Morning at the International Dragon Boat Race!

Today is the second and final day of the 11th Annual San Diego International Dragon Boat Race. Lots of action can be seen out on Mission Bay!

Enthusiastic teams from across the nation (including Southern and Northern California, Nevada, Arizona, Minnesota and New York) plus international teams (I noted Vancouver, Canada) have come together on this sunny San Diego weekend to race in traditional dragon boats.

I arrived at the event in the early morning just as things were getting started. Team members were stretching and warming up, the boat captains were having their meeting, and then the action began!

As the first boats paddled out to the starting line, just beyond the dock of the San Diego Mission Bay Resort, a group of Scouts presented the colors for the National Anthem.

Then here came the dragon boats, each team furiously paddling to the beat of a big drum!

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Sweet memories of Top Gun in Oceanside!

Fans of the original Top Gun movie would love visiting the recently restored Top Gun House near the foot of the Oceanside Pier.

The historic old Victorian beach house, an 1887 Queen Anne Cottage that was featured in the popular movie, has been turned into an ice cream shop filled with sweet Top Gun memories!

The first thing visitors to the Top Gun House might see is a motorcycle by the front porch steps. It’s a replica of the motorcycle ridden by Maverick when he visited his love interest Charlie at the house.

A plaque a few steps away describes the house’s history in Oceanside, its architectural importance, and its role in the movie.

Step inside the beautiful little cottage and you’ll discover movie posters, photographs and other memories from Top Gun. I thought you might enjoy a look…

The 1887 Top Gun House was built by Dr. Henry Graves as a vacation home. Scenes from Top Gun were filmed around the house in 1985. In 2022 the house was fully restored.

The Kawasaki Ninja ZX900 is a replica of the motorcycle made famous in the movie Top Gun. Actor Tom Cruise, playing lead character Maverick, rode it to this house.

It was cool to see the work of an artist I often encounter while walking. Paul Strahm has a painting inside the Top Gun House!

Memories of Goose, Maverick and Iceman.

A sweet smile!

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!

World’s largest single-masted yacht returns!

The world’s largest single-masted yacht has returned to San Diego!

The M5, originally called the Mirabella V, is now docked on the Embarcadero near the Maritime Museum of San Diego. You can find it directly across from the County Administration Building.

I spotted the towering mast while walking nearby, so I had to go take a look. That mind-blowing mast, over 290 feet high, is visible from many streets downtown!

I first saw the M5 in San Diego eight years ago behind the convention center and blogged about it here. Read that old blog post (including its comments) to learn more about this incredible sailboat.

It took these photographs this morning. It’s hard to depict the staggering size of this sloop-rigged super yacht. Suffice it to say, the mast rises higher than many downtown San Diego buildings!

You can see the mast from the other side of the County Administration Building in the next photo. (The exterior of the historic building is being painted.)

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!

Longboard action pics at Super Girl Pro!

Super Girl Pro is taking place this weekend in Oceanside, California near the pier. The big event, the largest women’s surfing competition in the world, is free and open to the public, and the pier is the best place to watch the surfing action!

The longboard competition was so close to the pier I was able to take some pretty good pics that you might enjoy. These athletes are incredible. They ride waves for a great distance, while engaging in complicated footwork.

Check it out! The event resumes tomorrow, Sunday.

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!

Chula Vista remembers When Heroes Fall.

A memorial to fallen San Diego County law enforcement officers stands across an outdoor plaza at the City of Chula Vista Police Department.

When Heroes Fall…We Remember was created by Chula Vista artist Mark Martensen in 2004. A central bronze sculpture depicts two bowed officers facing a curved wall.

Beneath fluttering flags, the black marble wall is engraved with the names of heroes from different law enforcement agencies throughout the San Diego region who’ve given their lives in the line of duty.

The moving memorial is the work of the San Diego County Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation.

If you know more about the creation and history of this particular memorial, please leave a comment.

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!

Three cool murals during an Ocean Beach walk.

Enjoy photos of three cool murals I spotted during a recent Ocean Beach walk.

The above mural must be relatively new. It’s by Cong Nguyen (@KINGNCONG). You can find it on the side of the OB Noodle House and Sake Bar on Cable Street. This mural replaced a long-time OB girl mural that I photographed here. (It’s the first photo you’ll see in that old blog post.)

The next mural with a big colorful parrot was painted last year on the Ocean Beach Hotel by the amazing local artist team of Carly Ealey and Christopher Konecki.

Finally, check out this cool alley mural I must’ve missed back when I photographed the “Hippie Dog” here. It’s on another side of the same building!

This awesome bee lady artwork was painted by Celeste Byers back in 2017.

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!

Carlsbad history at St. Michael’s By-the-Sea.

The fascinating history of Carlsbad includes its very first church, St. Michael’s By-the-Sea Episcopal Church, built in 1894.

St. Michael’s By-the-Sea is located on Carlsbad Boulevard at Christiansen Way, a block south of Magee Park.

During a recent adventure in San Diego’s North County, I walked around the church’s original structure, which stands by several other later buildings.

I paused to read this plaque…

The first church built in Carlsbad was St. Michael’s By-the-Sea Episcopal Church. Originally erected in 1894 overlooking the ocean on Oak Avenue, the quaint Gothic structure was moved to its current site in 1959 when Florence Shipley Magee donated an adjacent site for a new church.

Original redwood paneling, oak pews, and a Victorian pump organ are all still in good condition. The only alterations are a new entry, replacing one which led directly into the choir area at the front of the chapel, and a new heating and air conditioning system.

Far from being a relic of the past, the chapel is used for regular Sunday and weekday services as well as for weddings and funerals.

PLAQUE COURTESY OF THE CARLSBAD HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION

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!

Fun photos at Chula Vista Lemon Festival!

Huge crowds converged today in downtown Chula Vista for the big 25th Annual Lemon Festival!

Families were walking along Third Avenue enjoying the lemony sights and tasty smells.

Musicians performed on the Zesty Stage. Kids played and made crafts in the Lil’ Lemons zone. Vendors had all sorts of lemon-themed goodies on display, and it seemed that fresh lemonade could be found every few steps! Many neighbors were wearing bright yellow!

Why a big Lemon Festival in Chula Vista?

Once upon a time, before asphalt streets crisscrossed the sunny landscape, agriculture in San Diego’s South Bay was famous for its abundant lemon production. Our climate is perfect to grow citrus.

In the early 20th century there were almost two thousand acres of lemon groves around Chula Vista, which called itself the Lemon Capital of the World.

Enjoy the following fun photos! I walked up and down Third Avenue a couple times, taking in the festive scene, before I headed off to another cool Chula Vista location, as you will see in an upcoming blog post!

This super nice lady handed me some literature concerning the Arts in the Park festival, which is coming up in Chula Vista on August 27th from 10-5 in Memorial Park.

Mark it on your calendar!

If you’d like to see a few more photographs these great chalk art murals, click here!

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!

Chalk art at Lemon Festival in Chula Vista!

Around noon today, chalk artists were doing their thing at the 25th Annual Lemon Festival in Chula Vista!

The enormously popular community event is taking place today in Chula Vista’s historic downtown, along Third Avenue.

I paused to admire the half dozen creative works, most of which were in progress.

As you might expect, all this lemony artwork required a fair amount of yellow chalk!

Sweet!

Chalk art by Dorothy Corona.

Chalk art by Brenda Mora.

Chalk art by Eric Arcala.

Chalk art by Colin Moyer.

Chalk art by Meg Canilang.

Chalk art by Cecilia Linayao.

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!

Coronado’s Spreckels Mansion: then and now.

John D. Spreckels and his family owned the Hotel del Coronado during the first half of the 20th century.

In 1906 Spreckels began construction of a palatial home in Coronado. His mansion would stand at 1630 Glorietta Boulevard, across from his extraordinarily elegant Hotel del Coronado.

The Italian Renaissance style Spreckels Mansion, designed by renowned architect Harrison Albright (who also designed the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park), would be completed in 1908.

The above photograph was taken in 1915. The description of this public domain photo on Wikimedia Commons is: Promotional image of John D. Spreckels’ home on Coronado for marketing the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park, San Diego, California.

If the building appears familiar, that’s because much of it was incorporated into today’s Glorietta Bay Inn

Coronado Historical Landmark – J.D. Spreckels House – 1908. Dedicated 1977 Coronado Historical Association.

When I visited Coronado a couple months ago, the friendly Glorietta Bay Inn receptionists behind the front counter allowed me to take a few interior photos. What I found most interesting was one framed image on a wall.

The following is described as: a photograph of an original 1911 postcard of the Spreckels home, just after completion and before the addition of the music room in 1913…

Here are two more outside photos taken by my camera for comparison…

To learn more about John D. Spreckels, one of early San Diego’s most influential entrepreneurs, developers and philanthropists, read his Wikipedia article here.

You’ll learn his Coronado mansion included six bedrooms, three baths, a parlor, dining room and library at the cost of $35,000. At that time, Spreckels’ Mansion featured a brass cage elevator, a marble staircase with leather-padded handrails, skylights, marble floors and some of the Island’s most spectacular gardens. The home was built with reinforced steel and concrete, an earthquake precaution Spreckels insisted upon after living through the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Spreckels lived in the Glorietta Boulevard mansion until his death in 1926.

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!