Sunflowers on the Silver Strand.

There were many empty picnic benches on the bay side of Silver Strand State Beach today.

I chose a shady one that faced these bright sunflowers. Then I took out a notebook and struggled with my writing.

Words never seem adequate.

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!

If you’d like to read an inspirational little story about sunflowers and human kindness, click here!

Progress at Old Town’s new Kumeyaay park.

I walked around Old Town San Diego this afternoon looking for anything interesting or new. As I passed the area that is being developed into a new outdoor park with Kumeyaay interpretive displays, I noticed great progress has been made. I last blogged about this spacious new park in early May, and provided much more information about it here.

Today, as I walked along the west side of this new park, I took some photos over the construction fence. I saw that many native trees have been planted!

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!

Walking through natural beauty at Torrey Pines.

It’s easy to find breathtaking natural beauty in San Diego. Three of my favorite places to walk along the coast are Torrey Pines State Reserve, Torrey Pines State Beach, and the Torrey Pines Gliderport.

The high sandstone cliffs topped by rare, windswept Torrey pines, the beautiful beaches stretching at their feet, the endless surf, blue San Diego sky, lingering banks of fog . . . all of these elements combine to produce an experience that is difficult to match anywhere in the world.

Over the years I’ve taken many photographs around Torrey Pines. And it’s quite likely I’ll be taking many more!

This morning, as I sit at my computer wondering where I might walk today, I’ve decided to revisit some of those old blog posts.

Click these links to see great natural beauty…

Hiking Torrey Pines State Reserve’s Beach Trail.

Torrey Pines State Reserve’s Guy Fleming Trail.

Torrey Pines Extension hike to the DAR plaque.

The historic Lodge at Torrey Pines State Reserve.

A walk in fog along Torrey Pines State Beach.

Taking flight at the Torrey Pines Gliderport!

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!

The doors, gates and windows of Old Town.

This afternoon I walked through Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, wondering if I might find any Fourth of July decorations. There were only a few. All of the museums and perhaps half of the shops are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But I did find lots of picturesque doors, gates and windows! Which gave me a unique photographic opportunity. On a typical weekend afternoon, some of these colorful wooden doors and rustic gates would be wide open, and taking such photographs would be impossible.

But not today!

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!

The beauty of nature on the coastal strand.

The coastal strand lies just above the high tide line of a beach. While its appearance might be sandy, dry and scraggly, look closely and you’ll find plenty of nature’s endless beauty.

Last Saturday I walked around Silver Strand State Beach.

Entrance station at Silver Strand State Beach.
Entrance station at Silver Strand State Beach.
The blue Pacific Ocean stretches beyond the seemingly barren western shore of the Silver Strand. Point Loma and a cruise ship can be seen in the distance.
The blue Pacific Ocean stretches beyond the seemingly barren western shore of the Silver Strand. Point Loma and a cruise ship can be seen in the distance.
The flowers of beach suncup, or evening primrose, are like bright gems on the sand.
The flowers of beach suncup, or evening primrose, are like bright gems on the sand.
The Western Snowy Plover depends on kelp and seagrass washed ashore, feeding on insects. Their young are hatched in the sand. Fences keep the feet of people away.
The Western Snowy Plover depends on kelp and seagrass washed ashore, feeding on insects. Their young are hatched in the sand. Fences keep the feet of beachgoers away.
Walking along the San Diego Bay side of the State Park.
Walking along the San Diego Bay side of the State Park.
Coastal strand plants begin to grow past the tide line. Winds and waves sculpt the sands in this dynamic, yet fragile habitat.
Coastal strand plants begin to grow past the tide line. Winds and waves sculpt the sands in this dynamic, yet fragile habitat.

San Diego black-tailed jackrabbits are frequently seen in the dry coastal sage scrub of Silver Strand State Beach.
San Diego black-tailed jackrabbits are frequently seen in the dry coastal sage scrub of Silver Strand State Beach.
How many rabbits can you see? They are well adapted to this environment.
How many rabbits can you see? They are well adapted to this environment.

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!

Mosaics on wall by Silver Strand nature trail.

Check out this cool mosaic art at Silver Strand State Beach!

The artwork covers one side of a low wall near a California State Parks bench, where two paths in the northeast section of the park intersect. In my photos you can see a nature trail made of wood planks heading off through scrubby coastal habitat toward San Diego Bay.

To appreciate this unusual mosaic you need to view it up close. Bits of broken tiles, sea shells and other objects have been arranged into triangles. The triangles frame clay forms of native wildlife and people. In places the mosaics have broken off. The entire wall has become weathered in such a way that the organic artwork appears even more earthy.

Try as I might, I’m unable to discover any information about this public art.

Leave a comment if you know anything!

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!

Underwater mural in Silver Strand tunnel!

Three pedestrian tunnels pass underneath California State Route 75, connecting the west and east sides of Silver Strand State Beach. If you choose to use the south tunnel, you might want to put on some scuba gear!

That tunnel is home of a long, very cool mural that depicts life above the water and beneath it.

Silver Strand State Beach occupies a section of the peninsula between Coronado and Imperial Beach. Much of the life painted in the mural can be observed from the park’s two shores.

Walking along coastal habitat by either the Pacific Ocean or San Diego Bay, you will observe many birds, including snowy plovers, great blue herons, least sandpipers, black skimmers, marbled godwits, long-billed curlews, snowy egrets, endangered California least terns, brown pelicans, seagulls and a variety of ducks.

Out in the water you might also spot surfacing seals and dolphins! But if you want to see a whale up close, you’ll need to dive into the tunnel!

This very cool environmental mural was painted in 2009 by Imperial Beach artist Jaime Rayon, with some help from young members of The Art Kids, in partnership with the nearby Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

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!

Construction of new Kumeyaay park in Old Town.

In late 2018 I took some photos of the old Caltrans building being demolished in Old Town. I wrote that the land where it stood was to be converted into an outdoor park-like space with interpretative exhibits concerning the Native American Kumeyaay, who lived here long before Spanish missionaries arrived and established the nearby Presidio.

I posted a few photos of the Caltrans building demolition here.

Yesterday I walked around the construction site and observed that this new outdoor space of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, near the corner of Taylor Street and Juan Street, is taking shape!

According to the California State Parks web page concerning this project, the new area is to include:

  • Interpretive elements such as a Native American interpretive public gathering area, a stage, displays and features, lighting, power, and benches.
  • Basic landscaping such as native trees, shrubs and ground covering, and detention and/or retention bio-swale.
  • Enhanced pedestrian circulation system with stabilized accessible pathways, seating, bollards and fencing, and signage.
  • Shaded ramadas with seating below.
  • Parking area with stabilized surface to accommodate 20 to 40 spaces including accessible spaces.

As you can see from my photos, various paths through the park have been laid out, and native trees appear ready for planting. You might also notice a few small concrete foundations have been poured.

I’ll continue to watch this expansion of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park as it develops!

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 walk to Old Town during the pandemic.

A familiar sign as drivers enter Old Town from Interstate 5. Welcome to Old Town. Birthplace of California.
A familiar sign as drivers enter Old Town from Interstate 5. Welcome to Old Town. Birthplace of California.

I have more photos to post from my long walk yesterday. But first I’m going to share pics that I took during today’s walk from downtown San Diego to Old Town!

I didn’t pull out my camera until I was well past the airport, heading up Hancock Street. I passed very few people. My mind was far away. As you can see, I did capture a few amusing images!

After a brief detour to explore Witherby Street and the semi-decayed old bridges and underpasses leading to an entrance of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, I passed over Interstate 5 and entered Old Town.

I took a look around the quiet streets as I headed up Jefferson Street and Congress Street. Making sure there were no signs posted saying I couldn’t enter, I quickly passed through Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, which was almost deserted. Then I headed back south down San Diego Avenue.

Most of the shops and restaurants in Old Town were closed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. A few restaurants were offering take-out, but very few potential customers were anywhere to be seen…

If NOT is not NOT, can one park here?
I’m heading up Hancock Street. If that’s not a NOT, can one legally park here?
This might be the coolest little free library I've come across!
This might be the coolest little free library I’ve come across!
A superhero who resembles Superman flies from what might be San Diego's last phone booth.
A superhero who resembles Superman flies from what might be San Diego’s last phone booth.
These pigeons regarded me as I walked under the Witherby Street train bridge.
These pigeons regarded me as I walked along a gritty walkway under the Witherby Street train bridge.
Now I've entered Old Town. Check out this cool sculpture in someone's front yard!
Now I’ve entered Old Town. Check out this cool sculpture in someone’s front yard!
Flowers through a white fence.
Flowers through a white fence.
The African Latin Museum was closed. It's on my list of things to do.
The African Latin Museum was closed. It’s on my list of things to do.
This was part of the 1890 Ballast Point Light Station on Point Loma!
This was part of the 1890 Ballast Point Light Station on Point Loma!

To learn more about the history of this lighthouse, and why part of it is now sitting on a sidewalk in Old Town, click here!

Mural in front of a couple businesses on Congress Street depicts the early days of San Diego.
Mural in front of some small businesses on Congress Street depicts the early days of San Diego.
Right part of the mural.
Right part of the mural.
Signs by the parking lot of Rockin' Baja point to different distant destinations.
Signs by the parking lot of Rockin’ Baja point to different distant destinations.
On the island beneath the signs I spotted this plaque.
On the small island beneath the signs I spotted this plaque.
In Memory of Joe Flynn. 1902 - 1963. Joe loved Old Town and helped re-create Casa de Lopez. Old Town Chamber of Commerce.
In Memory of Joe Flynn. 1902 – 1963. Joe loved Old Town and helped re-create Casa de Lopez. Old Town Chamber of Commerce.
Mexican themed outdoor decor but no customers at this eatery during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mexican themed outdoor decor, but no customers at this eatery during the coronavirus pandemic.
Voted best pizza in America! I gotta try some one day.
Voted best pizza in America! I gotta try a slice one day.
The plaza in the middle of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is deserted. But the grass is long and green!
The plaza in the middle of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is deserted. But the grass is long and green!
The many Old Town museums and attractions are all closed due to COVID-19.
The many Old Town museums and attractions are all closed due to COVID-19.
On an ordinary Sunday, this photo would be filled with people.
On an ordinary Sunday, this photo would be filled with people.
Now I'm heading down San Diego Avenue. Another popular restaurant is temporarily closed.
Now I’m heading down San Diego Avenue. Another popular restaurant is temporarily closed.
But Cafe Coyote is open for take out! And I got two yummy handmade fresh tortillas!
But Cafe Coyote is open for take out! And I got two yummy handmade fresh tortillas to munch on as I walked!

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!

Finishing a 19th century quilt in Old Town.

Today, when I stepped into Threads of the Past in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, I found several ladies working on quilts. One beautiful quilt in particular was spread out before them, and on top of it was a small very old photograph showing two sisters from a century ago.

I asked a question or two and jotted a few quick notes. I didn’t really achieve a perfect understanding, and some of what I’m about to write might be incorrect!

I believe the spread quilt and another folded beside it had been pieced in the late 19th century by two sisters, Gertrude and Mabel Raymond, who were school teachers in National City, and who are now buried in Greenwood Memorial Park. The old quilts had been found by a family in their attic, and brought to Threads of the Past to be completed.

One of the quilters I spoke to was working on a modern “Sanitary Commission” quilt, which will be auctioned off on the Fourth of July. The fabric squares were designed by local school children. (You can glimpse a bit of their artwork in the second-to-last photograph.) I learned that there are only six authentic United States Sanitary Commission quilts from the Civil War known to exist, and was told that if you see those words on an old quilt at a rummage sale or swap meet, buy it!

Walk into Threads of the Past and not only will you see historic quilts hanging on the walls, but you’ll learn something new about that big colorful quilt known as History, and you might find skilled quilters working to preserve it!

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!