Robert Arends

Coronado for Comic-Con Fans – Wizards, Dwarves and Dorothy

Wizard of Oz art exhibit at Coronado Public Library

Wizard of Oz art exhibit at Coronado Public Library

Long before Harry Potter or the Twilight series about vampires and werewolves, an author by the name of L. Frank Baum penned a few – well, 14 to be exact! – incredible fantastical novels about a Kansas girl (and original storm chaser) who hitched a ride on a tornado and found herself over the rainbow.

Yep, I’m talkin’ about The Wizard of Oz.

When Disney added its magic touch to the original movie classic earlier this year with Oz The Great & Powerful, I was in awe at how this timeless story continues to enchant and entertain a whole new generation of viewers.

Hotel del Coronado, inspiration for the Emerald City!

Hotel del Coronado, inspiration for the Emerald City!

Well, for you movie buffs and pop culture fans, there’s a fun surprising San Diego/Coronado connection to the Wizard of Oz. Between 1904 and 1910, Oz author L. Frank Baum frequently vacationed here with his family, staying at the Hotel del Coronado, which if you look very closely at the book cover below, was the inspiration for the Emerald City! Note the red turrets and white awnings in the background. Cool huh!

Hotel del Coronado- Emerald City of Oz

Did you know: In addition to “Crown City,” Coronado is also nicknamed the Emerald City.

If you get a chance to explore the Hotel Del, head to the Crown Room, look up and you’ll spot four regal crown chandeliers that were designed by Baum!

L. Frank Baum's historic Coronado home.

L. Frank Baum’s historic Coronado home.

Down the street from The Del, Baum also rented a humble yellow cottage on Star Park Circle where he wrote three of his famous Oz books: Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, The Emerald City of Oz and The Road to Oz. You can check out rare first editions of the books at the Coronado Museum of History & Art!

Oz books

At the Coronado Public Library, you’ll not only find the complete Oz book series, but also a spectacular Wizard of Oz Glass Art Exhibit, 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.

Welcome Comic-Con fans to our fine city and if you get a chance, definitely follow the Yellow Brick Road over the bridge to Coronado to discover the home-away-from-home of one of America’s most beloved authors. One look at our island paradise and you’ll see why Baum was so enamored!

Also, plan to return this fall for Coronado’s premier Wizard of Oz Weekend (September 20-22), celebrating the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz. There will be exclusive screenings of the first-ever, re-mastered 3D version of the movie at Coronado’s Village Theatre, as well as a Wizard of Oz parade down Orange Ave. – Coronado’s main street – book signings, exhibits, character look-a-like contests and more!

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 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!




Katie S.

Skating Away in San Diego

Skating by the Sea

Skating by the Sea

When you think of San Diego you’re probably envisioning warm, sunny weather, beautiful beaches, hot nightlife scene and fun family attractions. What most likely doesn’t spring to mind immediately is ice skating.  Winter in San Diego transforms many of our attractions into snow bunny getaways.

The San Diego Zoo’s holiday Jungle Bells is a winter celebration throughout the park that runs through January 2nd. And what could be more fun that a whole day filled with wild animals and a skate around the Sabertooth Grill? The skate rink is open from 11 a.m. to closing, so you can enjoy a full day of sights and holiday lights and celebrations at night.

For the first year ever, SeaWorld opens an in-park skating rink during their Holiday Celebration. Come see their festive 30-foot Christmas tree lit up while you visit Shamu and friends and revel in the seasonal entertainment that includes carolers, the Night Before Christmas sea lion show and more.

Get your holiday shopping done at downtown’s Horton Plaza or the Viejas Outlet Center in north county and spend the rest of the day gliding along on ice. Both shopping havens are great for a holiday pick-me-up with family or friends, and a great way to enjoy a sunny day outside.

San Diego is also probably one of the only locations where you can literally ice skate on the beach. The Hotel del Coronado offers holiday Skating by the Sea through January 3rd, where you can go for a dip in the Pacific and then walk steps to the hotel for skating fun and hot chocolate.


It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

I know, I know…We haven’t even celebrated Thanksgiving yet…but the spirit of the holidays is just so contagious!!! Especially in San Diego, where we put a sunny twist on “Seasons Greetings.”

Here’s a sneak peek at the holiday events kicking-off in November (click on photos for more info):

Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! at the Old Globe Theatre; Nov. 21 – Dec. 27

Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! at the Old Globe Theatre; Nov. 21 – Dec. 27

Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado; Nov 25 – Dec. 18

Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado; Nov 25 – Dec. 18

Holiday of Lights at the Del Mar Fairgrounds; Nov. 26 – Jan. 3

Holiday of Lights at the Del Mar Fairgrounds; Nov. 26 – Jan. 3

Surfing Santa at Seaport Village; Nov. 28

Surfing Santa at Seaport Village; Nov. 28

Holly Jolly Holidays at LEGOLAND; Nov. 30 – Dec. 31

Holly Jolly Holidays at LEGOLAND; Nov. 30 – Dec. 31

Katie S.

5 to Try: Friday the 13th Edition

Are you brave enough to visit the Whaley House on Friday the 13th?

Are you brave enough to visit the Whaley House on Friday the 13th?

Okay scaredy cats – It may be Friday the 13th, but that doesn’t mean you need to hide out at home. Grab your lucky four-leaf clover and check out our list of 5 to try on Friday the 13th in San Diego:

La Jolla Gravity Hill – Bring your car to this hidden San Diego landmark and disprove Newton’s laws of gravity.  Story goes that if you drive to West Muirlands in La Jolla (between Fay and Nautilus St.) and line up your right rear tire with the telephone pole on the side of the street with the fairway while your car is in neutral it will actually roll uphill.

Note: Please try this with a friend who is able to witness and take photos for you. Do not “ghost ride the whip” to see if this is working. If dozens of cars start rolling backwards down the hill I don’t want to be held accountable.

The Whaley House – One of America’s most haunted houses, the Whaley House is a San Diego beacon for paranormal activity. Reports of ghostly figures, strange occurrences and even ghost dogs make up potential spooks that roam the grounds. Special Friday the 13th tours are offered from 5 p.m. to midnight tonight complete with oil lamps, scary stories and more.

Escondido Muffler Man – If you happen to be driving along and see a mile-high man while driving in Escondido don’t be afraid – unless he happens to be chasing your car. San Diego is home to one of 17 Muffler Men scattered around the state, made of fiberclass and standing 18 to 25 feet tall.

Hotel del Coronado – Are you brave enough to spend an entire night in a haunted hotel room? The Hotel del Coronado’s room #3327 is reportedly haunted by a past guest who may be overstaying her welcome in a ghostly form.

Haunted San Diego ToursHaunted San Diego Tours brings you to the most haunted places in San Diego by the bus-full. Learn about San Diego’s spooky history during this interactive tour that promises to prove ghosts exist as they tour through the county’s oldest graveyard and other hair-raising attractions.


Some (Still) Like It Hot

That's sweet Sugar Kane at the Del

Tony and Marilyn on set at The Del.

The Hotel del Coronado is throwing a birthday party for Some Like It Hot, the best American comedy ever. 

(That’s not my opinion on the flick, the American Film Institute says so.)

The movie debuted 50 years ago, forever linking the grand dame San Diego hotel with Hollywood’s blonde bombshell, Marilyn Monroe.

On Sept. 18-19, movie buffs and Marilyn fans will gather to celebrate the 1959 classic, directed by Billy Wilder and shot on location at The Del, with a spectacular weekend filled with events including a gala dinner guest-starring none other than Tony Curtis

Information on reserving these events or booking the Some Like It Hot Weekend Celebration Package (it includes accommodations and tickets to all events) is online

The hotel has warned guys, gals and guys dressed as gals to book early as space is limited.


TODAY Takes A Vacation To San Diego

The TODAY Show wrapped up their week of vacationing across the US here on the California coast with a visit to San Diego. 

They rode the waves in La Jolla Shores with Surf Diva, went kayaking in the La Jolla Sea Caves, took a leisurely ride with The Gondola Company in Coronado and visited the beautiful Hotel del Coronado.  A pretty cool finale to a great series!

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