Historical marker near Midway and Rosecrans.

Historical marker recalls early San Diego's La Playa Trail. This plaque can be found on Rosecrans Street near Midway Drive.
Historical marker recalls early San Diego’s La Playa Trail. This plaque can be found on Rosecrans Street near Midway Drive.

While walking around Point Loma this weekend, I came upon another historical marker with a plaque that commemorates San Diego’s famous old La Playa Trail. This marker stands in front of a shopping center near the corner of Midway Drive and Rosecrans Street. It features one of six similar plaques created back in the 1930s.

You can see a photo of another such plaque at the east end of the La Playa Trail, near Mission San Diego de Alcala, by clicking here. You can see a third plaque at the base of Presidio Hill and learn about the remaining three plaques (which I have yet to photograph) here.

According to Wikipedia: “The La Playa Trail was a historic bayside trail in San Diego, connecting the settled inland areas to the commercial anchorage at Old La Playa on San Diego Bay…The trail was used during the Pre-Hispanic (Native American), Spanish, Mexican and American periods of San Diego history. Much of the length of the original trail corresponds to the current Rosecrans Street in the San Diego neighborhood of Point Loma…The trail was already established by the time the Spanish settlers arrived in 1769; the first inhabitants of the area, including the Kumeyaay tribe, used it to access the beaches of San Diego Bay. It was improved and extended during the Spanish colonization of the region, reaching Old Town San Diego and Mission San Diego de Alcalá in Mission Valley by the 1770s. Cargo which had been unloaded by ship at Ballast Point in Old La Playa was transported along the trail several miles inland to Old Town…”

US Boundary Survey of 1850 shows the La Playa Trail along San Diego Bay and the San Diego River. Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.
US Boundary Survey of 1850 shows the La Playa Trail along San Diego Bay and the San Diego River. (New San Diego is where downtown is today.) Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.

Have you read the classic of American Literature, Two Years Before the Mast? It’s one of my all-time favorite books. Richard Henry Dana Jr. wrote an account of a sailor’s life on the coast of California in the mid-1830s, and a good portion of his fascinating narrative describes San Diego.

La Playa (then a beach on Point Loma just inside San Diego Bay) is where merchant ship Pilgrim unloaded cattle hides that had been gathered by Dana and his shipmates up and down the California coast. When Dana rode on horseback from the hide houses on the beach to Old Town, or farther east to Mission San Diego, he followed the La Playa Trail!

La Playa Trail. Oldest commercial trail in western United States. Erected by San Diego Historical Society. 1938.
La Playa Trail. Oldest commercial trail in western United States. Erected by San Diego Historical Society. 1938.

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Learn about Maritime Month in San Diego.

A water taxi comes in from Coronado. That huge yellow Dole Atlantic ship is loading containers at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal.
The massive yellow Dole Atlantic cargo ship loads containers at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal.

May is Maritime Month. In past years, the Port of San Diego has offered public tours of important maritime facilities in San Diego Bay. By observing the massive scale of port operations firsthand, anyone can fully appreciate the waterfront’s economic importance to San Diego and the surrounding region.

Three years ago I went on one such harbor tour. It was narrated by knowledgeable representatives of the Port of San Diego. We got a close look at several large facilities, including the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, probably best known as the place where Dole delivers 3.9 billion bananas each year. We also saw the enormous National City Marine Terminal, where thousands upon thousands of imported cars arrive from Asia.

If you want to learn more about that amazing tour, and see photos of other facilities in San Diego Bay such as our three major shipyards, you can visit my old blog post by clicking here.

Unfortunately, this year is very different. There’s the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Most public events, including any tours that were planned by the Port of San Diego, have been cancelled in the interest of everyone’s safety.

But there’s still an opportunity for the curious to learn all about the Port of San Diego. They are celebrating Maritime Month online. They explain: “This year, we pay special tribute to the men and women of our Working Waterfront who continue to work hard to ensure the safe and timely delivery of essential goods, providing crucial services in these difficult times.”

By visiting the Port of San Diego’s special Maritime Month web page, which is here, you can: “Meet our dedicated maritime industry employees…Explore our terminals…Become familiar with our specialty cargo and trade…Learn how goods move globally through the supply chain…Read about our environmental initiatives…Plus more!”

Curious? Check out that special web page here!

Vehicles of all type arrive here by huge roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ships, including trucks and tractors.
New vehicles parked at the National City Marine Terminal. They arrive on enormous roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ships, which are often seen moving through San Diego Bay.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A trip to Coronado during the pandemic.

People sit on the grass at the Coronado Ferry Landing looking across San Diego Bay during the coronavirus pandemic.
People sit on the grass at the Coronado Ferry Landing looking across San Diego Bay during the coronavirus pandemic.

Today I went on a little mini-vacation. I walked from Cortez Hill where I live in downtown San Diego to Broadway Pier, boarded the Coronado Ferry and headed across the bay to one of my favorite places!

Today’s “trip” to Coronado was a bit different than usual, however. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic necessitated social distancing and frequent use of my face mask.

A crew member of the Silvergate ferry told me their ridership has begun to increase significantly now that San Diego has entered Phase 1 of the Reopening. Several weeks ago the ferry would carry perhaps 20 passengers for an entire day. Now there are easily 20 riders per trip.

As I walked through Coronado I saw people with and without face coverings, in groups, individually, in parks, on sidewalks. But most seemed to be conducting themselves in a considerate and measured way.

It appeared people were indeed very eager to be outside again after over a month of remaining mostly indoors. It was sunny and felt like summer. Restaurants were offering takeout service along the sidewalk. But many touristy shops were still closed.

Come along and read the photo captions…

More people sit near the small beach at the Coronado Ferry Landing.
Small groups sit spread out on the grass near the beach at the Coronado Ferry Landing.
This beach is usually much more active when there's no health crisis. A sometimes deadly, highly infectious novel coronavirus calls for social distancing.
This beach is usually much more active when there’s no health crisis. A sometimes deadly, highly infectious novel coronavirus calls for social distancing.
Fishing out on the blue water of San Diego Bay.
Fishing out on the blue water of San Diego Bay.
A few small groups were enjoying a Sunday early afternoon in Spreckels Park.
A few small groups were enjoying a Sunday early afternoon in Spreckels Park.
Bicycling has always been popular in Coronado, with tourists and locals alike. This street art depicts a fun bike.
Bicycling has always been popular in Coronado, with tourists and locals alike. This street art depicts a fun bike.
Something caught the attention of walkers in Rotary Park.
Something caught the attention of walkers in Rotary Park.
The COVID-19 crisis might prove fatal to the Lamb's Players Theatre. It's the most challenging time in their 49 year history. Perhaps send them a donation!
The COVID-19 crisis might prove fatal to the Lamb’s Players Theatre. It’s the most challenging time in their 49 year history. Perhaps send them a donation!
I spotted a UFO! It's the rather unique car of the Unarius Academy of Science, based in El Cajon. I once blogged about their spacey mural, if you recall.
I spotted a UFO! It’s the rather unique car of the Unarius Academy of Science. I once blogged about their spacey mural in El Cajon, if you recall.
Bicyclist heads down the street, with the Hotel del Coronado in the background.
Bicyclist rides along the street, with the grand, one-of-a-kind Hotel del Coronado in the background.
A couple heads down steps to the beach past signs concerning the latest coronavirus rules and regulations.
A couple heads down steps to the beach past signs concerning Coronado’s coronavirus rules and regulations.
People walk along beautiful Coronado Beach. The immense Disney Wonder cruise ship is parked in the ocean off San Diego waiting for the health crisis to end.
People walk along beautiful Coronado Beach. The immense Disney Wonder cruise ship is parked in the ocean off San Diego waiting for the health crisis to end.
If the Hotel del Coronado looks a bit different in this photo, that's because it's undergoing a big renovation during the pandemic.
If the Hotel del Coronado looks a bit different in this photo, that’s because it’s undergoing a big renovation during the pandemic.
Sign states that for the first time in 132 years, Hotel del Coronado has temporarily suspended operations.
Sign states that for the first time in 132 years, Hotel del Coronado has temporarily suspended operations.
Another look at large scale renovation underway at the world-famous Victorian beach resort.
Another look at major renovation underway at the world-famous Victorian beach resort.
As I walk back east along Orange Avenue, I pass the Coronado mural. I noticed it's printed on panels, not painted.
As I walked back east along Orange Avenue, I passed the Coronado mural. I noticed it’s printed on panels, not painted.
The marquee at the Village Theater indicates It's Intermission Time!
The marquee at the Village Theater indicates It’s Intermission Time!
One banner on the Orange Avenue median near Spreckels Park says Coronado We Stay Home Together. Support Our First Responders.
One banner on the Orange Avenue median near Spreckels Park reads: Coronado We Stay Home Together. Support Our First Responders.
The Coronado ferry will depart for downtown San Diego shortly. I stayed at a distance from the group ahead of me. They were told to don masks before boarding the ferry.
The Coronado ferry will depart for downtown San Diego shortly. I stayed at a distance from the group ahead of me. They were told to don masks before boarding the ferry.
The captain of the Silvergate poses for a photograph wearing his face mask. Thank you for taking us under the horns of the USS Midway and past a sea lion on a buoy!
The captain of the Silvergate poses for a photograph wearing his face mask. Stay safe!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Healthy air on the water.

Today I enjoyed a long walk from downtown San Diego to Liberty Station then back again. It felt so good to be near the water that I even took a short detour to visit Harbor Island.

Given the current coronavirus pandemic, I noticed an unusual number of people out on San Diego Bay, on paddle boards, in kayaks, breathing in the healthy fresh air. There’s a new local regulation that recently went into effect during the COVID-19 crisis. People are now allowed to recreate on the water. And those engaged in safe social distancing aren’t required to wear face coverings. They can fully enjoy San Diego’s watery paradise.

As I arrived at Liberty Station, I noticed many stand up paddleboarders embarking on a journey from the boat channel. They headed under the Nimitz and Harbor Drive bridges and into the sunlit marina behind Harbor Island.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A waterfront walk before the shutdown.

Much in San Diego will shut down starting tomorrow. I’ll still be working, but many San Diegans will not.

Schools throughout the city and county will be closed temporarily because of the coronavirus pandemic. So too will popular attractions, including the Maritime Museum of San Diego and the USS Midway Museum.

I walked along downtown’s waterfront today, wondering what I might see. A cruise ship was docked at the Broadway Pier, but I saw no passengers. I noticed that the Portside Pier construction is well along. It’s Sunday, so lots of volunteers were busy at the Maritime Museum, but I was one of very few visitors. The usual lines at the USS Midway ticket booth were practically nonexistent.

A few tourists were enjoying a day on the Embarcadero, snapping selfies, but I saw no parked tour buses.

Several people were fishing.

I’m afraid I couldn’t resist buying an ice cream.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Star light on a beautiful morning.

A gentle winter morning on the Embarcadero.

The rising sun tinted clouds across San Diego Bay.

Lights strung on the beautiful tall ship Star of India were on, creating a magical scene…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Amazing sunset along the Embarcadero!

After taking an amazing sunset photo from the top floor of the Manchester Grand Hyatt (see previous post), I headed down the elevator and walked up the Embarcadero.

The sunset across San Diego Bay became even more dramatic as I passed Tuna Harbor, Ruocco Park and the USS Midway. I took one last photograph when I finally arrived at Broadway Pier.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!