Del Mar Local Customs

  • Local Customs
    by lmkluque
  • Dog hours at the beach
    Dog hours at the beach
    by lmkluque
  • Local Customs
    by lmkluque

Most Recent Local Customs in Del Mar

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    More than a Resort Town

    by lmkluque Updated Aug 15, 2012

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    The city of Del Mar is popular as a resort town and most of the stores, restaurants and hotels command a high price for their product and service.

    However, the town's people themselves are not typically the "beautiful-people" seen in many Hollywood movies, nor are they high-living and reckless. Rather, the average citizen of Del Mar is more mature. Not really old, just older and more settled. This explains the rules and regulations encountered everywhere you go in town.

    The people of Del Mar want visitors to come, but also they want to keep their little beach area suitable to live in for themselves as well. So, the rules. Many, many rules.

    Jockey's day off Dog hours at the beach Winter in Del Mar
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    Stratford Inn / Stratford Square?

    by lmkluque Updated Aug 15, 2012

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    The Powerhouse supplied heat to the near-by Stratford Inn in the early 1900's and over the years the Stratford Inn building has changed from resort hotel for the rich and famous into a mulit-purpose landmark building, with shops, restaurants, business offices and even an historical photo gallery.

    As a landmark it has changed it's name to "Stratford Square." It is still distinctive and pleasing to see and offers the visitor various things to see and to do while in Del Mar.

    However, there is also a new Stratford Inn in the city of Del Mar--well, newer than 1900--several blocks south of this famous building and it is a functioning hotel. Now, if you come across the website for the Stratford Inn and book a room, don't expect to be staying at this landmark building, but in a typical upscale hotel/motel type structure.

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    Powerhouse Community Center!

    by lmkluque Updated Aug 15, 2012

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    This landmark building has had many lives over the years since it was first built as a generator for heating the Stratford Square Hotel. Water desalination plant was one such life. A Roaring Twenties night club was another. The latest and maybe the last reincarnation is Community Center.

    As a visitor, the main service this center will offer you is convenience. A toilet, a shower, coin operated telescopes for a close-up view and a long strip of grass to settle on for a rest. Not to mention access to the beach below.

    The building is easy to find while driving down Coast Boulevard and if your time in Del Mar is limited this is an ideal location to stop for a few minutes, especially if it is the beach life activity that draws your interests.

    Powerhouse Community Park
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    Authority At The Beach

    by lmkluque Updated Aug 15, 2012

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    Lifeguards stand in readiness all year long at Del Mar and beside their well known ability of saving lives, they are the authority on the beach. They can give out citations for various violations and will call in the police for an arrest if necessary.

    Not only are they well trained and capable, they are also some of the most talented watermen to be found at the beach, some are even professional surfers. They understand what fun the beach and ocean offers and have no interest to ruin anyone's vacation. However, they are also charged with the safety of everyone at the beach and part of that job is keeping people out of rip-currents, keeping surfers and swimmers far from each other to avoid accidents and keeping drunks and inconsiderates from disturbing other beach goers or from killing themselves by overestimating their abilities.

    So, when a lifeguard warns you off an area or says you can't go out in water at the moment, follow their instructions whether or not you agree with the need. Not doing so could ruin the long needed vacation.

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    Public Shower

    by lmkluque Updated Aug 15, 2012

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    One big problem with walking along the beach or jumping into the ocean is the gritty sand. Who wants to feel it on the skin or track it into the car? These showers are provide for those wanting to wash off the sand and salt water from their clothes, feet and in some cases, their surf boards.

    This multi-spouted shower pole is conveniently located behind the Powerhouse Community building next to the sloping path that goes from the cliff-top park area to water level beach.

    Usually only one person at a time uses the shower, but don't be surprised if you see two or three people gathered round each with it's own spigot to wash off from.

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    What does the Flag Mean?!

    by lmkluque Updated Aug 15, 2012

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    At most beaches in San Diego County where lifeguards are resposible for keeping everyone safe, colored flags are used to convey various facts a beach goer should know that particular day.

    At Del Mar the flags are accompanied with signs explaining the flag's meaning for all who haven't memorized the signals. In this case, the flags designate swimmer's side from surfer's side.

    FYI Flags at the beach.
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    Not The Typical Beach Town!

    by lmkluque Updated Aug 15, 2012

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    Del Mar is not the average beach town with bikini clad lovelies or surf board-carrying dudes walking around the downtown area. The strip of sandy beach is a block west of town and is very popular and that is where to find the bikinis and the boards.

    The biggest problem in Del Mar is the parking. There's not much of it and finding a space is difficult. Though some of the parking is free, there is usually a 90 minute time limit. The tires of parked cars are marked with a bit of chalk as the "meter" person makes the rounds. Any car found to be in the same spot past the ninety minute limit will be issued a ticket that can be paid in person to the city or on-line with a credit card.

    The beach south of the "village" area has no free parking and if the meter is not kept fed, a ticket will promplty be issued by the ever ready meter readers!

    Conveniently, if you are planning to shop at Del Mar Plaza, free parking is offered at the level below the shops.

    The Archway at Del Mar Plaza
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    Who makes holiday there?

    by matcrazy1 Updated Oct 19, 2006

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    Del Mar is an expensive area - no doubt about it. No problem for 1-day or half-a-day visitors (weekend visitors) but if you want to spend longer time there hmm... get your $$$ ready and... enjoy.
    If you like safe, nice looking, a little luxury at some places and not very snobbish anyway (I, think) location - it's a place for you.

    Expect to meet elegant/older men in convertibles (sometimes with much younger girls with them hehe - hmm, I am surprised - didn't they forbid it yet?).
    Expect to meet elegant/older and usually single ladies as well.
    Expect to meet thousands just casual people/families of various age in jeans and T-shirts (wow, add baseball hats :-) as well - especially on weekends.

    Powerhouse Park
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    Who lives there?

    by matcrazy1 Updated Oct 19, 2006

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    It seems that many rich folks live there but not more than 5054 (pop. of Del Mar).

    Reffering to official dates
    - they are White (92.8%),
    - their average income per capita is $45,196 - hmm... still not my amount :-),
    - thye are adults and live without kids (86.2%) and only 50.9% of them are married,
    - they are Prof/Specialty 35.5% (hmm... paradise for lawyers, I suppose :-) or they work in Exec/Admin/Mgmt 18.6%,
    - they are more Republicans (1,601) than Democrats (1,416) there.

    So, would you like to move there?
    What do you think?

    Just my thoughts: Del Mar is a "special" city. The residents are people who want to "legislate" all manner of activity because they want their city to stay as they like it. They want to attract only people who are like them. As I know, when the Del Mar Plaza was proposed, the residents fought it until the contractors fit all their plans into the "Del Mar" ideal. Only then, did the residents allow the Del Mar Plaza to be built.

    I know that the residents of Del Mar voted against Leggoland coming into Del Mar because they didn’t want all the extra traffic it would generate, as well as other elements that didn’t fit the Del Mar ideal.

    Look at opinions of other VT-ers in my travelogue %L[http://www.virtualtourist.com/m/tt/3896c/#TL ]"VT-er opinions on Del Mar"

    Source of the dates above here

    In Powerhouse Park
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    Don't they have thefts?

    by matcrazy1 Updated Oct 19, 2006

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    I don't know, hmmm... there is much to steal there, I suppose. So...
    Never mind, in weekend midday Del Mar looked and was extremely safe, relaxing area. I noticed folks who left all their things (valuables?) in the middle of a beach and went somewhere. Weren't they afraid of beach thefts? Or no valuables left?

    From LINDA (lmkluque):
    In this picture, there were no "valuables" left. Usually there is very little theft on the beach. The biggest "theft" problems are usually in the parking lot where everyone leaves their "real" valuables, like money and credit cards.

    ON  THE  BEACH
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    Beach flags

    by matcrazy1 Updated Oct 19, 2006

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    Look at my picture: what do these 2 flags put on the beach mean?

    In my homeland there are generally 4 flags put by lifeguards on a mast:
    black - swimming not allowed,
    red - swimming allowed but maybe dangerous,
    yellow - swimming allowed but be carefull,
    white - swimming allowed.

    How does it work there?

    From LINDA (lmkluque):
    Red usually indicates a "Rip Current" or that there are other dangers going into the water.

    Yellow with a black circle indicates the area is a swim zone. Only swimming allowed.

    Each city’s lifeguards have their own flag system, however, they are all similar and usually can be figured out, to be sure of the meaning of the flag, ask a lifeguard. Also Divers have flags which indicate diving conditions.

    Mysterious flags :-)
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    Beach dress code

    by matcrazy1 Updated Oct 19, 2006

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    Ladies: hmm... is topless forbidden in Del Mar (YES), California (MOSTLY), USA (MOSTLY) or maybe socially unacceptable (MOSTLY)?
    I haven't seen any topless woman on the Del Mar beach. Coincidence, law or a culture thing?
    From LINDA (lmkluque):
    Both, but most importantly it is against the law at all beaches in San Diego.

    OK, thinner ladies usually wear a two piece female bathing suit (swimsuit) = bikini whereas less thinner (or thin in dfferent way) ladies often wear more traditional one-piece bathing suit. Why not reverse? Oops... sorry, I am always teasing.

    Guys: T-shirt + shorts (as I know shorts in American English are also men's underpants - quite funny mistakes possible, am I wrong? :-); underpants seem to be unacceptable on the beach.

    Shoes:
    - no shoes (bare feet :-)
    - "beach shoes" (thong, flip-flop),
    - sandals,
    - maybe trainers as well (to take off).

    BEACH
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    What is a public beach?

    by matcrazy1 Updated Oct 19, 2006

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    In contrast to many European Mediterranean beaches there are no numerous chairs and umbrellas put on a beach people to pay for them (sometimes quite much hehe).
    From LINDA (lmkluque):
    Maybe on the East Coast? On the West Coast I have not see this except in movies about the "Old Days." The Hotel Del offered little "cabanas," umbrellas and chairs, as you described, in the early 1900’s, but that is no longer the case. Some hotels offer towels, chairs and umbrellas, but most people just use towels.

    Public beach means just public that is for people and free of charge even in generally expensive Del Mar - very well, I think :-))). But what you save on beach you spend on parking lots :-(. Anyway, it's better than to spend on both.

    Just one question: are there any fenced, guarded, private beaches with numerous chairs and umbrellas to use (for additional charge sometimes) in the USA?
    From LINDA (lmkluque):
    Yes, there are fenced, guarded and private beaches, not very many. Usually they are in rather isolated or hard to get places.

    They usually lie on beach towels, rarely they take beach chairs and beach umbrellas with them - at least when I was there in April.
    From LINDA (lmkluque):
    Most of the people you saw at the beach are residents who come down to the beach for a short time, some come everyday. Also, many people ride bikes or walk to the beach and carrying all that stuff is too awkward or too bulky when a simple towel is enough.

    BEACH
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    Do walk on the grass

    by matcrazy1 Updated Oct 19, 2006

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    It seems that they care very much about the grass in their parks. The grass surface of recreational area in Powerhouse Park is amazing: soft and thick, you will not find such a grass even in such prestigous/luxury (hmm...) place like around The Grand Casino in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

    No wonder - it's not a grass for sitting/walking on it there hehe. Walking on grass is usually banned in Europe hehe (except especially disignated and marked areas). In the USA - a grass is just for walking/sitting/liying on it! Am I wrong?

    From LINDA (lmkluque):
    No. You are not wrong. There are some places you will see signs that read, "Stay off the Grass," but that is not the norm for public areas, it is a more usual sight on private property. Parks and public lawns are for us to enjoy, not just to look at.

    JUST  GRASS :-)
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    Southern California, orderly mess?

    by matcrazy1 Updated Oct 19, 2006

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    Look at my picture taken in Powerhouse Park. Hehe, what a nice and orderly mess!

    It's not Germany or Switzerland where everything is usually - if not numbered - at least put in strict order hehe. It's Del Mar, Southern California, USA.

    Sorry my German and Swiss friends, I used to tease all the time - no wonder, I live in an unbelievable paradise for teasing people hehe. Whenever you are in a teasing mood welcome to Poland :-)).

    IN  POWERHOUSE  PARK
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