I got an early start to pick daughter up from San Diego International but several snafus interfered, costing me time so I barely arrived as she was landing. We found our way to the lovely Hacienda Hotel in Old Town, parked and proceeded to explore Old Town State Park. Along the way she treated me to a fine al fresco lunch at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, whose first floor dates from 1827.
Old Town is a mix of old buildings but filled with modern tourist shops. I did find an interesting gem and rock shop where I was able to spot some finds. We finally tired of shooting photos and shopping and proceeded to check-in at the hotel a few blocks away to await our friends.
Interestingly, right across the street from our hotel the city is working on a novel idea called Heritage Park. Old Victorian mansions of yesteryear, mainly from the late 1800’s, have been salvaged and moved and are in the process of renovation. Once completed, they will serve as bed and breakfast accommodations. One, being finished, is already open as a gift store. The homes are truly magnificent and the walking tour is free. I caught it in San Diego’s morning fog layer very early Sunday, so these photos are not as bright as I wish.
Our first stop in the evening was to a wine bar Rachael and I had discovered on our previous wandering and we enjoyed great conversation, a cheese platter, a smoked salmon platter with goat cheese and some interesting (and expensive) vintages by the glass as evening fell and were warmed by the outdoor fire pit. From there we moved on to Café Coyote, which was packed with patrons and our only seating was in the very noisy bar. After walking back to the hotel, Paulette and I visited while Rachael and Paulette’s daughter Becky went back out on the town.
Sunday, due to Mother’s Day brunch, our included free breakfast at the hotel was another snafu as regular breakfast was cut off at 8 a.m. and only the much more expensive brunch was offered. The restaurant management had neglected to inform the hotel of such so we ended up hitting up a Starbuck’s to tide us over until we could find a more suitable brunch on Coronado Island, which was our intended destination for the day.
Coronado proved to be tourist-packed but quaint, in its southern Californian mission style—very reminiscent of the art deco age. The crown jewel of course, is the famous 1887 massive Hotel del Coronado which allows visitors to wander all public spaces and lovely grounds. Fronting oceanside is a series of lovely villa type accommodations, each with its own private spa and fire pit which range from $600-2400/night. The lowliest room at the Del in the old Victorian wing still runs a spectacular $350/night for less than 200 square feet. I’m glad the wandering was free—of course, they want the tourists to drop into all the “Shops at the Del” and freely spend. Ok, yes, I fell victim and just had to have the “shirt”!
One thing about San Diego climate is that it must be nirvana for plant-life because both the exotic and mundane grow in such profusion and to such size as to look like a scene out of Jurassic Park. Even this hibiscus had grown from its usual bush size into a towering tree. I understand there are some interesting botanical gardens but those will have to wait for a future trip to explore.
As our internal lunch bells started ringing in alarm, we continued down the boulevard headed for the former Coronado boathouse, now restaurant, where we found them serving Mother’s Day Brunch. We asked if they had room and an outside deck table and they were able to accommodate us so we enjoyed sunshine harbor views, a sublime bottle of chardonnay, and great food and company. Satiated from food, we then took our final walk to beachside where the girls played in the uncommonly brilliant pyrite-filled sand and waves and I was able to soak in some sea air. By 2 p.m. it was time for Rachael and I to make the drive back to Yuma and leave San Diego’s perfect 75 degree weather for the 105 blast furnace that greeted us on the eastern side of the coastal range. Although rushed, it was a enjoyable Mother’s Day get-together and I'll remember this place as the place with the golden sands.