San Diego is often touted as the US location with the most beautiful weather. One long standing joke is that the easiest job in the universe is a meteorologist in San Diego; just say “It is going to be 78 and sunny” and repeat sentence daily. It is only appropriate that I sit shivering under an umbrella by the pool of the famous and classic Hotel Del Coronado wearing jeans and a sweatshirt while watching the rain drops (and hail!) hit the water’s surface. I possess a special “gift,” apparently handed down by one if not both of my parents, to bring unusual weather to any vacation destination. Ten straight days of rain and mudslides in Hawaii, frigid temperatures during Sydney’s normally sizzling New Year’s celebrations, snow in Orlando and a monsoon in Arizona are only a few examples of the strangeness that is weather on a typical vacation. To survive this lifelong “blessing” from the weather gods I developed a pretty good sense of travel humor and the ability to make the most of a wet situation. After all these years of inclement traveling I consider myself an expert on how to make the most of a vacation when Mother Nature decides not to cooperate.
Explore Indoors: To the defense of the fine city of San Diego the weather was fantastic during the time I spent holed up in conference rooms attending a healthcare conference; my true reason for the trip. But like every conference related business trip I like to take the little spare time that is available to explore and discover some of the local culture and attractions. While San Diego has so much to offer I thought it was more important to make the most of my time in Coronado, specifically to enjoy the location of the conference. My life to-do list included a stay at the famous Hotel Del Coronado, backdrop for Marilyn Monroe’s “Some Like it Hot,” the inspiration for the movie/book “Somewhere in Time,” vacation destination of stars and dignitaries and among the most beautiful and recognizable hotels in the world. I could easily spout out dozens of adjectives in an attempt to explain this hotel but I will try to wrap it up in just one word; captivating. A walk into the lobby is like stepping back in time to an era where architects paid attention to detail and employed craftsmen who took great pride in their work as artists with pallets of wood, stone and iron rivaled any painting on earth. Hours could be spent discovering every nook and cranny of the expansive hotel and still not see the minute details of the building. Especially beautiful is the iron birdcage elevator in the lobby, the Otis company’s 61st elevator build in 1888, which is run by a uniformed operator.
Good Eats: Discovering new cuisine and local restaurants is a highlight of any vacation and quickly becomes the main highlight of a trip when weather prohibits outdoor activities. Al fresco dining was out of the question which changed the usual ambience of Coronado dining but did not limit the dining options which are plentiful and diverse. The Brigatine came highly recommended by the concierge and the fresh seafood options did not disappoint. Island Pasta was equally impressive, packed with locals enjoying their simple Italian menu bursting with the freshest ingredients and the most reasonably priced good meal found on Coronado Island. Every restaurant visited highlighted their menus with locally grown produce served at their peak flavor, something sadly missing in winter cooking back home in Minnesota.
Long and Unwinding Road: Long walks power walks on the beach would not provide a pleasant exercise experience so hitting the gym became a necessary way to burn off all the fine-dining calories. Since I already was at the gym I decided to take a tour of the Spa at the Del and quickly booked an appointment for one of their signature facials. As much as I enjoy facials in salons back at home nothing beat the luxury of a treatment at a full service spa in a resort setting and one of the best ways to make the most of a rainy day. Although my facial was only 50 minutes I spent well over 3 hours enjoying all the spa had to offer; eucalyptus steam room, hot tub, heated infinity swimming pool, hot tea, cucumber water, fresh berries and massaging showers. My only complaint was the outdoor fireplace was not on or I would have spent many more hours baking by the pool without freezing my behind off.
Suck it Up: Rain or Shine there are some places that must be visited no matter what the weather and in San Diego that place is the zoo. Bundled in a hooded sweatshirt, I stood out in a crowd of locals who wore their warmest winter coats complete with wool hats and gloves. The one positive thing about cold weather is the animals were all out enjoying the cool breezes and the baby animals were playing before the arrival of the next storm. The weather made it impossible to see much of the 1800 acre complex but I did manage to see the baby panda Zhen Zhen (so cute!), polar bear and gorillas before thunder and lightening drove everyone from the San Diego Zoo.
After a terribly long and brutal winter it was disappointing that my escape to San Diego ended up all wet but it was not a surprise; put me up in your nicest hotel and it is all but guaranteed bad weather will follow. It is this foul weather consistency that has be considering a new career as a Rain Maker. Attention local and world leaders looking for drought relief: for a nominal fee I will come for a visit and your water problems will be a thing of the past. Renting out my personal black cloud to others might be a very lucrative career move allowing me to travel for a living which would make me happier then any sunny day.