Hotel Del Coronado and Coronado Island

Coronado Building
For the last excursion during the holidays 2013, we went to Coronado Island and Hotel Del Coronado. With a population of about 24,000, Coronado lies on a peninsula connected to the mainland by a 10-mile isthmus called the Silver Strand. Close to downtown San Diego, the lengthy Coronado bridge will also take you to the island. Enjoy the beautiful views of the harbor from the bridge as you are driving over, but drivers take a peek only once in awhile, it’s a long way down.

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Murrieta Street Light Show

Check out this street in Murrieta. Most of the houses on the block are sync’d to music and elaborately decorated. Stroll along or view it in your car. A must see for the holidays.

Directions
Directions to Bainbridge Falls from San Diego- Take the 15 North. Exit on Winchester Rd and go right (north on Winchester) Pass Nichols and make a right on Willows. Take Willows up the hill, tune into 88.1 on your radio, and make a left on Bainbridge.

Directions to Bainbridge Falls from L.A. County, Orange County and Inland Empire- Take the 15 South or 215 South. Exit Murrieta Hot Springs, and go left (East on Murrieta Hot Springs.) Make a right on Winchester (South on Winchester) and a left on Willows. Take Willows up the hill, tune into 88.1 on your radio, and make a left on Bainbridge.

Newport Beach/Balboa Island Holiday lights 2013

One of many places to see the best lights in  Southern California is Newport Harbor and Balboa Island.

The annual Holiday Boat parade runs December 18 and ending Sunday, December 22, 2013. The
parade starts off Bay Island at 6:30 pm and finishes at the same site at approximately 9:00 pm each evening.

For more info: http://www.christmasboatparade.com/

Take the ferry across from the Balboa Peninsula and walk along the houses to admire the lights on each side.

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The ferries run in threes, three cars at a time, three ferries at a time, and about three minutes to get from one side to the other.

Balboa Peninsula and the Fun Zone can be seen from the water on one side of the ferry while the beautiful Newport Bay can be seen from the other.

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If driving into Balboa, you can also cross the bridge to the Island from Coast Highway.

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The bridge into Balboa Island, all decked out for the holidays

Stroll along the sidewalk that spans most of the island to view the beautiful homes and their impeccable decorations.

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The beautiful decorated homes on Balboa Island was a winner

Newport has an annual “Ring of Lights” contest  where homes are awarded prizes in different categories.

Newport Lights
If you look closely, this home had garland all through the house including the upstairs.

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An annual favorite, this houses spews snow every few minutes.

You can also see homes  across the bay with this beautiful home filled with millions of lights. A definite contest winner.

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Don’t just wait for the holidays to visit Balboa and Newport, there are plenty more things to do in both places. More later.

Huntington Beach

 
Took the coast home after a business meeting on a crisp and bright December day. Cruising through Huntington Beach I pulled over to take a few shots of the beach and pier. As you will notice from these pics the beach is abandoned unlike summer where Huntington is the hub of beach goers from the inland areas.

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Known as Surf City, it is home to 10 miles of sandy beaches and has a downtown area right across from the pier with plenty of shopping and dining. It is also known for it’s large surf contests so you can expect surf shops to be abundant in the downtown area and that they are. Jacks on the corner of PCH and Main St. has been there for years and features all the big surf brands. http://www.jackssurfboards.com

Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach has a long strand of sidewalk that stretches for miles with a view of the Pacific and Catalina 26 miles across the sea.

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The city also has a 365-acre Huntington Central Park filled with recreational activities: horseback riding, walking paths, a sports complex, and even a disc golf course. The restored Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve and Huntington Beach Wetlands is home to more than 200 bird species and is also a great place to take a leisurely stroll.

Named one of the country’s top 10 Dog-friendly places, Dog Beach is the perfect place to spend a few hours with your pooch. It spreads over a very large area and there is plenty of room for your dog to play.

For more info: http://www.dogbeach.org/

I have also been to the Wiener dog races in the Old World Village which holds monthly dachshund races and a weekly competition during September and October. Schedules are available on the Weiner Dog Store website. http://www.oldworld.ws/dachshund-races.html
Very funny to watch.

Huntington Beach is a great place to visit to shop, play in the water, walk your dog, bike, stroll, etc. For more info visit: http://www.surfcityusa.com/

Marina Del Rey

Marina Del Rey is a seaside community in Los Angeles County, California with a pretty sizable harbor and a capacity for about 5,000 boats. It features a

Fisherman’s Village is a super quaint little area with colorful and Cape Cod looking buildings.  It features  shops and restaurants and rental places for boats, kayaks, and SUP’s.   Fishing trips are also available at :http://www.marinadelreysportfishing.com/

I visited in November and it was pretty dead save for the outdoor restaurant at the end and a lively courtyard in the middle.

The courtyard was surrounded by other eating establishments, shops, and was filled with people enjoying an intimate concert of really good funk music.  The band was high caliber and  although it was a super gray ugly day,  people were dancing, drinking wine, and just enjoying the bay side.

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With the bright buildings, cobblestone paths, and the lighthouse, it felt like a stroll through New England, not Southern California.

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I will make a point of coming here is summer where I can pay in the sun, unlike this day which was on the verge of pouring down rain.

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I found it interesting that most of the residences along the harbor were either condos or apartments, no houses.  There are a few hotels along the harbor for any budget. A few are right on the harbor and a few have a beach right out front.

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Only a few miles away, you can visit  the eclectic Venice Beach and close to that is the Venice canals.

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There are also plenty of places to stroll on each side of the harbor and you can take your dogs too!

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All in all a great place to go for the day to take you away for a little while.  Visit this web site for more information.

http://www.visitmarinadelrey.com/