Paradise Found

Inspired by Lens-Artists Challenge #65: Pick a Place

We’d like you to capture the spirit of a place that is vivid in your memory. What was it that drew you in and why did it capture YOUR heart?

~~~

You have to go to Coronado!
Stop at the Del for dessert since it’s cheaper than getting a meal!

My friend Barbara was adamant. My husband and I were planning a week’s vacation in San Diego (this was 1996…before the internet…back when you talked to friends and read travel books to prepare for a trip). I had always wanted to explore southern California – specifically San Diego – and Barbara insisted we include a trip to nearby Coronado.

She grew up in California, so I figured her advice was solid.

We dutifully signed up for one of those trolley tours you can take when visiting a popular tourist destination. Coronado (often referred to as an island, but as we were informed many times – it’s a peninsula – NOT an island) is just across the bridge from San Diego. Lucky for us…it was a stop on the route.

When the trolley let us off on Coronado’s Orange Avenue….we fell in love with what we saw. Palm tree lined streets, friendly locals, an amazing ice cream shop, a restaurant advertising the world’s best margarita, thriving community theater…and the best part: the Beach. Sparkly sand like I’d never seen before. Or since.

Yes, we also drank tea and enjoyed a snack at the “Del” (aka: The Hotel Del Coronado…the iconic location of the classic film Some Like It Hot). Thank you Barbara.

We discovered that Coronado Beach goes on for what seems like forever. Dotted with people of all ages, shapes and sizes. Tourists and townspeople alike. Kids building sand castles. Teenagers tossing beachballs. Runners pounding footprints into the sand. Even a section for dogs and their humans to play.

It’s also a perfect beach for walking, even at high tide. An ideal spot for stretching out on a rented chair or towel. Reading. Writing. Listening to music. Staring at the horizon. Quenching one’s thirst. Unwinding.

We returned to my favorite place a half dozen times and found something new to do every visit.

My last visit was a solo trip in 2006 for a week’s R&R.

No need to rent a car. Walking or riding a bicycle was enough.

From a walk by the pier…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To the shops…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To the beach…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Coronado Beach

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Dog Beach

 

After dinner…perhaps a concert at the bandstand…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

And back to the beach for a sunset goodnight…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Just perfect.

 

 

 

Photo a Week: Timing is Everything

Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week Challenge this week: Timing is Everything

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO OR TWO FEATURING PERFECT TIMING.

~~~

When you are a 9 year old girl with a 3 ½ year old brother…on a family vacation…enjoying a lake swim…chances are there will be shenanigans.

You might even be minding your own business…practicing your crawl stroke. Watch Me! Watch Me! Or just hanging out and relaxing in the shallow water.

After a busy year in third grade, a kid needs some down time. That’s what vacations are for.

And then along comes the little trickster. The one with the ready grin, giggles and surprises up his sleeve. Even when there are no sleeves.

Up he sneaks…at just the right moment…perfectly timed…for a well aimed splash.

GPC 1991 splash
Lake Winnipesaukee, NH
August, 1991

Let the games begin!

 

[35mm film]

Dream Vacation

Inspired by Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #55: Dreamy

 

Living in the northeastern United States, I have endured many snowstorms, blizzards and variations on the theme of freezing rain and sleet. Along with gloomy cloudy skies for days on end – with matching sub freezing temperatures.

I know there are people who enjoy the sitting-by-a-roaring-fire aspect of that time of year…known as late fall, winter and early spring where I live. They enjoy wearing multiple layers of cozy flannel shirts, wool socks and thick sweaters. Before venturing outdoors. To navigate the front steps. Which are icy.

Not me.

I dream of warm…and sunny…and relaxing.

Destination?

San Diego – more specifically Coronado, California.

I was lucky enough to vacation there 6 or 7 times. Just my husband and me. Our two children came along twice. They loved it too.

In 2006 – my last visit there – it was me, myself and I.  Back when I could travel easily. Hustling through an airport with several suitcases…not a problem. Eating whatever and wherever I wanted to. Enjoying local cuisine…with no worries or restrictions.

And most importantly: the energy to walk and explore for hours.

I’m so glad I didn’t wait.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Coronado Beach 2006
california031 copy 2
Sunset Cliffs, San Diego 1999
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Coronado Beach 2006

 

 

 

Festive

This post inspired by April photo a day Challenge

Today’s prompt: Festive

San Diego, California is one of my favorite places to visit. Especially in March, when it is cold (and often snowy) at home…in New England.
Too often…by that time of year…enough is enough.

Although I haven’t returned since 2006, I think of my own little festive piece of paradise often.

Warm sun. Sandy beaches. Friendly people. Delicious food. A true vacation.
In fact, we loved it so much, we visited twice one year.

In June, 2000 we went with our two children. Ages 18 and 12 at the time. It was one of our last family vacations…for just the four of us.

One of the highlights of our week away was a day trip to the Del Mar Fair…now called the San Diego County Fair. The longest midway I’d ever seen. Games of chance. Farm animal exhibits. Pig races. Carnival rides. Crafts. Dozens of commercial vendors selling everything from license plate holders to tomato slicers to “Smart Nails.” Everything As Seen On TV and more.

Entertainment was nonstop throughout the day…including an evening Little Richard concert. And the food? Oh my goodness – my first taste of sweet potato fries with a ranch dressing dip. Who knew?

Views from the ferris wheel…

del mar fair 2000

del mar fair 2005 copy 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo a Week – The Great Outdoors

Nancy Merrill is hosting a photo challenge. The theme this week: A Photo a Week Challenge – The Great Outdoors

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO OR TWO OF NATURE.

 
For twenty years my young family and I packed up the station wagon to travel 90 minutes north for our annual week-long summer vacation…

…to the Great Outdoors.
A conference center/family camp on Lake Winnipesaukee. A fairly rustic setup, we roomed together in a small bedroom (until we outgrew it & also needed the room across the hall), ate together at a communal dining hall and spent the better part of every day playing together. The 2 of us. Then the 3 of us. Then the 4 of us.

No television. No phones. Long before the internet and cellular phones. No distractions.
And no cooking. No cleaning. No dishes to wash.

It was eat, sit, talk, explore, swim, dig in the sand, play cards, games, read, sing, sleep.
Repeat.

Lots of walking…especially through the woods surrounding us. Sometimes via the walking trails or sometimes blazing our own…collecting “natures” as in…leaves, acorns, pine cones, twigs, pebbles….

Several times each day we made the trek down the path to the lake…our feet crunching over the layer of finely crushed gravel. Breathing in the damp mossy air. Spotting little critters dashing through the brush on the forest floor. Looking up, squinting in the bright sun, trees standing high above our heads…branches spread as if protecting us, little and big alike. Slapping a few buzzing mosquitoes.

Eerily quiet. Peaceful.

When our children were small, the walking time depended on the amount of equipment we needed to bring with us. And how fast little feet could walk. Or needed to stop and rest from the weight of pails, shovels and sand toys. But it didn’t matter. We were in no hurry.

With just one 3 year old…it was only a swimming tube, towel and a chair for mom & dad.
A ten minute walk.

gpc 1985025
Let’s go to the lake, oh daddy, let’s go to the lake

(35mm film)