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!

Amazing walk from Swami’s to the Cardiff Kook.

Surfer crossing sign near a golden dome of the Self-Realization Fellowship ashram in Encinitas.
Surfer crossing sign near a golden dome of the Self-Realization Fellowship ashram in Encinitas.

Today I went for a long walk beside the Pacific Ocean. I began along old Coast Highway 101 from the Coaster’s Encinitas Station, headed south through Cardiff-by-the-Sea, and walked all the way through Solana Beach to Via de la Valle.

The following photographs are from one very cool stretch of my walk.

Come along! We begin at Swami’s in Encinitas and proceed south down Coast Highway 101 to the Cardiff Kook sculpture.

As you will see, this is quite an amazing walk.

Please read the captions!

A woody with surfboard heads north along old Coast Highway 101 past one of the exotic Self-Realization Fellowship Golden Lotus Towers.
A woody with surfboard heads along old Coast Highway 101, past one of the Self-Realization Fellowship’s iconic Golden Lotus Towers.
As I walked south, a surfer passed me on the sidewalk going the opposite way.
As I walked south by the exotic ashram, a surfer passed me on the sidewalk going the opposite way. I turned to take a photo.
Here comes another surfer, heading through the park by the Swami's Beach parking lot. It appears he finished surfing at Swami's Reef for the day.
A few steps farther and here comes another surfer, heading through the park by the Swami’s Beach parking lot. It appears he just finished surfing at Swami’s Reef.
I've arrived at the entrance to Swami's Beach, which was mentioned in the Beach Boys' song Surfin' U.S.A..
I’ve arrived at the entrance to Swami’s Beach, which was mentioned in the Beach Boys’ song Surfin’ U.S.A.
Two huge Easter Island Heads carved of wood tilt in the grassy park at Swami's.
Two huge Easter Island Heads carved from dead tree stumps tilt in the grassy park at Swami’s.
Both Easter Island Heads were created by Tim Richards and are in the Encinitas Public Art Collection.
Both Easter Island Heads were created by Tim Richards and are in the Encinitas Public Art Collection.
Cool art on a park planter.
Cool art on a park planter.
People walk past another planter with cool tile art.
People walk past another planter with cool tile art depicting a palm tree and Pacific Ocean sunset.
A blue wave seems to be surging up from the walkway ahead.
A blue wave seems to be splashing up from the walkway ahead.
This public artwork is the Swamis Surfing Memorial.
This public artwork is the Swamis Surfing Memorial.
Dedicated with appreciation to Gary Taylor and the others whose efforts of the past and future make Encinitas a better place to live and surf.
Dedicated with appreciation to Gary Taylor and the others whose efforts of the past and future make Encinitas a better place to live and surf.
One guy stretches while a couple gets ready to head down to Swami's Beach.
One guy stretches while a couple gets ready to head down to Swami’s Beach.
Descending steps to the public beach far below.
Descending steps to the public beach far below.
Benches above the bluffs allow people to watch the surfing action at Swami's internationally famous point break.
Benches above the bluffs allow people to watch the surfing action at Swami’s internationally famous point break.
My small camera catches some distant surfing action.
My small camera catches some distant surfing action.
Many surfers were out on a sunny September day, enjoying good conditions.
Many surfers were out on a sunny September day, enjoying good conditions.
Engraved on a rock by the benches are the words: Waves on the Point are dedicated to Syrus King.
Engraved on a rock by the benches are the words: Waves on the Point are dedicated to Syrus King.
Looking south along the beautiful shoreline as I get ready to resume my walk along Coast Highway 101, sometimes referred to as Pacific Coast Highway.
Looking south along the beautiful shoreline as I get ready to resume my walk along Coast Highway 101, sometimes referred to as Pacific Coast Highway.
Bicyclists head down South Coast Highway 101, leaving Encinitas.
Bicyclists head down South Coast Highway 101, leaving Encinitas.
I turn for a moment to glance back north at Swami's.
I turn for a moment to glance back north at Swami’s.
The surging Pacific Ocean and the narrow beach below.
The surging Pacific Ocean and the narrow beach below.
A cool pink residence near the highway with a great view of the ocean.
A cool pink residence near the highway with a great view of the ocean.
As I continue south I see a lifeguard tower coming up.
As I continue south I see a lifeguard tower coming up.
People gaze at the foaming water from a rocky beach.
People gaze at the foaming water from a rocky beach.
I couldn't help looking back north one more time.
I couldn’t help looking back north one more time.
Lifeguard tower 19 near the north end of San Elijo State Beach in Cardiff rises above wet sand.
Lifeguard tower 19 near the north end of San Elijo State Beach in Cardiff rises above wet sand.
I saw hundreds of surfers out in the water during my walk. Looks like fun!
I saw hundreds of surfers out in the water during my walk. Looks like fun!
Walking down a path that enters the campground area at San Elijo State Beach.
Walking down a path that enters the campground area at San Elijo State Beach.
A smiley for a laid-back, sunny day.
A smiley for a laid-back, sunny day in Southern California.
Entrance sign at San Elijo State Beach in Cardiff-by-the Sea.
Entrance sign at San Elijo State Beach in Cardiff-by-the Sea.
Continuing south along Coast Highway 101, approaching Chesterfield Drive.
Continuing south along Coast Highway 101, approaching Chesterfield Drive.
Up ahead I see the Cardiff Kook. The bronze sculpture is officially called Magic Carpet Ride, but to most people the figure on the surfboard appears a bit kooky.
Up ahead at the intersection I see the Cardiff Kook. The bronze sculpture is officially called Magic Carpet Ride, but to most people the youthful figure on a surfboard appears awkward and silly.
Someone looks up at the Cardiff Kook, which is often dressed up by pranksters in odd clothing and costumes.
Someone looks up at the Cardiff Kook, which is often dressed up by pranksters in odd clothing and costumes.
Magic Carpet Ride, 2007, bronze, Matthew Antichevich.
Magic Carpet Ride, 2007, bronze, Matthew Antichevich.
If the balloon is any indication, the Cardiff Kook must be celebrating a birthday.
If the balloon is any indication, the Cardiff Kook must be celebrating a birthday.
A poem for the Cardiff Kook.
A poem for the Cardiff Kook.

Magic Carpet Ride

Grommit of bronze
On an ocean of stone
Frozen in time
In Cardiff, at home
Action in art
Still life by the sea
Community pride
Goofy footed and free
Exuberant youth
Arms open and wide
A cultural ambassador
Takes his first ride
His story is our story
Personified Grace
Both the past and the future
See yourself in his face
Grommit of bronze
On an ocean of stone
Surfs by the sea
In Cardiff, at home.

A wonderfully kooky conclusion to an amazing walk!
A wonderfully kooky conclusion to this amazing stretch of my walk!

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!

Torrey Pines Extension hike to the DAR plaque.

This morning I enjoyed an incredible (and relatively easy) hike along several short trails through Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve’s less-visited Northeastern Extension.

I started from the trailhead at the northeast end of Del Mar Scenic Parkway and, watching for rattlesnakes, climbed north along the Mar Scenic Trail to the DAR Trail.

When I reached the trail junction where one turns to reach the DAR plaque, I elected to continue west downhill for a short distance, just to enjoy the amazing scenery. Beyond picturesque Torrey Pine trees stretched the wide blue Pacific Ocean and Torrey Pines State Beach.

Finally I retraced my steps, turned north on the West Ridge D.A.R., and made my way to the historic DAR plaque.

It reads:

TORREY PINE STATE RESERVE

D A R TRAIL AND MEMORIAL GROVE

THIS TRAIL AND MEMORIAL GROVE
ARE DEDICATED TO OUR PLEDGE TO SAVE
AND FAITHFULLY DEFEND FROM WASTE
THE NATURAL RESOURCES OF OUR COUNTRY.
ITS SOILS, MINERALS, ITS FORESTS,
WATERS AND WILDLIFE.

THE CALIFORNIA STATE SOCIETY
OF THE
NATIONAL SOCIETY
DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
MRS. LEROY CONRAD KAUMP, STATE REGENT
NOVEMBER 16, 1971
U.S.A. BICENTENNIAL PROJECT

What a fantastic walk!

Unlike the very popular main section of Torrey Pines State Reserve, which is located to the south across Los Penasquitos Lagoon, it’s possible you won’t encounter another human being while hiking through this small area of protected wilderness. Wear sturdy shoes or boots because the sandy path can be a bit slippery. And bring some water. It can get pretty warm!

Enjoy the following photos!

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 walk in fog along Torrey Pines State Beach.

This morning I arrived at Torrey Pines State Beach very early. About 7:30. A deep, thick fog blanketed the shore and nearby bluffs.

I began my walk around the North Torrey Pines Road bridge that spans the entrance to Los Peñasquitos Lagoon. I headed south toward the towering sandstone cliffs.

When I moved from the noisy roadway down to the sand, it became very quiet. Just the sound of distant surf. A couple of stand up paddle boarders were visible through the fog. People were fishing from the sand. People were walking along the beach. Moving through the dreamlike fog. Where minds and hearts, made quiet, can focus.

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Help students learn about San Diego history!

Help our students discover the past.
Help our students discover the past.

Do you love San Diego? Your help is needed!

The Old Town San Diego Foundation is raising funds so that Fourth Grade students across San Diego County can continue taking educational field trips to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. The San Diego History Program helps kids learn about San Diego’s unique, culturally diverse early history. But financial assistance is urgently needed!

I found out about this program today while walking about Old Town’s Founders Day event. I learned thousands of students have been fortunate to enjoy these field trips in past years. Fourth graders visit Old Town’s interactive museums and enjoy special docent led tours.

The nice folks of the Old Town San Diego Foundation explained that without this program, many young people would probably never visit the birthplace of San Diego and California.

Often kids who participate are so amazed by what they discover, they bring their families back to Old Town! How cool is that?

But funds are now needed to continue this program.

Please visit the Old Town San Diego Foundation website here to learn more.

And please visit the “4th Graders Need Your Help” GoFundMe page here to make your contribution! Donations are 100% tax deductible.

(I know that some educators follow this blog. Spread the word!)

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!