I enjoyed a stroll through East Village this morning. It was my opportunity to take a few pics of the Padres Opening Day Block Party just north of Petco Park.
Dozens of tents and booths were lined up on either side of J Street. Kettle corn, barbeque on the grill, baseball souvenirs, assorted nonprofits and salespeople and radio shows…all the usual suspects were there. And, of course, baseball fans!
Whenever I walk past the Sixth Avenue playground, located among pine trees in the northwest corner of Balboa Park, I wish I were a child again. To romp, climb and swing through this crazy colorful jumble would be a ton of fun!
This morning I headed out to enjoy a special event in Balboa Park: the Japanese Friendship Garden’s Cherry Blossom Festival. Unfortunately, lots and lots of people were in line at the front entrance, and my feet didn’t want to stop. So I kept moseying along, pointing my nose toward the park’s Gymnasium, where I believed the big annual Rummage Sale was being held. This massive fundraiser is put on every year by the Thursday Club, and attracts thousands of eager bargain-seekers. Well, what do you know? The only thing going on in the Gymnasium was a basketball game. Strike Two. Okay, I thought to myself, I’ll just keep on going and have a leisurely walk…
Wham! Suddenly in front of my eyeballs loomed a gigantic banner–the Rummage Sale was being held this year across Park Boulevard, in Balboa Park’s Activity Center, a building I’d never visited. In fact, I’ve seldom walked about the park’s Inspiration Point area, except to visit the Veteran’s Museum. My restless feet were once again redirected…
The handsome Spanish Colonial Revival style Balboa Park Administration Building (which originally was headquarters for San Diego’s Naval Hospital, built in the early 1920s) lured me forward into uncharted territory. Several people leaving the Rummage Sale were heading down the stairs. So up the stairs I went, around the quiet building and…WOW!
I’d stumbled upon a corner of heaven.
After a bit of research, I learned this beautiful and seldom-visited area is called the Balboa Park Administrative Courtyard. One website calls it a San Diego hidden gem, and I must concur. The place was stunningly beautiful–and completely empty. Nobody was present. Not a soul. On this warm Saturday, the rest of Balboa Park was crowded with people.
The park-like courtyard and three nearby buildings–the old Navy chapel (now the Veteran’s Museum), the administration building, and an old medical library and auditorium building–used to be part of a sprawling Navy Hospital campus. Today the modern hospital is located just east of the courtyard, down in Florida Canyon. You can see a small part of it in the first photo. Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) is also known as Bob Wilson Naval Hospital or Balboa Hospital.
I’m glad I randomly walked in a new direction! Adventures and discoveries await in unexpected places!
I revisited this beautiful place in late 2014…
Two more pics from September 2015. Still as beautiful and peaceful as ever!
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I was surprised during my walk today to hear some exceptionally good music from two young performers near Seaport Village. Joshua Randle and his friend were playing extremely polished music with outstanding vocals and providing great, energetic entertainment for everyone passing by. I have no doubt that these guys will become superstars!
My walk through Balboa Park last weekend ended at the Desert Garden, located east of the Natural History Museum just across Park Boulevard. I was able to get some cool cacti pics before my camera’s batteries finally fizzled.
Here are some photos that I modified using good old GIMP. It’s fun to goof around randomly and produce different effects!
While I recognized many different types of cactus, I sadly don’t know many names. Sorry about that.
Here are even more modified cacti photos from late 2014!
Balboa Park is a great place to see lots of street performers. It’s also a fine place to spot true believers. Lining El Prado on any given weekend, people who avidly believe in all sorts of religions, philosophies and political ideas hope to make converts of passersby. You can check out their posters and pamphlets, ask a question, or just walk on by. Being in southern California, it’s mostly laid back and good-natured.
I walked down El Prado yesterday and got a few pics: