Two colorful, fun benches in Pepper Park!

Here are photos of two colorful, super fun benches in National City’s Pepper Park!

Both painted concrete benches were created in 2006 by Doug Snider, member of the San Diego Potters’ Guild. He produces all sorts of amazing art at his Studio 15 in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village Art Center. Step into his studio and you’ll feel as if you’ve entered a fantasy world full of whimsy and imagination!

I believe Doug has created four of these fantastic benches. In the past I photographed one of two that are located in Coronado. The one I saw is in Tidelands Park, and you can see it here!

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Sunrise beauty at South Bay Salt Works!

Sunrise at South Bay Salt Works is a spectacle that’s hard to describe. The sun’s first rays tint the dunelike mounds of pure white salt with a golden glow, creating an effect that is otherworldly and strangely beautiful.

Yesterday as the sun cleared the horizon I approached South Bay Salt Works to experience the magic. I took many photographs!

Wikipedia has an extensive article about South Bay Salt Works, which is located near Chula Vista, in the tiny Fruitdale section of San Diego’s Otay Mesa-Nestor community. I was interested to learn it’s the second longest running business in San Diego after the San Diego Union Tribune newspaper. The salt factory began as La Punta Salt Company sometime before 1872.

Large evaporation ponds at the southern end of San Diego Bay are the source of the salt, but the water comes directly from the Pacific Ocean. South Bay Salt Works produces about 75,000 tons of salt every year from ponds that cover over a thousand acres. For decades is was the sole supplier of salt for Southern California.

Many migrating birds are attracted to the evaporation ponds. The salinity of the water supports an abundance of brine flies and brine shrimp. Today, even as salt harvesting operations continue, the ponds are officially part of the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

I was once told by someone who knows a little about South Bay Salt Works that the salt is shipped from San Diego to places with freezing winters, where it’s used on roads and highways to melt the ice.

Enjoy these photographs!

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!

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A short, easy walk along Paradise Creek Trail.

Paradise Trail marker PT10 rises near the National City Depot museum.
Paradise Trail marker PT10 rises near the National City Depot museum.

This morning I enjoyed an easy walk down a segment of the Paradise Creek Trail in National City.

I believe this urban trail is brand new. I find almost nothing about it on the internet. Several people I spoke to who work right next to the trail never heard of it. I had never seen the Paradise Trail markers during walks in past years.

The trail, from what I can gather, roughly follows Paradise Creek. My walk started just west of Interstate 5, on Bay Marina Drive, where I spotted markers for the Paradise Trail by the National City Depot museum and the National City Historic Railcar Plaza. I saw more markers as I walked south down Marina Way, just west of Paradise Marsh.

Paradise Creek eventually empties into the Sweetwater River. I believe the sidewalk trail ends at Pepper Park, but I spotted no markers after I passed the Pier 32 Marina and the nearby entrance to the Bayshore Bikeway. Perhaps I wasn’t looking carefully enough.

Want to see more? Years ago I visited an overlook of Paradise Marsh and photographed some informative signs. I also got a little closer to nature by walking down a short dirt trail. You can revisit that old blog post by clicking here.

In the past I also blogged about the National City Depot museum and its cool old streetcars here, the National City Historic Railcar Plaza here, and the Le Bateau Ivre sculpture here.

After I crossed Bay Marina Drive, I spotted an iconic El Camino Real bell near the National City Historic Railcar Plaza.
After I crossed Bay Marina Drive, I spotted an iconic El Camino Real bell near the National City Historic Railcar Plaza.
I'm now walking south down Marina Way, looking back at the National City Historic Railcar Plaza.
I’m now walking south down Marina Way, looking back at the National City Historic Railcar Plaza.
Old railroad tracks run along the west edge of Paradise Marsh.
Old railroad tracks run along the west edge of Paradise Marsh.
Sunlight illuminates some natural beauty beside the sidewalk trail.
Sunlight illuminates some natural beauty beside the sidewalk trail.
Looking back north along the Paradise Creek Trail, between Paradise Marsh and the National City Cement Terminal.
Looking back north along the Paradise Creek Trail, between Paradise Marsh and the National City Cement Terminal.
Here's another marker for the Paradise Trail, which I spotted as I headed down Marina Way.
Here’s another marker for the Paradise Trail, which I spotted as I headed down Marina Way.
A banner on a street lamp says that in National City, Together We Can!
A banner on a street lamp says that in National City, Together We Can!
As I turned onto West 32nd Street, a big group of bicyclists rode onto the Bayshore Bikeway.
As I turned onto West 32nd Street, a big group of bicyclists rode onto the Bayshore Bikeway.
Le Bateau Ivre, by artist Alber De Matteis, at the Pier 32 Marina in National City.
Le Bateau Ivre, by artist Alber De Matteis, at the Pier 32 Marina in National City.
I spotted this high osprey nesting platform as I walked down Goesno Place, approaching Pepper Park. The National City Marine Terminal has many such platforms.
I spotted this high osprey nesting platform as I walked down Goesno Place, approaching Pepper Park.

Immediately to the west, right on San Diego Bay, the enormous imported car parking lot at the National City Marine Terminal has many of these platforms. I learned during a Port of San Diego harbor tour that ospreys provide effective pigeon control!

A sign describe ospreys, which can often be seen around San Diego Bay and our coastal estuaries.
A sign describes ospreys, which can often be seen flying above San Diego Bay and our coastal estuaries.
Looks like an osprey has collected all sort of odd materials for its nest!
Looks like an osprey has collected all sort of odd materials for its huge nest!

And now I’ve turned around, and I’m heading back north along the trail on Marina Way, just west of the marsh… Guess what I saw?

An osprey flies high above Paradise Marsh on a beautiful late December day.
An osprey flies high above Paradise Marsh on a beautiful late December day.
Looking past prickly pear at Paradise Marsh from the Paradise Creek Trail in National City.
Looking past prickly pear at Paradise Marsh from the Paradise Creek Trail in National City.

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Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

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Under Wraps at the National City Marine Terminal!

A van wrapped with many colors stands at one corner of the National City Marine Terminal on San Diego Bay!
A van wrapped with many colors stands at one corner of the National City Marine Terminal on San Diego Bay!

You don’t see this every day!

Under Wraps is unusual public artwork that now stands at one corner of the National City Marine Terminal. It’s best seen by walking out onto the small Pepper Park fishing pier.

Under Wraps is a sculptural intervention on an old work van, which has been wrapped about with colorful nautical fiber. This unique artwork was created by Randy Walker, who also used nautical fiber in his “Sweet Contents” at San Diego’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal. I recently blogged about that here.

The National City Marine Terminal in San Diego Bay is where up to 400,000 imported cars arrive by immense roll-on/roll-off car carrying ships every year. The 180-acre facility is operated by Pasha Automotive Services.

According to a sign on the pier, Under Wraps will be on view through February 2019. So if you plan to be in San Diego’s South Bay, go check it out while you have the chance!

Under Wraps, an artwork by Randy Walker, is best seen from the Pepper Park pier. A work van is wrapped in colorful nautical fiber at the National City Marine Terminal!
Under Wraps, an artwork by Randy Walker, is best seen from the Pepper Park pier. A work van is wrapped with colorful nautical fiber at the National City Marine Terminal!
Fishing from the Pepper Park pier near public artwork commissioned by the Port of San Diego.
Fishing from the Pepper Park pier near public artwork that was commissioned by the Port of San Diego.
A kid got super excited when these guys caught a mackerel from the pier!
A kid got super excited when these guys caught a mackerel from the pier!
Now that's something you don't see every day! Under Wraps is colorful public art that adds character to National City.
Now that’s something you don’t see every day! Under Wraps is colorful public art that adds a splash of character to the National City Marine Terminal.

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!

Peace and Arrows public art in National City.

Arrows, by Brenda and Flojo, public art near the 24th Street trolley station in National City.
Arrows, by Brenda and Flojo, public art near the 24th Street trolley station in National City.

Some very cool public art adds color to a sidewalk near the 24th Street trolley station in National City. You can find it at the east edge of the trolley station’s parking lot, next to Wilson Avenue.

Two small but colorful sculptures have been created by Youth Artists. One, titled Peace, is by Michelle. The other, titled Arrows, is by Brenda and Flojo.

I’ve done some searching on the internet and can find nothing about these public sculptures. I don’t recall seeing them during past visits to the South Bay, so I believe they are relatively new.

All I know for certain is that this artwork is really cool!

Peace, by Michelle, public art near the 24th Street trolley station in National City.
Peace, by Michelle, public art near the 24th Street trolley station in National City.
Photo of two cool sculptures in National City. A lavender peace sign is framed by two red arrows!
Photo of two cool sculptures in National City. A lavender peace sign is framed by two red arrows!

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!

A taste of the Lemon Festival in Chula Vista!

A giant smiling lemon greets me at the 22nd Annual Lemon Festival in Chula Vista!
A giant smiling lemon greets me at the 22nd Annual Lemon Festival in Chula Vista!

I’ve never been to Chula Vista’s Lemon Festival before. So this year I thought I’d take the trolley down to the South Bay to experience this big annual event!

Not only is the Lemon Festival, which takes place along a stretch of Third Avenue, a whole lot of fun, but visitors have the opportunity to learn about the history of Chula Vista and how it once was a major center of the Southern California citrus industry.

With construction of the Sweetwater Dam completed in 1888, and the arrival of the railroad in the South Bay, Chula Vista became the perfect place to grow sun-loving lemons. At one point in the early 20th century there were nearly two thousand acres of lemon groves in the area. Chula Vista even called itself the Lemon Capital of the World.

Today lemon trees are chiefly found in backyards. After World War II, the large groves began to make way for houses. Some of the developers would leave one lemon tree in the backyard of new homes.

I did see loads of lemons during the 22nd Annual Lemon Festival: lemon art, lemon costumes, lemons in treats, lemonade . . . Lemon yellow everywhere!

See for yourself!

About 50,000 people would turn out for the yearly lemon-themed event.
About 50,000 people would turn out for the yearly lemon-themed event.
These ladies had all sorts of sweet lemon treats for sale.
These ladies had all sorts of sweet lemon treats for sale.
Some friendly people from the Restored Church posed so that a blogger could take a funny photo at their booth.
Some friendly people from the Restored Church posed so that a blogger could take a funny photo at their Lemon Festival booth.
Artists at the Lemon Festival had all sorts of colorful artwork for sale that contained bright yellow.
Artists at the Lemon Festival had all sorts of colorful artwork for sale that contained bright yellow.
This lady registering people to vote had a cool lemon slice umbrella hat and smile.
This lady registering people to vote had a cool lemon slice umbrella hat and smile.
More ice cold lemonade! Sounds good on a hot summer day in San Diego's South Bay.
More ice cold lemonade! Sounds good on a hot summer day in San Diego’s South Bay.
Even this funny pooch in a wagon was selling lemonade!
Even this funny pooch in a wagon was selling lemonade!
The Chula Vista Historical Society had a booth with books and fascinating information.
The Chula Vista Historical Society had a booth with books and fascinating information.
Their display showed Chula Vista's agricultural past. Many packing companies once exported lemons around the world.
Their display showed Chula Vista’s agricultural past. Many growers and packing companies once exported lemons around the world. Some of the beautiful old crate labels have become valuable collectibles.
The display explains different grades of lemons, including culls, which were blemished, and used to make juice, furniture polish, and other by-products.
The display explains different grades of lemons, including culls, which were blemished, and used to make juice, furniture polish, and other lemon by-products.
The festival had just started and these ladies with the Third Avenue Village Association, that puts on the popular event, were putting the finishing touches on their booth.
The festival had just started and these ladies with the Third Avenue Village Association, that puts on the popular event, were almost done decorating their booth.
Another booth at the Lemon Festival had lots of old historical photographs.
Another booth at the Chula Vista Lemon Festival featured lots of interesting historical photographs.
Someone points to a photo of workers in a lemon grove at the Higgins Ranch in Keen Valley, 1901.
Someone points to a photo of workers in a lemon grove at the Higgins Ranch in Keen Valley, 1901.
Aerial photo of the Boltz lemon ranch in the mid 1920's.
Aerial photo of the Boltz lemon ranch in the mid 1920’s.
Typical Chula Vista lemon packing plant, circa 1920's.
Typical Chula Vista lemon packing plant, circa 1920’s.
Old photos of Chula Vista streetcar and train at Third Avenue.
Old photos of Chula Vista streetcar and train at Third Avenue.
Bonita lemon pickers, 1913.
Bonita lemon pickers, 1913.
Meanwhile, people spin a lemon-themed prize wheel at the festival.
Meanwhile, people spin a lemon-themed prize wheel at the festival.
At the Lemonade Bandstand, entertainment included live music, a largest lemon and lemon peel contest, a lemon costume contest, and lemon pie eating contest.
At the Lemonade Bandstand, entertainment included live music, a largest lemon and lemon peel contest, a lemon costume contest, and lemon pie eating contest.
People watch the Lemon Squeezers play rock and roll music with a twist!
People watch the Lemon Squeezers play rock and roll music with a twist!
Cool local band, the Lemon Squeezers, at the Chula Vista Lemon Festival.
Cool local band, the Lemon Squeezers, at the Chula Vista Lemon Festival.
That great music has people dancing!
That great music has people smiling and dancing!
Batman and Wonder Woman dropped on by and posed for a photo by the Lemon Bar sign.
Batman and Wonder Woman dropped on by and posed for a photo by the Lemon Bar sign.
All that fun made me thirsty for some lemonade!
All that fun has made me thirsty for some lemonade!

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Fun photos of Chula Vista’s Pacific Rim Festival!

A performance by Japanese drummers at the 2018 Pacific Rim Festival in Chula Vista.
A performance by Japanese drummers at the 2018 Pacific Rim Festival in Chula Vista.

Yesterday I headed down to the South Bay to check out the 2nd Annual Pacific Rim Festival in Chula Vista. The fun event, sponsored by the Port of San Diego, featured food and entertainment representing many nations that share the Pacific Ocean.

I lingered for over an hour and watched a rousing performance by the Naruwan Taiko Drummers, lion dancing by the Southern Sea Kung Seng Keng Lion and Dragon Dance Association, and Philippine martial art demonstrations by the Cardenas School of Modern Arnis.

Please enjoy a few photos from my walk through Bayside Park, and many more after I arrived at the colorful event!

A family enjoys the small beach near the fishing pier at the south end of Bayside Park.
A family enjoys the small beach near the fishing pier at the south end of Bayside Park.
A father plays super hopscotch in the park!
A father plays super hopscotch in the park!
Walking slowly through sunshine, on the way to a cool festival in San Diego's South Bay.
Walking slowly through sunshine, on the way to a cool festival in San Diego’s South Bay.
Downtown San Diego and the Coronado Bay Bridge are in the hazy distance.
Downtown San Diego and the Coronado Bay Bridge are in the hazy distance.
I've arrived at the 2nd Annual Pacific Rim Festival.
I’ve arrived at the 2nd Annual Pacific Rim Festival.
The first thing I saw was lots of yummy food from many countries around the Pacific Rim.
The first thing I saw was lots of yummy food from many countries around the Pacific Rim.
Beautiful crafts were also on display and available for purchase. A nice lady made this amazing glasswork by hand.
Beautiful crafts were also on display and available for purchase. A nice lady made this amazing glass artwork by hand.
Continuing through the festival. One vendor had unique clothing for sale. Another perfect San Diego day.
Continuing through the festival. One vendor had unique clothing for sale. Kids had a bounce house. Another perfect San Diego day.
An audience has gathered at the stage to watch energetic drumming by Naruwan Taiko.
An audience has gathered at the stage to watch energetic drumming by Naruwan Taiko.
Meanwhile, some lion dancers are waiting to one side for their turn to perform.
Meanwhile, some lion dancers are waiting to one side for their turn to perform.
People have gathered to celebrate many cultures around the Pacific Ocean.
People have gathered to celebrate many cultures around the Pacific Ocean.
The lion dancing has begun. This local group is the Southern Sea Kung Seng Keng Lion and Dragon Dance Association.
The lion dancing has begun. This local group is the Southern Sea Kung Seng Keng Lion and Dragon Dance Association.
Music accompanies the fun lion dance.
Music accompanies the traditional lion dance.
Banners unfurl, wishing everyone a happy and prosperous year.
Banners unfurl, wishing everyone a happy and prosperous year.
The two lions come down onto the grass to the delight of everybody.
The two lions come down onto the grass to the delight of everybody.
A young girl offers the red lion a dollar bill for good luck.
A young girl offers the red lion a dollar bill for good luck.
After this performance, I stretched my legs with a short walk along the nearby water of San Diego Bay. Others were enjoying the day, too.
After this performance, I stretched my legs with a short walk along the nearby water of San Diego Bay. Others were enjoying the day, too.
I stumbled upon some wild California poppies. They are the official flower of the state of California.
I stumbled upon some wild California poppies. They are the official flower of the state of California.
As I returned to the stage, students from the Cardenas School of Modern Arnis had assembled.
As I returned to the stage area, students from the Cardenas School of Modern Arnis had assembled.
People get ready to view a Philippine martial arts demonstration.
People get ready to view a Philippine martial arts demonstration.
The exciting demonstration begins.
The exciting demonstration begins.
Celebrating the cultures of many Pacific Rim nations at a very fun event!
Celebrating the cultures of many Pacific Rim nations at a very fun event!

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!