Tours, travels, hikes and journeys!

Last Sunday afternoon I headed over to Old Town. I wanted to see the 64th Annual Las Posadas, the reenactment of a centuries old Mexican celebration of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. Unfortunately, with my limited phone camera understanding, the darkness and other factors, my pictures of it turned out awful. But I do have some good photos of Christmas decorations spread around the area.

The procession didn’t start until 5:00 and I got there at 2:30 so I had plenty of time to wander around. Here is a great art car that I spotted on my way to the Old Town Historic Park area.
Art Car

I started in Fiesta del Reyes, an area with shops, restaurants, and a small stage for music. The online schedule had listed a children’s choir and carols but instead there was more traditional Marachi music playing. I enjoyed stopping to eat a small bag of freshly roasted nuts, sitting and listening to some music and wandering through stores.

Here was a sculpture welcoming me into the area.
Sculpture seranading
And this lovely display in front of a small cafe and a gift store.
Fiesta de Reyes decorations 1
I ended up having a lovely conversation with a woman whose ancestors had lived in the old homes in the Historic park. I have long felt connected to this place so it was wonderful to meet this woman who had grown up hearing stories of her ancestors settling this town.

Next I headed across the street to Bazaar Del Mundo Shops, where there were several trees in stores and in the walkways. At the entrance to the shops was a pretty nativity scene.
Nativity scene
Bazaar Del Mundo trees 4
Bazaar Del Mundo trees 1

Bazaar Del Mundo trees 3

Bazaar Del Mundo trees 2

After leaving the Bazaar del Mundo shops I headed back to the Historic Old Town park and found a great Santa on a sleigh and a sweet Christmas tree.
Old town historic park 2
Old town historic park 1

I was led to the Immaculate Conception Church, which I had passed before but never entered. I took a moment to light a votive candle in the front of the church, then I went around the side and found the door open so went inside to find this beautiful altar painting and to pray for light and love to finally cast out all darkness in our world.
Immaculate Deception church darkened photo
To the side of the church I found this sweet Mother Mary altar.
Immaculate Deception church Mother Mary Statue

Finally, I ended up back at the Historic Old Town park to wait for the Las Posadas to begin. I had a little time left, so I went and grabbed 2 great street tacos. Yum!!! Before the procession started, they set up luminarias around the plaza. So here’s a picture of those.
Old town historic park luminarias

The procession itself was lovely and lively. Mary was on a donkey, Joseph led the way and Mary and the donkey were accompanied by a few other figures. There was a large group in the procession, carrying candles, some singing, as they accompanied the procession from near the old print shop, around the plaza and back to the east end of the plaza. Every once in awhile, Joseph would stop and call out to a proprietor of an inn, having a conversation looking for lodging. The conversations were a combination of tongue in cheek and reverence for the sacredness of the journey and quest for a place for Jesus to be born.

Obviously, it was 2014, in the US, among a reenactment but at times I would crane to hear whether there was indeed room at a particular inn, excited to be part of this sacred journey of faith and Mary and Joseph following the guiding star to the place where Jesus was to be born. When they were welcomed to the stable, I had tears in my eyes :) A woman dresed up as an angel, sang a Christmas song, and then a local choir sang a few more songs. I didn’t stay on for the following pinata or bon fire, but it looked like a lovely evening with many families in attendance.

Hopefully you can come and enjoy this great event next year!

Many blessings to you and your loved ones for a joyous and peace filled Holiday season, no matter how you celebrate the holidays, or which ones you celebrate!

Last Sunday I needed to get out of the house so I headed first to Pacific Beach. On my walk I walked past this Santa under the pier, setting up his pictures with Santa space.

Santa under the pier Dec 7 2014

On the way back, I noticed the tree set up at the end of the pier.
Tree on the pier pacifc beach

After leaving the beach, I wasn’t ready to head home yet, so I headed for Balboa park. I had attempted to go to the Christmas Nights festival the Friday before, something I had wanted to do for years, but when I got there, parking seemed to be impossible and/or pricey, so I gave up and headed home that night. I figured there would still be Christmas decorations up though so I thought I’d just stay on this “hunting for Christmas decorations” quest.

The first decorations I noticed were this Santa, his sleigh and reindeer on the lawn approaching the fountain in front of the Museum of Modern Art.
Santa and his sleigh Balboa park

From there I headed over to the Globe theater and found the Dr. Seuss Christmas Tree.
Dr Seuss Christmas tree by the globe theater

I had read about the Poinsettia display in the Botanical Garden and found several lovely displays throughout the building.
Entrance to the Botanical garden balboa park

Poinsetta Botanical garden 2

poinsetta botanical garden 4

poinsetta botanical garden 5

poinsetta close up botanical garden 3

After leaving the Botanical Garden building, I headed over to Spanish Village and all the artisan studios. Throughout the village there were artistic trees, unusual trees, and various displays.
Spanish Village 1

Spanish village 2

Spanish Village 3

Spanish village 4

Throughout my time there, I took some breaks to get a snack and sit and eat it and read, then I’d walk around some more, then walked over near the playground to sit and read some more. It was a lovely sunny day and it felt great to be outside. Last time during the Christmas holiday, I was in Campo, CA and there were few Christmas decorations, so I am enjoying seeing Christmas lights and decorations in my neighborhood and all the places I go.

My last stop was at the Organ Pavilion, with an organ concert taking place. The stage was filled with a huge decorated Christmas tree.
organ pavillion christmas tree 2

I hope you’ve enjoyed this Christmas in San Diego post. I’m sure there will be more before the month is over. I’m curious about how Old Town decorates for Christmas, wondering if the skeleton mannequins still remain prominent there or if that was just for around Halloween time.

Enjoy your holiday season and let the lights light up your heart and bring you peace!

katelon:

I’ve posted a few posts of Balboa park so thought you’d enjoy this post by a San Diego blogger, showing photos of the original Balboa park 100 years ago. Enjoy!

Originally posted on Cool San Diego Sights!:

Photograph of the Panama-California Exposition's La Puerta del Oeste (west entrance) taken from Cabrillo Bridge. Dome and bell tower of the California State Building rise into the San Diego sky.

Photograph of the Panama-California Exposition’s La Puerta del Oeste (west entrance) taken from Cabrillo Bridge. The dome and bell tower of the California State Building rise into the San Diego sky.

Balboa Park’s big Centennial celebration is approaching fast! The year-long event kicks off with the opening of December Nights on Friday, December 5th. Later this month, the celebration will continue with a grand New Year’s Eve procession and concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion!

The Balboa Park Centennial marks the hundred years that have passed since the opening of the Panama-California Exposition in 1915. While a large open space park near downtown San Diego (originally named City Park) was established in 1872, Balboa Park didn’t really take shape until many years later. Many of the buildings along El Prado which visitors enjoy today owe their existence to the development of the Panama-California Exposition, which covered 640 acres and promoted…

View original 1,085 more words

A little over a week ago, during my two day visit to Old Town, San Diego, I explored Heritage Park. It is located on the Northeast side of Old Town on Juan Street. It’s 7.8 acres are focused on the preservation of San Diego’s Victorian homes, presently hosting 6 houses and 1 church, moved to it’s location. A few of them are open for touring, one is a gift shop/tea house, the church is available for use for weddings and other events and is open for tour and the rest are closed right now for restoring inside. It is all free to the public.

As you approach the buildings, Temple Beth Israel is on the right. It was built in 1889 as San Diego’s first synagogue.

Tempe Beth Israel Synagogue 1889

Heading east, on the right, is the Burton House, built by Henry Guild Burton,in 1893.

Burton House 1893

Next we come to the McConaughy house, built in 1887 by John McConaughy. It is now a gift house and a tea house. Since I was visiting on Halloween, to my delight, 4 women were sitting in the tea house dressed up as witches :)

McConaughy house 1887

Next to the McConaughy house, on the north side of the park, is the Christian House, built in 1889 by Harfield Timberlake Christian.

Christian House 1889

Traveling west we come to the Bushyhead House, built in 1887, as a rental, by Edward Wilkerson Bushyhead.

Bushyhead house 1887

The Shermon- Gilbert House, the most ornate of all of them, was built in 1887 and lived in until 1971. It was originally built by John Sherman.The Gilbert sisters lived there, bringing international performers to entertain there, including Artur Rubinstein.

Sherman Gilbert House 1887

The last house I came to is the Senlis Cottage, which houses the information center for Heritage Park. It was built in 1896, by Kate Sessions, the creator of Balboa Park, for her employee, Eugene Senlis. This cottage is typical of homes built for employees in that it had no electricity, water, sewer, or gas. (mmmmm…employees seem to have a history of poor treatment huh?!)

Senlis Cottage 1896

There is so much to see and enjoy in Old Town, San Diego. Here are two other posts of mine about Old Town. Come and see for yourself!

http://katelontjeffereys.wordpress.com/2014/11/04/old-town-san-diego-ca/

http://katelontjeffereys.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/colorful-characters-in-old-town-san-diego/

Old Town, San Diego, CA

I grew up coming to San Diego almost every summer. We mostly stayed at the beach, which was fine with me as I spent most of my time fearlessly out on my heavy canvas raft, out beyond the waves. At night I’d sit next to the sea wall and listen to the waves. Occasionally we’d go shopping in Mission Valley, go shopping in La Jolla (Mom loved to shop), go to Balboa park and the zoo, or go to Old Town to eat and look around.

This time I’ve spent in San Diego has taken me all over the county, north and south, east and west, into many neighborhoods and outlying areas. It’s been interesting to delve deeper into this county. I realized early on that it wasn’t my home, I wasn’t here to settle, like I had spent much of my life dreaming about, but rather, I was here for some reason, still undefined.

So, as part of my ongoing exploration of this place, I went to Old Town on Oct. 31st and back again on Nov. 3, to explore the history there. Yes, the area is filled with many restaurants and shops, tourist sites gone crazy, but it is also filled with much history. It provides a place to look into the past and imagine San Diego before tall buildings, shopping malls, freeways, and to see the hopes and dreams of the pioneers that saw the potential here and committed to making it happen.

So……come walk with me through Old Town and let me share with you some of the wonderful old buildings and sights:

Let’s start with the Mormon Battalion. It is on the NW corner of Juan and Harney Streets. This is a very delightful interactive museum staffed with Mormon Missionaries, old artifacts and new technology to give you a visceral experience of the story told. It is like mini-Disneyland. The story tells you of 500 men and 32 Mormon women who joined with the US troops, to travel 2000 miles on foot, the longest march in US Military history, from Council bluffs, Iowa to San Diego. They started on July 16,1846 and arrived in Jan. 1847, without having to engage in any battles, although the mission had been to fight the Mexican/American War.

1 Mormon Battalion

Next, we head over to the Denby-Pendleton House, walking south on Harney Street. It is a prefabricated wood house, shipped from Maine, around the Horn of South America, to be built in San Diego in 1853. It is one of the oldest wooden homes in San Diego. It is next to a Creole Restaurant I’d like to try, and behind the Whaley house.

2 Denby Pendleton House 1850

Traveling south and turning left at the corner, heading east on San Diego Ave., we walk by the Whaley house, built in 1856, considered the oldest brick building in San Diego. This house is considered haunted and is open for tours. Price is $6 per adult. All the rest of the places I visited are free.

3 Whaley House

Next we travel east past the intersection of Conde Street and onto the diagonal path of San Diego Ave. to the El Campo Santo Cemetary. This was used in 1850-1880. Many of the graves ended up under San Diego Ave. during it’s paving. Identification of those buried there is still underway. In the pictures you see the plaque at it’s entrance, then the graves. You’ll notice the marigold flower petals left on the graves from the Dio de los Muertos ceremony that took place over the weekend, celebrating the dead.

4 Campo Santo Cemetary 2

4 El Campo Santo Cemetary

Crossing the street and heading west on San Diego Ave. we walk past some stores and restaurants and this wonderful old fashioned Zoltar game. Since I loved the movie “Big”, I couldn’t help but take a picture of this. Just standing there, Zoltar invited me to step forward and have my fortune read :) Maybe next time when I go back and tour the Whaley house :)

5 Zoltar

We cross Conde street, heading west and pass the stores and Whaley house again, and now pass the pretty Immaculate Conception Church, which began construction in 1868 and was dedicated in 1919.

6 Immaculate conception church

Passing the corner of San Diego Ave. and Twiggs street, we enter into the area with more historic buildings, some museums now, some stores. We pass this colorful Dio de los Muertos altar, set up in front of the El Patio restaurant.

7 Dio de los muertos altar and skeletons in front of El Patio restaurant

Next, as we near the Old Town San Diego Historic Park, we see the Sessions, Building, built in 1929 for Milton P. Sessions, a well known San Diego landscape architect. This is now a candle shop.

8 Sessions building Candle shop

May’s Saddle and Harness shop building is next, built in 1869 by Charles E. May. It was moved to New San Diego and another one was built here in 1872. It is a candy shop now.

9 Mays Saddle and Harness Candy shop

Still heading west, we come to the Colorado house, now the Wells Fargo Museum, with a stage coach, and other banking and mail artifacts. It was built in 1851 by Cave Couts and used originally as a hotel.

10 Colorado House and Wells Fargo Museum

Behind the Colorado house is the La Casa de Machado y Stewart house, built in 1835, considered the oldest adobe home in San Diego. I took two photos of the inside and one of the south side of the home.

11 La Casa de Machado y Stewart

11 Inside La Casa de Machado 2

11 Inside La Casa de Machado

Two buildings down from the Colorado House we come to the Machado de Silvas Building built in 1830. One picture is of the home, another is of the Restaurante casa Commercial and another Dio de los Muertos altar that was in the back.

12 The Machado de Silvas Building 1893

12 Dio de los muertos altar inside Resaurante casa Comercial The Machado de Silva bulding

12 Restauante casa comercial The Machado de Silvas Building

Next is the US house, built in 1850 and used as a general store. It burned in 1872 in a big fire and was restored. It is now a shop filled with various tin items.

13 US house

We now round the corner, heading north on Wallace Street, passing the Robinson Rose House which is now used as a visitor center, and pass by two more dressed up skeleton mannequins in front of the Barra Barra Saloon.

14 More skeletons in front of rBarra Barra Saloon

We round the corner again, heading east on Calhoun Street and come to Casa de Bandina, built in 1829 by Juan Bandina, sold to Alfred Seely in 1869. He added a second story and turned it into the Cosmopolitan Hotel. There are still a few rooms there to rent and a restaurant.

15  Cosmopolitan Hotel

Next to the hotel is the Seely Stables. The photo shows a Concord Stagecoach on the left and a Wells Fargo mud wagon on the right, used to take mail and passengers from San Diego to Julian. It is an Abbot-Downing Celerity Wagon.

17 Coaches in Seely Stables

And lastly, as we cross the street, we come to La Casa de Estudillo, built in 1827 by Captain Jose Maria de Estudillo. This is the most famous Old Town adobe. This was mistakenly known as “Ramona’s Wedding Place”, from Helen Hunt Jackson’s novel. I loved the lay out of this house with the courtyard in the middle. I suppose I’d get tired of having to walk through various rooms though, to get from one to the other :) One photo is of another Dio de los Muertos altar and the other is of the home.

16 La Casa de Estudillo

16 Dio de los muertos altar at La Casa de Estudillo

Well, that concludes our walk and tour. I hope you enjoyed it. You might enjoy reading my other post with various photos of other costumed skeletons and sculptures http://katelontjeffereys.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/colorful-characters-in-old-town-san-diego/. Thanks for joining me today.

I’m not sure when it all started, but yard and front door decorations for Halloween have become a big thing for people now. In my childhood, all each home had was a porch light left on, and that told us we were welcome to trick or treat there. We were greeted with folks dressed in their normal clothes, bowls filled with loose candy or homemade treats.

Today it has gone commercial with people’s lawns and front doors lighted and decorated up as if it is Christmas. Someone’s marketing idea has made a fortune for stores across the country.

It is still a delight though to see all the children and now dogs, too, dressed up, donning a different persona for the night. A sugar fest for sure, with hermetically sealed high fructose corn syrup sweets, but at least it carries children door to door to front doors through the neighborhood, doors they might not ever knock on otherwise, building community for a night.

I walk my present host’s dog and took these pictures on our late afternoon and evening walks. These are all taken with my phone camera, so some are not the greatest, but at least you get a glimpse of one neighborhood’s Halloween sights :) Hope you enjoy them!

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11 lights

1 lights

2 lights

3 lights

Last Saturday, Oct. 18th, I decided to head over to Old Town, San Diego, CA, in the late afternoon. I hadn’t been there for over a year and hadn’t really explored it much since 1999 when I was in San Diego after my Mom died in Oct. 99, in AZ.

I headed to a part I’d never been before, near the corner of Taylor and Juan Streets. First I headed into Fiesta de Reyes, a newer development with a restaurant and shops. Music was playing and the place was crowded. These are pictures of the fun characters at the entrance and scattered near the stage.

Old town oct 18 2014 d

Old town oct 18 2014 c

Old town oct 18 2014 b

Old town oct 18 2014 a

Then I headed over to Bazaar del Mundo, and found this metal quartet as I headed toward the shops. Another time I am going to go back and explore the museums and historic buildings. This place is rich in history, but is also filled with restaurants, hotels and shops to entertain and delight tourists and residents alike. Come enjoy!

Old town oct 18 2014 f

katelon:

This is so amazing so wanted to share!

Originally posted on Cool San Diego Sights!:

School kids create fantastic chalk art on Little Italy street for 2014 Festa event.

School students create amazing chalk art on a Little Italy street for the 2014 Festa event.

2014 Festa takes place tomorrow! The extremely popular event, this year celebrating its 20th anniversary, will be held as usual on the streets of Little Italy, a neighborhood just north of downtown San Diego. I’m excited!

Why?

The Gesso Italiano chalk art! Several city blocks will be overflowing with absolutely fantastic artistic creations! Perhaps you remember my blogs posts about the astounding chalk art at 2013 Festa. You’ll find them here, here and here.

Today a small army of artists began to work on a several block stretch of bare asphalt in San Diego. Tomorrow over a hundred thousand people will crowd Date Street and admire the finished masterpieces.

One block of Date Street has been reserved just for school kids! They were hard at work when I walked past today mid-afternoon!

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Last night I went for a walk along Pacific and Mission Beach. I was so grateful to have timed my walk to include the sunset. Hope you enjoy the photos I took with my old school Samsung Gravity phone :)

Sunset 1

Sunset 2

Sunset 3

Sunset 4

Sunset 5

Sunset 6

OK, OK….it may look like I never go anywhere else, but I do :) I love Balboa park…lots of free parking, green cushy grass, always something going on, beautiful buildings and gardens, lots of shade.

Yesterday I headed over to go to the Palestine Festival at the International cottage houses. This is the first festival I’ve been to there. It is wonderful to be a part of the culture and camaraderie, especially in the midst of the horror going on there right now.

There was an amazing Oud player, a man who plays all over the world, even at Carnegie Hall. I apologize for not getting his name. He played many songs and had a drummer accompanying him, playing one hand drum that sounded like a tabla drum but seemed to play like a dumbek. I loved hearing many of the people in the audience joining in, singing in their native language. How wonderful for them to have this festival to bring them all together. And how great that the park celebrates a different country each weekend.

There was a beautiful “fashion” show, showing new and vintage garments from various cities. It was quite interesting to see the difference in garment design that the various areas inspired. There were a few dance performances and some powerful poems that were read, too. I filmed one of the dance performances but unfortunately somehow it didn’t end up saved. I am going to get a new phone soon and hope to learn how to use it better. I’m also going to get a camera with a video function, so I’ll HAVE to get familiar with that so I can bring you better photos and some videos, too.

So, unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos of the festival and didn’t get any videos either.

After leaving, I headed over to the Bonsai display in the Casa del Prado. I made some stops on the way, so I got there 5 minutes before they closed. I felt a little self conscious, as people were packing up, so I quickly walked around taking these photos. I was disappointed to find out they weren’t in the best focus but at least you can get an idea of the work. I love how magical this horticulture art is and how ancient some of these plants manage to be. One of these plants is a real fig tree and produces tiny fig fruit. It reminds me of the books I read as a child featuring the Lilliputians, or my fascination with fairies.

Bonsai 6

Bonsai 1

Bonsai 2

Bonsai 3

Bonsai 4

Bonsai 5

After leaving the Asian Horticultural display, I wandered around looking for the Carousel. I had read a favorite blog of mine “Cool San Diego Sights”, and read about it and had never seen it. So I wandered north past the kiddy train by the zoo and finally looked at a map and found it. Here are two photos of it.

Carousel 2

Carousel 1

After leaving I went to sit with my feet in the fountain for a short while. It was fun to watch the children in the fountain swimming and having fun.

Finally I headed back toward my car, looking for a great tree and shade to sit under so I could read. I took the time to walk in and check out the Old Globe theater and took this picture of the back side of the Museum of Man, which is my favorite building in the park.

Back of San Diego Museum of Man

Hope you have enjoyed the afternoon with me. Soon I plan to purchase a day pass for museums and explore them more thoroughly, perhaps even check out the available 3 D films on White Sharks, Dinosaurs and the universe! Come check it out yourself!

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