Just back from a long weekend trip to San Diego where I hadn’t been since I was fresh out of college, and before that, with my family, escaping the cold New York winter, when I was in elementary school.
On my most recent trip, one of the recurring themes, that came to mind throughout the trip, was the legacy of landscaping and architecture from another era.
A few of the places that I recommend visiting, or at least stop in if you have the time, all emanate with historical context, although in San Diego, I’m sure this is just a drop in the bucket.
Enjoy Stepping Back in Time…
I am very glad to have had a chance to visit: Hotel Del Coronado on Coronado Island, Balboa Park, and the Town and Country Resort. Have you been to any of these places?
Town and Country Resort – This place (photo below) was hosting a conference I attended. The resort has a convention center, two hotel towers, a spa and several restaurants. Built in 1953, this unique spot of 42 acres, seems to have most, if not all of its, original design and feel from that era.
I had such a nice time meeting up with friends at several of the dining options and casual outdoor seating areas, to enjoy a moment of what felt like slower times. It has a certain quirkiness to it, but in a fantastic way, in a way that subconsciously says, “you’re in the 1950’s, but you can’t be in the 1950’s because it’s 2015.”
I was thrilled to be able to enjoy excellent company, the beautifully landscaped beds that were everywhere I looked, while in an iconic “Happy Days” moment. Wandering about this large property revealed endless nooks and benches that invited us all to sit and enjoy.
Unfortunately, this resort may not be around in this form for much longer. The original owners have partnered with several development companies and plans are in the works to renovate (ie – remove all the 1950’s charm) and redevelop the resort. Granted, it sounds like some of the hotel rooms could use a remodel, but, for example, the Trellises Garden Grille was so charming as is. It will most likely be gone on my next trip to San Diego.
Hotel Del Coronado – Built in 1888, this historical and iconic landmark is the second largest wooden structure in the US. At the time of it’s construction, in San Diego’s first real estate boom, it was standard at the time to build a grand hotel as a draw to an otherwise undeveloped landscape.
Construction began in 1887, using redwood timber from Northern California and the labor of Chinese immigrants, and the newly built hotel was open for business in February of 1888. It was also one of the first hotels with electricity. AND, one of the few hotels in Southern California right on the beach. You can’t miss the bridge, that goes from just outside of downtown San Diego to Coronado island.
If you’ve spent a few days on the freeways of San Diego, the island will offer you a much needed break. Enjoy a glass of wine at the Sunset bar (that actually closed right after sunset).
Balboa Park – The largest urban park in the country. Amazing 15 major museums. 1,200 acres of landscaping and beautiful gardens. The stunning architecture and landscaping of Balboa park are the result of two exhibitions. The 1915-1916 Panama-California Exposition – Which commemorated the opening of the Panama Canal; and the 1935-1936 California Pacific International Exposition – Which was held during the depression to boost the local economy. Much of the incentive of the park, was created from that and many of the original trees were planted by the renowned American landscape designer, botanist, plantswoman, and gardener Kate Sessions, who also had a hand in the creation of the gardens at the Hotel del Coronado.
See you there!