Friday, January 14, 2011

Sunny San Diego ... sort of!

I just read that 49 of the 50 states currently have snow on the ground. Amazing! Since I know that a lot of you do not LIKE the white fluffy stuff, I thought this might be a good time to invite you on a "mini-mind vacation" and share pictures from our recent vacation in San Diego. Those of you in the ONE state without snow (Florida) ... you can come along too!

We took over 700 photos, but don't worry! I edited heavily!

Day One - We spent the previous night in Albany so we would only have to wake up at 3am instead of 1am. Everything went smoothly at the airport and we were soon winging our way westward.
I always request a window seat because I don't like to miss anything ... like these beautiful mountains somewhere out west. I wish airplanes came with little map/gps things that told you exactly what you were seeing from the windows!

It's a long story, but I ended up booking the wrong hotel by mistake - which turned out to be a wonderful blessing. The Island Palms was located on Shelter Island in the beautiful San Diego Bay. We enjoyed the steady parade of sailboats, yachts, cruise ships and naval vessels. Oh yes ... and a few crazy kayakers out in the middle of it all!

Our room was spacious and so comfortable with a little kitchen area so we could whip up tasty treats. We also had a nice balcony overlooking the Bay.

The view from the backside of the hotel was beautiful as well - overlooking a yacht club. You will notice that the sky is grey ...

Day Two - "It never rains in San Diego ...." was the word. Well the word was wrong! It POURED all day Saturday! What do you do?

Well... we spent the morning relaxing and re-styling Sodie's hair. That killed about 3 hours!

Then we headed to a nail salon for a manicure ...

The afternoon found us all reading and enjoying holiday drinks at Starbucks on Coronado. Unfortunately, none of us thought to take pictures so you'll just have to imagine it!

Day Three - Still raining. We began the day by attending church with our daughter, Katie, and her boyfriend, Deinno.

For lunch, we just had to experience our first "In-N-Out" burgers. Yum!

This is one of my favorite photos from the entire trip - taken at the Birch Aquarium.

This photo was just asking to be taken!

We ended the day by watching the sun set from the Mt. Soledad veteran's memorial. Set high on a hill overlooking the city and the coast, the open 360 degree view was amazing in any direction.

Day Four - The sun finally came out!! We began our day with a lovely drive north along the coast. Yes, I know we could have traveled much more quickly if we'd taken I-5, but ...

1) I've never been a fan of highway driving and now that we've spent almost 3 years in Keene Valley, where 3 cars is considered traffic, none of us were excited about 300 cars per square foot!

2) We thoroughly enjoyed driving through all of the little seaside towns and catching breath-taking ocean vistas.

One of my favorites stops was La Jolla ... I could have stayed there all day!

We got a kick out of the dozens of seals that were sunning themselves on the beach!

Our ultimate destination was Legoland. CorrieAnne is into Legos right now and so it was great fun to see all the thing that can be built from them - including this life-size Volvo!

And ... New York City!

Day Five - We began our day with a 2-hour Harbor Cruise of the San Diego Bay.

Views of downtown San Diego from our cruise ship

After our cruise, we toured the USS Midway aircraft carrier. Wayne always wanted to be a pilot ... this may be as close as he gets!

The rest of our day was spent preparing and enjoying a delicious Thanksgiving feast which we shared with Deinno and Katie. (The rest of the food is on the counter!)

Day Six - SEA WORLD!!!

Synchonized jumping always makes me smile!

The dolphins can do it too!

The girls enjoyed a "dolphin encounter" during which they were able to feed, touch and help train one of the Sea World dolphins

I feel blessed that we can give the girls experiences like this!

We ended the day in Old Town San Diego, enjoying a yummy Mexican dinner at Cafe Coyote. These gentlemen serenaded us while we ate and the girls were surprised to realize that they knew several of the Spanish songs from their Spanish classes at school!

Back at the hotel, Shamu makes a perfect TV watching buddy ... notice the tail coming out from between CorrieAnne's legs!

Day Seven - We visited the world famous San Diego Zoo

We all fell in love with the pandas. Apparently a lot of people feel this way since the panda exhibit had the longest lines in the park. Upon returning home, I discovered that the San Digto Zoo has a "panda-cam" so you too, can watch these adorable creatures chew on their bamboo by the hour.

Finally a warm day!!! We spent the afternoon on one of the most beautiful beaches in the United States ... Coronado Island.

It had been over 3 years since I'd taken a stroll in the surf. It felt great!

The sunset and views of Point Loma from Coronado ... the end of another wonderful day

Our Thanksgiving dinner! Having celebrated a few days early, we found ourselves "up a creek without a paddle" as most restaurants were closed. We finally found pizza and wings ... yummy!

Day Eight - Time to head home. We saw so many wonderful things and yet left feeling like we could have enjoyed another week or two! Our last "treat" was the amazing view of the San Diego area from the airplane. (This is why you should always ask for a window seat!)

Shelter Island - Our hotel was located directly behind the little fishing pier that you can see almost in the middle of the island.

My favorite view ... all of San Diego in a window! The large island in the foreground is Coronado. On the right, you can see the bridge that connects it to the mainland. Downtown San Diego is visible almost in the center of the photo. The left side of Corondo is the naval air station. Directly across the bay from NAS North Island, (on the left side of the photo) is "our" island - Shelter Island. And the top left of the picture shows the Pacific Ocean and the coastline that we drove along ... ahhh .... so many good memories!
All of that traveling and sight-seeing makes a little girl sleepy. Cruising at 30,000+ feet altitude, Shamu makes a good pillow for a nap too. Night Night!