Last week we were treated to a day of excellent company during an enlightening tour of Corgi Castle, the slice of paradise where Girard Gourmet owner, Francois Goedhuys, grows the fruit and vegetables served at his establishment. There was more to this experience than great hospitality, though. Our afternoon culminated in a very special lunch cooked by our host’s good friend, Michel Stroot, a man who also happens to be the former Executive Chef at the ‘Golden Door’ for over 25 years, as well as a contributing chef for the Tomorrow Project.
San Diego has so much more to offer than beach-front dining, microbrews galore, and top-notch museums. So what do you do in America’s Finest City if you’re looking to get your blood pumping?
The La Jolla Historical Society and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego are collaborating on an exhibition that pays homage to their roots. Scripps on Prospect: Evolution of Villa and Cottage that takes us through the evolution of both sites and explains why they continue to play such an important role in the community.
A year ago, the iconic view from inside Sunny Jim Cave graced the cover of the La Jolla Blue Book. It’s one of the hidden gems tucked into our toothy coastline, enjoyed by seals, kayakers and tourists on a daily basis. Yesterday, under clear skies and in 72 degree weather, I decided to take a stroll down there to see it for the first time.
Getting to the Sunny Jim Cave Store from the village is easy enough – no tricky alleyways or hidden roads. Just look for Cave Street and follow your nose. From the roadside that overlooks the water’s edge, you can hear the seals barking and grunting in and around the cave, putting on a show for the people gathered around the sandstone cliffs. Straight away, I knew going there in jeans and flat shoes was a lousy choice. The water was clear and warm; the people snorkeling, swimming and paddling around the cave looked like they were having the most fun out of everyone, including the seals.
The $4 charge to gain land access to the cave goes towards maintaining the tunnel that takes you down there – a worthy investment once you find yourself navigating a pathway the size of a dumpster. There’s a really cool, Goonies-adventure typed atmosphere as you negotiate the 144 steps down and consider the effort that went into carving this trail with picks and shovels. That’s a true story. Gustav Shultz hired people to dig the trail back in 1902. The steps and lights were added a few years later. It’s a fun walk and pretty good exercise for a Monday lunch-hour activity. I’m also pretty claustrophobic and managed to get down there and back without feeling too stressed. You can hear the water and see light pretty quickly from either end of the tunnel, which brings down the anxiety for people scared of small spaces.
At the bottom, the view from inside the cave is pretty fantastic – it looks just like the face of Sunny Jim, the old British Force Wheat mascot, who the cave is named after. I finished up by taking a stroll down the public walking trail atop the sandstone caves. The panorama from up there makes you feel pretty lucky to live and work in La Jolla. My only recommendation would be to pick a nice day and go there prepared to swim. There are masks, snorkels and fins for rent back at the cave store – next time I go I’m ditching the work clothes and renting a set.
San Diego Visitor Guide and La Jolla Beach Guide
If you are planning to visit San Diego California or if you’re already here enjoying your vacation to our wonderful city, please take advantage of our FREE, easy to use insider San Diego Visitor Guide and San Diego La Jolla Beach Guide.
Available anytime, anywhere online and on your phones through our website, mobile website and mobile Find It La Jolla app, our San Diego Visitor Guide and La Jolla Beach Guide are all you need to experience the best bet San Diego attractions and activities.
San Diego California, known for its almost ideal weather, is a fantastic city to live, work, play and vacation. Whether your interests lead you outdoor for athletic land activities or to our beaches and bays for San Diego Water activities, San Diego has activities for everyone.
Our FREE San Diego Visitor Guide is designed to help visitors find the best water, land and even air activities and attractions, including the best San Diego neighborhoods to visit and all of the San Diego Art, Culture and Theater attractions.
To help make your visit to San Diego enthralling, delightful and unforgettable, La Jolla Blue Book, the trusted guide to La Jolla California since 1937, dedicated countless hours to expand its reach to include a visitor guide for the best attractions and activities available anywhere in San Diego California.
Whether you are looking online, on the phone, on social media, or in print, we’ve got visiting San Diego covered!
And since San Diego is known for its miles of sandy beaches and spectacular coastline, a trip to San Diego is not complete without your enjoying our amazing San Diego beaches. And many of the best San Diego beaches are located in La Jolla CA and in our best La Jolla Beach Guide. Our coastline is so expansive that several beautiful beaches in San Diego are used exclusively as San Diego Dog Beaches!
When the first European, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, stepped ashore here in 1542, he was searching for gold. Instead he found something even better- what is now San Diego.
Today Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma is the most visited national monument in the United States next to the Statue of Liberty. Cabrillo National Monument commemorates Cabrillo’s voyage, but the park also plays a major role in the protection and preservation of the unique elements of the San Diego coast.
Although many people think of Cabrillo National Monument as synonymous with the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, within the park’s 144 acres are a number of plant and animal communities native to San Diego. The best way to see these is to hike the Bayside Trail, a hilly two-mile trek that winds through the coastal chaparral zone. Before you set out on your hike, be sure to pick up the park pamphlet describing the trail and the plants, animals and birds common to the area.
In addition, San Diego visitors take note that Cabrillo National Monument’s park rangers conduct park orientation tours and present programs on Cabrillo’s voyage, tide pools, nature walks and the winter migration of the gray whales.
The park is open 364 days a year from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and closed only on Christmas Day! The entrance fee is $5 for a private vehicle and $3 per person for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. Your entrance receipt is good for the entire day plus the following 6 days so you can return as many times as you like in a week.
Visit Cabrillo National Monument Online for more information.
In 1854, San Diego could barely be called a town. And Point Loma? It was a desert peninsula with one windy, dirt road traced along its spine, eventually leading to the recently built Point Loma Lighthouse.
At the time, the Point Loma lighthouse stood as a symbol for what “the city” was –a small port and fishing outpost that received just enough ocean traffic to warrant the guiding beacon of a lighthouse. Today, a look back on the history of the Old Point Loma Lighthouse offers a brief reflection of the new burgeoning city of San Diego.
On November 15, 1854, the Point Loma Lighthouse’s first keeper officially lit the beacon. Captain James Keating was a ship builder whose duties as a lightkeeper could help prevent the sea from wreaking havoc and destruction on the boats he labored over.
It was not an easy life for Keating and the other lightkeepers who followed. With a rough, unpaved ten-mile journey to and from San Diego, no fresh water, and no form of entertainment aside from month-old newspapers and twice-read books, it is no mystery why 11 different men served as the Point Loma Lighthouse lightkeeper from 1885 to 1891, and that was just a short portion of the total operational period.
Originally built by the United States government, the Point Loma Lighthouse was one of the first eight West Coast lighthouses authorized by the United States Lighthouse Board. It was designed as a four-room, live-in Cape Cod style structure and was contracted by a Washington, D.C. firm.
Built on the tip of the Point Loma Peninsula- 88 feet above the rocky Pacific shoreline- the Point Loma Lighthouse served as a warning beacon to incoming ships from 1854 through 1890. Although it was until recently nicknamed the “Old Spanish Lighthouse,” the lighthouse has no real Spanish origin or heritage.
When in use, the Point Loma Lighthouse was the highest situated lighthouse in the United States, reaching 510 feet from surf to focal plane. Ironically, it was the structure’s lofty position high atop the cliffs that obscured its light in dense fog. In 1891 the old lighthouse was abandoned for that very reason, and the official operating light was relocated to the lighthouse at Ballast Point which still operates today.
In 1913, President Woodrow Wilson declared Point Loma Lighthouse a national historic landmark, but this proclamation alone did not preserve the structure. By 1931 the lighthouse was in such poor condition due to vandalism and exposure- smashed windows, a rusted iron railing surrounding the light, and the wood siding being torn off for firewood- that many called for the structure to be condemned and demolished.
But not all were ready to dismiss the importance of the Point Loma Lighthouse. One man in particular, a Captain Fenton S. Jacobs of the 11th cavalry stationed at Fort Rosecrans, led these objectors. Captain Jacobs not only gathered public support for the restoration, but also encouraged troopers to spend their off-duty hours assisting in the work.
Today, the Point Loma Lighthouse is part of the Cabrillo National Monument, the third most visited attraction in Southern California. Visitors can tour the newly restored living quarters at the Point Loma Lighthouse, and imagine what it was like to lead the solitary life of a lightkeeper.
For more information, visit the Old Point Loma Lighthouse Online.