Nov 10, 2013

San Diego Attractions, California

Sunny San Diego.. One of our favorite places in Southern California. You can grab a beach towel and head for the beaches, laze around building sand castles or sit in the amphitheater and watch a whale, dolphin pet show or just gaze in wonder at underwater sea creatures. And if that is just not enough you can go from viewing underwater creatures to viewing pandas, exotic animals and birds from around the world at the San Diego Zoo. How about visiting The Old Town of San Diego which will take you back in time. Sharing these adventures with you in our fabulous San Diego road-trip.

Old Town, San Diego

Old Town is a state owned Historic Park and is considered the birthplace of California. Located just off highway I 5 ( exit Old Town ), sign boards guide you to the park. The address is 4010 Twiggs St and the intersection is San Diego Ave. We found free parking just opposite the Old Town sign board behind the Immaculate Conception Church. Parking is limited.

The Market place has tons of stuff to buy, restaurants, a leather Depot, Toby's candle soap shop. Visit the many museums and experience Old Town during yester years.

Tuna Harbor Park & Maritime Museum, San Diego

A quick stop on the last leg of our San Diego tour took us to The Maritime Museum and the Tuna Harbor Park. The Maritime Museum is located at 1492 North Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101. 

Metered parking is available along the docks for 12 mins to 2 hours. Carry coins. Take pictures at the "Star of India " ship that was a three mastered bark and one of the oldest iron hulled merchant ship from Great Britain. This was used early as California's maritime commerce, circum navigating the earth 21 times stopping in San Francisco in 1873 and 1883 before being purchased by the Alaskan Packers Association. This is registered as one of California's registered landmark. Tickets can be purchased to go on board.  


star of india san diego
Star of India
HMS SURPRISE:

Take a picture of the HMS Surprise. It is a detailed re-creation of a 24-gun British frigate.


hms surprise san diego
HMS Surprise

TUNA HARBOR PARK:

Location: Tuna Ln, San Diego, CA 92132. It is located after the USS MIdway Museum on N. Harbor Dr.
Metered Parking is available here. Enjoy views of the USS Midway. Take pictures of the tall statue of the Sailor kissing the Nurse. The park gets its name due to the commercial fishing industry of San Diego. 


Unconditional Surrender San Diego
This above architecture is at the Tuna Harbor. Reviews about this classic piece of art history has been positive and negative on the internet. I do not know which story is true, however if you are in that area it is worth checking it out.


Sea World, San Diego

One Ocean Shamu Show
Get the family together and go and have fun at the fun, amusement theme park that features orcas, dolphins, pets, aquariums, dolphin viewing, rides, and much more. Located in beautiful sunny San Diego this is a very popular attraction which will require a day to see the shows and the exhibits. 


Blue Horizon

"SAVSMICH THOUGHTS
  • Get there early. 
  • The lines get long at the bag check. NO food is allowed except for water. 
  • Lines for popular shows open about 15-30 mins before the show starts. Get there early and grab your best spot. 
  • Some shows have the splash zone. If you intend to get wet, carry ponchos and an extra pair of clothing\ shoes and protect your Cameras and other electronic gadgets.
  • Various stalls are located within the park for a quick bite.
  • Don't miss Shamu the Orca show.   
  • Check the flamingo exhibit. Carry coins if you would like to purchase a tray to feed them.
  • Feed the sea lions. View them from a close distance and enjoy their company when feeding them. They are super cute and have an attitude when you have food in front of them. They are really cute to hear. Watch for the birds surrounding them who vie for the fish in your hand.
  • Catch the Blue Horizon show. Much more appealing and attractive with dolphins, birds, aerialists and dancers performing to music. 
  • Check the timing before you book your tickets. Some weekends ( specially in summer have extended hours and fireworks ).
  • Have toddlers and kids? I highly recommend strollers. It is a blessing to have it around as they may tire after walking the long distances within the park or if they fall asleep after a few hours. 
  • Click on THIS LINK for Know before you go details to Sea World.
  • Take pictures/video to capture the memories.
  • Enjoy and have fun !!
Soak Zone at Shamu Show
POPULAR SHOWS TO SEE:
  1. One Ocean
  2. Blue Horizon
  3. Sea Lion Live
  4. Pets Rule
  5. Shamu Rocks ( Night show viewing with lights and sound )
  6. Dolphin Point
  7. Penguins Encounter
  8. Turtle Reef
  9. Shark Encounter
  10. Sesame Street Bay of Play for Kids
MUST SEE ANIMAL EXHIBITS:
  • Shamu underwater viewing
  • Polar Bear
  • Sea Lions
  • Flamingos
  • Penguins
  • Overhead Shark walkway
  • Beluga whale
  • Walrus
  • Tidepool Area
Here are some of our pictures from our trip in August 2013. 

Flamingo Exhibit

Dolphin Encounter

Sea Lions

Pet Show
Exhibits
Exhibits

















Before you exit, remember to take a pic near the entrance with "Sea World" to add to your list of places visited \ diary.

San Diego Zoo, California

Enjoy viewing animals, birds, reptiles from the Amazon forest to the Australian outback koalas. See elephants, giraffes, pandas, meerkats, sun bears, experencce elephants, polar bears, apes, cats hippos and exotic birds, tapirs, jaguars, pronghorn, hornbills, porcupines and much much more. All at the San Diego Zoo located in Southern California.
Pandas

Aug 8, 2013

Mark's Steel Art Exhibit, San Francisco

A leisurely walk on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California got us wondering about the array of what looked like miniature structures against the city's skyline. Since we had ample time, we decided to take a closer look.

art sculpture
Mark di Suvero, Figolu, 2005-11;
art sculpture
Another amazing scupture
art sculpture
Mark Di Suveero's steel sculpture


crissy field exhibit
Mark di Suvero, Will, 1994
art sculpture
Mark Di Suveero's sculpture
Located in Crissy Field, San Francisco. This is Mark Di Suveero's Art Exhibit. He is an American abstract expressionist sculptor. Not that much int art, they looked just like some steel logs attached together. Only when I viewed them closer did I appreciate the intricate work involved in putting them together. 

It will be on exhibit for a year till May 26th, 2014. For more information about this internationally renowned sculptor click here. The steel structures are unique and are his collection from 1967 -2012. 

If you are going .. 

- Crissy Field is located are 1199 East Beach , San Francisco
- Admission is free.
- Metered parking is available just across the field.
- For more information on transportation and other details.. click HERE

Other places to see around: 

Golden Gate Park ( includes North Dutch Windmill, South Murphy Windmill, Japanese Tea Garden and Conservatory of flowers ) : 
http://www.savsmich.com/2013/03/golden-gate-park-san-francisco.html

San Francisco ( includes Pier 39, Golden Gate Bridge, Painted Ladies, Crooked Street, Conservatory of flowers: 
 http://www.savsmich.com/2012/08/san-francisco.html 

Polynesian Festival, Santa Cruz, California

UPDATE: 23RD AUGUST 2015 


23rd Annual Aloha Races & Polynesian Festival

Sunday, August 23, 2015 | 11:00 am - 5:00 pm


MORE INFO : Click HERE


Celebrate summer at the pier and escape to The Polynesian Islands for a couple of hours in Santa Cruz, California.

Head over to the Santa Cruz Pier, Santa Cruz, California this August and enjoy Hawaiian music, food, performances and even Aloha canoe races. You can also buy Aloha outfits. A number of artisans display their crafts. You can buy some Hawaiian dresses, art or craft, earrings and much more. Enjoy an afternoon of music and dance and seeing the young and young at heart swaying to the rhythmic Hawaiian music. Below are some pictures taken in 2009.

If your going.. the festival is on August 18th, 2013. Here is the link for the schedule.

dancer
Dancing to the hawaiian rhythm

kids perfornance
Cute and adorable kids

dancer
Splendid performance

alohan dancer
Kids displaying their talent

polynesian festival
Dancers

dancers polynesian festival
Dancers
** Carry a jacket. Cool temperatures towards evening is typical.**
Click here for parking locations: Santa Cruz Parking
**Coin operated parking is available on the streets, all day parking is available near the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

Jun 1, 2013

Lighthouses in California

California boasts of some pretty lighthouses. If you are lost of options of what to do for a weekend, this might help. With summer nearly set in, the coast is a perfect place to be on a hot day. The lighthouses below are along California Highway 1. Driving along this highway is an experience with amazing views of the coastline and the ocean, however be prepared for lonely, single lane curvy roads and not many gas stations. So fill up whenever your tank is half and check for any road closures on THIS website.  

The lighthouses mentioned below have been visited on various single day or overnight trips. Read on for details.


View California Lighthouses in a larger map

1.) CABRILLO LIGHTHOUSE, MENDOCINO, NORTHERN CALIFORNIA:
Our previous post has all the information you need. Click HERE for the information.

For latest and upto date information regarding timing and other events planned for 2013, click on this link: http://www.pointcabrillo.org/events.htm.


2.) POINT REYES LIGHTHOUSE, POINT REYES STATION, CALIFORNIA



Visit our previous post. Click HERE for more information.

3.) POINT BONITA LIGHTHOUSE, SAUSALITO, CALIFORNIA

Still an active Lighthouse, this is a short drive from San Francisco ( about 30-40 min ) to the Lighthouse. From the parking lot it is a steep 1\2 mile trail that has stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco.

Timing: The tunnel to the lighthouse is open SATURDAY, SUNDAY AND MONDAY FROM 12.30 - 3.30 PM. Our trip was completed in July 2009. Latest updates on yelp, confirm that the old bridge has been replaced with a new one. In 2009, limited peopled could pass the bridge and there was always a wait. Things may have changed since then with a new bridge. We haven't been there after 2009, but if you have do let me know details so I can update it on the post. Parking is limited. Carry a lunch \ snack and enjoy the views.

pt bonita
Trail to Point Bonita

Lighthouse
Pt. Bonita  Lighthouse

view of San francisco
San Francisco 
4.) PIGEON POINT LIGHTHOUSE, PESCADERO, CALIFORNIA:

Location: about 50 miles south of San Francisco on CA Highway 1.
The lighthouse is currently closed to the public however the grounds are open. For more information here is the LINK for timings, and guided tours.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse
Pigeon Point Lighthouse

You can check out other places en-route on CA-1 by clicking on this link : http://www.savsmich.com/2012/11/ca-1-central-coast.html

5.) SANTA CRUZ LIGHTHOUSE, SANTA CRUZ, CALIFORNIA

Location: About 30 miles south of Pigeon Point Lighthouse on West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz. Parking is available in a parking lot close to the lighthouse.
Address: W. Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz, Ca

Santa Cruz Lighthouse
Santa Cruz Lighthouse
Enjoy the day at the beach or a walk along the Pier. Enjoy some sea food and watch the pelicans, pelicans or watch for a stray sighting of dolphins swimming.

In winter, visit the Natural Bridges State Beach to view the Monarch butterflies. More details on the butterflies and when you can see them can be found HERE.

6.) CABRILLO NATIONAL MONUMENT \ OLD POINT LOMA LIGHTHOUSE, SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

This lighthouse can be visited throughout the year. This lighthouse has been restored to look what it was like in the 1800's. Get a glimpse of what the rooms looked like. Read stories of the past in its exhibits. Read stories of San Diego's efforts during the World War II, of the 19th Coast Artillery and the army's efforts to defend the harbor.

Enjoy some beautiful views of San Diego skyline. Latest information can be found HERE regarding the Old Point Loma Lighthouse and the Cabrillo National Monument.

Cabrillo Monument
Cabrillo Monument, San Diego

Lens at the Old Point Loma Lighthouse

If your going to San Diego, the Cabrillo Monument can be found at 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr. San Diego, CA

1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr  San Diego, CA


May 31, 2013

Fruit Picking

"UPDATED" May 24th, 2016

"Get the kids to pick their own vegetables and fruits and there are higher chances of them eating it". Don't we hear this at every doctors visit?

How about doing something exciting and fun together. May\June is a start of the harvest season where many farms offer  "You Pick" which means the public can go and pick their fruit and take home. Brentwood, Gilroy, Salinas valley have certain months allocated where you can go and pick your own fruit! Strawberries, cherries, tomatoes, oranges, nectarines, apples and more.

cherries
Cherries
I've compiled a few " Farms for You Pick" Here are some links to help you pick your pick for ""You Pick""! Get your sunscreen, water, cash, snacks, sandwiches and head over for some fun and excitement and cute pics. Please click on the respective links and check for their opening dates and other details.

BRENTWOOD: This has a list of all the farms in Brentwood
http://harvest4you.com/
http://www.everythingbrentwood.com/brentwoodcherrypicking.html

BRENTWOOD: Find a farm: http://harvest4you.com/find-a-farm/

PESCADERO: SWANTONBERRY FARM
http://www.swantonberryfarm.com/upick

SAN FRANCISCO AREA:
http://redtri.com/san-francisco/u-pick-fruit-in-the-bay-area-3-juicy-farms/


peaches
Peaches
WATSONVILLE: GIZDICH RANCH
http://www.gizdich-ranch.com/indextwo.php?gr=pikyorsef

PORTOLA VALLEY: WEBB RANCH
http://www.webbranchinc.com/farmers_upick_straw.htm

Check out this link from Webb Ranch on how to be a good berry picker:
http://www.webbranchinc.com/library/upick2013.pdf

> Pick inside the bush for the best flavor
> Ripe berries come off easily
> If you have to pull hard, berries will be sour

"Have fun Fruit Picking " - Savsmich

peaches
Peaches

May 28, 2013

Point Reyes Lighthouse, California

This is a very popular destination. Located about 50 miles north of San Francisco, this scenic area drives people to get a glimpse of the whale migration, the Tule Elk that roam free around the Tomales Bay, the elephant seals, wild flowers and of course the Lighthouse.

pt reyes lighthouse
Point Reyes Lighthouse
Winter: March Whale Migration Viewing at Point Reyes LighthouseDECEMBER 28TH - MID APRIL 2014

In Winter, due to the high volume of people visiting the area to view the whale migration, private vehicles are prohibited. Hence, a shuttle from Kenneth C Patrick Visitor Centre ( Drakes Beach ) is required to visit the Lighthouse on the weekend. Purchase tickets at the visitor centre until 3 pm. Return to the Lighthouse shuttle stop by 5.00 pm. This is the last bus to take you back to the visitor centre. It is about a 7 mile walk back and you surely wouldn't want to be left behind! Click on this link for the latest updates: Winter Shuttle

When we visited in March, it was very foggy by 3pm and we were told that we may not be able to hike to the lighthouse. However we decided to purchase tickets and at least go up to the shuttle stop and decide from there. The drive to the Lighthouse from Drakes beach was about 15 minutes, beautiful, narrow roads with the fog hugging the coastline and green pastures with cows grazing and a couple of timid deer along the way. Luck was in our favor. Fortunately the fog cleared just after a few minutes into the hike.

There maybe times when the Lighthouse is closed due to inclement weather so be prepared and expect fog and wind throughout the year. Check this link for other hikes that you can take around the area: Short Hikes. A 0.4 mile hike from the shuttle stop takes you to the visitor centre. From here it is a steep 308 steps down to the lighthouse. Going down is always easier than climbing back up. Here is a pic of the stairs and the lighthouse.

pt reyes stairway
Stairway to the Lighthouse 
Notes: Carry a sweater and a pair of binoculars. There are no gas stations near the Lighthouse area.

For other locations to see see the whale migration click : WHALE WATCHING AREAS IN THE CALIFORNIA:

click for LATEST INFORMATION, TIMINGS AND VISITING IN SUMMER

north pt reyes beach
View of the Pt. Reyes North and  South beach from the trail head

May 14, 2013

San Francisco Carnaval

Who's ready for some Samba down the streets of San Francisco. Head over this Labor day weekend to experience this popular Multicultural Carnaval Parade on May 26th.

The San Francisco Carnaval features Latin, Caribbean and South American dancers both local and visiting. Its a fun event with the parade filled with the sound of the drum beats, dancers on stilts, samba dancers and a street festival which typically includes food, art and craft and street dancing. The parade winds its way down San Francisco's Mission District. This years theme is Carnaval Harlem Shake. So if your visiting Northern California this is one event is not to be missed. It is a free event. Travel by public transport ( Bart, Caltrain, etc. ) if you want to avoid the hassle of traffic and getting parking space. Get there early so that you can get a good viewing/photography spot.

For more details on the parade route, timing and other events Click here: San Francisco Carnaval
For Parking in San Francisco check this link. Click here: Parking  information

Here are some pictures from our archives.

San Francisco Carnaval
Dancers on a float

dancer San Francisco Carnaval
A dancer


San Francisco Carnaval
A dancer with her colorful attire

San Francisco Carnaval
Colorful attire
San Francisco Carnaval
A dancer
San Francisco Carnaval
Dancing the samba

San Francisco Carnaval
A Dancer

San Francisco Carnaval
portrait of a dancer




Mar 14, 2013

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

In San Francisco, the Golden Gate bridge is the most visited by millions of visitors. Within this fast paced multi cultural city, there needs to be a place to recuperate, relax and enjoy..The Golden Gate Park which is more than 3 miles in length is a great place for bicycling, jogging, picnicking, boating, and gardens along with meadows. If you want to spend a day in the park, there are many things that can be done. What better way to spend a birthday than to go to a favorite location or just explore and be in the midst of nature. So I selected the Golden Gate Park for mine.


View Golden Gate Park in a larger map

We headed towards the Great Highway that lead us to the end of the Golden Gate Park just before Ocean Beach. Located here are 2 windmills. These windmills were operated for a couple of years till new technology to irrigate the entire park was introduced. 

1.) THE NORTH DUTCH WINDMILL:

This Dutch styled windmill is adjacent to the Queen Wilhermina Tulip garden which was a gift by Queen Wilhermina of the Netherlands who donated the structure to the city in 1902. Each year the garden boasts of  a mighty towering nonfunctional windmill against the backdrop of a bed of beautiful Tulips that symbolize peace and reconciliation. The garden currently has on display Dutch master Daffodils, Pink tulips, Geraniums Dragon heart, and Geum Coccineum ( Cooky)
The garden is a quiet place to enjoy a snack, read a book or just marvel at the beauty of the displays.

North dutch windmill
North Dutch Windmill
2.) THE SOUTH MURPHY WINDMILL:

Location: Southwest corner of Golden Gate Park or 48th Ave and Lincoln
This windmill is also non functional. It is a nice photo opportunity too. Nothing much here except for the windmill house next door.

south murphy windmill
South Murphy Windmill
Parking: You can park anywhere near 47th Avenue and John F Kennedy Drive or on Lincoln Way and 48th Ave. If you are parking near the South windmill, it is a 0.4 mile walk to the North Windmill through the park or alongside the beach. To go to the North windmill, the route through the shaded stroller friendly park will take you towards the Chalet restaurant. Walk past this and turn left taking the stairs up to the location.

3.) JAPANESE TEA GARDEN:

If you have an hour and nothing much planned in the Golden Gate park, this is a good option to think about. This maybe the oldest Japanese Garden in the US. Perfectly manicured tress from Japan adorned with lots of cherry blossom trees surrounding the mini lake colored with Koi and the pagodas act as a perfect backdrop for relaxation, fun and photography. Take a stroll thought the garden and don't forget to climb the U Bridge. Kids love it. Take a picture of the Bronze Buddha, the Pagodas and the landscape.
In Spring, there is a Tea Demonstration. Enjoy the blossom trees that bloom between March and April. For more information click here. Entrance is free if you enter the garden before 10 a.m.

japanese tea garden
Pagoda
4.) CONSERVATORY OF FLOWERS:
Take me to a botanical garden or even a flower patch and I'm a happy camper. Here is one place within close proximity to the Japanese Tea garden. Learn and see exotic, rare and unseen flowers here. Strollers are not allowed within the conservatory and can be parked near the entrance. Allot about 1-2 hours to see all the exhibits for viewing and photography. There are tropical, potted, highland, lowland, aquatic and special exhibits here. Click for further details, timing, and address here. If you love flowers, you will love this place. Here are some of my favorite clicks.

orchid
Orchids

aquatic plants
Aquatic plants

You can visit my other post which has some more San Francisco attractions by clicking hereThe above attractions have been featured as some of the most visited and maybe good to visit at least once.