Thursday, August 28, 2014



    It has been four years since I started my blog, and I look back with fond memories of the day I came up with the name My Vintage Journeys. I was tagging along on a shopping trip in Minneapolis with my daughter, Anna, and her friend Natalie—they were in search of the “right dress” for a coming event. We were in Anthropologie which is an impressive boutique-like store with an underlying mission “to create and seek products that inspire the imagination.”
     Somehow casually walking around, without a shopping agenda, and looking at the creative displays of clothing, accessories, and home decor lead to my inspiration. I don't exactly remember a specific display, but surely the vintage flair of the shop had something to do with it.
     Each one of the over 180 Anthropologie stores worldwide is designed individually with wood-planked floors and vaulted ceilings. I guess that's why the stores are intriguing. Each one is different. Their buyers travel the world in search of unusual decorative objects, furniture and textiles. They visit flea markets in Paris, remote villages in India, and obscure art studios in Turkey.
     Since discovering them in 2010, I rarely pass one of the stores without walking through to enjoy the latest artistic displays and styles. It's kind of like looking at Pinterest. I rarely purchase anything, but it sure is fun to look.
                                                         * * *
     Now that I had the name for my blog—I needed to start the writing. The inspiration for this came from the Jet Blue “All-You-Can-Jet” pass that we had just purchased on a whim. The pass allowed unlimited travel on Jet Blue for one month, beginning in early September of that year. My first post, “Travel Challenge #1,” basically covered the test of putting it all together. As I recall, with all of the connections and 57 cities to choose from, it was far from easy.
     In looking back I managed to post on each of the places we flew to: New York; Bermuda; Fort Meyer, FL; Boston; Burlington, VT; Raleigh, NC; and Chicago, where the trip started and ended. We were living in Minneapolis at the time so Chicago was the closest city that Jet Blue flew to.

     Although hectic, we enjoyed the trip and would have signed up again the next year if it were offered, but it was not. Like so many things in life, there may never be a second chance. My father use to say, “Do it while you can.” I think he was right.
                                                    * * *
     Jet Blue has brought back reduced versions of the pass in more recent years, but the original generous AYCJ Pass that was offered in 2009 and 2010 has been retired.




Wednesday, August 13, 2014


     I think I have mentioned before that this place called Coronado is a little bit surreal at times. One of the unique things about this place of 26,000 are the Sunday night Concerts In-The-Park that are held throughout the summer.
     Spreckels Park, located in the center of Coronado, is the setting. On Sunday nights it is full of music lovers, many of whom like to dance as well. There are of plenty of children who seem to congregate around the playground. There are no seats provided and no vendors selling food. Rather, just about everyone brings their own fold-up chair, and picnic. Groups gather around the center stage which is a picturesque old-fashioned bandstand. Many of these people have been gathering together with friends and family and sitting in the same location for years. Getting the right spot to this popular event isn't easy, and the locals know they must arrive about 3 pm to set up their chairs to reserve their favorite place. They return later for the concert.
     Ron and I decided to walk to the popular Rockola Concert this week. We felt like we were somewhat “with it” because we were carrying our newly purchased Walmart folding chairs. They even had a case so we could swing them over our shoulders. By the time we arrived, the park was full so we set our chairs up at the outer edge facing the stage. The sound was great, and the people-watching couldn't have been better. The music began at 6 pm and by the time they stopped playing, after at least four encores, it was close to 8.
We drove by the park about an hour later, and there were still many people socializing on this perfect summer evening, enhanced by a supermoon. Some might have been waiting for the traffic to subside due to the backup to get onto the Coronado bridge to return to San Diego and beyond.
     The concert series was established in 1970. Through the years it has been the venue for some well-known groups including The Kingston Trio, which reunited here after 20 years, in June 1989. Nick Reynolds (1933-2008), one of the founding members, is a native and graduate of Coronado high school (class of 1951).
     In my opinion, attendees are a little bit classier than the group you might observe at an average picnic someplace in America. Even the food and wine (yes, wine is allowed in the park for this event) looked a bit more upscale. If you need a food suggestion, refer to the local website “There's a Newf in my Soup” that gives a weekly culinary theme centering around the music for the evening. You can also have pizza or KFC delivered to your "spot," providing you fly a balloon and specify a color so they can find you. 
     Spreckels Park was established in 1927. It was one of many generous donations made by John D. Spreckels (1853-1926) to Coronado.The bandstand was built in 1982 with contributions from the community. It is a beautiful parkland to enjoy at any time, and is home to dozens of species of trees including the Torrey pine, magnolia, eucalyptus, queen palm, and many more. There are over 150 species of trees growing on Coronado—a tree lover's paradise. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

"BEST PLACE IN CALIFORNIA" --Richard Henry Dana (1835)


One of my favorite hikes is the Bayside Trail, located at Cabrillo

National Monument on the southern tip of the Point Loma

peninsula. It is a 1.86 mile loop that offers a spectacular view of the

ocean, Ballast Point, Coronado, downtown San Diego, and Tijuana,

on a clear day.

It is also the view that Richard Henry Dana (1815-1882) enjoyed

when he arrived at Point Loma at sunset on March 13, 1835. He

was a common seaman on the Pilgrim, which was one of many

cattle hides. He lived and worked at La Playa, an area of beach just

north of Ballast Point. This is where they cured the local hides and

stored them in large barns before loading them on to ships to return

to Boston.

Dana is author of the American literary classic, Two Years Before

the Mast, which is based on the diary he kept at sea and was first

published in 1841. This book not only describes in detail the life of

a seaman, but it provides one of the very few detailed accounts of

early days in California.

On this voyage Dana spent four months in San Diego—longer than

anywhere else along the way. His famous book includes many

wonderful depictions of San Diego in 1835, including the


For landing and taking off hides, San Diego is decidedly the best place in California. The harbour is small and land-locked, there is no surf; the vessels lie within a cable's length of the beach, and the beach itself is smooth, hard sand, without rocks or stones. For these reasons, it is used by all the vessels in the trade, as a depot.”
                                                                          * * * 
. . . blessed with a climate, than which can be no better in the world.”
                                                                         * * *
. . .This was a small adobe building of only one room, in which were liquors, 'dry goods.' West India goods, shoes, bread, fruits and everything, which is vendible in California.” (Description of the grog shop.)
                                                                          * * *
. . .The small settlement lay directly below the fort, composed of about 40 dark brown looking huts, or houses, and three or four larger ones white-washed, which belonged to the gente de razon [upper class].”(View of San Diego from the Presidio.)

                                                                          * * * 
            “The mission is built of adobe and plaster. There was something decidedly striking in its appearance: a number of irregular buildings, connected with one another, and disposed in the form of a hollow square, with a church at one end, rising above the rest, with a tower containing five belfries, in each of which hung a large bell, and with very large rusty iron crosses at the tops. Just outside of the buildings, and under the walls, stood 20 or 30 small huts, built of straw and of the branches of trees grouped together, in which a few Indians lived, under the protection and in the service of the mission” .(Mission San Diego de Alcala)

Dana returned to San Diego 24 years later and wrote about the

many changes in Twenty-Four Years After. This was then added to

all subsequent editions of Two Years Before the Mast. The entire

book is available free on line at

In addition to his writing, he became a well-known lawyer

, politician and a champion of the downtrodden from seamen to

fugitive slaves.

In San Diego, the Dana Middle School in Point Loma and RH Dana

Place, which is a short street in Coronado, bear the name of this

famous man. This is a limited honor compared to Dana Point where

he made only a few short stops on his journey. Dana Point honors

him with a replica of the brig Pilgrim at the Ocean Institute, a nine-

foot statue in their harbor and a city name.

    Currently there is a proposal,spearheaded by Dan McGeorge of

Dan McGeorge Gallery, to build a bronze statue of Dana. It would

be placed along RH Dana Place in Coronado and portray Dana

gazing over to Point Loma where he worked and lived. The site

where he actually lived in Point Loma is now part of the Marine

base. More information is available at the gallery website.

Here is what Dana had to say as he departed from San Diego for

the last time in 1859:

A last look—yes, last for life—to the beach, the hills, the low point, the distant town, as we round Point Loma and the first beams of the light-house strike out towards the setting sun."


By Carl Oscar Berg