San Diego’s Place in the Sun


The Torrey Pines cliffs help form the coastline of San Diego.
The Torrey Pines cliffs help form the coastline of San Diego.

PERHAPS THE MOST NAGGING QUESTION left unanswered after five wonderful days in San Diego is this: Where could San Diegans choose to vacation that would rival the wonderment available year-round in their own backyards?

It is a magical place by any measure, whether one is seeking the grandeur of nature, man-made attractions or a culture where community pride assured the natural beauty of beaches long before zoning laws decreed so.

On the subject of sand, it is a happy thought that visitors can walk the same beaches where Navy seals train and where “real seals”—basking by the dozens in daily sunshine—know exactly when to arch their bodies to enjoy full benefit of each wave washing ashore.


Don Newbury
Don Newbury

We could have felt guilty spending the better part of a week in this Southern California paradise while friends back in Texas shivered—precisely on the same days—with the onslaught of the season’s first wintry blast. Back home, temperatures chilled in the 20s much of the week.

In San Diego, the weather went about “business as usual,” with temps around 70 degrees during all of our daylight hours there.

At take-off time from Dallas November 12, the thermometer dipped to freezing for the first time since March, and when the plane set down in San Diego, it was approaching 70. Upon deplaning, the sun shone brightly and the breeze was “just right.”

Had it been gentler, wind chimes would have had to take numbers for “whoosh” enough to muster the slightest sound.


   During this trip, we limited visits to attractions that didn’t seem to fit “touristy” molds some destinations are horse-collared with. La Jolla and Coronado deserve better.

Oh, there were many shops unique to the area. However, we found them to be more than that—inviting in ways the owners don’t even realize. Many, for example, have shiny bowls filled with water at the door. It’s for thirsty canines that happen by—leashed by their masters or otherwise.

One owner, hearing our conversation, said hers is a frequent stop for man’s best friends. “They know if they linger, they’ll get treats, too,” she grinned.


   With so much to see and do, it was necessary to “pick and choose.” Great eating spots beckoned, as did numerous museums, exhibits and the world-class Birch Aquarium.

Distractions abounded. With a glance skyward, one is likely to see hang-gliders lazily on routes begun minutes earlier from atop the Torrey Pines Cliffs.

Learning the late Theodor Geisel spent most of his adult life in La Jolla, we considered The Legends Gallery–featuring “all things Seuss”–a “must.”


   In addition to his being the most successful author ever in children’s literature—as well as a heralded artist—Geisel was a great humanitarian, contributing much to the welfare of others.

In fact, the Dartmouth College School of Medicine is named in his honor.

The Geisel Foundation also greatly assists locally with generous grants to the arts. His second wife, now 93, still lives in La Jolla, and until recent years drove around town in a uniquely-licensed automobile—GRINCH.

Like the good doctor’s books, San Diego is a city with many chapters—to be read again and again, savored each time. Its allure will remain with us always, worthy of repeated visits. It’s a place to ponder, and to drink in its wonders like the dogs lapping water in front of the shops. And next time, we must concentrate even more on the beautiful birds of paradise blooming all over the place. Can the live ones at the world-class San Diego Zoo be any more impressive? Let the beholders decide….(more info at


   Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to: Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site:

Please click the book cover image to read more about the humorous and inspirational stories found in Don Newbury’s When The Porch Light’s On.



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