Nayarit celebrated at the House of Mexico!

The Mexican state of Nayarit was celebrated today at the International Cottages in Balboa Park!

Baile folklórico dancers performed outside the House of Mexico cottage, and various displays promoting tourism in Nayarit greeted surprised visitors wandering through the park.

As soon as I noticed all the costumes and smiles, I was drawn right in!

As I understand it, the Mexican Secretary of Tourism teamed up with the House of Mexico to promote Nayarit with this special cultural event.

The state of Nayarit is located on the west coast of Mexico and features popular beaches, fascinating history and beautiful scenery.

This is what my camera recorded…

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!

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!

One very cool place on a very hot day!

This Labor Day weekend we’re experiencing a big heat wave in San Diego.

Many are taking refuge indoors, relying on air-conditioning or fans. Others, who’d rather be outside, are heading to the beaches.

But there’s one outdoor place that’s even cooler than a beach. A pier! Particularly the always very “cool” Ocean Beach Pier!

Walk along the OB Pier’s nearly 2000 foot length and feel the refreshing sea breeze. Perhaps stop halfway out at the Walking On Water Cafe to grab a lemonade or ice cream.

Look at the banners flutter in the wind as gulls wheel overhead!

At the Ocean Beach pier’s end you are well out over the water. The ocean-cooled air is inviting, invigorating. The one cooler spot would be straight down, surfing or swimming.

And to think those people on the beach are practically frying on the sand!

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!

New beauty inside historic Santa Fe Depot.

I believe that efforts to revive the life and beauty of historically important buildings should be celebrated. So today let me celebrate a project underway inside San Diego’s historic 1915 Santa Fe Depot.

Earlier this week, as I was waiting for Jimmy at the Santa Fe Depot concession stand to microwave a burrito, I noticed some yellow tape. The enormous Waiting Room’s wooden benches were being sanded down and newly varnished!

When I walked through the depot this morning, the work had progressed. More of the benches were richly shining! Jimmy had informed me it took about one day to complete each bench.

The interior of an amazing space in downtown San Diego is becoming even more beautiful.

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 Vintage Trolley: A Labor of Love.

Last weekend I rode the San Diego Trolley’s old PCC streetcar 530. I traveled a few stops on the Vintage Trolley’s downtown Silver Line loop.

As I looked about the interior of the restored 1940’s streetcar, I noticed a sign that I’d never seen before. Several paragraphs pay tribute to Ed Lindstrom, who was instrumental in restoring the Vintage Trolley vehicles operated by MTS.

Ed worked as a Light Rail Vehicle Project Coordinator and Electromechanic. Restoring the two streetcars that now run on the Silver Line–cars 529 and 530–required parts that are extremely difficult to find. According to the sign, Ed relentlessly sought the necessary parts from other transit agencies, collectors and museums. With some harder-to-find components, Ed got creative. He reverse-engineered and produced them specifically for the project!

To learn more about the PCC streetcar restoration, and see photos of how the old cars once looked, click here!

If you ever ride one of these nostalgic streetcars on a weekend, you can thank Ed and many others who’ve worked countless hours making a beautiful dream come true.

A LABOR OF LOVE.

Operation of the vintage streetcars in San Diego…began as a dream of Harry Mathis… A cadre of volunteers, led by our restoration manager, Dave Slater, has contributed more than 11,000 man hours of work on our fleet of PCC’s…

As a resident of downtown San Diego who loves riding the Vintage Trolley cars, thank you!

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 in the Edwards Sculpture Garden in La Jolla.

There’s a sculpture garden open to the public in La Jolla that’s very easy to miss.

Large numbers of tourists, walking along the Pacific Ocean, south of Children’s Pool near Cuvier Park, pass this sculpture garden without even realizing it.

This park-like space isn’t readily noticed from Coast Boulevard. Curious eyes might observe an unusual sculpture made of many boats mounted on the building behind it. That building is home to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego!

Look for the gate in my upcoming photographs. Walk through it and up the curving path. You’re now in the museum’s Sue K. and Charles C. Edwards Sculpture Garden. See what your eyes will see.

My own eyes saw these particular sculptures months ago. Yes, these images have been lingering in my computer for much too long. While I’m self-isolating recovering from mild COVID-19, I’m finally getting around to posting them!

Whether these same pieces are on display right now, I don’t know. Over the years, I’ve noticed that some of the outdoor sculptures in MCASD’s collection are shifted from place to place.

Ready for our walk? Here we go!

Niagara, Alexis Smith, 1985. NOTHING IN THE WORLD COULD KEEP IT FROM GOING OVER THE EDGE… (Marilyn Monroe starred in the film Niagara.)

Monument to a Bear, Erika Rothenberg, 2002-2003. Glass-reinforced concrete over steel, bronze plaque.

Froebel’s Blocks, Richard Fleischner, 1983. Limestone.

Spanish Fan, Robert Irwin, 1995. Steel and glass.

If you’re curious about that mural in the distance, you can see more of it here.

Pleasure Point, Nancy Rubins, 2006. Nautical vessels, stainless steel, and stainless steel wire.

Crossroads, originally sited at the border crossing of US/MEXICO in Tijuana/San Diego, Marcos Ramirez ERRE, 2003. Aluminum, automotive paint, wood, and vinyl.

If you want to see quotes by artists written on the opposite side of these directional signs, click here!

Garden Installation (Displaced Person), Vito Acconci, 1987. Concrete, stones, dirt and grass.

Pasta, Mark di Suvero, 1975. COR-TEN steel.

Long Yellow Hose, Gabriel Orozco, 1996. Plastic watering hoses.

Maria Walks Amid the Thorns, Anselm Kiefer, 2008. Lead books and NATO razor wire.

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!

History inside Carlsbad’s Shipley-Magee House.

The 1887 Shipley-Magee House, home of the Carlsbad Historical Society, contains a museum that history lovers must visit. I walked through its doors earlier this year to discover a treasure trove of artifacts, documents and old photographs from Carlsbad’s earliest days.

The rooms of this historical Craftsman-style house are not only filled with fascinating exhibits, but with furnishings that represent how life must have been like for many in the late 19th century.

Enjoy the following photographs. Better yet, go visit yourself!

The Carlsbad Historical Society’s website is here, with the hours and location of the Shipley-Magee House and its museum.

The society’s website contains pages and pages detailing Carlsbad’s history: from the first settlers, to the construction of the Magee House by Samuel Church Smith (one of the founders of the Carlsbad Land and Water Company), to the layout of downtown Carlsbad in 1925.

If you’d like to see photos of Magee Park, where the house is located, along with several other historic structures and a beautiful rose garden, you can check out an old blog post here.

You can also enjoy photographs of several historical buildings in Carlsbad here, and for more on Carlsbad’s famous Twin Inns, click here and 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!

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!

Sea monsters discovered in hold of historic ship!

A collection of very rare sea monsters has been discovered deep in the hold of a historic ship.

Visitors to the Maritime Museum of San Diego, descending into dark spaces inside the world-famous tall ship Star of India, have encountered strange, fearsome creatures usually considered the stuff of myth and folklore.

Sea monsters that have been observed include the Hippokampoi, the multi-headed Hydra, the carnivorous, eel-like Inkanyamba, and the Lusca.

Visitors, after examining specimens of sea creatures and ominous skeletal remains, and after studying reported sighting of other sea monsters around the world, have then relaxed in the luxurious Sea Monster Saloon, where they might read classics of literature such as Wild Sargasso Sea Monster and The Kraken of Monte Cristo.

Huh?

Well, if you don’t believe me, you’d better head over to the Maritime Museum of San Diego and check out their fun exhibit Sea Monsters: Delving Into The Deep Myth.

Kids will love it! Watch out for the waving tentacles!

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 look inside Escondido’s Blacksmith & Wheelwright Shop.

Should you find yourself at Escondido’s Grape Day Park on a Saturday afternoon, be sure to walk over to that green corrugated metal building near the old train depot museum. You’ll be able to enjoy a look inside the Bandy Blacksmith & Wheelwright Shop and see instructors, students and Bandy Blacksmith Guild members at work!

I happened to be walking by a couple Saturdays ago, so I took these photographs.

Students were learning the basics of blacksmithing near one of the forges, and several friendly gentlemen were busy inside the woodworking shop building a dray wagon that will eventually hold a portable blacksmith shop for public demonstration.

You can learn much more about the Bandy Blacksmith Guild by clicking here. Perhaps sign up for a class!

The history of the Tom Bandy Blacksmith is complex and interesting. You can read about that history and learn how the present structure ended up in Grape Day Park by clicking here.

When I read the page concerning past projects of the Bandy Blacksmith Guild, I was surprised that guild members produced most of the metalwork for the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s replica Spanish galleon San Salvador. (Yes, the same ship that took part in Comic-Con last week! If you’d like to see photos of San Salvador being built, click here.)

Another past project of the Bandy Blacksmith Guild was the restoration of the San Diego Centennial Cannon, which I once photographed inside the Whaley House Museum. You can view a photograph of that historic cannon 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!

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!