The John Coles' Book Shop has been in La Jolla for years, and stood as one of the last book stores privately owned. No mega Borders Store here. It's a sweet little place where you can find local books, travel books, old books, and novels. Unfortunately the store was having a going out of business sale when we were there. However, the good news is that it will be picked up by a historical group who will preserve it as a piece of La Jolla's history. I'm thankful for that...but how sad to think that these little book stores will be heading for extinction.
St. James Gift Shop is a "must see". I learned about it here on VT and decided to look into it for myself. So glad I did. In fact the women were charmed that we have such a site and took our address so they could tune in and see their little plug for the gift shop. The shop is filled with gifts from around the world. I was taken by the jewelry from the southwest, but there were handmade crafts from all 4 corners of the globe. Some quite inexpensive considering the quality. As someone else on VT pointed out, it was nice to be supportive of such a wonderful church, as well. I would recommend it for your gifting or for a crazy southwest necklace such as I bought....with lots of parrots, silver, chilis....you get the idea. :-)
If you click to enlarge this pic, you will see that there are dozens and dozens of pelicans on the clliffs. I don't remember seeing them when we lived out there years ago. Probably they have accumulated as the species has recovered from near extinction. I understand that once DDT was outlawed, the pelican came back strong.
These are the brown pelicans, but there are many varieties.
Again, if you click to enlarge you will see the birds better. Pelicans take two years to reach maturity. The immature individuals are brown overall and lack the colorful pouch characteristic of the breeding-age adults. You can see her vibrant red pouch in this photo.
They say we could take a lesson from the pelicans who take turns at leadership when they are surfing in on the waves. It's a very orderly and democratic society !! Imagine.
Classic in its design...as all Episcopalian churches seem to be..... this was a pleasant and cool stop to make in mid afternoon. They hold daily services...even weekday noon time. Very unusual, I would say. I didn't get all the history of the church, but its architecture with its Spanish influence told me that it has probably been a mainstay in La Jolla for a very long time.
Along the walkways you can find some of those little coin operated machines to look out into the surf to watch the human surfers or the seals when they come close. Or are they dolphins? We couldn't really tell from where we were. Considerable funding has been used in this area to create a wonderful coastline...preserved and developed for lots of public access and enjoyment.
Although we didn't come prepared for beach activities, we really enjoyed the coast of La Jolla, as always. The cliff area is fascinating... they've created very pleasant walkways and park areas for sitting, picnicing, reading the paper. There is a section with sandy beach where the surfers embark on their escapades....and you can watch for seals out in the surf milling around or maybe wanting to play with the human surfers !!
Too bad we didn't have bathing suits so that we could go down into those caves. They look fascinating. Some of the cliffs look as if they have had some blown concrete mixture of some sort...almost an artificial look. I wondered if the cliffs were deteriorating and there may have been some stabilization procedures taken to hold them in place. Probably a lot of erosion in a coastal situation such as this one which has a pretty good amount of surf crashing into it.
While in San Diego make sure to see the seals at the La Jolla Cove Beach. A group of seals has made the area called "Children's Pool" thier home. Take the walking bridge out to the water to get an up close view of these amazing creatures. A must see!
July 2009 update-there's been a recent flurry of legal activity, the current status is that the city of San Diego's court-ordered plan to disperse seals from Children's Pool beach in La Jolla is on hold until at least October 2009
The Children's Pool was created by building a seawall to form a protected cove for children to swim in but at some point harbor seals began using the beach to to rest, reproduce and molt (hauling out). Humans and seals coexisted there for awhile until it was determined the bacteria level wasn't safe for humans and now the area exists as a natural spot for people to view harbor seals.
I understand that there are pro-seal factions and anti-seal factions among the La Jolla/San Diego population but personally I am glad the seals, at least for the time being, seem to have won the battle. It's one of the coolest things I've ever seen, watching seals in a natural habitat, sunning themselves on the rocks, frolicking in the water, watching the seals exert what seems to be a phenomonal amount of energy just to move a couple of feet, watching the babies lift their flippers in surprise every time a wave rolls up on the beach.
Humans must keep their distance, you can either watch from the seawall or from the walkway along the road or from the beach at a distance. You can't, nor should you want to, interact or touch the seals.
This is really a fun place to visit, especially with children. The Cave Store has had many names during the hundred plus years it's been around and it has stood the pressure of the upward mobil progress La Jolla has made.
The building is much the same as it was when built in the early 1900's on the coastal bluffs. Gustaf Schultz directed the tunnel built from the shop to the cave below and you can descend the steps for about $4.00 for you and $3.00 for your kids. They seem not to have regular hours so call to find out what time they will open on the day of your visit. It would be better to get there when tide is low.
There are seven caves and if you're not up to scuba diving into them, this is the solution. The first cave is called "Sunny Jim" by Frank Baum of Wizard of Oz fame because the shape of the cave from inside-out looked like Denslow's cartoon character Sunny Jim, the 1920's mascot for the British Force Wheat cereal products.
My photo of the cave doesn't do the image justice. Go see for yourself.
When the tide is low there is the added bonus of tidepools which can be even more exciting when you or your children discover small sea creatures caught in the pools.
If sunning yourself at the beach is not enough for you, check out what's going on under the water.
At the northern edge of La Jolla begins the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park, which includes the Marine Life Refuge, and Ecological Reserve and continues up to the Torrey Pines State Reserve.
As early as 1929, the city of San Diego has been working in conjuction with other agencies to research and preserve the coastline, the flora and the fauna in this area.
Scripps Canyon, La Jolla Canyon as well as a couple of artificial reefs compose part of the 6,000 acres of tide and submerged lands that has become the Underwater Park.
Boating, fishing, swimming and diving are allowed in most parts of the Park, but there are exceptions which can be found at the website listed below.
The main purpose of this Underwater Park is to preserve and maintain the beautiful coastline, the natural ecology and to reestablish underwater sea life, but the side effect is a fascinating place, for divers and anyone who is intrigued by the ocean, to explore.
Mount Soledad stands 822 feet high and offers a 360 degree view that is awesome, especially on a clear day.
There is a great controversy raging over the cross that has been here for over fifty years. At this moment the fate of the cross is not as secure as it had been in the past and hopefully the result of the effort to save it will prevail.
The cross at Mount Soledad has been a part of the Veteran's Memorial since 1952 and the Veteran Memorial Plaques are about five years old and honor United States Veterans of war.
However, the tourist not interested in local disputes will still enjoy a trip up the hill, if only for the views. Sunrise and sunsets are fantastic from this vantage point.
Warwicks is a significant book emporium in La Jolla. Not only does it sell books, stationary items and gifts, it offers a full calendar of events featuring Authors of the various books they sell. Some authors are famous, Colleen McCullough, Anne Rice and maybe not so famous yet, Nicolas Sparks, plus many other authors from various genres. These authors offer book signing, some will even tell you about themselves and the process that went into writing their book, which can be very interesting and entertaining. If you don't have a copy of the book being addressed, Warwicks will have them on hand waiting for your purchase.
While planning a stay in La Jolla, check the calendar of events on their webpage to see who'll be there when you are. It is a unique experience and a well spent hour or two. Be warned that if the author is very popular you may have to wait in line to get in.
I was following the directions for the 59 Mile Scenic Drive and Mount Soledad was one of the stops, it's La Jolla's highest point and has a good view over San Diego if you have a clear day. It was a bit overcast and hazy when I arrived but I could still see the coastline and downtown San Diego although my pictures didn't come out very clear.
There is plenty of parking to stop and take a look around and a cross memorial to our country's veterans near the parking area.
Apparently I just missed some landslides in the area, you might have a look at the attached website to make sure that the area is open to visitors.
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