Sunday, January 31, 2016

Tide Pools at Cabrillo National Monument, 1/27/2016

Mesmerized by the beauty of the tide pools that can be seen at low tide during the winter months here, we made a second visit to the Cabrillo National Monument. Because it was a weekday, the parking situation was much better than our previous visit and we found a space right away. 

Dogs are permitted on the trail but we left Sadie in the car this time. (She can be a little too rambunctious sometimes.)

Views of the beautiful Pacific coastline.

These anemones were so interesting. You are permitted to gently touch the tide pool wildlife with one finger. The anemones immediately respond to a touch and seem to attempt to grasp your finger. Very cool. We also saw lots of small crabs in the pools.

A park ranger pointed out the tiger sharks swimming in the area. Here is a photo of a small one (if you can make it out); some were much larger and there were lots of them in this area.

This little guy was skittering across a rock to get to go from one pool to another. I was surprised at his speed! Goose-necked barnacles can be seen in abundance on the cliffs. 

Admission to the Cabrillo National Monument is $10/vehicle (our senior pass gets us in for free). There is a lot more to see here as described in a previous post, but on this trip we came back to see the tide pools.


Friday, January 29, 2016

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, 1/26/2016

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is located on both sides of the road that leads to the Cabrillo National Monument on Loma Point 10 miles west of San Diego. It is a strikingly beautiful setting for the final resting place for members of our armed forces. 

One side overlooks the San Diego Bay and the other the Pacific Ocean. 

The earliest plots are those of soldiers who died at the Battle of San Pasqual in 1846 shortly after the U.S. declared war on Mexico. Their bodies were re-interred here in 1922. It became a National Cemetery in 1934. Many of the white monuments are for those from the WWI and WWII eras. There are both traditional grave sites and columbarium niches for those who are cremated. 

Today the cemetery is closed to new interments. Only interments for veterans or eligible family members in an existing grave site occur today. 

There are various monuments located throughout the cemetery to commemorate naval ship casualties, specific battles, etc. Twenty-three Medal of Honor winners are buried here and other noted military personnel that made significant contributions to our nation. The large monument below has the plaque with the Gettysburg Address. 

Below are the administrative offices of the cemetery. 

There are roads through the cemetery on both sides, or you may chose to stroll through the beautiful grounds. It is hallowed ground that makes me very thankful for those who served and so very sad for those who died doing so.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Mission San Diego, 1/26/2016

Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala was the first of 21 missions established by Franciscan priests of Spain along 600 miles of the California coast from 1769 to 1823. 

Founded by Padre Junipero Serra in 1769, Mission San Diego was relocated to its present site in 1774 to be closer to the Native American (Kumeyaay) villages, a reliable water source, and farming land. The following year, the mission was attacked by Indians, burned to the ground, and Padre Luis Jayme was killed. Padre Serra returned in 1776 to rebuild the mission, but built it in a quadrangle with a central plaza to provide better protection from future attacks. 

The entrance to the mission is through the Gift Shop where a self-guided tour brochure is provided. The first stop on the tour is the earliest part of the adobe structure (1774) and was the padre's living quarters

The Church is 150' long, 25' wide, and 29' high with high windows for impressive. It remains a very active parish today with two masses daily and seven (yes, 7) on Sunday. 

All of the missions had bell towers. The bells were used to indicate when to work, eat, pray, siesta, etc. The Bell Tower Shrine is a place in the garden for a quiet prayer.

There were several beautiful statues in the serene garden: St. Joseph, the patron saint of the Spanish expedition to San Diego; St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscans; Padre Junipero Serra (1713-1784), founder of the California missions, and St. Anthony of Padua (1195-1231). 

Additional gardens were located around the perimeter of the adobe buildings.

The Father Jayme Museum had displays about the Kumeyaay Indians; the 21 Franciscan missions along the coast of California; various religious artifacts, and other items of the era. 

This statue commemorates St. Didacus (1400-1463) from the province of Andalusia in Spain. San Diego was named for him. 

The Chapel was built in 1977, but the choir stalls, throne and altar date back to a 14th century monastery in Spain. 

The Pieta sculpture by Christopher Penn Slatoff representing the Thirteenth Station of the Cross is located in the plaza.

There are statues dedicated to each of the 21 missions along the porch of at the entrance of the mission. Nearby is a large granite cross dedicated to Padre Luis Jayme (1740-1775) of the San Diego Mission who was killed when it was attacked by hundreds of Native Americans from remote villages. He is the first Christian martyr of California for his self-sacrifice, devotion, faith and love. 

Admission is $3/seniors ($5/adults) and well worth it. You can do the self-guided tour pretty quickly. And this place is just beautiful. I highly recommend a visit if you are in San Diego. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, 1/24/2016

Established in 1968, Old Town San Diego is an historic state park that commemorates life in the Mexican and early American period in San Diego from 1821 to 1872. It was designated as a National Historic site in 1971. The park has a diverse array of museums, retail specialty shops, and restaurants. The plaza is still used today for historic activities and festivities.

Our first stop was the Visitor Center where we picked up a map of the park (and site maps are also on display at various locations in the park).  A scale model of the original town is on display at the Center.

Five original adobe buildings are still in existence here. La Casa de Machado y Silvas (The Machado-Silvas House) was built in 1829 (and was restored in 1968). The couple lived in the house with their 6 children from 1843-1854 when it became a restaurant and then other short-lived businesses. The property remained in the family until 1933.

An adobe building built in the 1820s was leased to Racine & Laramie and became the first cigar store in San Diego. It was destroyed by fire and has been reconstructed with period furnishings and stock. 

The Courthouse was the first fired-brick structure in San Diego (1847) and was built by the Mormon Battalion. Next to it is the Colorado House (1851), a two-story, wood frame hotel. Both were destroyed by fire in 1872 and reconstructed in 1992 and 1993 respectively.

The Mason Street School was the first public schoolhouse with the first professionally-trained teacher. It was open from 1865-1872 and had an enrollment of approximately 42 students. One third were absent each day.

The building on the right is where the San Diego Union, a pioneer newspaper, was founded in 1868. The building to the left is the Assayer's Office that was built in 1869. 

The adobe hacienda, La Casa de Estudillo, was the home Jose Maria de Estudillo and his family. He was the commandant of the Presidio in 1827.  The hacienda is a U-shape structure around a central courtyard. 

Below are some of the rooms of the museum.

In addition to their own 9 children, Jose and Maria's adopted her sister's 2 children when they were orphaned, 2 Quechan Indian children, and 4 more grandchildren when their daughter died. Mexican and Native American servants helped care for the many children.

The Seeley Stable Museum (1869) was a 19th century livery stable were horses and mules were cared for and vehicles (carriages) where maintained and stored. Wells Fargo provided mail service from St. Louis to San Diego during this timeframe. It took 24 days to traverse the 2,800 mile route (one way)!

There were other displays in the two-story museum including these two of a stable boy's room and saddles.

Popular restaurants and specialty gift shops can be found at Fiesta de Reyes. There was also a Mexican band performing where we were visiting (Sunday afternoon). 

This post represents a fraction of what there is to see and do in Old Town. We always enjoy learning more about the history of the places we visit and this is a great introduction to the history of San Diego. For additional information, check out their website.