Tours, travels, hikes and journeys!

On Feb. 20th, I toured the Marston house in the north end of Balboa park.

Although I wasn’t fond of our main tour guide (more about that later), I’m glad I went to see it. The house was built in 1905 for George Marston, his wife, Anna Gunn Marston and their five children. It was built by William Sterling Hebbard and Irving Gill in the Arts and Crafts style. It is settled on 5 acres with lawns, formal gardens and canyon gardens. The house is 8500 square feet with 6 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms. It has patios, porches and a sleeping porch. It is unusual in that all the main rooms have thresholds you have to step over to get into and out of the rooms, so the maid wouldn’t spread dust into the rooms while sweeping. The walk in closets are quite different for that era and have windows in them to let in circulation between the closet, bedroom and hallways. It had solar heating, many built in shelves, benches and cabinets.

Mary Marston donated the house to the city in 1987 and lived in it until her death way past the age of 100. Two other daughters lived past their 100’s, too. The house was designed to support good health and hygeine. Many of the rooms are made with old growth redwood paneling. Although the upstairs bedrooms used that same wood, they were painted over to help cut down on mold, to promote the family’s health.

George Marston was a civic leader, owner of the only department store in San Diego, a philanthropist and quite the conservationist. He rallied support in San Diego to keep the coastline for private owners vs. business development. He sat on the board that started the Public Library system in San Diego. He Founded the Historical Society (Now the History center), founded the San Diego branch of the YMCA, helped promote and guide Balboa Park, donated the land for Presidio park and built the museum there, gathered donations and donated himself to create Torrey Pines State Reserve, and also Anza Borego Desert State Park.

Here are pictures of the outside of the house:
View from the north
24 north side of house

View from the west, including the entrance sign and a great close up of the tree bark :)
1 sign

2 tree bark

3 west side of house

And the view from the East
23 east side of house

The Carriage house and gardens are on the east side of the house.
19 gardens carriage house

The study had incandescent light bulb lamps and many built in bookcases
22 studio

This is a photo of a bedroom, and a walk in closet with built in shelves and dressers, and the window vents. Notice how even bedrooms have interior windows for venting to the hallways.
15 bedroom

10 closet venting

12 interior venting windows

14 closet with air vent window

The bathrooms were unusual in the large number of them. the handrails placed for safety and a sitz bath tub in addition to a regular tub
13 bathroom

The Dining room was on the west side of the house with patios off to the west and large windows looking out. There were beautiful built in pieces in this room as well.
5 dining room built in

4 west patio

There was a butler’s kitchen that was next to the dining room and then the kitchen was to the east of that, to buffer noise from the kitchen. The butler’s room had a box in it that held various buzzer buttons that sounded throughout the house to summon people. The Pantry was also vented to allow air flow and cut down on mold. The kitchen cabinet doors were open under the sink to prevent mold.
9 pantry air vent

6 buzzer box in butlers kitchen

7 kitchen sink

8 pantry

There are porches and sleeping porches off some of the upstairs rooms.
18 sleeping porch overlooking formal gardens

17 porch

The stairs and hallways were quite wide and spacious.
21 wide hallways

11 stairway and bench

20 wide stairs

Several of the upstairs bedrooms are being used for various 100 year anniversary of the 1915 Exposition and the 1935 exposition memorabilia and information about the architects and what Balboa park looked like at that time. The two tour guides governing this part of the house were quite informed and helpful.
16 built in exposition artifacts

I don’t normally complain or put forth criticisms on this blog but our main guide was quite confusing. He spoke as if the people involved were alive right now, so it took awhile to understand what he was saying. He did not like questions and almost exclusively stuck to his main spoil, and in pointing out that the original wall paper and furniture of the house wasn’t there anymore and had been replaced with traditional Arts and Crafts styles he lauded the change, stating that Mrs. Marston would have gone for the gaudy Victorian wall paper and furniture styles of the day. That seemed to me an odd statement to make where a person is showing a historic home. I personally would have appreciated seeing the house as it was originally, but understood that perhaps throughout the years with different organizations care taking the home, with varying attention to care, perhaps it led to the original furniture either being given away to family members or lost to age or disrepair.

This home is large even by modern standards so it must have been huge in those days. So, if you get a chance to tour this house, I recommend you take the time to do so. I’m grateful for all that George Marston did to preserve areas of San Diego.

Yesterday was the Free 3rd Tuesday Museum Day at Balboa Park, in San Diego, CA, so I headed over to go to a couple museums. I had hoped to go to the Japanese Gardens, too, but had saved it for last and oddly, they closed at 3:00 pm. So I missed that. I love just walking around Balboa park, and for regular readers of this blog, you’ve seen pictures of my various wanderings there. Sometimes I just go and sit against a tree and read a book. Other times I find various events happening. Yesterday I went into two museums and walked through Alcazar Garden.

The first museum I went into yesterday was the Mingea International Museum. So far, of all the museums I’ve toured, this is my favorite. Yesterday the main exhibit was a lovely photo and display of Black dolls made between 1850-1940, for black family and community and also for the white charges of the African American women. These photos and dolls were from the collection of Deborah Neff. There were photos of white children dressed up and holding these dolls and black children dressed up holding these dolls. I attempted to take pictures of some of the dolls but the lighting was too dark for my phone camera and my knowledge of how to use it. Flash wasn’t allowed in the museum. I loved the attention to detail in the faces and the clothing of those of the dolls clothed, There were dolls depicting all ages, from young to mature. I could feel all the love that had been put into the making and also cherishing of these dolls over the years.

Exhibition of Black Dolls Mingea

The other main collection was called Three on the Edge- Architecture of local architects Kendrick Bango Kellogg, James T. Hubbell and Wallace Cunningham. All three were influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright. There were photos, models and a film to display their work. I didn’t take any photos, sorry. I especially loved James T. Hubbell’s work and am going to look into traveling to his community. I love how rounded, whimsical and earth based his work appears, and resonated with it more than the other two architects who use more modern, glass and concrete styles. Their buildings are certainly beautiful and striking but I just related more to the sculptured and rounded look of Hubbell’s work. Here is a link to his foundation at Santa Ysabel, CA.

In wandering through Mingea, I did take a few photos. There were displays of old toys, beautiful carved wood furniture, sculptures and bowls, even beautiful bowls made from leaves. I attempted a photo of that but it didn’t turn out well.

Here is a photo of a baby doll house from 1750. The detail in the rooms, figures and furnishings was amazing.

1750 Baby Doll House Mingea Museum

The piece next to the doll house was this very magical piece called “Palace for Wednesday”, made by Alice Hudson in 1981. It was displayed on a revolving base so all of it could be seen. From top to bottom, there were so many rooms, figures, and actions depicted. The fabric used was very delicate and otherworldly. A young woman viewing it with me explained that she often comes to visit it and thinks of it often. I was grateful to have experienced the moment with her.

Alice Hudson 1981 Palace for Wednesday Mingea

In art class I had loved creating linoleum block prints and working with batik so was stunned by an entire wall of batik tiles from 1900-1925. They looked like art creations as they are, and not just as a tool to create art.

1900 to 1925 Batik tiles

There was a display about beads from different countries and different eras. I took some pictures to use as inspiration to make some necklaces but the photos didn’t turn out clear enough to share.

The next museum I visited was the San Diego Art Institute. Their main exhibition right now is called “San Diego Keeps Her Promise: Balboa Park at 100″. There were new works made from various media to commemorate the Balboa Park Exposition Centennial, representing past, present and future. One of the displays explored the Nudist Colony that used to be in Zorro Garden at the park. There was a small room display showing funny caricatures depicting how the US stole Panama from Columbia. My favorite piece in the main exhibition was called “Balboa Stories”. Brian Goeltzenleuchter and Charmaine Banach interviewed people asking them about stories from their visits to Balboa Park. They then gathered scents from those places, mixing up similar scents and placing them in bottles. The bottles were color coded, and you could smell them and then refer to a map to see where the scent came from and a line from their story. There was a stack of maps so you could take one and follow the scents if you chose to.

Balboa Stories Art Institute 100 Year exposition exhibit

Balboa stories 2

Lastly, I walked through Alcazar Garden. It is presently under renovation but there were a couple plots planted for spring. This is a picture of a lovely fountain in front of one of the garden plots.

Alcazar Garden fountain

I hope you have enjoyed my walk through Balboa park and a couple of its museums. If you are local, go check it out!!!

I’ve been on my present “leap” journey since Nov. 1, 2012, when I leaped out of Seattle, WA, on faith, thinking I’d be settled somewhere in a month or so. Meanwhile almost 118 weeks later, I’m still “on the road”. I’ve stayed in some homes/hotels/b in b’s for a night, some for a weekend, some for weeks, some for months. I’ve been in OR, No. CA, So. CA, UT and AZ.

Along the way, I’ve always found beauty, something to catch my eye, fill my heart. So here are some more sights I’ve gathered along my walks in my present neighborhood in San Diego, CA.

Many people use more desert plants here and right now there are many succulents flowering. I love the difference in color, texture and shape.

Succulants flowering 9

Succulant flowering 1

Succulant flowering 2

Succulant flowering 7

Succulants flowering 3

Succulants flowering 4

Succulants flowering 5

Succulants flowering 6

Succulants flowering 8

I walked by several poinsettia bushes. I’ve kept them before, after the holidays, as house plants but never seen them as bushes.

Pointsetta bush

One house had a very whimsical but random display of little children’s toys in both their front “flower” beds.

Flower bed play ground

I noticed these lovely garden walls, and enjoyed seeing the textures, and the different shapes.

More borders

Interesting border

It’s always interesting to me to see how people choose to decorate their yard, what kind of adornments they choose, what paths, what plants and colors, etc. I realize that it is a long time investment, so there must be great thought put into the decisions. These two yards are interesting to me. The one seems to speak of the race between the tortoise and the hares and yet there seems to be a chorus of howling wolves to announce the winner, all set amidst the weeds:

The tortoise and the hare judged by the wolves

And this one just had a random, VERY random collection of statues all around the flower bed and behind it was another eagle collection surrounding their American flagpole.

The collection

Then there were these two very different plants that seemed so dramatic and pretty to me. The one reminded me of a hula dancer.

Pretty plant

Hula palm

I walk my host’s dog and have been extending our walks longer and longer and finding new streets to add to our stroll. There is a park at the bottom of our street and it has a dirt path that leads north through a wild area, and onto a street. For a brief moment, I can forget I am in the city and imagine I am in the middle of a forest :)

Neighborhood wild space

Hope you have enjoyed my present neighborhood and the fruit of my walks. If you look with eyes to see, you can find beauty everywhere! Thanks for joining me.

I enjoy walking south on the Pacific beach/Mission Beach boardwalk then walking back north on the beach. I happened to time my walk today to catch the full sunset. So I decided to take a series of shots to show the various stages of the sunset. It is always fun to not only watch the sunset but also watch the folks lined up on the boardwalk and the beach. I love that people actually take the time to pay attention to the setting of the sun, watching in reverence as the day ends and moves into nighttime.

Hope you enjoy sharing these special moments with me!!!

sunset 1

sunset 2

sunset 3

sunset 4

sunset 5

sunset 6

sunset 7

sunset 8

sunset 9

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!


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!

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 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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