Tuesday, September 16, 2008

California Dreaming ~ San Diego

My husband and I returned from California on Sunday evening, and, as sometimes happens after a vacation, a lot of loose ends had to be taken care of before life finally gets back to a normal routine.

I thank everyone for all the comments left on my pre scheduled 9/11 anniversary blog post. It was the first time I was away from NYC on that sad anniversary, and it was interesting to realize what being so far away from the happenings of that day must have felt like. I hope and pray that our nation never has to face such a tragedy anywhere on our shores ever again.

We had a wonderful time on our trip to San Diego, which was part business for my husband and all pleasure for me. This was only our second trip to California, as last year we visited San Francisco, and drove along the coast from Nappa Valley to Carmel.

California is such a wondrous state! Every section we've visited so far has its own distinct beauty and allure. All photos click on to enlarge

We stayed at The San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina. It was a fabulous location, near the Embarcadero which is a paved pedestrian path which winds around the coastline, through its various parks, the picturesque Seaport Village shops and restaurants, and along the harbor.

These are the views of the city and harbor we had from our hotel balcony!

After we arrived on Monday afternoon and checked into our hotel we strolled over to the Gaslamp District. The Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego is one of the largest and most architecturally significant historic districts in the country, encompassing 16 ½ city blocks with over 90 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings. The ornate lamps that illuminate the streets of the historic district are replicas of the original gas lamps used in San Diego at the turn of the century.

Its main period of development began in 1867, when Alonzo Horton bought the land in hopes of creating a new city center closer to the bay, and chose 5th Avenue as its main street. After a period of urban decay, the neighborhood underwent urban renewal in the 1980s and 1990s, and is today an energetic business and entertainment district.

The historic buildings each have a marker, such as the one below, which describes its history.

Built in 1910 the US Grant Hotel below recently reopened after a $52 million dollar renovation to help restore the historic ambiance as a world-class luxury hotel. It was ranked as one of the Top 128 Hotels in the World by Conde Naste Traveler.

Across the street from the US Grant Hotel is The Horton Plaza Park which features the Irving Gill Fountain, the first water fountain in the United States to have electric lights.

The Gaslamp District has many examples of beautiful Victorian commercial buildings. Many of the buildings are well over 100 years old, and their eclectic architectural styles are an assortment of Classical Revival, Spanish Renaissance Revival, Modern, Oriental, Spanish, Baroque and Italian Baroque Revival.

The original visitors of the 1880's were gamblers and prostitutes, such as Wyatt Earp and Ida Bailey, who founded numerous gambling halls, saloons and brothels in the area, which was called "Stingaree" at the time, until 1912 when city officials cracked down on prostitution, effectively shutting down the lively Stingaree.

In the evening, as the sun sets, the streets come alive in the present day Gaslamp Quarter. The old-fashioned gas lamps begin to glow along the wide brick walkways illuminating many charming sidewalk cafes, and it becomes a lively and vivacious hub of San Diego nightlife.

We dined that evening at Croce's Restaurant, located at 802 5th Avenue in the district. In 1985, Chef/Owner Ingrid Croce opened Croce's Restaurant and Bar as a tribute to her late husband singer/songwriter Jim Croce, who unfortunately passed away in 1974 in a airplane accident. The American bistro was one of the first fine-dining restaurants in the area, and one that helped revolutionize the downtown dining scene.

I was excited to dine here, as I was a fan of Jim Croce and his 1973 hit single "Time In A Bottle" was my wedding song. I enjoyed seeing all his memorabilia in the window and the walls inside. The food and atmosphere was fantastic, and I recommend it as a place to try if you visit the area.

It was a lovely first day in San Diego, and my next blog post will show highlights of the world renown San Diego Zoo and the breathtakingly beautiful Balboa Park, followed by one of the best parts of my trip which was meeting two wonderful bloggers, and sharing a sightseeing day with them!


Kathy said...

Oh I have been waiting for your return Pat, San Diego sure is a beautiful place, your photo's reminded me of our recent trip, I just wish we had been there at the same time as you as you are such an excellent tour guide Pat. I am so glad you and hubby had a wonderful time and I am really looking forward to Balbao Park through your eyes. hugs, Kathy

Strider said...

I knew you were going to have "California Dreaming" as the tune for your blog once I saw the title! I'm not a California fan at all...but I do like San Diego! The first time I ever stay down there was at a company meeting 31 years ago. We stayed at the hotel Del Coronado! Excellent. The last time I was in SD I stayed where your guys were at. Great place, great food. Loved the old down town area. Very nice. Glad you had a good time.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

What wonderful, clear blue skies you had for your holiday! Welcome Home!

Cori G. said...

.Hi Pat,
Excellent post! I see you have a picture of the Horton Grand in there. One of my favorite buildings in the Gaslamp. The view from your room was gorgeous! Makes me miss San Diego all that much more. I'm so blessed to have been able to spend the day with you there.
XO Cori

Tara said...


It looks like you had great weather and a wonderful time...I am so happy for you you had a nice trip! What a great place to visit!


PS--missed you! xo

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

How beautiful San Diego is! I have been to San Fran and Napa/Sonoma but that is all. Thanks for taking me with you!

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

I'm so glad that you're home after a wonderful time away. This post proves that you can take the tour guide anywhere and she comes through with her own inimitable style. Loved reading about San Diego and all the historical facts. Well done! Beautiful pics, too.

Welcome Home!

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

I love your pictures of your trip. That U.S. Grant Hotel looks so pretty. I'm glad you had fun and more glad you are safe back home. I've only been to California once, but hope to return someday. Neat post.

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Hi Pat,
Just to let you know that you have been missed!! I'm glad you're home.
So glad that you had a wonderful time. I haven't been to California...but want to one day.

I always enjoy your pictures and comments about them!

Anonymous said...

Glad you're home safe and sound and that you had a good time on your trip. I enjoyed your photos and descriptions, as usual.


Picket said...

Great Post girl...I loved the old buildings especially in that gaslamp district...so glad you had a great time while you were away..take care and I hope you have a great week!

Judi A. said...

We lived North of SanDiego for several years and loved driving down and visiting that city. None other like it. It's neat to revisit it with you and see your photos and read your comments. I always thought flying into SD was such a treat, being so close to the water. One evening we joined another couple on the pier for a Pops music and picnic dinner, with small round tables covered in white tablecloths, and the sinking sun over the water and lovely music floating all around. Definitely a night to remember. I really like the SD Zoo, but a little further out is a branch of it called the Wild Animal Park. That is one of our favorites, both in day and night time. I can hardly wait to see and hear about the rest of your trip! You do such a wonderful job of taking us along with you! :-)

steviewren said...

Pat, I'm thrilled to have you back, but I'm oh so happy that you enjoyed your vacation. I can't wait to see the rest of your pictures and hear about it all. I love vicarious travel!

ps the new music sets the perfect vacation blog mood.

Gina said...

Looks like a beautiful city Pat..and you had glorious weather too by the looks of things.. I went to the US when I was 9 and remember so much..but we never made it here..
I'm really looking forward to you zoo pics next post! Gxx

teodo said...

Sono italiana e ho trovato il tuo blog da Nihal.
ti mando un abbraccio e un fiore virtuale e ti ringrazio per le bellissime foto.
ciao ciao da Milano

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Missed you, Pat! It's so good to see you back. Wonderful post!

Nihal said...

Oh welcome back to home sweet home, Pat, cara...
Land of Sunshine. The greatest state of all. Where still in my pink dreams' by the way, 'n need to discover this part, too:)
I just fell in love your article, Pat! You always provide us not the stuff one'd see in tourism corporation's brochures and websites:)
I now started waiting other half your beauties are untold;)

(((Hugs))) & Lots of Love


Linda Lou said...

Pat, you came to San Diego, and you didn't try to contact me???? I am sad, I would have loved to have met you!! Glad you had a great time in our beautiful city, it is a special place....next time, give me a ring!!!

Tracy said...

Hi, Pat! Wonderful to see your CA adventures and catch up with you here! We're just back from visiting PA...and getting over the jet lag-LOL! Be back soon... ((HUGS))

Judy said...

Gotta love California...thanks for taking us on tour with you! I haven't been to San Diego in years...we usually don't get beyond Palm Springs...but you have me wanting to return. We so enjoyed the San Diego Zoo.

Joanne Kennedy said...

Oh Pat, you make even ME want to go stay in San Diego now. You really did miss your calling as a vacation writter.

I'm so happy you had fun while you were on "my" coast. Hope you come back again.

Looking forward to your next few days of what else you did on your trip.

I have to say, meeting you was like a dream come true. My blogging hero in life!! Now don't go getting a big head or anything. LOL

Hope all is well on the home front.


Anonymous said...

Hia Pat, what beautiful architecture. I wish Southport made more of a tourist feature of it's Victorian buildings. Instead the council down in Bootle (a rough area) allows them to be destroyed in the hopes of the modern buildings attracting tourists and conferences. Silly bureaucrats!

You had such stunning views from your hotel room. How marvellous that you were able to meet up with fellow bloggers too.

Welcome home!

Technonana said...

Yes, San Diego, is one of my favorite places to visit!!! Did you get our to Coranado Island?
So much history.. and Balboa Park was much more interesting that the
Zoo to me, even though the Zoo is great too.
I believe we stayed at the same hotel. Can't wait to go back!!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Beautiful photos!
It has been years since I've been to San Diego... another road trip on the list.

Lisa B. said...

Love all the great architecture! It's a beautiful city! As always thanks for the great tour:D

Kathy said...

ʎɥʇɐʞ 'ʎɐp ʎlǝʌol ɐ ǝʌɐɥ '¡¡¡¡ʎɐʎ ʇsǝʇuoɔ uƃısǝp s,uǝqǝıʇɹɐ uı uǝʇ doʇ ɯɐ ı sɐ ǝɯ ɹoɟ ǝʇoʌ puɐ ƃolq ʎɯ oʇ oƃ ǝsɐǝld ʇnq llnɟǝɯɐɥs s,ʇı ʍouʞ ı puɐ ɥo 'xoq ɯoʇʇoq ǝɥʇ ɯoɹɟ ǝʇsɐd puɐ ʇnɔ uǝɥʇ xoq doʇ ǝɥʇ uı ƃsɯ ɹnoʎ ǝdʎʇ 'ɹɐqǝpıs ʎɯ uo ǝɔɐɟ ʎǝlıɯs ʍollǝʎ ǝɥʇ uo ʞɔılɔ ʇsnɾ 'spɹɐʍʞɔɐq ǝdʎʇ oʇ ʍoɥ ʇno puıɟ uɐɔ noʎ 'ɐɥɐɥ unɟ ɥɔnɯ os sı sıɥʇ 'lɟoɹ ʇɟǝl noʎ ʇuǝɯɯoɔ ʎuunɟ ɐ ɥɔns sɐʍ ʇɐɥʇ 'ʇɐd ıɥ

Just in case haha

Hi Pat, that was such a funny comment you left ROFL, this is so much fun haha, you can find out how to type backwards, just click on the yellow smiley face on my sidebar, type your msg in the top box then cut and paste from the bottom box, oh and I know it's shameful but please go to my blog and vote for me as I am in the top ten in ArtieBen's design contest YAY!!!!, have a lovely day, Kathy

Beverly said...

I'm so glad you're home - safe and sound. I missed your smiling face.

I've never been to San Diego, but my husband has. You gave me a much more enjoyable recount than he did. ;-)

M.Kate said...

Hello Pat :D
Have missed you so much!! As usual, your visual trip is amazing..wished I could just hop one into your suitcase in real life haha..Beautiful photographs, always makes me yearn to go to the US all the time!!

I was kidding about the 'get out of blog land'...hope you are not angry with me..hehe....
Hope you are all settled down and enjoy the weekend which is coming soon. much love and hugs to you :D

Rhonda said...

Hi Pat,
I've been to San Diego a couple of times and LOVE it! Did you get to go the Coronado Hotel? It's awesomme--wish I could afford to stay there! Glad you had a wonderful trip but I'm sure you're glad to be home.

Marg said...

Welcome Back!
Thanks for showing off the Marriott.
We are time share owners and I love their properties.
San Francisco needs to be on my list again.
So many quaint places to see and I love your choice of dining.

Barb said...

Hi Pat,

I am so glad you had a great time. I miss living in CA but at least it is close by. San Diego has a good "vibe".
Your pictures are beautiful and I felt like I was right there with you.


P.S. Welcome back home

Mermaid Queen said...

Hi Pat!
You were just a half hour from where I live! Glad you had a great time. Isn't San Diego beautiful? I love living here.
Take care,

Alex said...

Wow...I never realized how pretty California was! Thank you for sharing your trip with us. :)

Mrs. B said...

Welcome home Pat! I love San Diego, and especially the Gas Lamp district. I never knew much of that history, so thank you so much for sharing! Did you make it to the Hotel Del Coronado while you were in San Diego?

Lavinia said...

Welcome back Pat! Glad you are back safe and sound and by the looks of it, a beautiful holiday. As always, you indulge us with gorgeous photos of fascinating sights. Thanks for fueling my California dreamin'!