Fifteen minutes beyond San Diego lies the once sleepy seaside village of La Jolla, the Spanish term for “The Jewel”. With its sandstone cliffs, picturesque beaches, shopping and dining, La Jolla is the perfect destination for a perfect day.
Start your day at Brockton Villas. Once a charming beach cottage built in 1894; it was then converted into a restaurant in 1990. Ask for a table in the West Veranda, a covered porch with tables overlooking La Jolla Cove. Try their world famous Coast Toast, similar to a soufflé, it is extra rich with a hint of orange. If you are seeking a savory dish, try their steamed eggs, which are made without butter or oil.
Another great breakfast spot is The Cottage, acclaimed by Epicurious.com as one of “America’s Top Ten Breakfasts” and Departures magazine as “Best Secret.” Built in the 1900s, this refurbished cottage was relocated to its current location on Prospect Street. The famous country style French toast, featured on their cookbook cover, is stuffed with strawberry compote & Marscarpone cheese.
After such a hearty breakfast, head to Torrey Pines State Reserve for a long hike. The reserve is a short drive north of La Jolla and offers some of the most amazing views of the pacific ocean. The reserve extends two miles along the coast and one mile inland and includes a wide beach, steep sandstone cliffs and bluffs that are eroded into unusual, intricate formations. The reserve boasts over 400 species of plants, flowers and bushes plus a fair variety of wildlife. The twisted, wind-swept torrey pine, the rarest pine tree in north America, once occupied a much larger area but now survives only here and on Santa Rosa Island. The six main trails are fairly short and you can hike several trails within a short window, or spend the day occupying the many benches along the trails just taking in the spectacular surroundings.
Picnicking sounds appealing, but there is no food or drink allowed in the reserve, so head back to La Jolla for lunch at George’s Bar, named “Best View & Outdoor Patio,” by Ranch & Coast magazine. The atmosphere is casual so you won’t feel so out of place in your hiking attire and sneakers. It is part of the same restaurant family as its more sophisticated sister restaurants, George’s California Modern and Ocean Terrace. Dining at George’s Bar allows you to partake in the same bistro style menu as Ocean Terrace that’s inspired by California’s freshest ingredients, offering everything from grilled fresh fish tacos to flat iron steak. All restaurants provide the same ocean view, overlooking La Jolla Cove.
Stop in the Museum of Contemporary Art’s convenient seaside location. Free public tours are available every Thursday at 6 p.m. and weekends at 2 p.m. Spend the rest of the afternoon wandering the coastline. There is a paved sidewalk that hugs the coast and allows you access to the beaches and tidepools. Visit Casa Beach (also known as the Children’s Pool), a gathering place for harbor seals. There is a wealth of coastal wildlife to experience, including flocks of pelicans on the rocks, and if you’re lucky you may even spot gray whales and bottlenose dolphins offshore.
La Jolla has so much to offer the nature lover, food lover, shopping lover, art lover– you get the hint. So close to San Diego, you don’t have to go far to feel a world away.
What & Where:
Brockton Villa (1235 Coast Blvd.; 858-454-7393)
The Cottage (7702 Fay Ave.; 858-454-8409)
Torrey Pines State Reserve (16500 North Torrey Pines Rd.; 858-755-2063)
George’s Bar (1250 Prospect St.; 858-454-4244))
Museum of Contemporary Arts (700 Prospect Street; 858-454-3541)
Getting There: From downtown San Diego take the I-5 north. Take Hwy. 52 West to La Jolla Parkway and continue as the street becomes Torrey Pines Road. Follow Torrey Pines Road to the signalized intersection at Prospect Street and turn right.