Sensational San Diego!

When visiting San Diego, the hardest thing to do is deciding what to do – you will have so many wonderful options! San Diego is home to many top attractions and has an abundance of natural beauty. There are plenty of choices for all ages. San Diego is located on the beautiful coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California and is known to have the best year round weather of any city in the country!


This is a beautiful place to start when visiting San Diego. It is an urban cultural park in the heart of the city. In addition to open space areas, natural vegetation zones, green belts, gardens, and walking paths, it contains museums, several theaters, and is home to the world-famous San Diego Zoo. Balboa Park is 1,200 acres, and is the largest urban cultural park in North America. It’s a must see on any visit to San Diego. Located just blocks from downtown, the park has a rich history reflected through its stunning architecture, art installations, and cultural events throughout the year. In 1868 the city leaders had a vision and desire to create this iconic park. In fact, San Diego was the second city to dedicate a large urban park behind only New York City’s Central Park. In 1870, the state legislature passed a law stating that the lands would be held in trust for a park forever. Take a step back in time with Architectural Heritage Tours that are offered on the first Friday of each month at 10:00am.


Take the 2 mile long beautiful bridge from San Diego to the island of Coronado. This impressive structure will take you to gorgeous beaches that go on as far as the eye can see. Coronado is consistently voted the best beach in the U.S!  With gentle surf, sparkling white sand beaches and great hotels, including the world famous Hotel del Coronado, this island paradise is perfect for a family vacation or a romantic getaway. Now you can experience the legend of this iconic hotel through The Del’s Legendary Tours. It brings life to the resort’s rich heritage, famous guests and local legends. We loved it!


This area is our favorite! With a dramatic coastline boasting incredible views, it’s no surprise that La Jolla is one of the most popular destinations in California. Surrounded on three sides by the sea and backed by the steep slopes, La Jolla has so much natural beauty, an abundance of activities and upscale village lifestyle. It’s known as “the jewel” of San Diego. There are so many great restaurants with magnificent views.  Our favorite is George’s At the Cove. Give yourself plenty of time to walk around because this is where you will see hundreds of sea lions as they play, sleep and hang out around the water front. We recommend the Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa. It’s set on 10 acres of landscaped gardens. It’s a gorgeous, very polished, hacienda-style hotel with an awesome spa.


Located in the center of San Diego County this area has major attractions plus affordable accommodations.  Years ago my niece was married at a church in Old Town that was built in the mid-1800s. It’s the oldest, most historic area of San Diego with lots of fun shopping.

Just north of the Mexican border lies the area known as San Diego’s South Bay, the gateway to Baja California. This area is home to a number of exciting attractions and some of the best Mexican food and margaritas this side of the border.  


This is a world-famous zoo. You’ll discover more than 3,500 animals of more than 650 rare and exotic species in a beautiful 100-acre tropical garden. The San Diego Zoo is also proud to have the largest population of giant pandas in the U.S. Beyond viewing the vast range of animals, you can take a three-mile guided bus tour, ride the sky tram, or interact with the adorable creatures at the children’s petting zoo and baby animal nursery. You can honestly spend several days here.


What a huge military presence there is in San Diego.  Docked along the Embarcadero area, the USS Midway Museum is San Diego’s maritime treasure.  It is the longest-serving U.S. Navy aircraft carrier of the 20th century. Relive years of world history as you explore the massive engine room, sleep quarters, galley, brig and more with a guided audio tour. The impressive four-acre flight deck has more than 20 aircrafts—Ron was in heaven as he explored the cockpits and flight simulators.  Also nearby is the Unconditional Surrender Statue. This 25 foot tall statue is very iconic and fun to snap a photo with the USS Midway in the background. And if you get hungry, this area is full of fabulous restaurants and a great place to catch a harbor cruise.

It’s easy to see why San Diego is widely known as “America’s Finest City!”

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Montmartre – the bohemian side of Paris!

I was very curious about this quaint area of Paris that is very rich in artistic history. We had never been there before and were ready to explore. Now, Montmartre is always on our Paris itinerary!

If Paris is on your bucket list for the future, you probably will see the obvious iconic sites like the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Notre Dame and the Champs-Élysées …but let me tell you about an area that is not as well known. It’s the historic district of Montmartre and it is full of charm and character. This northern section of the city is a large hill in Paris’s 18th arrondissement which is almost 500 feet high.

We wandered the cobblestone streets and marveled at the bohemian vibe. This hill has breathtaking views and is the highest point in all of Paris!  There are fascinating legends and lots of colorful history in Montmartre.

As we walked to the top of this steep hill we finally saw the breathtaking Basilica of Sacre-Coeur as it sits like a crown overlooking Paris. Ron and I love visiting historical churches and the Basilica Sacre-Coeur is no exception. You can see this entirely white landmark from all parts of the metropolis. From a distance, the stark white domes are powerful and super imposing. It is dedicated to the heart of Christ and is an important place to worship in the capital. It’s truly a masterpiece of grace and grandeur!

We were there on a Sunday and witnessed a beautiful service and heard a choir performance exclusively by Nuns. The Basilica is based in Roman architecture and took over 40 years to build. During WWII, 13 bombs are said to have landed on the church, but resulted in no casualties, which lent the place special status among the local people. For just 5 Euros you can get a workout and climb the 250 feet dome, and it is worth every step. Or do like most tourist do and enjoy simply sitting on the massive steps in front of Sacre-Coeur that overlooks miles and miles of the city. It is absolutely one of the most spectacular views in all of Paris…and is not to be missed!

Just another treasure to discover in beautiful Paree!

Get Your Kicks on Route 66

By Terri Guthrie

Historic Route 66 – may be the most famous road in America.  It stretches over 2,400 miles from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. For many, taking a road trip along Route 66 is at the top of their travel bucket list. The historic route was originally commissioned to provide an accessible trucking route. But its popularity grew when travelers realized it was one of the most direct ways to reach the Pacific coast, and was nicknamed Main Street of America. Now an embodiment of the carefree, road-tripping spirit, Route 66 has been immortalized in songs, television and famous works of fiction. This famous highway was built in 1926. And surprisingly, today 80% of the beloved highway is still intact.

Along the way, on the “double six,” countless curious motorists will stop to witness numerous wacky roadside attractions, stunning natural landscapes and many significant historical landmarks. Here are some of the quintessential American sites you’ll see if you ever plan to motor down the Mother Road: 

Route 66 officially starts in Chicago at the edge of historic Grant Park. Going south in Stanton, Missouri is the fascinating Meramec Caverns where Outlaw Jesse James would hide out.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma you can see the Woody Guthrie Museum that is dedicated to the life and legacy of American Folk singer and songwriter. Guthrie was actually inspired to write some of his most famous songs about America while traveling on Route 66.

Probably the most quirky and weird example of Americana kitsch on Route 66 is the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas. This is near Palo Duro Canyon, the second largest canyon in America.

In New Mexico, the Blue Hole is a deep, crystal blue swimming hole beautifully contrasted by the surrounding red mesas. It’s actually one of the most popular scuba diving destinations in the country.

Of course, most of the allure of traveling Route 66 isn’t in the memorabilia of 1950s and ’60s America—it’s the Western American landscape. One of the most beautiful parts of the road is in Arizona, where it passes near the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest, Meteor Crater and the Grand Canyon.
And finally, Route 66 ends in California at the Santa Monica Pier, a classic American boardwalk. It’s fun to celebrate the completion of your road trip with a ride on the famous Ferris wheel or by just watching a beautiful sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

If you have read John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, you know it’s a story about a man and his family that are forced from their farm in the Depression-era Oklahoma Dust Bowl and set out for California along Route 66 with thousands of others in search of jobs, land, and hope for a brighter future.

Well, that book is actually very close to the truth.

We learned all this and more at the Route 66 Museum in Kingman, Arizona. It depicts the historical evolution of travel along the 35th parallel that became Route 66.

 The drought and the depression during the 1930’s drove thousands from the Midwest to California in hopes of a better life. Unfortunately, life was not better for the most part. Along the way, they would gather in migrant camps only to be driven away by the police who were instructed to force the migrants to move. On Route 66 at the California/Arizona border there was actually an official sign from the state of California warning migrants to turn back because they were not welcome in California. Contrary to popular belief, of the 200,000 people who migrated to California, only 8% stayed! Sadly, within a few months most had made the journey back home.

In The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck became the first writer to refer to Route 66 – as the “Mother Road”. In doing so, he helped capture the road’s image of redemption and helped turn it into a cultural icon.

Few roads in the world resonate like Route 66 – filled with so much adventure, glamour, history and nostalgia; this enduring route embodies everything that a road trip should be about! It even goes through eight states and three time zones.

During Covid times…this could be your epic road trip where you “Get Your Kicks on Route 66!”

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