Good morning on this beautiful Monday! I’m happy to be safely home after my adventures in California, and I’m really looking forward to savoring the next month as summer holds on for me (and for a lot of the country, apparently). I will be heading to Nashville for a weekend to visit a good friend later in September. Otherwise it’s time to relax and take a real breather before my new job starts in October. But I’m not done sharing my travel adventures with you yet – we left off yesterday with my first two days in a very sunny San Diego, and today the tales of exploring in San Diego continue, this time with a visit to a lighthouse, a beach, and a lovely resort town. All familiar to a New England girl, but with a California twist!
Last Thursday, my friend Ashley and I headed to the Cabrillo National Monument for a look at the Point Cabrillo lighthouse, a hike down the bayside trail along the Pacific, and a tour of the museum commemorating Juan Cabrillo’s landing at San Diego Bay in 1542. One difference between growing up in Connecticut versus in California is the local history you learn in elementary school through field trips. For all the New England, American, British, and general world history I’ve soaked up over the years, the name Cabrillo barely rings a bell, so it was interesting to learn more in the museum. And then, of course, there was the lighthouse.
I love lighthouses and always have. I’ve got a sketch of a lighthouse hanging over my bed, and my favorite Edward Hopper painting is ‘The Lighthouse at Two Lights’, which I like to go and visit it at the Met from time to time. So I was excited to explore a new one, this time on the West Coast. In the interior of the lighthouse, there are exhibits about the history of its construction and the different lightkeepers. The guide at the museum pointed out one thing to us – the lighthouse was built on a high bluff, not on the point of land that jutted furthest out to sea, so it’s actually not very effective for ships! But still, so quaint and lovely.
A trail runs from the lighthouse down to the water and back up to the visitor’s center, making for a nice hike. Despite the high heat, Ashley and I decided to give it a go, figuring it was only about a mile down and another back up. We were rewarded with amazing views of San Diego Bay, including ships and airplanes from the nearby military bases zooming in and out among the otherwise pristine waves and sky.
There was more sea and sky to behold on Friday at Coronado Beach. The Hotel del Coronado, a renowned Victorian-era seaside resort, is still flourishing today and welcomes visitors to stroll its lobby, shops, and restaurants before heading to the sandy shores beyond. I always enjoy exploring old hotels, and hearing stories about the well-known guests through the generations. The del Coronado’s include more than a dozen presidents, Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin, Katharine Hepburn, and L. Frank Baum, author of the Wizard of Oz books, who wrote many of them while staying there.
After taking in the hotel, we strolled down the beach along the tideline for a few miles. I thought the Pacific Ocean was a pleasingly moderate temperature, whereas Ashley felt like it was cold. She kept warning me that it would be colder than I expected with such heat in the air above, but I think our gauges of cold are far apart even after her three years of living in New York 🙂 It was fun to experience a beach where even the tideline is just sand and seaweed, not pebbles and shells, although I think the latter lend a beach character. I was raised on Atlantic beaches where those are the norm.
I also have proper New England tan lines at this point in the summer, exactly where my running tops and shorts cut off and my socks hit my ankles. I said my legs actually looked ombre – I’m quite pale normally but fortunate enough to tan ten shades. Ashley said my skin was just fashionable before everyone else discovered ombre!
After the beach, lunch was in order. Most of the time I was in San Diego I was craving just fruits and veggies and ice cream. Refreshing and cold were what I wanted. I drank a lot of iced coffee, ate a lot of salads, snacked on so much fruit I lost count, and enjoyed my fill of frozen treats. This Fuji apple salad, watermelon, goat cheese, and chicken salad, frozen yogurt mix, and cup of mint chocolate chip ice cream are just a few examples.
And that’s a wrap on my time in sunny San Diego! Last stop on my California adventure will be the Getty Villa in Los Angeles…
Are you a fan of lighthouses?
Which do you prefer, old historic hotels or sleek modern ones?
Ever been to Cabrillo or Coronado?
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