Monday, May 11, 2009

An Englishman in San Diego - The Home Stretch

Once we had moved to the Sheraton Hotel and Marina for my Wife's conference, my daughter and I were alone during the day. I decided it was time to relax and not try to do quite so much each day. The first day (the seventh of our vacation), we had a lazy day at the hotel, watching TV, reading, playing and so on. We went down to the hotel lobby for a while, so I could take advantage of the free Wi-Fi there (it was $12 per day in the room, despite the entire marina area having a free Wi-Fi service, which the Sheraton blocked).

In the evening, once my Wife had finished for the day, we headed out to San Diego's Old Town district. This historic area has lots of restaurants, many of them Mexican, and many interesting places to see, especially in its Old Town State Historic Park. The park contains period buildings, some in their original locations and some that were moved in. Old Town also contains The Whaley House, supposedly the most haunted house in the United States. We were in the area to soak up the atmosphere and eat Mexican food.

The next day (Tuesday), my daughter and I spent time at Balboa Park. This beautiful and expansive park contains 15 museums and many other attractions. Many of the buildings in the park were originally built as temporary structures for the 1915-1916 Panama-California Exposition, and have since been rebuilt. Upon arriving there, we discovered that the day you visit is extremely important, if you have specific things you want to see. I had heard about the narrow-gauge railway and the carousel, and hoped to take my daughter there, but upon arrival, I found that they were only open on Sundays. A local Mom I spotted there suggested that my daughter might enjoy The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, so that is where we went next. This museum, with its many interactive exhibits, was a lot of fun, and I highly recommend it. After we ate lunch, we headed for the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater, which we discovered closed on Mondays and Tuesdays! Still, the park has a lot to offer and it is worth spending the entire day there.

My daughter and I spent the day before we were due to leave, relaxing in the marina area and the hotel. We had breakfast at Papanani's Deli at the marina, where we discovered the antidote to the hotel's expensive offerings. The food was delicious and the people were friendly. They put on children's TV for my daughter and I had unblocked access to the marina's free Wi-Fi!

In the evening, the family went down to Seaport Village for our final San Diego dinner, this time at Buster's Beach House & Longboard Bar. This fun bar and restaurant has a Hawaiian theme, and the food and beer are both great. I ate (and thoroughly recommend) the Pork Luau and Macadamia Nut-Crusted Chicken. I enjoyed Firehouse Pale Ale, brewed by firefighters who use the proceeds to support the widows and families of firefighters and to provide equipment to local firehouses.

That wonderful meal marked the end of our San Diego vacation. By six the next morning, we were reluctantly on our way to the airport, for the smooth and trouble-free flight back to New Jersey. Thank you San Diego, for making us feel so welcome.

I hope you have enjoyed this little series documenting the wonderful time we had in San Diego. Are you familiar with the area? Would you like to visit? Please do post comments or questions - I would love to hear from you.


Pazcual said...

Hi. I found ur blog a couple of weeks ago, and same ur twitter and i really like both. It's quite interesting to see how a british lives in the USA, it's something curious. Keep writting like that, it's really great, funny and interesting.



Graham said...

Thanks so much for your kind words, @Pazcual - I'll do my best!

Wish I could read Spanish - then I could take a look at your own blog! Sadly, I've never done well with languages.