciting is that it’ll be the first time the incredibly swift, state-of-the-art AC45 wing-sailed catamarans will be seen in the United States! They were specially designed to slice through the water at speeds up to 30 knots, promising spectators some serious thrills as the world’s top sailors push their boats to the limit (Translation: Yes, a few of these fast boats might capsize.).

Since the Coast Guard is enforcing a Safety Zone taking up a large portion of the bay, viewing the races from the water will be limited. Organizers recommend fans catch the action from the shore.

America's Cup Word Series will race off Coronado.

Coronado, situated on San Diego Bay just across the bridge from downtown San Diego, is a perfect spot! The island offers the following scenic vantage points:

Coronado Ferry Landing.

  • Coronado Ferry Landing, a charming outdoor shopping and entertainment complex located within binocular view of the southernmost part of the race route, is a great way to start the racing day. Grab a quick bite to eat at one of the seven restaurants and do a little shopping before the races ramp up at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

    Ferry departs for downtown from Coronado Ferry Landing.

  • After lunch, head out to the Ferry Landing dock to catch a roundtrip ferry ride (just $8.50 per person) to the Broadway Pier or 5th Avenue Landing in downtown San Diego. This may be one of the best ways to see the races from the water! Check out the ferry schedule. Bring a pair of binoculars to zoom in on the boats as they race for the finish line.

Terrific bay views from Centennial Park.

  • Upon your return to the Coronado Ferry Landing, head north up First Street to one of three beautiful bay front parks: Centennial Park, SDG&E Park or Shoreline Park. From here you can continue to catch the boats racing round the route’s southern loop.
  • The bayside of Coronado’s NAS North Island, open only to active duty military personnel and their families, will also be a prime spot to see the sailing action up close.

Five days and counting until the America’s Cup World Series… “Isle” be seeing you in Coronado! 😉

Robert Arends

5 to Try: Hot New Dining in Coronado

Coronado is making waves in the local dining scene this summer with the opening of four fabulous new restaurants. The Hotel del Coronado also gets into the gastronomic act with the debut of a new culinary team at 1500 Ocean. From urban eclectic cuisine and gourmet burgers to savory sushi and classic English pub fare, there’s something to tickle just about everyone’s taste buds. Let’s dine around the island, in five easy courses:

1.  Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge (1015 Orange Ave., next door to Mootime Creamery), brings urban chic to the Crown City with its hip industrial look and a fresh flavorful menu of locally-sourced sustainable food created by Executive Chef Mel Ford. Standouts include the Diver Scallop Sliders, Duroc Bone in Pork Chop with maple bourbon glaze and ginger pears, and refreshing Watermelon Salad with arugula, dry goat cheese, almonds and balsamic reduction. In a word: yum!

Saiko Sushi - as fresh as it gets!

2.  Saiko Sushi (116 Orange Avenue near the Coronado Ferry Landing) is a progressive Japanese restaurant and sushi bar featuring modern Asian-styled food, sustainably-sourced fish, seasonal produce and micro-brewed sake. There’s a great family-friendly atmosphere with patio seating to enjoy amazing views of downtown San Diego.

The (English) Tavern.

3.  Blimey, is that an English tavern across the street from McP’s Irish Pub? Yep! Aptly named, The Tavern (1310 Orange Avenue) boasts a vintage industrial look designed with weathered materials from yesteryear, including salvaged high school basketball court planks – a slam dunk for the flooring and bar top! Casual and welcoming, enjoy a pint while noshing on chicken sliders, fish sandwiches, mac & cheese with breadcrumb topping and more.

4.  The island is abuzz about Nicky Rottens Bar & Burger Joint, opening in two weeks at the corner of 1st Street and Orange Ave. Burgers are primo here, hand-pressed and made from Grade A corn-fed Midwestern beef, using fresh organic vegetables and house-made sauces that bring out the freshest, most robust tastes possible. I’ll update everyone on the vibe and design after the grand opening.

1500 Ocean's new Chef Aaron Martinez & Wine Director Joe Weaver.

5.  The Del’s 1500 Ocean welcomes Chef de Cuisine Aaron Martinez who developed his passion for food at restaurants in Belgium and Spain, and most recently at Addison at the Grand Del Mar. He believes in fresh, local ingredients and uses the hotel’s onsite herb garden to create coastal-inspired dishes. Also new is Wine Director Joe Weaver who cultivated his passion for wine while traveling in Europe; he currently holds a Court of Master Sommeliers Level 2 Certification.

Sweet San Diego Chocolatier!

For dessert I MUST mention Sweet San Diego Chocolatier which just opened at the Coronado Ferry Landing. Chocolate-dipped strawberries, Rocky Road apples and peanut/peacan sticks are just a few of their sweet sensational creations.

All this talk of chocolate, fine wine and food is making me hungry…

Bon appétit from Coronado!

Robert Arends

5 to Try: Summer Events in Coronado

Bay views from Coronado Island Marriott Resort.

Discover San Diego’s Neighborhoods with our Summer Sweepstakes. Join us every week as we showcase the best in what to do, where to eat, and where to stay in some of San Diego’s unique neighborhoods. Be sure to check back for exciting insider tips, giveaways, and more! This week’s spotlight is on Coronado.

Things are heating up this summer in Coronado, just a bridge away from downtown San Diego. Visitors with swim towels, beach umbrellas and boogie boards are finding their happy place on the island’s 28 miles of beaches on sparkling San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

In addition to fun under the sun, following are Five Summer Events to Try on San Diego’s enchanted island:

Picnic at Promenade Concerts in the Park.

1.  Sure, there’s the soothing sound of palm trees swaying in the breeze, but visitors can also hear the sweet sound of live music in Coronado. A beloved local tradition is the Promenade Concert in the Park Series, which takes place every Sunday at 6:00 pm, through mid-September, in Spreckels Park. A perfect activity for families and picnickers; admission is free.

Bayside concerts at Coronado Ferry Landing.

2.  Also music to your ears: the Summer Concert Series at Coronado Ferry Landing which takes place every Saturday and Sunday from 2:00 – 5:00 pm, through September 5, at the Coronado Ferry Landing shops on scenic San Diego Bay. Featured musicians include the Crown Island Jazz Band, Coronado Big Band and Teagan Taylor Trio. Continue reading

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