Archive for the ‘Vacations’ Category

Legoland Water Park Now Open

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Well, Legoland California has done it again. The newest addition to the park, a 5 1/2 acre water park made especially for children, opened May 28, just in time for summer. The park boasts a 45 foot tower sprouting four enormous water slides and much more.

Float down the Build-a-Raft lazy river after you have created your own soft Lego raft, ride the 312-foot long, 6 person OrangeRush tube slide, or the Twin Chasers slides, or play in the Joker Soaker–an interactive wading pool complete with shooting cannons and lots of fun. There is also a zoo-themed water play area for toddlers.

Admission is just $10 extra with a paid admission to the Legoland theme park ($67 admission for adults and $57 for children). As of right now there is not a separate price to visit the water park exclusively, but hopefully in the future that will be an option.

While the park is made for children (adults may ride Orange Rush only), adults can rent a cabana and hang out all day to watch the little ones play. Rates are $129-179 per day, and cabanas come stocked with towels and drinks.

Don’t forget about the fantastic Sea Life Aquarium, also on the Legoland property (which CAN be visited exclusively, for a $19 adult/$12 child/$16 senior admission price, OR can be included for a $10 upgrade on the theme park admission tickets). All three attractions make for a full fun-packed day!

Chalk up another point for Carlsbad!

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Weekend Getaway: Santa Barbara

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

If you are looking for a place to get away that is close to home and requires no trips to the airport, Santa Barbara is one of my favorite destinations. Only about a three hour drive from most parts of San Diego county and with some beautiful vistas along the way, it will be a weekend you will long remember. Don’t want to drive? Hop on the train and just relax and enjoy the scenery.

Once in Santa Barbara there are many different places to stay, accommodating all budget levels. From five-star resorts like the Four Seasons Resort and the incomparable Bacara Resort and Spa, beautiful family resorts like the Fess Parker’s Double Tree Hotel by the beach, to quaint and comfortable bed and breakfast inns (my favorites are The Cheshire Cat, the Upham Hotel and the Simpson House Inn), there is really something for everyone.

There is SO much to do in Santa Barbara, or of course you can do nothing but relax. Stroll along the boardwalk, soak up the sun at the beach, visit one of the many area spas, take seasonal whale watching cruises, enjoy various water sports, bike rides, horseback riding, and hikes through the beautiful mountain trails. The Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens is a must-see and I highly recommend a visit, especially right now when there are rainbow palettes of colors everywhere you look.

The Museum of Natural History is a fun place to visit, and the kids will love it too. Right next door is the famous Santa Barbara Mission, established by Father Junipero Serra in the late 1700s. Tours are available so check for times. Directly across the front lawn of the Mission is one of loveliest rose gardens ever—a beautiful spot for a picnic lunch. The Santa Barbara Zoo is one of the best smaller zoos I have visited, with lot to do for the children and beautiful grounds to boot.

Downtown Santa Barbara is filled with excitement. State Street and surrounding areas are home to the Museum of Art, incredible shopping (with stores ranging from upscale boutiques to department stores to trendy and well-priced shops), movie theaters, live music and plays, musicals and symphony venues.

Dining is a treat in Santa Barbara and options are plentiful. One of my favorite lunch spots is The Natural Cafe on State Street. La Super Rica is a famous little ultra-casual Mexican restaurant that beckons people from near and far. If you love sushi you have to try Arigato on State Street.

Santa Barbara is a great escape and will make you feel as if you are a million miles away without traveling far. Bon voyage!

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Coastal North County Golf Course Review

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Golf is a BIG sport, in case you haven’t noticed. It is a $7 billion industry, with 25 million golfers alone in the U.S. If you are a golfer or are thinking about taking up the game, you couldn’t find a better place then coastal North San Diego. The area offers some of the best and most beautiful public courses, many with gorgeous views and lush, rolling greens. Here is a quick review of some of the finest and most fun places to tee it up along the coast, from Carlsbad to La Jolla.

Four Seasons Aviara Golf Club and Resort: Located in one of the most prestigious areas of Carlsbad, the Aviara Golf Club is in great shape and presents a beautiful and challenging layout for a resort course. Although on the pricier side, you will not be disappointed. Practice your long putts on some of the biggest greens in the county. There is also a world class golf school by Kip Putterbaugh on the premises. Visit for more information.

The Crossings at Carlsbad: Carlsbad’s newest $68 million golf course provides some stunning views and a beautiful clubhouse, along with great prices for a round of golf. A few drawbacks include some awkward holes that had to be constructed around protected open space, the fact that it is a carts-only course (not favorable for the traditionalist golfer), numerous power towers along the perimeter, and frequent planes overhead taking off from neighboring Palomar Airport. But The Crossings is a great deal and the greens are usually in good shape, providing for a fun round. Visit for further information.

Encinitas Ranch: Encinitas Ranch is a relatively easy, wide open course with nice ocean views. A great beginner course due to the lack of many sand traps or challenging holes, the ocean breezes and decently priced rounds will provide for a fun day. For more information visit

La Costa Resort: The recent renovations to the famous La Costa Resort and Spa have brought prestige back to the locale. Unfortunately the course was not upgraded, and with the loss of a big annual PGA event the upkeep has suffered. Course conditions are somewhat poor, with bumpy greens and a lack of sufficient sand in the bunkers. Walking is permitted with a caddie. Prices are on the high side but the views of surrounding La Costa are beautiful and the clubhouse and restaurants are fantastic. For more information please visit

Torrey Pines: Torrey Pines is by far the most spectacular, most challenging, and all around best course for the money in San Diego. Almost tournament-ready all the time and exceptionally well- maintained, Torrey is home to PGA tournaments and provides for a challenging game; the South course is likely as tough as any course in the world. The greens and rough are perfect and you will not be disappointed. Prices can be a bit high if you are not a resident, but even so it is well worth it to play a course like this. If you are planning on playing on the weekend I advise you get there at sun-up, as it is first come-first-to-tee-off, and it can be slow if you get there later. For more information visit

The bottom line is that if you are a golfer, or would like to be one, you will never be bored in San Diego. By the way, if you ARE a golfer (or would like to be one), you have to check out this AMAZING line of golf products. Yes, I am a little biased but it is a fact. You can even check out the press on it. Visit to see what I mean.

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What’s New in Carlsbad?

Friday, January 8th, 2010

There are a lot of new and exciting things planned for Carlsbad in the coming year. Here is a sample of those that are currently in the planning stages or are new projects.san-diego-legoland3

Legoland Expansion: As if the recently added Sea Life Aquarium was not enough, Legoland is planning the addition of a 250 room hotel and a 5-acre water park. Both are currently in the planning phases, but the water park is expected to be opened by the 2010 summer season. Both the hotel and water park will be centered around the Lego theme and geared toward families with young children. Legoland attracts visitors from all over the United States and the world every year and brings them to our beautiful city.

documentGreen Dragon Colonial Village: Those of you who have lived in Carlsbad more than 10 years will remember Hadley’s Market on Paseo del Norte, just south of Palomar Airport Road (and their famous date shakes). Well, the good news is that the eyesore that has been sitting vacant for years is finally about to get a new life. The Green Dragon Colonial Village, in the planning phase, will consist of a museum (I believe it will be American History but was not able to get that confirmed), book store and restaurant. I look forward to another place to go with the kids that is entertaining and a learning experience as well.

Carlsbad Paseo: Many of you may have visited the new BJ’s and PF Changs restaurants on Paseo deldocument-1-16-15-452 Norte, just north of Palomar Airport Road and across from the Carlsbad Premium Outlets (if not, they are both terrific and I recommend trying them). The center housing these two eateries is called Carlsbad Paseo, and will soon be home to a series of shops. I was unable to get confirmation on which stores will call Carlsbad Paseo home, as this too is in the planning phase, but will keep you updated when I have further information.

New Senior Fitness Area: There is a new fitness room for 50+ adults at the Carlsbad Senior Center. The 1200+ square foot facility has recently opened and has lots of new equipment, including treadmills, bikes, free weights and circuit training. There is no loud music and softer lighting, plus televisions to watch while exercising. The fees are reasonable and can be purchased seniorgym23on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis or a one-day pass, with no initiation fees. Call 760-602-4650 for information and directions.

As I always say, Carlsbad is such a wonderful place to live–a combination of the best and friendliest people, a plethora of exciting places to visit and eat, beautiful beaches and trails, near-perfect weather and a great location that is close to everything wonderful that the rest of San Diego county has to offer. We are lucky to be here.

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Fun Things to do Off the Beaten Path in Carlsbad

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

Everyone who lives in or has visited Carlsbad, CA knows that it is famous for several things—the beautiful beaches, Legoland, the Flower Fields and the charming Village. But did you know that there are some other places to visit that are wonderful and often overlooked. If you are planning a visit, or even if you live nearby and have not checked out these venues, it will be well worth your time!

dreamstime_6077806Carlsbad Lagoon Water Sports‚A great place for thrill seekers or those wanting a cool way to have fun, the Carlsbad Lagoon offers a variety of water sports‚wave runners, jet skis, boat rentals, kayaking/canoeing, water bikes, paddle boards and peddle boats. The lagoon is the perfect place to learn any of these sports, as it is wave-less and calm, with a large enough area to really break loose and have a blast. Check out their website at

Leo Carrillo Ranch—Located in Southeast Carlsbad in the heart of the sprawling housing development Rancho Carrillo, Leo Carrillo Ranch is a historical ranch that was built by the late film actor Leo Carrillo. It was purchased in 1937 and served as a retreat for Mr. Carrillo and his friends (many of whom were famous Hollywood actors as well). It was a working ranch with an adobe home that is still standing today.

Both tours and self-guided walking tours of the ranch are available. You will also see wild peacocks all over the place and learn about their history at the ranch. There are movies scheduled at the park and other events, including children’s art classes and camps. You will learn a lot and have fun as well. It is a great part of Carlsbad’s history and definitely a beautiful and interesting place. Visit their website for more information at

Batiquitos Lagoon—If you live in Carlsbad and have not walked the nature trails at Batiquitos Lagoon, you are really missing out! The lagoon is a beautiful nature preserve with trails that take you DSC02404from being close to the beach through thick forest-like tree lined paths along the wetlands. It is great for walking, running or strolling. Dogs love it too! There are numerous birds that make the lagoon home, and in the Spring you may even see a Heron nest, or if you are lucky you may catch a glimpse of a colorful Heron. There is a Nature Center that is open Monday through Friday from 9-12:30 and on the weekends from 9-3. All along the trails there are posts providing information on local fauna and flora. Note: biking is not permitted (despite photo!). For location and further information please visit

Museum of Making Music—This museum, located near Legoland in Southwest Carlsbad, is a fantastic place for music buffs of all ages. It houses a large collection of information and exhibits that focus on American music products, from the beginning (1890) to today. The museum also hosts concerts, workshops, discussions and films related to making music. Admission is only $7 for general admission and $5 for seniors, students (ages 6-18) and military. Children under 5 are free. You can visit their website for more information at

IMG_7521K-1 Speed—For those thrill seekers this is the place to be! K-1 is an indoor go kart race track where you can experience speed and have fun with your friends. Located in Southwest Carlsbad close to Palomar Airport, this is a fantastic venue for parties, dates and company events. If you are looking for something fun and different to do, this is it! Visit their website for directions, restrictions and further information at

Carlsbad is full of terrific things to do and see, whether you are a tourist or a lucky local…enjoy!

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The Best “Staycation” Ever!

Monday, August 31st, 2009

“Staycations” seem to have been popular this summer, and my family was no exception. I wanted to share what a WONDERFUL time we had right here in our own neck of the woods. It was like being in Hawaii, without the plane flight and dinners that cost as much as a week’s worth of groceries.

Where did we go? The Hotel Del Coronado. dreamstime_2270730

I have lived in San Diego for 15 years and have been to the Del, but have not stayed there since I was a kid. I forgot what a fantastic resort it is! There were some great deals on rooms this summer, for starters. The Del has recently remodeled (again), and it is even better now.

We woke up in the morning and had breakfast on the terrace at Sheerwater. Sipping fresh juice with the ocean backdrop and a magnificent lawn full of flowers felt like being in Hawaii. A few mornings we decided to venture out for breakfast. There is a bagel place right across the street from the hotel, and there are many great breakfast places just a short walk up Orange Avenue. There are also some world-class restaurants to choose from for dinner.

The pool was fantastic. You can order lunch poolside, walk to a restaurant, or simply ascend the stairs and have lunch outside on the roof deck overlooking the beach.

The kids swam all day and there were other fun choices for them: a Kids Club (in lieu of setting your kids in there all day‚which is available‚there are various crafts offered each day for one hour intervals, like tye-dyeing t-shirts, scavenger hunts and frame making). There is also a henna tattoo station by the pool (my daughter loved this!)

henna2There is a GREAT teen club where your teens can play video games, pool, dance dance revolution and other fun things. They can pop in and out of there anytime once you have authorized it‚a great place for the teens to escape when they need their alone time.

For the adults there is a world-class spa and fun classes offered. The morning yoga class is refreshing and a great way to wake up before lounging around all day. One morning we rented bicycles and rode around the island‚it was a great time together as a family and we all had fun and were ready to jump in the pool when we returned.Coronado09

The Del has a new eatery called the Eno Wine Bar. It is a wine, cheese and chocolate bar. You can sit outside at a personal fire pit and watch the sunset while you dine on one of 50 delectable cheeses from around the world and a world-class wine collection. The chocolate pairings are also scrumptious.

There are so many other fun things to do if you are adventurous‚you can rent a Seadoo or a boat, play golf on the local course, take a ferry over to the downtown area and enjoy the sites and restaurants there, or enjoy the beautiful beach. The hotel offers s’mores on the beach a few nights a week, which you can enjoy around a campfire. There is a fantastic ice cream parlor on site that offers mix-ins and many choices. The shops are fun and there is something for everyone.

The Del is one of San Diego’s greatest treasures and a perfect place to get away. There is something for everyone, or you can elect to do nothing but relax. If you have not been, or have not visited in a long time, there couldn’t be a better time to visit.

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