la jolla july 4

Daytrip: La Jolla, California

Even though 4th of July landed on a Wednesday this year, it didn’t stop us from jumping in the car and heading south to spend some time in La Jolla, California. La Jolla has been described as an affluent, hilly seaside community. I’ve also heard it being referenced as San Diego’s “jewel by the sea”. Both are true and we’re lucky to have such a beautiful community within a two-hour drive from our seaside ranch home. You may want to consider La Jolla if you are looking for a great place for a quick escape in Calfornia.

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Food is fuel for the body so we decided to start our day off with brunch on the patio of the historic (circa 1926) La Valencia Hotel & Spa. A good meal overlooking the ocean was the perfect way to start the day. la valencia hotel La Jolla California_Reviving Charm

I discovered this gate and courtyard of this ocean view property in the village many years ago but I manage to take a picture of it everytime I visit La Jolla. Isn’t it charming? la jolla daytrip_reviving charm 1

I don’t recall what restaurant we walked by but this single bright yellow gerbera daisy looked so sweet on a patio table. la jolla restaurants_reviving charm

These hillside homes nestled in lush landscaping are actually located at the edge of the village. They have amazing views of the La Jolla cove that is off in the distance. la jolla california architecture_reviving charm blog

We found a terrace overlooking the ocean and had it to ourselves. It was the perfect spot to enjoy the breathtaking view without anyone else around. It was the most peaceful spot. la jolla cove_Reviving Charm

We stumbled upon a walkway that leads you from the village straight down to the beach. The walkway is lined with a series of adorable cottages. This one at the top of the hill is for sale with an asking price of approximately $999,000 and is currently in escrow. There’s truth in the saying that it’s all about location, location, location. This tiny cottage measures a mere 528 square feet and is located on a 729 square foot lot. It features 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, and an amazing deck with ocean views. However, the kitchen and bath will definitely need to be gutted. You can see the listing with pictures of this Ocean Lane cottage here.   

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No day would be complete without a bit of shopping including a visit to one of my favorite shops in town,The Faded Awning. I love that the owner has French music piped throughout the shop. They offer a variety of home goods, gift items, clothing and jewelry available for sale. On a previous trip we purchased two side chairs that now call our living room home and last year I purchaed a straw handbag that I mentioned in thisprior post. la jolla shopping_reviving charm

Another display at The Faded Awning.

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A small courtyard leading to the entrance of an antique shop.
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Unfortunately, the antique shop was closed but it didn’t stop me from peeking through the jolla antiques

Sunflowers are the quintessential summer flower and there was an abundance of them available at a flower shop in the village. I also love this tropical floral arrangement in the window of COS Barla jolla flowers_reviving charm

We took a walk along the path that hugs the cove trying to avoid the crowds…reviving charm

But the crowds provided a good form of entertainment. This next picture might look like a “Where’s Waldo” but instead, try to find the sea lion sunning himself along the shoreline. The sunbathers had to keep moving their camps as the sea lion began encroaching into their territory. Lifeguards had to keep reminding beach-goers to keep their distance since everyone was trying to capture a selfie and kids were trying to touch the massive creatures.

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We’ve passed by Mary, Star of the Sea Church many times but this was the first time we actually ventured inside. The small church is beautiful in its simplicity. mary star of the sea la jolla church_reviving charm

And…if we hadn’t done enough already, by the late afternoon we decided to drive into downtown San Diego to wander a bit. Here’s a look at the remainder of the day.

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I was originally planning a traditional Easter post filled with lots of pretty and pastel colors but then I remembered taking pictures of a public art installation during the Christmas holiday when Mr. B and I stayed at the Pendry Hotel in the Gaslamp District of Downtown San Diego. The hotel was hosting “Rabbitville”, a rotating public art exhibit comprised of 15 fiberglass rabbits. The exhibit began in May 2017 to commemorate the settling of the neighborhood 150 years ago. If you wish to see Rabbitville in person, the exhibit is currently on display at San Diego’s historic U.S. Grant Hotel.

Hoppy Easter…and Rabbit, Rabbit! (*if you need to know what that means, click here)

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The Pendry Hotel, situated on a prime corner in the Gaslamp Quarter of downtown San Diego, opened its doors early this year with lots of fanfare as a new venture for the Montage Resorts & Hotels brand. The Pendry San Diego is only one of two, and was the first, in the Pendry chain (the other is in Baltimore). Mr. B and I visited the San Diego location over the Fourth of July weekend where we were invited to tour the rooftop pool and enjoyed delicious appetizers at the bar. Impressed with its sophisticated style, Mr. B and I vowed that next time we were in San Diego we’d book a room at The Pendry. The hotel combines modern day luxury and California style, as seen from my pictures captured in July and earlier today.

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If you need me, I’ll be at The Pendry over the next few days. But don’t be surprised if the “do not disturb sign” is on display. This holiday weekend is meant to be stress-free and the goal is to refresh, relax, and rejuvenate. I hope you get a chance to do the same!

Checking into the U.S Grant

On the morning of July 4th, we left the laid back life of La Jolla and headed into the City for a bit of urban action. We checked into the historic U.S. Grant Hotel in downtown San Diego for a single night before heading back to our seaside ranch house. It had been many, many years since previously visiting the U.S Grant so I was looking forward to checking-in since the hotel finished the final touches of a multi-year renovation earlier this year. All I can say is that my one night made me want to come back for more…

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For those of you interested in architecture and historic preservation, you might be interested in knowing that the U.S. Grant is officially designated on the National Register of Historic Places and over the years it has hosted 15 Presidents, countless dignitaries, and celebrities. It was built by the son of U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant, whose portrait (below) hangs prominently at the entrance to the hotel accessible from the lower level valet drop off. It’s as if President Grant is personally welcoming you to the hotel and when you walk inside you immediately realize that you’ve entered a very special place. The portrait is original to the hotel since its opening in 1910 and is just one of the many pieces that make up the hotel’s $6.5 million dollar art collection scattered throughout the hotel.US Grant Hotel PortraitofPresidentUlyssesSGrant

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An original chandelier from 1910 still hangs in the lobby.

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When we got off the elevator to our room on the 5th floor, I took notice of the fact that the color scheme shifted to a bolder color palette and included palm tree upholstered wall panels. Each floor also has a unique piece of artwork on display.
us grant san diego 1Upholstered wall detail.  us grant san diego 9

The windows next to the bank of elevators provide a great view of the hotel garden and cityscape beyond. us grant san diego

Our room was compact and cozy (i.e. small) but very comfortable. I didn’t mind the size of the room, particularly since we were staying for only one night. However, if we plan another visit I will opt for a larger room and I’ll tell you why….I slept on the right side of the bed closest to the window. The only downside to this was the fact that there is no room for a nightstand on this side of the bed. The hotel could easily remedy this issue by constructing a simple, shallow shelf to at least accommodate a phone or bottle of water. Luckily, there was an outlet on this side of the bed so I was able to charge my phone but I had nowhere to put it other than on the bed itself. This is far from ideal, especially when you are trying to relax and disconnect. This was really the only negative about the room and besides this one inconvenience, I was actually very comfortable here. The bed was perfect and I felt like l was sleeping on the clouds. I could have slept in for days….

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Did you notice the interesting artwork that acts as a headboard? It is definitely a focal point of the room and the hotel’s website describes the artwork quite well:

Masterfully blended within the custom moldings of the headboards in each guestroom is a one-of-a-kind art piece by French artist, Yves Clement. A “Sleeping with Art” concept integrates the large black-on-canvas paintings, which he calls “drippings.” Clement employed an “action painting” process by virtue of his controlled gestures and dribbling paint directly onto a floor canvas with a paint stick rather than a brush. The outcome is evocative, loosely figurative, abstract artwork with a value of $10,000 – $15,000 each.

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The hotel is said to be designed in “presidential colors”, such as blue and gold, as seen in our room. The gold drapes are a nice contrast against the blue and beige houndstooth patterned carpet. Houndstooth is such a classic pattern but here it feels fresh and modern due to its color scheme and scale. Houndstooth is definitely an up and coming trend…us grant interior design

Our room had an interesting three tier cabinet which was a nice change from the predictible furniture typically seen in a hotel room. A coffee maker, bottled water, snacks, stationery, ice bucket, safe and mini refrigerator are all neatly tucked away and concealed behind closed doors.
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The design palette for the bathroom was a bit of a change from the rest of the room design and had a slightly masculine feel to it. us grant san diego 3I am picky about my bath products and I will typically bring my own toiletries to a hotel if I don’t know what type of products will be provided. I was pleasantly surprised to see that our room was stocked with bath products from the British company, Elemis. Even Mr. B commented on how much he enjoyed the Elemis products. Shhh…don’t tell him… but when we got home I ordered him some products as a small “just because” surprise. No matter how big or small, everyone deserves a surprise every now and then! us grant san diego 6

At one point in the evening, I noticed a red glow through the window sheers. I pulled the curtains back and realized that the exterior of the hotel was lit up in alternating blue and red “stripes”. I told Mr. B that we had to go outside to see what the building looked like from the street. This is what we saw… us grant san diego 11We didn’t come here for the fireworks and, in fact, didn’t learn until that evening that the City of San Diego hosts the “Big Bay Boom'” each year. Fireworks are launched from four separate barges located in the San Diego Bay and can be seen from a variety of locations around town. Based on news reports, there were 500,000 people in attendance to view the Big Bay Boom. Luckily, we didn’t have to deal with crowds and were able to enjoy the show from the comfort of our room.

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The hotel is located within walking distance to the City’s Gaslamp district that serves as downtown’s restaurant row. Block after block you will find a lively scene home to a wide variety of restaurants and bars. The U.S. Grant is located so very close to the Gaslamp but the location can feel a bit sketchy at times so if you decide to stay here, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Would that deter me from staying here again? No. Would I like to come back for a future stay? Absolutely. However, next time I will opt for a larger room and take advantage of the dining opportunities onsite. Having been there before, the Grant Grill is a wonderful place for a convenient meal.

Weekend Getaway: La Jolla, California

Our recent weekend getaway to La Jolla and San Diego over the 4th of July weekend reminded me that the Mr. and I must take long weekend vacations more often! Today’s post is a quick recap to touch upon some of the highlights of La Jolla, California. We stayed at La Estancia, which you may remember from a previous post. I spent a good amount of time getting some R&R, as well as spending time at the spa to indulge in an 80-minute massage and 50-minute facial. One of the highlights of my spa experience was when my therapist remarked that I must not wear any makeup because my skin looked so good. Coming from a professional, that is quite the compliment. It’s good to know that my fairly involved skin care regimen is working. I also took long naps to catch up on some much-needed sleep. The atmosphere of La Estancia fits the bill for a nice relaxing getaway. If you choose to book your own vacation at La Estancia just be sure to reserve a room on the third (top) floor of the hotel so you won’t get any noise from upstairs guests.

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My favorite dining experience was finally getting to try the French restaurant, Bistro Du Marche. I was able to get my fix of escargot as well as try some other wonderful dishes. My dessert, Tarte à la Banane, was a delicious banana tart with toasted hazelnuts, brûléed bananas, caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. It was the perfect end to a wonderful meal. I even had a nice drink, the Twisted Negroni, comprised of Aperol, sweet vermouth, and sparkling wine. There is a quote on their website from John Walters that I couldn’t agree with more: “The only thing I like better than talking about Food is eating.” Amen!
La Jolla dining Reviving CharmNo trip would be complete without a little shopping. Luckily, I have a great husband who enjoys shopping just as much as I do….although sometimes that can become dangerous! We went through a few vintage and antique shops, even visiting those I mentioned in this post. However, I was a little disappointed to learn that my favorite antique shop, Etcetera’s, is now closed. I only brought home one souvenir, which is the straw clutch purse that I mentioned in yesterday’s post. I should have bought the vintage silverware shown below for appetizers. I’m still kicking myself…

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So there you have it…a quick recap in pictures of how we spent a couple of days in La Jolla. In an upcoming post I will be highlighting one of the unique shops in La Jolla that I paid a visit to. I will also be sharing a bit about the remainder of the trip spent in San Diego. I am excited to share a new discovery with you. Stay tuned…

I’m back…

I’m back!!!!. Our trip to La Jolla and San Diego is exactly what the doctor ordered. It’s amazing how a few short days can do wonders for the mind and psyche. Mr. B and I spent a few days at La Estancia Hotel in La Jolla, California (pictured below). Then we moved on to San Diego where we checked into a beautiful historic hotel. We frequented some favorite places, as well as discovered a few new ones. I can’t wait to share more with you in the upcoming days. Meanwhile, I am back at work daydreaming about our next vacation already….I told you wanderlust has got the best of me! By the way….How was your 4th?  I hope it was fabulous…

To rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes in the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.   –John Lubbock