It has taken me a bit to sort pictures from a trip to North and then South Carolina over a week ago. For one thing, there was all that prep for Thanksgiving to deal with–the shopping, cleaning, table decor prep, contacting family members. Any holiday feast asks more of us than usual and that is part of the cheery hullabaloo.
However, I additionally dealt with an unexpected event–a car accident on Thanksgiving afternoon. My well-loved Hyundai Elantra, nine years old, is to be salvage soon. But a 20 yo grandchild (who I was picking up for the dinner) and I escaped with little injury. Well, my neck and shoulders are feeling the strain since last Thursday. Still, we both are fortunate to just lose a vehicle, to get up and walk away. Talk about gratitude…We had the planned feast at our home. It seemed, once all 14 of us settled down, the best thing was to go on and enjoy as we could. I am so glad we were all together.
Meanwhile, I still am trying to figure out what went wrong. I may never know. I still need to deal with insurance maters and find another car. Unsurprisingly, I’m not in the mood to car shop….But I am in the mood to share happy pictures from the S.C. part of my trip.
First up: The Gourmet Shop in Columbia. Stop by if you can–it is a unique spot where we found great cheese and teas. Stylishly fun inside and out.
The next shots are from the 701 Center for Contemporary Art, again in Columbia (all photos are taken there this time), where the works in CCA SC Biennial 2019 is exhibited. Daughter Naomi has two art installations there, as below. The first is a photo of “Personal Space Capsule” created while in flight on a plane, exploring how we may experience and psychic space in tight spots. The second is a small end part of the sprawling piece, “Boundings”: think incarceration of immigrants/families plus how people in general erect/alter/remove boundaries. Her work tends to be abstract, philosophically engaging, full of social justice queries and statements; she often uses re-purposed or handmade materials. (More variety of her work can be found on Instagram @invisiblesculpture and her website NaomiJFalk.com.)
Perhaps surprising to some, we enjoyed our visit to the Richmond Library Main. The architecture is contemporary, quite beautiful. Their services are impressive with an auditorium, cafe, a variety of classes, work spaces and studios to create, as well as several imaginative spaces to read within. There was also a wonderful quilt exhibit going on in the entry area. (There were many people milling about, so I waited to capture images.)
I had a blast hanging out with her–art and artists all the time! But Naomi actually flew out to visit us for Thanksgiving; she gave a guest lecture at Portland State University, as well. It was great that she could be in the Pacific NW for a week with siblings, nieces and nephews and, of course, us parents.
A parting shot from Naomi’s place: a pillow case she designed/created and a linen dress with draped scarves that hung there the whole time I visited…like a simple, yet configured art installation. See you later, Na!
Take me back to beauteous San Diego! My oldest daughter and boyfriend are heading that direction right now, and it triggered memories of a trip in April 2018. It was a welcome respite as heavy losses had led up to the trip. This year has had its own ups and downs (is life ever free of those?) but there is no reason needed to surrender to a tug of southern California Pacific: temperate with sweet breezes (ah, eucalyptus) and vibrant environs of city and surrounding destinations.
I offer some photos in memory of great fun, and hope to return before next summer. Enjoy–and plan your own trip!
This is not the last day spent in the San Diego area but it seems a good final post about our felicitous trip. I thought of it all often since our return, realizing it was meant to restore, buoy and fortify us. That is the pleasure of travel, even in one’s home country or closer yet to one’s home. Getting out and away has the effect of an elixir, only better, as such changes of scenery can awaken the too-comfortable mind, startle the senses and arouse the spirit to greater appreciation of human life as well as nature.
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a quick trip to La Jolla. The area, comprised of 2,000 acres of Torrey pines and pristine beaches, is a southern maritime chaparral. It is home to this rarest native pine in the U.S. Before tackling the short trails above, we enjoyed this stretch of the Pacific Ocean’s protected beach (California’s beaches are not all public as they are in Oregon). The sandstone cliffs are steep, textured by wind, water and tectonic plate shifts over innumerable centuries. Large flocks of pelicans were feeding and flying about as though with uniform and often urgent industry–remarkable to observe. They are so large yet graceful, as all birds, in flight. A young lady was embracing waves and sunshine as we strolled–tempting, though!
We drove to top of the cliffs to immerse ourselves in views while checking out this unique maritime chaparral. The first view looks out over La Jolla and the ocean. We stopped at the Torrey Pines Lodge, now Visitor Center-Museum, Pueblo revival in style. It was built from 1922-23 thanks to Ellen Browning Scripps, a newspaper woman and philanthropist. From 1908 until her death in 1932 she championed this reserve and bought more acreage to add to it. Torrey pines survive difficult conditions of drought and sandy earth, storms and unrelenting heat. Their roots reach down to 246 feet in search of moisture and to get a good hold on these windblown cliff tops.
Then onto the trails which meandered through cacti, namesake pines and other chaparral growths, lizards, flowers. It was, to me, a sort of beautiful desolation up there…
The sunlight amid gathering clouds kept us riveted for a long while. There were near-rhapsodic moments of opalescent, shimmering light cast upon the Pacific. Multiple shots of such beauty were unavoidable! It was not easy to pare it down to these… It was windy, wild, a little forlorn, mystical; heavens and earth and sea exerted full power as I stood steady but small.
By the time we headed back down, the clouds gradually began to clear and the sun resumed its potent heating up the air and our Northwestern-pale skin. La Jolla shone in the hills and San Diego was inviting in the distance.
The beach and surrounds gave us a vivid view at last glance.
This was, as all our outings, satisfying. However, our very last day was spent on Coronado Island, right across the bay, over the bridge from San Diego. This was a visit I had quite looked forward to from the start. The town of Coronado offers many delights, not the least of which are renowned beaches of brilliant white sand due to a mineral, Mica. It was a pleasure to wander about the resort area as well as the rest of the charming streets full of sights and restaurants where we enjoyed a good lunch at an outdoors table. There are many elegant homes and gardens to take in. The world-class Hotel del Coronado was built in 1888 and is designated as a National Historic Landmark. It has offered luxe bread and board to countless famous and infamous people over the years.
I regret that I have no photos, however–of which there were a multitude–other than this one courtesy of Wikipedia and one my husband took of me at the hotel. The tree behind me is a dragon tree. It was a backdrop in the film “Some Like it Hot” with Marilyn Monroe, filmed at the Hotel del Coronado in 1958. (Please find it in a bigger photo as it is impressive.) Would that I could mimic a Marilyn Monroe pose and attitude but alas!
The final reveal of a couple more odd things that happened while on this trip: my trusty camera was stolen. Hence, all last day photos were lost. I was more than a bit upset when arriving back in Oregon that my deeply appreciated Fujifilm camera was nowhere to be found. I suspect it was taken at our hotel, as that is where I last saw it, lying on the bed. I’d asked Marc to grab it as my arms and hands were full but it was unlike me to not double check and pick it up if he did not. Rushing too fast to the airport, I guess.
We, of course, called the hotel but were informed nothing was reported left in the room. We called the car rental agency-no camera. I realized I never carried it on the plane, so didn’t bother to check with the airline.
I thought how the trip had rockily begun with a dissatisfactory room. How I had been tiptoeing about barely corralled sorrow from past and current losses. Then I contracted food poisoning the night before my birthday celebration. A few grim moments. Yet the ensuing times had become so much happier, richer in experiences.
So I had to talk myself away from that new, only material loss. Put matters into perspective. We had been offered, unexpectedly, shelter in the amazing Presidential Suite. My birthday had come and gone without further incident–another year winning the fight with heart disease. We had enjoyed several good meals. We had availed ourselves of sights pleasing, informative and entertaining. We had rested up as well as played each day.
It was, after all, just a camera. I could buy a new one. And have.
But there is a last surprising event (that I am half- afraid of mentioning): our entire trip ended up being “comped” (excepting a few meals sought when out and about). No charges for hotel food, rooms or car garaging and valet. Neither were there any car rental costs beyond gas. As many who have read the posts on this trip, we used many rewards points accumulated from my spouse’s extensive business travel–a perk of his hard work. But we did expect a few costs, of course, and it was not to be. I am truly grateful –not due to the money, no, but due to our more hidden needs. The getaway gave us stamina and gratitude to endure the sudden loss of my brother… and now another family member is critically ill.
Sometimes you get what you don’t even look for in life; this was the gift of deeper sustenance. I hope you enjoyed this trip with me–there will be more before summer is done!
Day five of our April trip to San Diego was defined by our visit to the enchanting Balboa Park. From the moment we entered, I felt almost as if in a dream, so lushly interesting was the landscape and so exotic much of the architecture. It was the Spanish influence that impacted me, a culture that draws me via literature, art, music and dance, design and architecture. This excellent park is named after explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa in 1915. It was the site of the Panama-California Exposition and is now a National Historic Landmark. The park is 12 acres in which you can visit 16 museums, many performance venues, numerous gardens (19)and walkways–as well as the acclaimed San Diego Zoo.
Even after spending most of the day, we saw only a fraction of that. It is very hard to limit photographs and experiences–but here is a small offering of our experiences. Just follow along with the older gal in an apple green shirt–your guide, me, trying to look so cool and collected as I sweat like mad in the dry Mediterranean heat of day. Thank goodness for a swift breeze, at times. (Hottest day of our visit…)
We first checked out the House of Pacific Relations’ International Cottages built in 1935 to promote good will while sharing cultural exhibits. We discovered the open house tours occur only on week-ends. It was charming nonetheless. I paused at the doors of Germany and Ireland, parts of my heritage. (Marc is checking out a lovely trumpet-shaped flower.) I imagined any stucco cottage would be delightful to move into, at least for a few days, where I’d hunker down in shadow-drifts and write away, an iced tea at hand…
(For the sake of economy of space, I have tended to post smaller pictures. You know, of course, to click on each you may want to view both complete and larger. Thanks!)
Next we wandered about, gawking at ornate buildings and passageways. I felt whisked away to a different culture and time. As the heat ramped up, sweet coolness of shady spots was enjoyed more than once.
I always try to visit gardens when we travel. One I sought out was the Alcazar Garden, designed to mimic the Alcazar Castle gardens in Seville, Spain.
The Botanical Building and Lily Pond was a favorite stop. Built for the 1915-1916 Exposition, it is one of the world’s largest lath structures. It houses more than 2000 plants. The orchids were exquisite.
We left the interior to admire the captivating surroundings of Lily Pond with Mama Duck and ducklings, turtles, and namesake lilies.
And this gentleman who played Latin music with feeling and a timeless if worn elan. I felt for him, sitting there in the simmering heat of day as passersby strolled to and fro, so we stood and listened awhile.
We checked out the Museum of Photographic Arts which showcases solo artists. There was a wonderful exhibit of insect photos –beetles! which I love–among others. And we had a fun experience of standing before a work made of innumerable pictures of individuals, presumably reflective as suddenly the viewer–in this case, yours truly–becomes part of the art. It demonstrated how we are a part of each other: we are all 99.9 percent the same, according to scientific discoveries. Something to ponder as we live, learn and share with other humans in this madcap world. (I regret I can’t find the name of the artist.)
We walked through the prickly and peculiar Cactus garden, established 1935,
and as the afternoon waned, visited the Spanish Village Art Center. Created in 1935, the buildings were taken over by the US Army during WWII and used as barracks–but was reclaimed by artists in 1947. There are demonstrations of craft and may art works to peruse but most shops were closing by the time we arrived. I managed to sneak in one and purchased one sea-blue mug as a keepsake of the visit. Note I am sitting, waiting for a freezing cold drink, which I did not get….
Hunger was driving us to the end of explorations for the day. As we headed for the car, we passed an attractive restaurant called El Prado (we tried to get in but no luck!), where people attired in fancy reds and blacks lined up for a fine dinner, some special event. We moved on with regret. There was so much more to view and wonder over! We resolved to return to Balboa Park and avail ourselves of the charms of 15 other gardens, the acclaimed San Diego Zoo and so much more.