Adrift in Southern California...

Dec 29th, 2011, 06:40 PM
  #1  
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Adrift in Southern California...

I'm looking for a few suggestions on how to spend a few last days on our trip to San Diego area in late March-early April.

Itinerary - we fly in on a Friday, drive to Yuma to spend a couple of days visiting a cousin (wintering over from Pacific NW), then a week in Carlsbad. That should give us sufficient time for both Carlsbad and San Diego attractions (such as Old Town and Zoo). I grew up in the Calif Bay Area and have some familiarity but not too much for So Calif. We think of ourselves as middle-aged but are closer to old fartdom (at least DH is).

We check out on Sunday and our flight out is Wednesday mid-morning. Thoughts include either:

- Spending some time viewing desert blooms (Joshua Tree and nearby areas - where?
or
- Santa Barbara - missions, etc
or
- Big Bear (we live in Florida)
or
- So Cal wineries
or
-some combination of those
or
- ?

We are not much for upscale shops or too much beach time. We do love day hikes, historical sites, wine, and the occasional snow (only on vacation).

Any recommendations?
sludick is offline  
Dec 29th, 2011, 06:53 PM
  #2  
 
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You don't need to go all the way to Santa Barbara to see missions. San Juan Capistrano is an historic gem between San Diego and LA. I believe there are others, as well.

If you like that Spanish mission architecture, you might like the U of San Diego, a Catholic college with a beautiful campus.

We drove to some wineries in the hills near San Diego, and enjoyed seeing them. Different than Napa and Sonoma, for sure.
PeaceOut is offline  
Dec 30th, 2011, 03:17 AM
  #3  
 
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The first/oldest mission in Cal is just above Old Town in SD, and at the Old Town Mexican Cafe - you can watch the women make tortillas at the front of the restaurant.

As for wineries - there are a couple good ones - in Escondido (have to google the name - Ophelia I believe it is) and also up in the "mountains" at Julian - an hour away - there are a couple, and further north in Temecula there are several.

Driving to Palm Springs/Josuah Tree takes about 2 hours (Big Bear also about the same - check the map) - and getting to Santa Barbara is about 4 hours, but if you go up the coast hiway/1(note - only try this during non-rush hours - say after 8 AM leaving Carlsbad) it's a beautiful drive (come back after 7 PM or so)- as is the Coast drive from Carlsbad down to the city of San Diego. Danish themed Solvang 45 minutes above Santa Barbara is also cool - and they have wineries as well. (See the movie Sideways).

Also really like Wild Animal Park in Escondido - and if you buy a 2 day ticket - you can get a discount for it's sister property - the SD Zoo.

And in Balboa Park (SD ZOO) there are any number of museums - such as Natural History, Art, Air and Space, Model Trains, Antique Cars, Ruben E Fleet/science (and an IMAX theater - as they have across the street at the Natural History Museum), beautiful botanical gardens, and on and on.

Driving over to Coronado is fun - or getting out/up to Cabrillo Mounument/Pt. Loma is also a beautiful drive, and did I forget to mention the cute village of Del Mar?
Tomsd is offline  
Dec 30th, 2011, 03:19 AM
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And as for Desert Blooms - you can drive up to Julian and then down to Borrego Springs for some desert blooms - depending on when they are in full force. Changes a bit every year. Julian is an old mining town - famous for their apple pies.
Tomsd is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 10:42 AM
  #5  
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Excellent, thank you both. Sorry I am just now reading this, it was a bit hectic over New Years.

Tomsd - I know that Mexican place, been looking forward to stopping for those tortillas. That cemetary that is a bit farther on past it was very interesting too, I recall. Anyway, you've given me a bunch of ideas.

PeaceOut, San Juan Capistrano sounds good, thanks. I wanted to go there in years past but never did make it. Maybe this time.

Now I just need to figure out where to stay those last few days after Carlsbad, maybe a little road trip with a different place each night, maybe 2 nights one place and the last night closer to SD airport.

Appreciate the tips.
sludick is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 08:51 PM
  #6  
 
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"The first/oldest mission in Cal is just above Old Town in SD,"

No, it's not. In 1769 Mission San Diego de Alcala was established by Father Junipero Serra in that area, but it was moved after only five years to its current location further along Mission Valley. The building seen today above Old Town and Mission Valley is the Junipero Serra Museum and it was never the Mission building.
Barbara is online now  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 09:39 PM
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Barbara - IMO - I was close enough for "government" work.

"The first mission was established close to old town, then moved down by Qualcomm Stadium - but after the Native Americans revolted and burned it/killed some of the missionaries - it returned to the original location.

From Wikipedia: "The padres' initial efforts to establish an outpost at the San Diego met with little success. The Mission was founded at a site overlooking the Bay known today as "Presidio Hill" (Kosoi to the natives), but the natives resented the Spaniards' intrusion, and the settlement was attacked within a month.[28][29] "

In any event - if you want a cute place to stay in San Diego -check out the Victorian buildings/B&B's right next to/above Old Town in Heritage Park. I think there are a couple - and see: http://www.heritageparkinn.com/

There is also plenty of decent two star type hotels/suites nearby Old Town on Hotel Circle Drive.

If you really want something unique - go stay at the Hotel Del Coronado - a bit more expensive but right next to the beach and with a great swimming pool. http://www.hoteldel.com/
Tomsd is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 09:55 PM
  #8  
 
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Here are a few suggestions outside of the normal tourist zones based on your interests.

The San Luis Rey Mission is closer to Carlsbad than either San Jaun Capistrano or San Diego de Alcala. Also nearby is the historic Rancho Guajome Adobe built in the 1850s and operated now as a county park.

Also close by is the Meditation Garden at the Self Realization Fellowship ("Swami's") on a bluff right above the ocean. One of my favorite places to just sit and relax.

Desert flowers may or may not be good depending on the rains. We had some early rains in October but not much since then. Anza Borrego Desert State Park is renowned for desert flowers but check ahead before driving out. Google it for the wildflower report.

Even if the desert flowers are not bloomong, the other wildflowers will be. A drive up to Mt Palomar Observatory will take you up close to 6000 ft and plenty of wildflowers. A short detour takes you into Julian where it will be apple blossoms and lilacs at that time of year. Another really good site is the Santa Rosa Plateau preserve in Riverside County operated by the Nature Conservancy. This is a great hike for spring wildflowers. And very close to the wineries of the Temecula Valley.

Most local bookstores and larger sporting goods have a good selection of books on hiking, biking, birding, etc. on San Diego County so that you can zero in on your interests.

If you are intersted in farmer's markets, there is one in nearby Rancho Santa Fe on Sundays and you absolutely must stop at the Chino Farms produce market. You have never seen so many varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables.

There is so much to see and do here, no excuses for not finding what interests you.
garybear is offline  
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