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As visitors to San Diego soon discover, those of us who live here are very active people. We surf, bike, kayak, scuba dive, swim, run, boogie board, hang glide – but, most of all, we walk. Sometimes we walk in our neighborhoods, but often we head to the beach, where sea views add a bonus to the buzz generated by the physical activity.
I can’t imagine a better way for travelers to get acquainted with our community so, over the next few weeks, I’m going to share some of my favorite La Jolla routes with you.
Walk #1 starts at the foot of Palomar Street and Neptune Place, at the south end of Windansea Beach.
For decades, Windansea’s surf has attracted the world’s best riders. It was also featured in Tom Wolfe's book The Pump House Gang. You’ll notice that Windansea Beach lacks public toilets. Local residents launched a “ban the can” campaign when the city suggested adding them.
On the point of land that juts out a few houses north of Windansea (7040 Neptune) is the big Spanish house that once belonged to Gene Klein, former owner of the San Diego Chargers.
On the other side of the street at 7025 Neptune is a house that was brought to La Jolla in 1915 by oxcart from an El Cajon ranch where it had been the bunkhouse.
Follow the road as it turns right and becomes Fern Glen. On the left are a row of quaint little English cottages. They are part of the Barber Tract – homes built in the 1920s and ‘30s on land owned by Phillip Barber.
Turn left onto Monte Vista and you’ll be only a few yards from the large white Spanish-style house on Dunemere formerly owned by actor Cliff Robertson, a La Jolla High grad (along with Raquel Welch, Gregory Peck, Robin Wright-Penn, and Crystal Harris – fiancé of Hugh Hefner).
Turn right onto Marine Street, then left onto Olivitas. Darlington House, 7441 Olivitas, is a popular wedding venue.
Continue onto Coast Boulevard and follow the coastline north along Shell Beach. The San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art is on the east side of the street. Soon you’ll come to the Children’s Pool, which is now home to a colony of seals. The movie Stunt Man was filmed here.
The turnaround point on this walk is The La Jolla Cove – 2.1 miles from the starting point on Palomar Street. The Cove is part of an Underwater Ecological Reserve where snorkelers and scuba divers may observe, but not remove, various kinds of sea life. Lots of folks swim here year round, but for me it is enough to stand for a moment and observe flocks of pelicans, kayakers bobbing around in their little yellow boats, and sea lions clambering around on the rocks.
I’ve seen it hundreds of times, but I still get a buzz from this view.