Tuesday, November 29, 2011

TUESDAY VINTAGE JOURNEY - SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO

OLD HOME ON LOS RIOS STREET
It's Tuesday and my bike is ready for a  ride on the Trabuca Creek trail to San Juan Capistrano.  Actually, it's a rather short ride but oh what a pleasure.  The path leads to the Los Rios Historical District.  This street parallels the railroad that  offers convenient transportation to  San Diego and  Los Angeles. Los Rios is California's oldest residential street with over 30 structures including 3 homes that were built in 1794.  It's a great street to stroll with interesting old homes and vintage decorations. 
MISSION OF SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO

  The most popular  tourist sight in San Juan Capistrano is the Mission  which was founded in 1776 by Father Junipero Serra and has the only original Mission church in California.  I am looking forward to the annual Christmas at the Mission event that features  carolers and beautiful lights. 
 
Directly across from the mission is a Starbucks which is always busy and great for people watching, connecting and working??
A trip to SJC would not be complete without a visit to the Old Barn Antiques Mall where an antique lover can get lost for hours.  Famous locals have been know to frequent the barn including Diane Keaton who was spotted by my husband.                               
JEAN AND FAMILY AT PETTING ZOO

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting my best friend who I have known since kindergarten and her wonderful family at the San Juan Capistrano Petting Zoo. They all rode train from San Diego for a visit to the Zoo.   Jean's grandchildren loved feeding the animals, riding the ponies and playing in the corn (not sand) box. 
L'HIRONDELLE RESTAURANT

I need to mention a couple of favorite local restaurants.  Ruby's diner is a favorite with families and my husband and I like the double cheeseburgers with Fit? Fries especially when we sit on the balcony overlooking the main street with all it's activity.  My brother is a big  fan of L' Hirondelle Restaurant which offers a great Sunday champagne brunch. 

CHILDREN'S AREA -  SJC LIBRARY
The  old library of San Juan Capistrano is across the street from the beautiful New Parish Church and it has a warm comfortable children's library that I love. It makes me wonder why we so often replace the old historic libraries with new grandiose structures -  especially when the real value is in the content of the library. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

TUESDAY VINTAGE JOURNEY - OCEAN WALK

VIEW IN FRONT OF THE RITZ CARLTON
SURFERS ON THE BEACH
Once again it's time for a special short journey around Dana Point.  This favorite hike starts at the Dana Point Library where I can usually find parking nearby on the street.  From here I walk across Pacific Coast Highway and enter a public gate that allows entry onto the Ritz Carlton property.  A short walk and you are on the path in front of the hotel with a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean - continue down the path  to the Salt Creek Beach Dana Point.  This is great because it offers a beach walk either direction for variety and is especially good at low tide.  There are always some surfers(not sure when they work or attend school) and an occasional boat and  a view of Catalina Island in the distance. 
HOMES ALONG THE WAY

This is one of the few times I am impressed with the lawmakers of California  because the hotels and expensive homes that have been built on the ocean were required by law to allow for public entrances and usage.
This area like so many around this area is quiet and peaceful with very few people around.  I expect it's different during the summer but for a winter retreat this area rocks.   Of course, I haven't commented about the weather but for me it's perfect because it's never too hot and hardly a day goes by when you can't go for a great hike (not to say anything about the sunshine that is almost inevitable).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

TUESDAY VINTAGE JOURNEY - SAN CLEMENTE TRAIL

SAN CLEMENTE PIER
Today is another grand day in Southern California - perfect for another Vintage Tuesday Journey.
One of my favorite walks is a San Clemente trail along the ocean that ends at the the San Clemente Pier.  I usually park free on the street near the Avenida Pico stop light on Pacific Coast Hwy.  From there, I walk toward the ocean and onto the trail.  At low tide I like to walk directly on the beach which is good hard sand for hiking. I always take time to walk out on the San Clemente Pier which  goes out in to the Pacific Ocean 1,296 feet and offers spectacular views and interesting people.  One of these days I'm going to bring my fishing pole and pretend I know how to fish just so I can sip coffee and sit on the pier for hours with the locals.  Not sure what I would do if I caught a fish but I bet one of the locals would help me. 
From the Pier you can continue walking for miles at low tide passing the former Nixon west
coast White House.
My husband and I frequently return to San Clemente for dinner at Selma's.  Ron needs to eat gluten free and Selma's serves a highly recommended gluten free pizza and the very best gluten free beer on the market which is Green's (made in Belgium and not easy to find). 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

VINTAGE TUESDAY JOURNEY - DANA POINT

TRAIL & SALT WATER LAGOON

VIEW FROM PUERTO PL.
 Todays' Vintage Tuesday Journey features a bike ride to Dana Point.  I jumped on my bike and rode the Trabuco Creek Trail to Dana Point.   As the trail approaches the ocean there is a lovely salt water lagoon which is home to 100's of birds - mainly western gulls but also numerous others like pelicans, great blue herons and sanderling.  It is also a popular bird watching site.  At the ocean I turn right and continue along Little Doheny Beach  observing some volleyball players and beachcombers along the way.   At one time this beach was  very popular with the California surfers including the Beach Boys.  This all changed when the Dana Harbor  and island was built starting in 1963 - danapointhistorical.org.   You still see surfers  but not the experts.
I love the short detour out to the end of Puerto Pl. which allows a great view of the beach and San Clemente.  From there I continue on to the Dana Cove Park and the Ocean Institute, which allows a great view of Dana Point, white water, dolphins and a lonely seal on one of the rocks.

DANA POINT

OCEAN INSTITUTE




As usual I enjoy a few moments sitting on the bench looking at the ocean before heading back.   I decided to stop along the harbor for a coffee on my way back.  The marina is home to hundreds of boats (yachts) with unique names like Stripper and Last Chance.   It is also a popular walking area for all ages and every kind of dog imaginable. 

DANA POINT MARINA
My Tuesday ended at Hennessey's Tavern for the famous 2 for 1 Tuesday hamburgers - highly recommended.