A Journey around Southern California...

Despite the unseasonably warm weather we experienced in California, we had a wonderful time and even after three weeks, were not ready to come home.  We did, of course, have amazing hosts in Susan and Rob and we can't thank them enough for making us feel so at home!  We even fell in love with their dogs: Ava and Spencer...I included them here because they brought such joy to us!

During the first few days (before my workshop at Studio Creschendoh), we ventured out for some shopping and yummy meals.  Along with the persimmons I discovered and blogged about earlier, I found the variety of healthy food options intoxicating.  I also found a new hummus flavor by Sabra called Rosemary with Sea-Salt...if you love hummus, don't miss this one.

The first week we headed south toward San Diego.  We stopped in Solana Beach for some shopping and spent quite a bit of time in an unusual store called David Alan Collection (Indonesian Contemporary Works of Art) where Jeff shared a "basement tour" with us.  We saw amazing pieces of carved wood and ancient statues. We stayed in La Jolla in a quaint hotel on the beach but took for granted that it would have air conditioning.  We made a note to put that at the top of our priority list when booking future hotel rooms. We especially liked the little place where we stayed in Ocean Beach near San Diego.  It had a cute courtyard with roses and a fountain. I had the best Falafel pita at Ocean Beach Kabob.  

The San Diego zoo lived up to its reputation and was right up there with Disney quality!  We were thrilled at the number of animals and the park clearly competes with the best of them in its offering of plant life.  I needed some band-aids by the end of the day and was happy to get back to a quiet room.  Did I mention that every elementary school in San Diego County was field-tripping at the zoo that day...yikes! I offer only one photo from that day...it says it all!

We visited Balboa Park and what a thrill to be there during its 100 year celebration.  I marveled at the beautiful architecture and we even got to go to the top of the California Bell Tower, which opened this year for visitors. We visited several museums and adored the Carved and Whittled Sculpture: American Folk Art Walking Sticks from the Hill Collection at the Mingei International Museum.  I share a few favorites below.

We had the best meal of the week and maybe the whole trip at The Prado at Balboa Park!  Our server, Scott, was fantastic!  He was friendly, personable and truly genuine.  We were ready to invite him to join us!  I am still dreaming of that House-made Veggie Burger!

One of the highlights was just happening upon the Giant Moreton Fig Tree.  It looks like something out of a fairy tale.  It is located in Palm Canyon, containing more than 450 palms (58 species) within its 2 acres.

Stay tuned for part two when we head up the coast through Malibu, Santa Barbara, Big Sur, Monterey and Carmel.