Driscoll’s Wharf

Driscoll’s Wharf

It seems like there is an imaginary line between Driscoll’s Wharf and its neighbor, Point Loma Marina. Both are part of what San Diego calls the America’s Cup Harbor, but that is where the similarity ends.

Point Loma Marina is a new addition to San Diego with its metropolitan design and homey feel.  Cozily nestled below the foothills of Point Loma, it is only minutes to the main bay and features a few shops, restaurants, a fully-stocked tackle store, plus boat rentals are nearby.  There is a small grassy area between the buildings for you to relax and enjoy the atmosphere.

Point Loma Marina in the distance

I wrote a blog on the Point Loma Marina a few years back but didn’t walk as far as Driscoll’s Wharf.  Being on a parking time limit, we didn’t get a chance to explore as far as we would have liked.  This time we strolled along the sidewalk all the way to the end which is nearer to the main San Diego Bay.

An Imaginary Line
You could visually see where one area ends and where the other begins by the buildings alone.   As you enter Driscoll’s wharf, you leave behind fresh, award winning, and modern architecture, only to arrive at old faded buildings that looked abandoned.  Paint was chipping off and all the windows were closed.

Right where the blue building ends starts Driscoll’s Wharf

Buildings in need of a paint job

Continue reading “Driscoll’s Wharf”


Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument

Since I have lived in Southern California for a good portion of my life, I have taken many a drive out to the Cabrillo National Monument.  It sits at the very end of Point Loma which is right at the tip to the entrance of San Diego Bay.  It is also the perfect place to show your out-of-town guests spectacular views of San Diego.

High up from this point of view, you will see many sights including most of the bay, the skyline, Coronado Bridge, and the Hotel Del Coronado.

There are two lighthouses with one of them lower on the ocean side and the other higher up on the hill.   From the hillside you get a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean, and the tide- pools below.   Even after living here awhile, I still find this one of my favorite drives

But it used to be free and now it costs $10.00 per carload to get past the main gate.  Still not a bad deal if you share the cost with a few people.  It is a “worth it” drive.

There’s an Actual Monument
When I have visited here before, I was mostly intrigued with the view, the lighthouse and the tide pools.   One time we drove down there for the heck of it, and it happened to be the day that North Island had an air show.  The planes flew right over us, and it was quite an unexpected treat.  Another time, we only went to the tide pools, another just to have a picnic, and another to check out the lighthouse.

Since I would be writing about it, I paid closer attention this time and I was quite surprised to come across a 14-foot statue on the grounds overlooking the entrance to the bay.   Oh, duh, this was the “monument” part of the Cabrillo National Monument, I had never noticed it before.

The statue of  Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo  stands tall over the very bay that he first sailed into on September 28th, 1542.   Cabrillo National Monument was established in 1913 to commemorate his voyage and discovery of the bay.

At the visitor center they run a film that gives you all the details of this historic voyage, along with exhibits and books that are for sale.

The Views
Once you have visited the statue and had your fill of the expansive harbor views, head up the hill a little to see the  Old Point Loma Lighthouse, a San Diego icon since 1855. The lighthouse is now a museum and visitors can enter and view some of the living areas.

Close by, at one of the highest sections, there is a great observation deck that gives you a view of the Pacific on the ocean side part of Point Loma.   You can leisurely sit there and enjoy the ocean breezes or watch over as the whales make the journey south during their annual migration.

Just after the check in station as you are coming into the park or just before you leave, there is a turn-off road that takes you down to sea level and to the tide pools.

I have been to the tide pools at optimum viewing times when the tide is low, and you get to see all sorts of interesting sea creatures. When I used to come here, parking was never a problem but now it is lucky if you could find a space.

It is well worth it though as this is a prime spot to explore the tide pools and the rugged coast is a spectacular sight. Bring your camera because there is that other lighthouse by the tide pools and on clear days you can see the Coronado Islands.

The only downside is the tide pool closes at 4:30 pm.

So, think of taking a drive out to Point Loma, it is a must see if you are visiting San Diego and a fun staycation for us who live close by.

Be sure and visit the statue as I feel bad about not seeing it before. I can’t be too hard on myself though as those amazing views are like a squeaky wheel making it hard for you to pay attention to anything else.

However,… there is so much more!

Story and photos: Debbie Colwell

Diamond Valley Lake

Diamond Valley Lake

I’m not sure whether to categorize this trip as a Sunday Drive or Off the Beaten Path because it was actually both.

It WAS a Sunday drive and it WAS off the beaten path so I guess I will call this one “A Sunday Drive off the Beaten Path.”

We heard about this lake when our staff activity arranger JoJo, fished there as part of a special nighttime fishing derby. At night you couldn’t see how big this lake really was so it was time for a day trip!

Far off of the beaten path and by that I mean the 215 Freeway, the drive takes you quite a few miles until you finally reach the entrance to the lake near the city of Hemet.

The lake is actually a reservoir and no swimming is allowed. I used to think they didn’t want our yucky bodies in the water, but in fact reservoirs have various safety reasons not to allow swimming.

However, to cool you off, The Diamond Valley Aquatic Center sits right below the hill that takes you up to the lake and is equipped with a water slide, water fountain sprayers, and plenty to do for the whole family to cool off on those warm valley days.

Nearby, the Western Science Center was built and features exhibits or artifacts found during the construction of the lake.

Diamond Valley Lake (also known as The Diamond), is one of the largest man-made reservoirs in Southern California. It has a capacity of 800,000 acre feet, 260 ft deep, and with over 4,500 surface acres. It holds enough water to meet the area’s emergency drought needs for at least six months. The lake features three earth filled dams located on either side of the valley and one on the north side.

A Big Lake with a Big View
On this bright and sunny Sunday, the air temperature was a perfect 82 degrees with mild winds skimming across the water surface.

So what is this lake/reservoir all about, what is there to do? That is exactly what we wanted to find out.

We drove up to a sizable parking lot and then headed to the only building in sight which turned out to be home to a store and where you can sign in to rent boats.

We didn’t expect that they would have anything to rent but they did in fact have two pontoon boats available. This was too much boat for the two of us so we decided to just walk around and view the lake.

The rental prices aren’t bad and you can check out a few different fishing boats or the eight passenger pontoons. I suggest getting reservations, though, as they are scooped up pretty fast.

Parking for the day is $9.00 and a fishing access permit is $6.00.

There is Nothing like a Lake

The actual lake/reservoir took me aback as I was surprised on how large it was! It spanned as far as you could see and had a beautiful blue tint. Continue reading “Diamond Valley Lake”