After much debating about whether to proceed to Provo, Utah or Flagstaff, AZ (both GREAT 4th of July towns by the way), we decided to conclude our family vacation back in San Diego.
The primary reason revolving around the driving time. By going back down to San Diego, we concluded that we’d save a good 5-7 hours of actual driving time on the road. We could see that the amount of driving we had been doing had started to take its toll on the boys and myself. Tia thrives on this kind of stuff and wasn’t quite as affected.
So in the family’s best interest we headed back down to San Diego, a place we knew wouldn’t disappoint, and sure enough, it didn’t.
Before our final destination, however, we needed to have an overnight hotel stay somewhere in-between. It happened to be Bakersfield, CA. Not the most interesting of towns, but we stayed at the Courtyard Marriott (review here) in a decent area, had access to a pool, and managed just fine.
The next day we were fortunate enough to hit rush-hour traffic in the Los Angeles area (sense the sarcasm). I’ll never look at traffic the same way again. What should have been a 3 1/2 hour drive to San Diego turned into about 6. I kid you not. And oh, the traffic patterns drove me bonkers! Would be going 40 mph for awhile, the all of a sudden had to slam on the brakes because everyone else in front of us did. Once we started getting a move on again in a comfortable rhythm, we were surprised that never was there a car accident. Why do Californians all of a sudden seem to hit the brakes at once? Something I’ll never understand.
And then the law that ok’s motorcycles to speed in-between cars. This is illegal in Arizona, so when it happened to us about 20 times during the duration of our time in California, you can imagine how surprised we were to see it happen so much.
So we arrive at our hotel in San Diego – the Manchester Grand Hyatt( click here for review). We have stayed here at least 3 other times in the past, and been highly satisfied. The first being a company trip we won when I was active with Primerica Financial Services, probably 10 years ago. During that time we didn’t have 2 nickels to rub together, and I remember struggling to make the decision to buy my wife an $18 souvenir in the gift shop of the hotel. How times have changed.
So we arrive, check-in, and decide to get out to see what we could see in the area. Hit up this restaurant called Pizzeria Mozza (click here for Yelp review) and were very happy with their product & service. The pizza was too fancy for Miller however, who didn’t like “very good” pizza, only “pretty good” pizza.
The next day we got up and had to get over to this place we had been hearing so much about, the Donut Bar (review here).Took a cab since it was a mile from our hotel and ended up waiting a good 30 minutes, probably because it was the 4th of July and no one was working. After questioning whether we had made the right decision, our fears were removed when we got in the store and consumed some of the yummiest donuts known to mankind.
Next we catch a cab back to our hotel and decide to cruise around Seaport Village, an outdoor shopping and dining experience on the water. Being the attraction that it is, lots and lots of people were out for the holiday and we had a marvelous time strolling, people watching, walking by all the shops and vendors who had tables set up in the grassy area on the east side including card reading, rock stacking, sales of art, and so on.
You’d think I would be tired by now, but no, the fun continues. Oh, did I mention that this is all happening during the time that the Little People of America are having a conference in the hotel? Yes, indeed. My sons ask lots of questions about little people and we do the best we can to answer them, while teaching them proper etiquette as well. It was truly an educational experience for both the parents & the kids.
The 4th floor pool of the Hyatt is a subject in and of itself. We come out ready to swim and the area is surrounded with lounge chairs, fire pits, servers, games for kids to play, and lots of cool desk space. And did I mention the amazing views of the bay!! We absolutely loved the setup. Kind of like a large-scale party, only without all the college students. Haha. After not too long later, since I have fairly sensitive skin and a month prior had a layer of basal cell carcinoma removed, I head back to my hotel room to charge my cell phone, since it was ready to die. This also give me a chance to “recharge” my personal batteries, since I am after all, an introvert at heart.
Catching up on some internet & email, Tia keeps me posted as to what is happening with the kids. I head back to the pool area, refreshed and ready to take on the world, and sweetheart that she is, has already ordered dinner for me, which I promptly delve in to.
That night is the 4th of July fireworks – the moment we had been waiting for. And what better way to experience them than in our own private hotel room overlooking the bay! Up on the 23rd floor, we watched, photographed, and filmed the show, and I gotta tell you – it was really a blast! Didn’t deal with traffic or crowds ,but it was fun watching them make their way out of the area after the show ended.
The next (and last) day we ate breakfast at the hotel’s buffet restaurant, called Lael’s*. What a treat this was! And then it was time to check-out and head back home to Chandler, Arizona.
Until we meet again San Diego! Although next time we’re going to get out on on a boat….
Have you seen to San Diego recently? Please share your experience below!