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!

Bottlenose dolphins off San Diego!

Today I headed out into the wide Pacific Ocean aboard the Adventure Hornblower. We were going to look for whales!

Sometimes you can find blue whales–the planet’s largest animal–feeding at the Nine Mile Bank, which is an underwater mountain range deep in the ocean west of San Diego.

You might recall I went summer whale watching last year. I blogged a good description of what the experience is like here.

We didn’t spot any whales on this unusually foggy, hazy summer’s day, but we observed two pods of dolphins.

The first was a small pod of common dolphins not far from the harbor’s entrance.

About four miles out of San Diego Bay we slowed down to enjoy the view of a large pod of very active bottlenose dolphins! The captain said they appeared to be travelling south together, not feeding. There were some baby dolphins, too, but I failed to capture any good photos of them.

It’s hard to photograph suddenly surfacing or leaping dolphins–at least it is for me and my little camera. I’m usually much too late reacting.

But here come several photos you might enjoy!

The cool thing about whale watching in San Diego, you’re almost guaranteed to see lots of dolphins. And if you don’t see any whales, Hornblower Cruises gives you a voucher to enjoy another free trip!

For me, heading out into the wild, beautiful ocean is an amazing experience every single time.

I got my voucher! Maybe I’ll try again this winter, when numerous gray whales are migrating along our coast!

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!

Photos of more sculptures on Shelter Island!

There’s a surprising abundance of public art on Shelter Island. Sculptures seem to be everywhere! I’ve already shared photos of most.

Amazing sculptures along the length of Shelter Island can be seen here and here and here and here and here and here and here!

As you might recall, yesterday’s blog post featured a few photographs from a walk in front of the Silver Gate Yacht Club. I looked skyward at a bronze sailor high on a ship’s mast holding a spyglass. During that same walk along Shelter Island Drive yesterday, I paused to admire three additional sculptures!

The first graces a parking entrance to Humphrey’s world-famous outdoor concert venue. I’m not sure who created the artwork. I could see no plaque, nor find any information. Part of the metal sculpture looks like an electric guitar. Or perhaps it’s an abstract face producing jagged sound waves! I hope someone out there knows more about it.

The next photo is of a small sculpture perched outside the lobby of the Island Palms Hotel.

It appears to have been created by Alber de Matteis, the same artist who created that very first sculpture I linked to. He has a distinctive style.

Lastly, the third sculpture is definitely by Alber de Matteis! According to a nearby plaque, it’s titled Timeless Wave.

Like a blue wave curling in to the earthy shore, the graceful artwork stands between Shelter Island Drive and a hotel parking lot, directly in front of the Island Palms Hotel’s Casa Del Mar Building. It was dedicated June 2009.

The plaque features a short but evocative poem that begins:

The Waves ebb and flow,
they are the breath of the ocean.
Like two hands reaching out for one another…

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.

The new Portside Pier is ready to open!

The latest addition to San Diego’s beautiful Embarcadero is about to open. The new Portside Pier, a 4-in-1 restaurant and public observation deck operated by Brigantine, is set to open this Tuesday, July 28!

I’ve been watching the construction of this unusual dockside building for well over a year. You might recall I posted some photos late last year here. The Portside Pier is located directly next to the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s historic tall ship Star of India.

This new bayside eatery replaces the much-beloved Anthony’s Fish Grotto, where many San Diegans enjoyed great seafood meals and a view of the sparkling bay for 70 years. Before it was demolished, I blogged about good old Anthony’s Fish Grotto here and here. I blogged about its demolition here!

Portside Pier features four eateries: Brigantine Seafood and Oyster Bar, Miguel’s Cocina, Ketch Grill & Taps, and Portside Coffee & Gelato. The new structure has a fair amount of outdoor seating, which I suppose allows them to open during the current coronavirus pandemic restaurant restrictions.

I look forward to walking up onto the public observation deck and grabbing something to eat in the near future!

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!

Amish in San Diego, postcards, and Mexico.

I learned something interesting yesterday.

I was downtown inside the Santa Fe Depot, waiting at the train station’s kiosk for my microwaved chicken burrito, when I noticed a stand containing postcards. I wondered, in this digital age of ubiquitous cell phone cameras, where anyone can instantly post photos to social media, who would buy postcards? I asked and received a surprising reply. Amish tourists love postcards!

Which makes sense. The Amish tend to live much more simple lives, remaining largely “in the past” and shunning many of the conveniences of modern technology. And it seems to me that in some respects this might be wise. Less distraction. More eye to eye human contact.

I’ve often wondered why I sometimes see Amish folk walking around downtown San Diego, gazing about in wonder at the tall buildings and hustle and bustle around them. It seems a very odd place for these people to be. One thinks of the Amish driving pony carts in the rural Midwest or Northeast, not walking about urban California in the extreme southwestern corner of the United States.

I was told by my friend at the kiosk that the Amish come to San Diego to seek medical treatments in Mexico. I did an internet search and found this page with some explanation.

I asked my friend what Amish “tourists” were like. He explained they tend to be very quiet, but if you initiate a conversation they are surprisingly friendly and open, and in many respects much like you or me.

Next time I see these plain-dressed folk walking about, I think I’ll smile and say hello.

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!

Photos from under the historic Cabrillo Bridge.

Few people admire Balboa Park’s historic Cabrillo Bridge from below–unless it’s a brief glimpse as they drive into or out of downtown San Diego along State Route 163.

Today I followed a dirt trail from Balboa Park’s West Mesa down to the base of the Cabrillo Bridge. I started at Nate’s Point Dog Park, descended quickly and soon found myself walking under the 40 feet wide, 120 feet high, 1,505 feet long marvel of engineering. (The dramatic main span is 450 feet.)

The very beautiful Cabrillo Bridge, which crosses Cabrillo Canyon, was finished in 1914 in time for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. The multiple-arched cantilever structure was the first bridge of its kind in California. According to Wikipedia: “An initial design for the bridge was developed by Bertram Goodhue that featured three large arches. The design was to be similar to Toledo, Spain’s Alcántara Bridge. However, Frank P. Allen, Jr. convinced Balboa Park commissioners to choose a cheaper design by Thomas B. Hunter of San Francisco that looked similar to other bridges in Mexico and Spain.”

The Cabrillo Bridge with its seven arches is made of reinforced concrete. 7,700 cubic yards of it! Inside the bridge there is 4,050 tons of steel. You might notice how the bridge’s graceful design resembles a Roman aqueduct. It has a simple, classic appearance that is both iconic and pleasing to the eye.

In 1975 the Cabrillo Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and in 1986 it was designated a San Diego Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

In a couple of my early photos, which I took periodically as I walked down the trail, you can see Balboa Park’s distinctive California Tower rising just beyond the east end of the bridge.

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.

Sunlight illuminates beauty in Alcazar Garden.

If you’ve ever wandered about Balboa Park in the late afternoon, and found yourself walking along El Prado directly next to the Alcazar Garden, you’ve probably seen the bright leaves.

I headed that way today.

For eyes turned toward the Alcazar Garden, the sunlight was illuminating great beauty.

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 few photos from the Hospitality Point jetty.

One last blog post from my Mission Bay adventure yesterday!

Loving the fresh air, I walked out onto the narrow jetty at Hospitality Point. To my left, beyond the San Diego River, I saw families and their playful dogs at Ocean Beach. To the right, I saw sailboats navigating out of the Mission Bay channel toward the Pacific Ocean. A couple was paddling kayaks nearby. Several guys were fishing from the rocks. Bicyclists also headed down the jetty.

I didn’t notice until I’d taken many photographs that the inside of my camera’s lens had fogged up! But I did capture some decent images. Hopefully you get an idea of what it’s like to walk out on the jetty on a summer Sunday afternoon.

A bright watery world stretches all around 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!

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!

Walking along the beaches of Vacation Isle.

Yesterday I walked along the beaches of Vacation Isle, which is an island located at the center of enormous Mission Bay.

Many people were out enjoying the sunshine on a summer Sunday. They sat on the sand or nearby grass talking, eating, enjoying life. All sorts of boats were in the water, including kayaks, sailboats and personal watercraft.

Vacation Isle is a kind of paradise, as you can see in my photographs.

I just walked along, taking it all in.

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 faded beauty of Marina Village.

Today I went for a long walk along Mission Bay. During my modest adventure I found myself passing through old, seemingly lifeless Marina Village.

I first visited the Marina Village Conference Center next to Quivira Basin when I was a young person–perhaps 45 years ago. I went with my father to some sort of convention or business meeting, then walked around for an hour or two as I waited for him.

Marina Village’s fresh beauty back then made an impression that I still vaguely remember. The warm wood framing airy walkways, the bright bougainvillea everywhere, the friendly-looking buildings, the courtyards here and there, sparkling water and boats nearby…

That great beauty has since faded, along with the place’s popularity.

But if you use your imagination, you might picture Marina Village with a new coat of paint, a few repairs, straightened lanterns, and colorful, fluttering banners.

My memory is far from perfect, but that is how I remember this beloved place almost half a century later in my mind’s eye.

Check out the stained glass panels on one of the buildings that I saw today as I walked down memory lane!

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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!