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San Diego, 2016
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San Diego, 2016

Original Article and Photographs by Kenneth A. Larson © 2016 - 2017

Ever since my friend Al moved to Alpine, we tried to visit him about once a year (ended up more like two out of three). Well, Al died last December and this was our last trip to visit him, and spread his ashes in a marine sanctuary off the coast of La Jolla.

We left an hour late, as usual. Our excuse was giving instruction to my brother who would check up on our dog, the dog's first night alone. After a stop at the Aliso Creek Rest Area just south of Camp Pendleton, we arrived at our first stop, Marston House just outside the north end of Balboa Park.

George W. Marston was not well off when he arrived in San Diego but worked his way up to owning several prestigious department stores in the area, built his beautiful home, and was a prominent philanthropist responsible for saving Mission San Diego and many other worthwhile projects. When his daughters' ages were approaching their hundreds, they gave the home to the public who can now visit the Marston House. The house is surrounded by gardens and we enjoyed the tour and gardens. Visit their web site for address and parking suggestions www.SOHOsandiego.org

From here we drove to Old Down San Diego to visit the Adobe Chapel, Whaley House, and other sites.

The Adobe Chapel isn't always open, but you can request a tour at the Whaley House Museum Gift Shop. The chapel is only about a block away. There wasn't a guide available at that time so we had a quick lunch nearby while waiting, We had eaten at the place a few years earlier, but it had changed and we were disappointed. Once back at the gift shop, our guide was ready and we finally saw the interior of the Adobe Chapel which had always been closed for our previous visits.

The Adobe Chapel was built in 1850 as a home and converted to a church in 1858. It is not large or grand, but was once an important institution in early San Diego. We viewed the interior and then walked around the exterior. (Learn more at www.SOHOsandiego.org). It is located at 3963 Conde Street.

We then walked back to tour the Whaley House, which we had visited before. The Whaley House is billed as the most haunted house in America, but we were disappointed that we saw no ghosts or other apparitions, but maybe you will be luckier than we were. We enjoyed the tour none-the-less. Thomas Whaley built this first two-story brick structure in San Diego in 1856-57 in the Greek Revival style. Downstairs is an early courtroom, store, and the kitchen along with a sitting room. Upstairs are bedrooms and San Diego's first theater. Around the building are other buildings which we had visited before, but for this visit, they were about ten feet in the air getting new foundations. (Learn more at www.SOHOsandiego.org). The Whaley House is located at 2476 San Diego Avenue.

We next walked through Old Town State Historic Park, visiting the Courthouse Museum, bought a bag of fossils for my nephew at a rock shop, and toured Seeley Stable just as it was closing. We attended Mass at Church of the Immaculate Conception on the edge of the Historic Park, then ate dinner at Coyote Café. It was about 8:00 P.M. when we left the Old Town area to find our motel about five miles north.

The next morning, we enjoyed our continental breakfast, checked out, and headed for Mission Bay. Al's old friend Marty had arranged with Ashes on the Sea to charter a boat to take us up the coast a few miles to spread the ashes of Al, his girlfriend, and their two dogs off the coast of La Jolla. The sea was calm and it was a touching ceremony as we watched the ashes dissolve into the sea and the flowers floated off into the distance. Most of us gathered at the Firefly for lunch and further reminiscing about our lost friend.

About 2:00 P.M. we started for home, stopping for about an hour at Mission San Luis Rey near Oceanside. We had visited before, but it had been a long time. We started in the cemetery which somehow we had never visited before. My wife skipped the museum so I wandered the exhibits alone. The exhibits show artifacts of daily Mission life, religious objects, a view of the courtyard which is not open to the public, and a model of what the Mission once looked like. My wife again waited by the main building as I walked to the lavendaria, kiln, and ruins of the barracks.

We arrived home about 8:00 P.M. Our dog and cats were glad to see us. With Al gone, I'm sure we will visit San Diego again, maybe not so often.

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This page last updated: Sunday, 18-Dec-2016 22:14:43 EST

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