Robert Arends

20 Perfect Days to Play in Coronado!

Have you entered Loews Coronado Bay Resort’s 20 Days, Your Way” giveaway yet? If not, time is ticking… Last day for submissions is next Tuesday, October 25. Grand prize: 20 free room nights! It’s all to celebrate the resort’s big 20th Anniversary. Good luck!

So I was thinking, if I was eligible to enter and I WON, what would I do, not only at Loews’ resort, but around the picturesque island of Coronado? Fortunately, there’s a plethora of delightful and exciting activities to enjoy: arts & culture, fine dining, spas, outdoor recreation and much more.

Read on to see Robert’s 20 picks for 20 days on Coronado…

Robert Arends

Lovin’ Loews Coronado Bay Resort – 20th Anniversary

Lovely Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

Ah, to be 20 again! Loews Coronado Bay Resort celebrates its big 20th Anniversary this month with a massive giveaway promotion, 20 Days, Your Way – 20 free room nights to use anytime, any way you wish!

Imagine if you were the lucky winner. What would you do during your stay? Luckily, Loews was made for play with its unique, postcard-perfect peninsular location on San Diego Bay and just steps away from Silver Strand State Beach. There’s so much to see and do in and around the resort, it’ll make your head swim – and that’s a good thing!

Follow this link for Robert’s Top 10 picks while staying at Loews…


Southern California Beaches Present: The Bioluminescent Red Tide!

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Video Filmed by Franz Krachtus, Sept. 2011

Here in San Diego, Ca., we are often reminded that the most spectacular and awe-inspiring entertainment comes from Mother Earth herself. For a limited time – doing her best Vegas impression on Southern California beaches from Point Loma to Huntington Beach – the luminous, the electric, the dazzling…  Lingulodinium polyedrum!

During the day we simply call her “The Red Tide” however, by either moniker she is a show-stopping happening not to be missed. Every so often these tiny, miniscule algae “bloom” by the billions, giving the ocean a red sheen by day – hence the name “red tide”.

At night, the bioluminescent magic show (technically science show, however I’m sticking with the Vegas metaphor) begins as each cell gives off a flash of neon-blue light when jostled about. This means every wave, every outline of a fish, and every footstep on the sand glows like an unbelievable scene from ‘Avatar.’ A red tide is, literally, phenomenal.

Red Tide Bioluminescence. Photo courtesy of Kevin Baird.

For more info (but far fewer Vegas metaphors) on the current red tide occurring on San Diego and Orange County beaches, here is a great FAQ on the red tide from Scripps Professor Dr. Peter Franks that is chock full of fun suggestions too. (I think he enjoys his job.)

Please email if you have taken any pictures or video and would like us to post them!


5 to Try This Weekend

1. Gourmet Food Truck Festival: Pack your appetite Saturday, August 20 as Del Mar Horse Races hosts the largest Food Truck Festival. Guests will have the opportunity to sample a treasure trove of delicious and eclectic foods from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm served by Southern California”s top food truck chefs. The festival will take place in the concert area and is free with track admission.

Photo courtesy of UT

  1. 35th Annual World Body Surfing Championships: International and U.S. body surfers compete at the Oceanside Pier and Beach August 20 and 21 starting at 6:30 am. Over 300 body surfers will compete and will be judged in how well they perform in their 15 minute heats. There will also be booths from sponsors such as Bud Light, Muscle Milk, and Rockstar.

3. Stone Brewing Anniversary Party: Help Stone Brewing celebrate its 15th Anniversary with fresh kegs, online casino 10 tastings and over 40 guest breweries. Thousands of people are expected to attend and will be held on the California State University, San Marcos campus on August 20.

4. San Diego Polo Club Match: Experience Polo in a whole new way by tailgating. Pack up your car with food, snacks, chairs and sit back and enjoy a polo match. First match starts at 1:00 pm with the featured match starting at 3:00 pm. Don”t forget to partake in the divot stomp at 3:45 pm. This Sunday”s match is the Fernando Gutierrez Memorial Cup Final.

5. San Diego Padres: Ok so we”re not in the penant race, but a Padres game is always fun and this Saturday, following the game Dierks Bently will be performing and Sunday kids will receive Padres backpacks…just in time for school!


5 to Try for the Weekend

1. Pro Junior Surf Contest: Oceanside, CA will host the only 6-star pro junior surf contest in North America on Saturday, August 13. Sixteen of the best 20-year-old-and-under female surfers in the world will be competing for first place and one of the industry’s largest prize purses. The contest starts at 11:15 am at the Oceanside Pier and will feature a series of head-to-head heats with the finals scheduled for 2:15 pm. Admission is free.

BrewFest Encinitas

2. BrewFest Encinitas: Stone Brewing Co., Ballast Point, Pizza Port and others will gather at Mira Costa College’s San Elijo Campus August 13th from 4 – 7:00 pm for BrewFest Encinitas. The event will also feature gourmet food trucks and music entertainment will be on hand for this unique evening.

3. Hillcrest CityFest : The neighborhood celebration includes roughly 250 arts and crafts vendors, live music, games, a beer garden and more. The event attracts more than 150,000 revelers from noon to 9:00 pm Sunday, August 14.


4. Ferragosto: Ferragosto, a night when everyone is Italian, returns to San Diego’s Little Italy. On August 13th, for one night only, experience the thrill and extravagance of the Venetian Masquerade! Held in Amici Park, the evening event includes dining from San Diego’s premier restaurants, dancing under the stars, a costume contest, and other fun and entertainment.

5. SummerFest 2011: La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest is a nationally-recognized chamber music festival featuring over 70 world-class artists and ensembles performing concerts from August 3 – 26, 2011. The festival also offers a number of free Community Engagement Activities, including Coaching Workshops, Open Rehearsals and Encounters. Take advantage of these free activities and expand your appreciation for classical music!


5 to Try: Must See in North County Coastal

Not one thing can define North County Coastal and five spots certainly aren’t enough, but here’s my top five (today anyway) places to check out next time you are kickin’ it on or near the PCH.

Cardiff Kook photo by Gilley

1. Cardiff Kook: Have you seen this statue? What about all dressed up? Officially it’s called “Magic Carpet Ride”, however to locals it is commonly known as the “Cardiff Kook.” Good natured pranksters have dressed him up in a bikini top and pink skirt with a Lucha Libre mask or more recently as Oprah. The most memorable one for me is when the statue was enveloped by a papier-mache shark last summer. Next time you’re in San Diego, be sure to drive by… you never know what he might be wearing!

2. Boat Houses: Ahoy! The famous Boat Houses – the S.S. Encinitas and S.S Moon Light – are moored on Third St. (between F and G) in Encinitas. Built in the 1920s by Miles Kellogg (an ultimate recycler in his day) the boat houses can be seen from Highway 101 and are a rad (yep, I said it) symbol of the local beach and surf culture. They’re private residences (no public tours), but easily photographed from the road.

3. Surfing: Surfing is a huge part of the culture in North County and one of the most popular spots is Encinitas’ Swami’s. Named for the Indian-styled Self Realization Fellowship complex on the bluff, it is a great surf spot with a well defined peak and a crowd beyond its capacity. Swami’s makes just enough of a bend in the coast to pick up a little extra swell energy, so it’s always a bit bigger and better than its neighboring breaks.

4. Watching the Sunset: It goes without saying that a beach sunset is amazing to watch and in North County Coastal there are so many great spots to watch it. My current favorite is at Scripps Bluff Preserve in Del Mar.

5. Torrey Pines State Reserve: Torrey Pines is one of only two places on earth where nature lovers can find the ancient and rare Torrey Pine – the nation’s rarest pine tree. Visitors and locals alike come to hike, bike and walk around the over 2,000-acre reserve and capture some amazing shots.

Discover North County Coastal for yourself with our “Enjoy the Grand Life in San Diego’s North County” sweepstakes. Unwind during a two-night stay at The Grand Del Mar, one of San Diego’s most exclusive luxury resorts. Discover the dramatic North County coastline by air on “The Unforgettable” scenic helicopter ride for two from Corporate Helicopters of San Diego.


Top 5 Reasons to Fly to San Diego From Heathrow

With the new non-stop flight on British Airways arriving in San Diego daily, there has never been a better time to visit!

1. Short Queue: The BA flight will be the only flight using the International facility when it lands making customs and luggage retrieval easy.

2. We have it all: With over 70 miles of beaches, year-round great weather and world class attractions including the San Diego Zoo and Legoland California, it’s so easy to experience the So Cal lifestyle.

3. Easy distance to other top destinations: Take the Pacific Surfliner train to Disneyland for a day or experience the desert and drive or fly to Las Vegas, Phoenix or the Grand Canyon.

4. Location: The San Diego International Airport is a five minute drive from the city center, train station and thousands of hotel rooms.

5. So many little time: No matter what you’re looking for San Diego has it all. Outdoor adventurer? Try whale watching or surfing among world-class surfers. Family time? How about Legoland California, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park or the USS Midway Museum. Arts & Culture buff? Visit Balboa Park, the nation’s largest cultural urban park.

Guest Blogger

Just Call Me Gidget

Photo by Greg Spector

As some of you know, I won a group surf lesson with Surf Diva via the San Diego Convention and Visitor’s Bureau website.  Surf lessons? Me? BWAHAHA!  But in the spirit of Embracing the Crazy this summer (it’s been a doozy!) I did just that.  I took the challenge and just went for it. 

My family and I take an annual trip to San Diego every year as part of a family reunion on my husband’s side.  We are both native Californians, attended SDSU and lived in San Diego for some time, so it’s a great time catching up with family and friends.  We now live with our two munchkins (ages 6 & 4) in what I call the “Kinda Country”, in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.  Kinda the antithesis of San Diego.  After I won the free lesson I decided to add that to our agenda for this year’s Big Fat Summer Vacation.

Now saying your going to take a surf lesson and doing the actual lesson were two totally different things.  In my mind, I was pumped and excited. yes! I’m doing something totally out of my mommy comfort zone!  Something for me– not for my husband or kids. Just me.  I was going to be like Gidget, one of my all time favorite movies.  I had visions of long boards, my Moondoggie and being under the watchful eye of the Big Kahuna.  With me me surfing perfectly, of course.

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Surfing with Vogue and Rob Machado in Encinitas

Photo Credit to Vogue and Mario Testino

Have you seen the June 2010 issue of Vogue?

There is a great article featuring Gossip Girl hottie Blake Lively and San Diego’s own surf god, Rob Machado.  In it, they take to the waves right here in San Diego.

Below is a quick review of the surf breaks and beaches mentioned in the Vogue article – you can always check out the full scoop on our surfing options with our beach guide.

Encinitas’ Swami’s is named for the Indian-styled Self Realization Fellowship complex on the bluff, is another San Diego surf spot with a well defined peak and a crowd beyond its capacity. Swami’s makes just enough of a bend in the coast to pick up a little extra swell energy, so it’s always a bit bigger and better than its neighboring breaks.

Cardiff-by-the-Sea’s break is a short cobblestone beach with reefs at either end. Tabletops to the south and Cardiff Reef to the north are both fun shouldery waves, best on southwest swells and ideal for cutbacks and action in the lip. In these nurturing conditions, pros like Rob Machado and Taylor Knox honed their trade.

La Jolla Shores is one of San Diego’s best and most popular beaches. Somewhat protected from the prevailing southwest wind, it’s a safe, gentle spot to learn and enjoy surfing. There are year-round lifeguard services, good beach facilities and decent parking. Most of the formal surf schools operate here for this reason, and a lot of local kids practice their basics at the Shores before graduating to bigger and better breaks.

Are you itching to get out on the waves?

Submit a comment and one lucky winner will receive a 1.5 hour surfing lesson from Surf Diva at La Jolla Shores – recognized world-wide as one of the best surfing schools.

Photo Credit to Vogue and Mario Testino


Think You Know Carlsbad?

Pop in here when you visit and get the real scoop on Carlsbad!

Pop in here when you visit and get the real scoop on Carlsbad!

I thought I did.  Legosflowers, strawberries and surfing, right?

Actually, yes.  But there’s so much more!

On a recent visit, I found out there’s also a charming, walkable downtown full of cute shops, an awesome slice of Hollywood history meets hacienda, a museum dedicated to rocking out (debuting the first ever MOOG exhibit on Aug. 29) and a thriving, dare-I-say urban, theater scene.  

During my explorations, I got to meet Kristianne Kurner, actor, director, producer and one of the founders of the New Village Arts Theater (yep, I feel like an underachiever!), located just steps from the Coaster stop in downtown Carlsbad, and I was totally charmed by both her and the 99-seat theater. 

When I was there, NVA’s professional ensemble was busy rehearsing and just about to open their Summer Comedy Festival (running through Aug. 16) but they were kind enough to give me a backstage tour of the show and their brand-new on-site art studios.  

Run by world-class artists (Kristianne and the other founders are alums of The Actors Studio – yes, that one), NVA has been producing critically-acclaimed plays for 8 seasons up in Carlsbad and they’re just about to kick off season 9 with a couple of regional premieres, some Tennessee Williams, a Pulitzer Prize winner and a smart comedy by none other than The Jerk (I love that he’s a writer!) about Picasso and Einstein in Belle Epoque Paris.

I thought I knew Carlsbad but turns out, it’s full of surprises.  If you head up there, I’d recommend stopping at their visitor center (in the gorgeous, historic Santa Fe train depot) and letting them point you in the right direction.