To start off our first Summer holiday road trip, S and I ventured down to San Diego! This was my second trip to San Diego and I was excited to explore some spots I missed last time.
We spent the night in the historic (and beautiful) Glorietta Bay Inn. The landscaping was absolutely stunning and the view of the bay was equally breath taking. Glorietta Bay Inn is located in Coronado, a quaint island within San Diego. Coronado offers a number of "beachy" boutiques and coffee shops that are all walking distance from the hotels. The beach also looked heavenly but sadly we were unable to visit it this trip. However, we were lucky enough to snag a table at Clayton's Coffee shop for breakfast. Clayton's is a popular old fashion diner spot located on Orange Ave. The food and atmosphere were exactly what S and I were looking for and the wait (about 40 min for 2 at 10am) gave us time to explore some of the shops in the area.
Our first day in San Diego was spent with friends at a retirement party but our second day was spent exploring Balboa Park!
If you're ever in San Diego, put Balboa Park at the top of your "to do" list. Not only does it offer a wide variety of beautiful gardens and interesting exhibits, but most of them are FREE as well! We found parking quickly by skipping the first lot we past (where everyone else was turning in). We then booked it to the "Old Cactus Garden".
Museums are wonderful places... but outside is always better in my opinion!
The "Old Cactus Garden" is tucked away behind the children puppet theater. Similar to almost all of the other gardens we explored that day, the Old Cactus Garden was peaceful and empty besides S and I.
Maybe I should have broken in my new sandals before wandering around Balboa Park... whoops.
After visiting the Cacti we decided to explore the Japanese Friendship garden. The landscape quickly turned from cacti to palm trees as we walked through Balboa... and then suddenly these Moreton Bay Fig trees came out of nowhere! Memories of playing on similar trees in Santa Barbra came rushing back as I ran down the walkway and started climbing down the hill to play in the roots. I definitely had a Fern Gully moment.
If you're visiting Balboa Park and specifically looking for the Moreton Bay fig trees find the wall of palm trees first (by the international houses). Any trail through the palms will take you to the lower pathway that leads right (up) to the roots seen above.
Pictured here is the Organ Theater near the entrance of the Japanese Friendship garden. If the gate is closed and organ music starts, it's not a recording! Find a cool shady seat on one of the side walkways and after a song or two the gate will rise allowing you to view the musician and the large organ inside.
Top: Spell Bryon Bay Pandora Blouse
Shorts: Zulu and Zephyr Cuffed Boyfriend Short
Sandals: Urban Outfitters
The Japanese Friendship Garden (below) was the only thing we paid to see in Balboa Park. If you've followed our adventures for a bit you've probably picked up that S and I adore fish! I had heard that the Japanese Friendship Garden had its own Koi fish pond so we had to check it out (and it did not disappoint!). The overall feel of this garden was peace and serenity. Only a few other people were wandering about and everyone was simply enjoying the scenery (quietly). It was also one of the cooler (temp wise) areas we visited in Balboa Park despite the summer sun.
Growing a Bonsai tree is officially on my gardening bucket list after seeing the variations in the Japanese Friendship Garden. The one above is an olive tree!
As expected, the Koi pond was the highlight of our trip. The water was unbelievably clean and the landscaping around the pond was extremely well taken care of.
Lastly we went into the botanical gardens. I've seen images of it all over pintrest but it seemed like they were doing some remodeling when we were there. The lilies out front hadn't reached maturity yet so instead of the large lilly pads I was hoping to see we were staring at planter boxes. To the right of the botanical garden was a cacti/drift wood themed craft fair that was PACKED and most of the individuals leaving the fair were wandering through the botanical gardens when we arrived. Because of this we were all packed pretty tight inside the building you see below. Despite the size, you could barely move around and it was near impossible to get a picture of just plants. I guess we will have to come back when the lillies are fully grown and the summer crowds have died down!