It was a quick trip, a long weekend really. My cousin Cheri already lives in San Diego. Then, my cousin’s daughter Lisa is from St Paul, Minnesota. She was coming to San Diego to present at a conference. When I was invited to join them, it was a perfect plan to see San Diego outdoors.
I flew in to San Diego on Friday, January 18th . While there, and waiting to meet up with Lisa, I admired the historic Sprit of St. Louis . This plane is a replica of the original plane commissioned in San Diego. The airplane was originally flown by Charles Lindbergh from New York to Paris.
It wasn’t long before Lisa and I met up at near the baggage carousel. Then we set out and Cheri and her roommate Rob picked us up.
Rob took us to lunch a a wonderful authentic Mexican diner near their home. We enjoyed a great meal before dropping him off and heading to our hotel. Before leaving their home we met their beautiful dog and saw wild parrots in the tree in their yard. I could take a phrase from the Wizard of OZ “Dorothy (or in this case Cindy) your not in Kansas (or in this case Illinois) anymore!”
Marriott Del Marr
The trio of cousins Lisa and Cheri and I checked in to the cool Marriott Del Mar. Our family is not known for our directional capability. This was after first trying to check in to the next door Marriott Residence Inn.
2nd time was charm. It only took two tries to get the hotel right! The staff was wonderful and worked with us on what we needed and we happily moved into our beautiful room.
The hotel was lovely with hardwood floors in the rooms and an open guest room which made for plenty of room. There was a spa like shower and newly renovated lobby.
The restaurant offered a wonderful dining experience. We took breakfast there both mornings and were impressed with both the food and the staff. Sharing our breakfasts between us, we each were able to sample a variety of offerings!
Lisa and I took advantage of the work out space both mornings and enjoyed the fitness room. Our only sad moment was learning that the pool was under renovation and was not open. Boo hoo.
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
For Lisa and I coming from the frozen Midwest, we were all about heading to nearby Torrey Pine State Natural Reserve. Cheri had us at the word beach.
Located within San Diego City Limits, we were able to experience what the Torrey Pines website deems as “what remains one of the wildest stretches of land on our Southern California coast.”
The sun was low and the water had big waves from a storm a few days prior. We were taken by the beauty of the rocks, water and waves. This was unparalleled to this Midwestern girl.
Besides the beach, there is also a lagoon that is important to the migrating seabirds. The 1500 acre reserve also includes maritime chaparral and the rare Torrey Pine and of course the beach. We walked along the water and took the trail until evening beckoned us to dinner.
Dinner was at Jay’s a wonderful restaurant along the water before making our way back to the Marriott. We all had some form of seafood, fish in San Diego, all was good with the world.
Saturday we headed out and picked up Rob for our next adventure. After a great breakfast at the hotel, we went whale watching at H & M Landing. Like Gilligan and his friends, we boarded and took, “a three hour tour!”
H & M Landing has been offering tours since 1935. They offered a nice size boat with about 30 or so people. During our voyage, they provided a nice narration of the sites of San Diego Bay. Cheri and Rob chimed in sharing their stories of what was where.
Once out a ways it really wasn’t long before we saw whales. The whales were heading south migrating to the calving lagoons of Baja Mexico. We were able to observe some gray whales heading down from the Arctic. The highlight of the day was when a baby whale with the mama came up alongside he boat.
Great day! We wrapped it up with fish and chips from the fish market. It was a perfect end to our day on the water.
We went back to the Marriott and crashed watching the movie Cool Runnings, which I had never seen before, great fun.
San Diego Botanical Gardens
Sunday morning after another awesome breakfast at the Marriott, we headed for the Nearby San Diego Botanic Garden. Formerly known as the Quail Botanical Gardens, this site offers 37 acres of gardens including bamboo groves. I read that they are said to have the largest bamboo collection in the United States.
There were several desert plants like Aloe and other plants. We met a volunteer named Terri that had just completed her docent training. She directed us to a wonderful subtropical fruit section. There we saw several beautiful fruits some I had never heard of before. Terri showed us a banana grove and I saw a sign stating that bananas are considered the Mexican apple.
Some of the favorite sights at the garden were Mariachi sculpture plants. After our garden fun, we moved on to another Marriott!
Next onto the Marriott Marquis by the bay. This was the location where Lisa was presenting at a conference. We stayed over and ate another great meal near the Seaport Village. On our last night together we just talked the evening away thankful for time together!
Monday morning before leaving for the airport, Lisa and I took a long walk along the seawall and through Sea Port Village. I was amazed by the beauty of this waterfront shopping and dining complex along San Diego Bay. The design is both Victorian and Mexican.
One of my favorite sights along our walk was the Naval Tribute. Since my father was a sailor this was quite touching.
Best of all was just some family time. Having cousin catch time up was the best of all. And I must say, San Diego as a backdrop was as my cousin Cheri said, “icing on the donut!”
If you get to San Diego, head outside and check out beautiful Outdoor San Diego!