Highlights of 2016

I’ve made it a personal goal to see at least one new city or town each year. This is a pretty easy thing to accomplish. And I do enjoy it.

In 2016 I visited San Diego, California. I really loved it. Especially the seals on the beach, dinner at Old Town and the cake on the patio at Scripps Pier. Those were fabulous. Actually, that whole trip was great. Really good food, great scenery and even better company. San Diego is a must visit on my list for couples, families and buddy trips. It’s one of those locations that truly has something for everybody. I will definitely go back.

In February, I travelled with my friend Kim to Florence Italy. Hard not to wax poetic over a trip like that. We took a pasta making class, travelled the tuscany region on a wine tour and even climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa. We stayed at a small boutique hotel near the train station. The breakfast and hospitality and constant cappuccinos made us feel oh so very comfortable. We also LOVED the market and the shops and made a dear friend in Stefania.  We saw museums and statues and paintings. We laughed and made the best memories. If you ever get the chance, GO TO FLORENCE! I would go back in a heartbeat.

And Cleveland. Wow! It was so much more than I expected. What a great sports town, and even though we saw the Cleveland Browns kick off their worst season in history, we enjoyed that game and baseball too. Then there was the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Unreal! Must see. And for me, it will always be memorable. 2016 was a tragic year for the loss of legendary musicians David Bowie, Prince, and George Michael.  I bought myself a CD in the gift shop, Prince’s Purple Rain. A really nice souvenir of a special trip with my youngest son. Would I go back to Cleveland? Yes, absolutely.

 

San Diego: A couple’s trip

Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 1.02.48 AMSan Diego has such a great scene. I think it would be a fabulous place for a couple’s trip.

If you’re the comic-loving type then maybe you’d enjoy a fan-fest weekend at Comic-Con. It’s hosted in San Diego every year in July. Of course, this will take some serious planning as the event always sells out.

 

What about a movie themed getaway for you and your sweetie? Visit Coronado Island and the famed Hotel del Coronado where Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis filmed ‘Some Like it Hot‘ in the late 1950s.

For a more recent, but no less iconic movie connection, drop by the Kansas City Barbeque restaurant downtown San Diego where the unforgettable bar scenes of ‘Top Gun‘ were filmed. The piano where character, Goose, pounded out a roaring rendition of ‘Great Balls of Fire‘ still sits in the corner.

If after enjoying a pint, and you you utter the words of Goose’s wife (played by Meg Ryan)  “take me to bed or lose me forever’  you’ll want to be staying across the street at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. Not only is it a fabulous hotel, it overlooks the harbour and Seaport Village. 

You would have to rent a car and drive north up the coast to see “Charlie’s house” where Maverick races to on his motorcycle after that beach volleyball scene. Yes, you remember that volleyball scene! Anyways, the house or beach cottage as it was, is located at 102 Pacific Street, Oceanside California which is right by Camp Pendleton the military base. Should you rather skip the rental car, you can walk over from the Hyatt to the USS Midway Museum. Here you can explore an aircraft carrier. (Incidentally, it was named the #1 thing to do in San Diego, by Trip Advisor.) At a cost of about $20 ($10 with ID for Veterans) it’s the closest you’ll get to a working aircraft carrier, like in Top Gun.

If movies like ‘Anchorman‘ are more your style, you might be disappointed to know that even though the movie story was set in San Diego, it was nearly completely filmed in Long Beach and Los Angeles, California. Even the San Diego Zoo (celebrating its centennial this year), was staged at the Los Angeles Zoo. Regardless, there are no reasons why you can’t drive around in a turtleneck and velvet blazer saying “keep it classy San Diego.” After all, it’s YOUR vacation.

 

The statue of sailor kissing a girl, on the harbour. The statue is a rendition of the famous Time Life cover from July 1945.
The statue of sailor kissing a girl, on the harbour. The statue is a rendition of the famous Time Life cover from July 1945.

That cake. Cake by the ocean.

I shouldn’t start in the middle of a story, but this time I can’t help myself. I’m still thinking about it. That cake. Ok, THIS cake….

Carrot cake with ooey-gooey cream cheese icing, from Caroline's cafe at the University of San Diego, at Scripps Pier.
Carrot cake with ooey-gooey cream cheese icing, from Caroline’s cafe at the University of San Diego, at Scripps Pier.

 

I don’t know what to say, other than while others were eating salads, and some folks, fries, I opted to skip lunch altogether and indulge in this piece of carrot cake.

When I first saw it, it was under glass. Like a retro 50s style cake plate and glass topper. It looked so fresh and gooey it just got me. I didn’t even ask the price. I invoked the “I’m on vacation” clause and just did it.

We picked a table on the deck, which overlooked the ocean and Scripps Pier. Then we each ordered a glass of wine. I can’t think of a more carefree Monday afternoon. Just a couple of gals, kicking back in California. No agenda, no grocery lists, and no calories or cares.

And I can’t think of a better piece of cake, ever.