Your review: Where do San Diego residents go on vacation?


The island is the opposite of the hustle and bustle of San Diego

As a Southern Californian, I never fail to appreciate our “seaside paradise” here in San Diego.

For a wonderful change of pace, several weeks ago I visited Mackinac Island in northern Michigan, staying at the fabulous Grand Hotel, one of the surviving timber-framed hotels from the Victorian era. The particularity of Mackinac Island is that there are no motorized vehicles on the island. Everything is delivered or moved by bicycle or carriage.

We were picked up from the ferry dock on Mackinac Island (one makes a short ferry ride from Mackinac City or St. Ignace on the mainland) by horse-drawn carriage and delivered to the Grand Hotel, which was built in late 1890s and has the longest porch in the world.

In addition to the many activities on offer at the Grand Hotel, there are hiking trails, bicycle rentals and many historic sites to visit on the island. There are plenty of other accommodation and dining options as well as plenty of shopping in the downtown area, and the famous Mackinac Island fudge is a must-try. It was a serene vacation totally unlike living in Southern California where cars and e-bikes dominate.

Robin Serfass, Leucadia

Virtual travel delighted me during the pandemic

The restrictions resulting from the global pandemic have left many people looking for other ways to exercise their passions and replace canceled plans. Even though I, a hodophile, still managed to find ways to explore new places, I was able to discover new facets of my love of travel.

To fill the void of not taking scheduled trips that had been canceled, I started following travel-focused Instagram accounts and created a list of places I vowed to visit once in the world. reopened. I would send the highlights to my mom, my travel partner and from whom I “caught the travel bug”. Inspired by one of the photos, my mom and I built a wonderful road trip itinerary through Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana for my family, which turned into our ‘Big Family Trip’. last year.

In addition to browsing photos and creating a physical “bucket list” to satisfy my passion, I have read countless travel articles and magazines. An article explained how Americans of Italian descent could potentially claim dual citizenship with Italy through ancestral lineage. It piqued my interest, and while I couldn’t claim dual citizenship with Italy, I was able to learn more about my lineage and the lives of my Italian ancestors before and after they came to the United States.

From there, I couldn’t stop researching my family history. I learned that one of my ancestors, a tanner in Italy, immigrated to the United States, moved to California, and started making wine in Napa Valley (although there is a new owner, the wine is still bottled under the name “Pepi” today), and that I still have family who now operate a restaurant in the Tuscan countryside. I was sent a photo of an old village in Switzerland where some of my ancestors lived, which I mapped and researched in depth.

I read about the potato famine in Ireland, which prompted my Irish ancestors to emigrate from Ireland in the 1800s. I even learned that my French-Canadian lineage comes from a combination of owners of castles of France in search of more land in Canada who intermarried with native Canadians.

I would have called myself crazy for saying this a year ago, but pandemic restrictions have found new ways to fill the void of inability to travel. I’m fascinated by the fact that I have a new appreciation for planning trips to maximize memorable moments, and I never thought I could have discovered as much as I did about my identity.

Although it takes a long time to plan, the trip that is at the top of my bucket list is to hike all the routes that will get me to where my roots are.

Megan Pepi, Rancho Peñasquitos

There is a lot to see so close in Mexico

Being born and raised in San Diego, I feel rather spoiled compared to those in some snowy little towns that I hear from my classmates. I mean they came here to San Diego State University for a reason. Not only is San Diego an incredible city to live in, but being close to the motherland brings me great comfort. Whenever I can, the place I go the most is Mexico. I don’t mean to be vague, because Mexico is a huge and diverse country. I can’t limit myself to just one city or state, but more often than not I find myself in Baja California, more specifically in Tijuana, Ensenada and Valle de Guadalupe.

Tijuana might not be the most touristy destination, but when I am there, I feel like I’m in a different part of the world, compared to San Diego. The constant hustle and bustle doesn’t even compare to downtown San Diego. I never go there on long vacations, but I enjoy spending the day dining, shopping, and seeing family. Street tacos, cafes and mariscos keep me coming back. My dad and I once crossed the border just to eat at Tacos El Franc.

Ensenada, and the Baja Coast in general, is my perfect vacation spot. If I can’t afford a flight on vacation, the drive along the coast is the perfect getaway. I’ve always been a beach girl, my dad made me swim in the ocean when I was a baby so it’s always heartwarming. There, the pace is different, the rules are different. There is the nightlife, the people and, above all, the bebidas. Honestly, it’s almost like the beaches in San Diego except they are a bit warmer and you can drink on the sand. Ideal for a spring break or birthday weekend.

A short drive inland from Ensenada is the valley. My parents started bringing me here when I was about 18 as it is mostly vineyards. A great place to get away from the cities, this small region offers beautiful vineyards, friendly people and moments of relaxation.

Even more exciting than the places I have been, next month I plan to visit Mexico City for the first time. After only being able to go to Baja for a year and a half, I’m ready to get on a plane and see one of the greatest cultural centers in the world. I try to be proud to be Mexican-American, and for me that means surrounding myself as much as possible with my people and my culture.

Ariana Castro, Imperial Beach

Californians can gain a lot from traveling

Our 17 year old grandson Max went on a weeklong trip to Iceland the red-white and blue in-person graduation pom pom of his high school still hot from his time in the sun on Tustin High School football field.

He packed new warm “Iceland-friendly” clothes and the totally unfamiliar “rain pants” that were recommended by a cool-faced associate at REI in Irvine.

“I’m not going to take pictures,” he told our daughter, his mother. As a teenager who has held an iPhone in his hands since the age of 7, the idea of ​​adding an extra picture to his memory bank may have motivated his remark.

Of course, this did not happen.

He took pictures of the glacier as he walked over his wrinkled face. He took photos of the placid sheep and lambs outside his window at the local farm where his group of young travelers was staying.

And in the centuries-old tradition of foodies around the world, he took photos of the varied and unknown Icelandic ticket: reindeer, whale, puffin and shark.

And when, a week later, he was greeted at the LAX terminal by his tired but also strangely rested mum and dad, he said yes, he would love to return to Iceland.

My grandson’s first experiences of traveling 4,390 miles on a solo trip to an island nation where meeting strangers, struggling with the challenges of an unfamiliar bed, and graciously accepting food that doesn’t come with it. ketchup and fries reminded me of the real joys of the holidays: Challenges. Discoveries. Rewards.

He texted with photos of a few worn wreaths and a crisp passport that now contains an Icelandic stamp as well as his two British Columbia fingerprints. He recommends Icelandic chocolate bars, which – surprise – his grandmother found on the shelves at her local gourmet market.

Will my husband and I be traveling to Iceland in the near future?

I doubt. But we will keep alive those memories of recent (Hawaii) and long ago (Japan) vacations and their memorable challenges, discoveries and rewards.

Regina Morin, Ocean Beach

Living here is like being on vacation

When you live in San Diego and are retired, every day is a statutory holiday.

We visit family in the eastern United States and try to take a few trips abroad each year, especially to countries with very different cultures from ours. We have been to India, China, Argentina, Chile, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Scandinavia and the British Isles, along with Morocco, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe in the next 10 months ( we hope).

The rest of the time we’re on vacation doing this here at home.

Debby McNeil, La Mesa


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