If you haven't stopped by my blog in awhile, you might be surprised to see the San Diego themed posts over the recent week. I am playing a little catch up from my trip home last month and if you'll bear with me, we'll be back to all things Israel in another week or so. For today, I am quite excited to be introducing you to La Jolla, San Diego's gem and crown jewel. It just so happens that the direct translation of La Jolla from Spanish to English is in fact "the jewel", and trust me, it's appropriately named. Let me show you just one mere picture below and I think it will speak for itself.
Well, what do you think? Didn't I tell you that it was amazing? La Jolla, just a fifteen minute drive from downtown San Diego, has all the best that my hometown has to offer. It's a rare combination of European-style living and architecture with a southern California attitude and way-of-life. Surfers and beach-goers live here, but so do also San Diego's wealthiest and most elite. It's a vacationer's haven and a city dwellers dream.
The down-to-earth vibe and friendly people in La Jolla may come as a surprise to many since it is home to the wealthiest of families. Who knows, perhaps it's the constant sunshine and stunning scenery that leave the locals in such good moods. At the heart of La Jolla is its downtown village composed of about two square miles full of shops, galleries, hotels, boutiques and restaurants.
Our most famous hotel is the La Valencia, that recognizable pink building in the picture below. A true European-style masterpiece, the architecture of La Valencia is memorable as are its views from inside. Its no wonder that this hotel is a popular choice for La Jolla weddings and special events. In fact, it was first runner up for my own wedding back in 2010.
You will recognize the backside of La Valencia in the picture below, taken from La Jolla Scripps Park. This busy park is almost always filled with strollers, dog-walkers, couples, tourists and locals taking in the view. I have many memories here during my high school days and even more recently when I'm playing catch up with family and friends.
Your choice of La Jolla beaches are also plentiful. You may pick from the more popular beaches at The Cove and La Jolla Shores or the more local options of Windansea and Black's Beach. The latter two options are popular with the surfing crowds; but beware, the water is quite cold.
The Wedding Bowl is one of three beachfront locations in San Diego county where a couple can get married on the beach. I had the pleasure of attending one of my best friend's weddings here just one year ago on a beautiful October day. The application is competitive so be sure to research how to get your slot here about one year in advance.
The La Jolla Cove is also a popular tourist spot because of its seal population. Though there aren't any seals in the image below, I assure you that on any given day, this sandy beach is filled with seals. So much for being a swimming spot in La Jolla, it's been taken over by sea creatures who wanted a piece of La Jolla to themselves.
An insider scoop, one of my favorite things to do in La Jolla is to attend the weekly La Jolla Open Aire Market on the grounds of La Jolla Elementary, on the corner of Genter and Girard. This is no ordinary Farmer's Market, it's so much better than any other one I've ever been to. The vast number of food options, artisan booths, craft vendors and individual bakers, farmers and wholesalers is incomparable to any other similar type of market I have visited. It is so much fun to visit and I definitely recommend making a stop there during its opening hours from 9 am to 1 pm every Sunday. See more details here.
How do I know so much about La Jolla? It just so happens that I grew up there and attended high school there at The Bishop's School, one of the city's most acclaimed private institutions. Let's take a little walk down memory lane and visit some images of this fantastic college-prep school with some of the best educators in the nation. Seeing these pictures brings back memories of uniforms and knee highs, saddle shoes and free periods on the quad. Also, the senior rec room and classes with the beloved Dr. Mower (art history) and the intelligent and engaging Mr. Updegraff (Latin).
Not a bad location, huh? I remember during P.E. class, we would sometimes take a run to the beach, which is just a few minutes away as you can see in the above image. Though I had a great experience there myself, I doubt I'd be able to send my kids there when they are grown up. It's already about $25,000 a year and going up annually. I think that's more than I paid for my entire college education. For more information on Bishop's, please see their website here.
As you can see, there's obviously a lot to love about La Jolla and so it's no wonder that people have often asked of me in my life, "Why on Earth did you leave San Diego and La Jolla?" I stand stupefied for a moment and then reply, "I hope to be able to afford it for myself one day". I am grateful for having had the opportunity to grow up in such a beautiful place. Ironically, Israel is the one place on Earth where people have actually not once questioned me as to why I've moved away from San Diego, America's Finest City. Instead, they ask me, "What took you so long to get here?"