One of the utility boxes painted a few years back for the Art Outside the Box project in Coronado depicts scenes and characters from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and other novels in the popular Oz series by L. Frank Baum.
The happy artwork, which greets those walking down the Orange Avenue sidewalk near the Coronado Library, was painted by local students Eva B., Audrey S., and Sienna F.
L. Frank Baum and Coronado are closely related. The author spent many winters in a house near the famous Hotel del Coronado, whose fantastic architecture is said to be the inspiration for his Emerald City.
You can learn more and see photos of his winter house by clicking here!
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Murder! Gambling halls and brothels! Wyatt Earp! Corrupt police! Scheming businessmen! Secretive gangs! Pirates! A rip-roaring story dripping with suspense and excitement!
Would you like to read the first few chapters of a thrilling novel set in late 19th century San Diego? Jack Tyler, a talented author of adventure and steampunk fiction, is now writing an action-packed novel titled Stingaree, which takes place in San Diego’s old red-light district–an area of town that today is part of the Gaslamp Quarter. He has made many great chapters available to the public–for free! Click here to visit his website, then find the link to Stingaree.
In the late 1800s, the Stingaree was where sailors, ranch hands, and the working class sought their thrills in a depressed and rather desolate city. It was home to dozens of gambling parlors, whorehouses and saloons. Law-abiding citizens stayed away for their own safety. To be seen in the Stingaree might destroy one’s reputation. At night all hell would break loose. Those who prospered running tawdry businesses in the Stingaree had to pay the police bribes and watch their own backs.
In the novel Stingaree, the reader will recognize a variety of historical persons and locations. From the construction of the Hotel del Coronado, to George Marston’s department store, to the Horton House Hotel–the story is an exciting journey back in time. Jack Tyler successfully presents a city full of danger, uncertainty and great promise. From his imagination emerges an assortment of wonderfully inventive characters.
I must say I really enjoyed reading the completed chapters. This is the sort of smart, well-constructed story that would make for a really entertaining movie or television series. Cliffhangers and plot twists abound. Enjoy a fun read by clicking here and look for the link to Stingaree!
Do you love to read or write? I have a number of favorite locations in San Diego where I can pick up a book or pen while enjoying a pleasant view and relative peace. I find these places to be comfortable, inspiring and expansive for the mind. But, of course, my list is completely subjective. One can find countless benches, tables, parks and beaches in sunny San Diego.
Some readers and writers might like to place themselves in a coffee shop, or at the center of a bustling scene. Others might like to be surrounded by natural or artistic beauty. Others simply want solitude. Personally, I prefer the latter two–with a bustling scene in the quiet distance, perhaps.
Here are my 12 favorite spots, in no particular order:
San Diego Central Library’s amazing Reading Room. (See the above photo.)
Downtown San Diego’s large new Central Library is just a wonderful place all around. But perhaps its best feature is a gigantic eighth floor Reading Room, crowned by the building’s fantastic lattice dome. Comfortable sofas and easy chairs allow patrons to gaze through enormous windows out toward San Diego’s South Bay. And the Reading Room is so nice and quiet.
Any bench near the water in San Diego Bay’s Crescent Area.
If you don’t mind the occasional company of homeless people, San Diego Bay’s Crescent Area is a fine place to stretch one’s legs and mind. It’s a not-very-touristy stretch between the Grape Street Pier and the Coast Guard Station, with a number of comfortable wooden benches facing picturesque boats moored in the bay. Bicyclists and joggers pass by frequently and gulls and pigeons swing by for an occasional visit. The wide view, stretching across the bay to Point Loma, always puts me in a thoughtful mood.
Picnic tables near the water at Embarcadero Marina Park North.
When writing, I like mental peace. I find this state of mind can be most easily reached inside a happy, carefree atmosphere. So I often seek out an available picnic table near the water at Embarcadero Marina Park North. The blue bay sparkles, boats sail past serenely, families laugh on the grass, colorful kites glide overhead. Sometimes I just sit and do nothing.
The Inamori Pavilion at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Would you like to sit at a table overlooking a tranquil koi pond and waterfall? I would! That’s why I have become a member of the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. I wrote two short stories recently while sitting at one table. They are titled An Old Man on a Bus and Waterfall Tears.
The little-known Administrative Courtyard in Balboa Park.
I discovered this perfect, blissful park a couple of years ago. It’s called the Balboa Park Administrative Building Courtyard and it’s located in the park’s Inspiration Point area, behind the Balboa Park Administration Building. Almost nobody goes there. You might have the entire beautiful place all to yourself. A perfect sunny place to really concentrate.
A bench, a picnic table or the grass on Shelter Island.
I love Shelter Island–especially the southwest end. Few tourists, great views, grassy lawns, a wonderful pier. When I walk along the park-like paths I feel as though I’m on vacation. Many benches and picnic tables along the length of Shelter Island make ideal places to read or write. Or just bring a blanket and lie down on the grass. It’s so pleasant you might fall asleep!
A spot near the ocean at Ellen Browning Scripps Park in La Jolla.
When you’re visiting one of the most beautiful locations in the world, of course you’ll feel inspired. After finding a spot to read or write for a bit, get up and walk along the cliffs. Breathe in the fresh sea air. Watch birds, seals and the endlessly crashing waves. You’ll feel so alive.
An isolated picnic table at Silver Strand State Beach.
Silver Strand State Beach can be lonely, especially off-season and on the San Diego Bay side. There are usually dozens and dozens of picnic tables that are empty. Walk or pedal down the Silver Strand bike path, perhaps, and rest for awhile at a table. Then take out a book or your laptop or notepad. If you’d like to get up and stretch your legs, walk under the highway to the Pacific Ocean side, take your shoes off, walk on the beach and watch kitesurfers.
Any bench above the water on the Ocean Beach Pier.
Sit on a bench out on the long Ocean Beach Pier and you’ll feel that you’re far from land–in a magical place between airy blue heaven and the rolling, living blue water below. When you glance up from your book or laptop, you’ll see fishermen sharing the rail with patient pelicans, and surfers bobbing below waiting for their perfect wave. But bring a jacket. The ocean wind can be chilly, even in summer.
A spot beside San Diego Bay at Spanish Landing.
This is another fine place to sit by the water. Spanish Landing is an uncrowded retreat from city life with a view of the marinas behind Harbor Island. You might hear aircraft taking off from nearby Lindbergh Field, but I seldom notice. There are many benches along the grassy park to choose from. Here you can also read interesting historical markers. With a little imagination, you might visualize Spanish explorers landing here many centuries ago.
Any bench at Liberty Station, particularly by the boat channel.
Liberty Station has many walking paths and benches where anyone can sit down to think or simply relax. My favorite spots overlook the boat channel. Light twinkles from the water, the breeze is pleasant, and paddleboarders and kayakers occasionally coast on by. There’s no hurry to do anything. If I write or read just a few words, I’m happy.
A hidden bench beside the Timken Museum of Art.
Against the north wall of the Timken Museum in Balboa Park, tucked behind a few trees, you’ll discover a couple of hard concrete benches. During a hot summer day they are so nice and cool! One can peer between foliage at the grassy area near the Botanical Building and reflecting pool, where people play, picnic and walk dogs. It’s like your own secret space in green heaven. But bring a seat cushion if you sit there for long!
Where are your favorite places to read or write? Leave a comment!
All of these photos are from Cool San Diego Sights. To see thousands of images from all around San Diego, simply navigate about my website!
San Diego is the home of many thoughtful, creative residents. Proof of this can be seen at downtown’s San Diego Public Library, where a special exhibit features books by local writers that were published in 2015. It’s an impressive visual tribute to local writing talent. Works of fiction and nonfiction alike are on proud display. Congratulations to all!
I made a cool discovery! It’s Bill Swank’s new book Christmas in San Diego! I blogged about it a couple months ago!
TwainFest last summer was awesome. So today I had to go again!
A uniquely wonderful cultural event, TwainFest celebrates Mark Twain and other famous 19th century authors. Held every year in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, the event includes games and activities for the entire family, including Costume and Liar’s contests (the latter as a tribute to Twain’s tall tales), vintage dancing, and all sorts of historical performances and reenactments. TwainFest is presented by Fiesta de Reyes and created by the literature-loving folks at Write Out Loud.
I walked about randomly for about an hour just aiming my camera at familiar old classics that I love come to life. I saw lots of San Diegans in period costume, many portraying well known characters from literature.
I hope you enjoy these photos…
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Today a special event was held in Coronado’s Spreckels Park celebrating The Wizard of Oz and L. Frank Baum’s other popular children’s novels. The family festival was put on to coincide with the 50th annual Winkie Con, a convention for fans of the Land of Oz.
Winkie Con, now also called Oz Con International (I suspect to sound like Comic-Con International), is growing in popularity and will be held next week for the first time in San Diego. This year also marks the 75th anniversary of the classic Wizard of Oz movie, starring Judy Garland!
I strolled through the happy, colorful Coronado festival and got a few pics. According to what I’ve read, there were all sorts of activities during the day, including a children’s parade.
I then sauntered across Orange Avenue and took several photos of the famous Wizard of Oz stained glass wall inside the Coronado Public Library!
I assume these were part of a fun kids activity.
Now I’m visiting the Coronado Library which is located across the street from Spreckels Park.
Author L. Frank Baum spent a good deal of time in Coronado, writing many of his novels in a rented house not far from the Hotel del Coronado. (You might check out my earlier blog post on this subject!) He modeled the Emerald City of Oz after the fantastic, world famous Victorian beach resort hotel.
Because of its strong connection with L. Frank Baum, Coronado today is often referred to as the Emerald City!
These fun Wizard of Oz glass panels in the library were created by artist Brenda Smith.
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