San Diego was the ideal place to spend the first couple months of 2020. The weather was nice and we found lots to do. The best part? We were closer to home and loved sharing our place with company!
Our two bedroom apartment was in downtown San Diego, just a couple blocks from Petco Field. There were plenty of restaurants nearby when we didn’t feel like cooking.
We were a couple blocks from San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, which is well known for its nightlife. Our gym was located here and it’s where Frank got his ice cream fix!
San Diego’s beautiful waterfront was a short walk away. On Saturdays, there is a fresh fish market on the pier.
We enjoyed exploring San Diego’s other neighborhoods, too. Each had its own feel and personality. Two tram lines stopped just behind our apartment, providing easy access around the city. Weekly farmers markets provided an extra excuse to visit.
Funky and colorful, North Park has a relatively small Thursday night Farmers Market.
I’ve previously mentioned South Park’s awesome shawarma truck and chocolate shop but the area has much more to offer. It’s a cozy neighborhood of restaurants and retro shops. I got a kick out of its mini-Target, which looks like a former Wisconsin Kohl’s Food store.
We were frequent visitors to Hillcrest — great restaurants, a movie theatre and a lab for Frank’s blood tests. Several blocks long, the Hillcrest Farmers Market is the place to be on Saturdays. Frank’s favorite was the Philly cheesesteak and each week, we stocked up on cartons of the unbelievably tasty kefir yogurt! How can something that delicious be good for you? (I wish it was available back home!)
Our favorite area (go figure) was Little Italy. We enjoyed some wonderful meals at the Busalacchi restaurants, which brought back fond memories of Frank’s Teamster days. In addition to Italian grocery stores and restaurants, Little Italy has its own Saturday Farmers Market. And where else but an Italian barber would Frank go for a haircut?
In the middle of the city is the twelve-hundred acre Balboa Park. The historic urban cultural park is home to green spaces, gardens, an art center, museums and San Diego’s famous zoo. We visited several times as it is ginormous and there is so much to see!
Point Loma Liberty Station
Liberty Station is a mixed use development on the site of San Diego’s former Naval Training Center. It features an arts district, a food market/restaurant court and a Women’s Museum.
Sights and mini road trips
San Diego Mission & Old Town San Diego
Faye, Frank and I took a trip back in time to a historic mission and Old Town San Diego. Built in 1769, Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala was the first of twenty one great California missions, marking the birthplace of Christianity on the west coast. Since it was Saturday, we decided to catch Mass by crashing a wedding! Old Town San Diego is a bit kitschy but worth a quick stop.
Cabrillo National Monument
Eddie drove us to Cabrillo National Monument. Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo led the first European expedition to explore what is now the west coast of the United States. The skies were clear and we saw some beautiful scenery. Pam also wanted to stop at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, which was very impressive (over 100,000 gravesites). We ended the afternoon with sunset at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park.
The four of us traveled up the coast to visit Frank and Eddie’s friend Jim O’Neill. Jim and his wife Kathy have a lovely home in Dana Point.
Another trip with Eddie and Pam to Balboa Island. It’s a charming area and it was fun to see residents proudly flying their college colors.
Road Trip to Rancho Mirage
Frank and I took a road trip to Rancho Mirage in Coachella Valley. Our friend Bud Selig was speaking at a Writers Conference and we went to surprise him. It was a beautiful ride through the mountains. The festival itself was amazing. Writer/historian Doris Kearns Goodwin interviewed Bud. Afterwards, we had the privilege of meeting her.