Have you ever vacationed in your home town? Me neither, until last week. After last Summer's endless fog, I decided that this year, we would go find Summer where it lives. Rent a house near the water. Soak it in. Warm up our insides. Get a little too hot maybe (I'm a bit of a heat-wuss now!). Check the box, you know.
This Week of Summer also coincided with my 20th reunion. So, there was that. (Check.)
Here's what else happened. (Unreasonably long post alert!)
We stayed on Coronado, which is perfect because it's quiet, safe, sunny and close to stuff like Balboa Park (one of my favorite places anywhere). Plus there's the cute contrast of meandering through a small town, right across the bay from the tall buildings of downtown. And, I mean right across. It's a small bay, so each night we could hear the train whistles from the downtown depot.
We stayed with my dear friend Nancy (also mentioned here) on the drive down. What a treat. We got to hang with her entire extended, crazy, fun family (lots of kids!) and Jacky got to pal-around with her two sweet, gentle daughters, who he adores and talks about all the time. Check out the keyboard trio below.
Splitting up the drive was KEY, especially after the heinous 405 traffic. Double key, especially since the following night was the reunion. Spending all day on I-5 is not a recommended way to prep for fancy dress-up night.
(Edit: You know what's awesome on I-5 though? Riding along (passenger!), reading all your generous, encouraging comments on my new endeavor! Wow, that was the best. You guys.)
But, speaking of the reunion. It was way better than the 10th, in my book. People were more relaxed, grown up (natch), and it was simply a better turn-out. And, like I said, I'm not really a high school reminiscer. Bonus was the fact that we prepped with delicious cocktails at the lovely Miss Jora's stunning house beforehand and went together to the big soirée. Of course, we got to finally meet Jora's amazing B :)
The reunion was, of course, Instagram'd. Addicts.
The night of the reunion, we stayed with my brother, who now owns the house we three kids grew up in. My Dad's hunting trophies still hang in the living room (for now), and the piano I learned to play on still graces the dining room. Taking Jacky to that house was meaningful (though he just kind of grasped it), but I think the highlight was playing a "duet" on the piano with him. Granted, I only remember how to play the first couple bars of Für Elise and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (sad) but it was a lovely duet!
When we settled into the Coronado house and the proper vacay part of the trip, we did some plain ol' chillin' and some touristy stuff, like driving a surrey around the waterfront. Which was actually really, really fun.
One of my reasons for wanting to go to SD for vacay is that my home town has been such a mystery to me. I left when I was 17, with trips back almost always spent in the suburb I grew up in, not really getting to know the "good parts." Add to that all the family history of loss, and I'd been keeping my distance for a long while. Taking Jacky to SD and rediscovering the town somewhat through his eyes was really healing and just plain fun. It's a stunningly pretty town, and the smells and sounds of it are still like home to me. I'm not moving back, but I, you know, like it again.
In addition to seeing old friends and some far-flung family, the trip was also an excuse to do a little blogger meet-up. We hung with Jora, who I obviously already knew from HS, but have come to somewhat re-know due to the magic of sharing on the Interwebs. Meeting her cute and precocious kids in person was such a treat. They gave Jacky one of the best afternoons in a while, frolicking in that gorgeous pool. The adults sipped cold-brewed iced coffee and sighed at the beautiful view. Amazing.
One of those adults was also the sweet, funny and creative Desi. After the fantastic Kim and her darling kids visited us earlier this year, I decided to be as brave and try to convert other interesting "friendternets" into actual friends. It's a devious plan. Desi, it was so great to finally meet you! And, let me tell you, she can cook. I'm still dreaming of the killer BBQ beans she lugged over to the beach house.
Of course, we hit the zoo! I may have teared up a little upon entering, as I probably spent half my childhood there, especially with my Mom. And it's better than ever, even if you just freak out about all the beautiful and rare plants (like me). So spoiled, you SD people.
On the last night, my brother Sam took us out on the bay in his handsome boat. It was a scorching day, and the coolness of the water was perfect. I took a silly amount of bridge photos and we motored right up next to one of my favorite Girl Scout outings, the Star of India.
Then we packed it all in our little city car and headed back up through the inferno of I-5. Of course, I managed to keep somewhat busy. Jacky was a patient trooper in the car, even when we got jammed up on the Bay Bridge, just in sight of home. Argh, that bridge.
Oh, and along the way: don't you love rest stops? Really, I do. We used to always stop and run around at them on the marathon SD-Montana drives. What's even better is it seems all the rest stops on I-5 have been re-done. Modern, breezy shade buildings and quite lovely landscaping. We had a nice picnic in the shade (on our amazing, indispensable blanket from here) and a quick rest. It's only civilized ;)
And, then, finally... with the Summer soaked into our bones... we were home. And the fog was a very welcome sight. Home, home, home.
That really is the point of travel, huh?