Travel Review – Carlsbad, CA

While visiting San Diego and Carlsbad, California for my Nephew’s wedding on the beach, I decided to stay a few days extra and experience a different side of California.

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As my previous visits to California have been to Los Angeles / Hollywood, I was pleasantly surprised to find the “laid back” California lifestyle that is portrayed so often in film and television.  From the Farmers Market (more on this later) to the various beaches, we were so enchanted, we wanted to stay there and send for the the rest of the family.  The shear volume of walkers, joggers, and bike riders on an early Saturday morning was astounding.  Nearly every cafe and coffee shop had people sitting and standing and taking in the fresh air and views.

The wedding site was on the South Ponto Beach, 20130413_160631an area with powdery sand and tall cliffs.  My daughters loved climbing the sandy trails to explore the areas carved out by the wind.  The plants and animal life were abundant, and varied.20130412_153253 20130412_155845

The ocean was fairly calm the time we spent there, at both high and low tides, with waves barely breaking the 4 foot high mark.  The water was too cool to venture very far out without a wet suit.  The surfers did not seem to mind and we often saw surf lessons being administered by some of the local surf shops.

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And now for my favorite part – the food.  The availability of fresh produce virtually every day helped us to make good use of the full kitchen we had at our condo at the Grand Pacific Palisades Resort and Spa20130413_073304We ate all but the wedding reception meal in our room, using fruits and vegetables from the local Farmer’s Market.

One morning, I made a variety of the skillet eggs recipe20130414_090722we blogged about several months ago with fresh asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, potatoes, sausage and eggs.

Another day for lunch, we blackened some fresh tilapia 20130414_145019on wheat toast with spinach and smoked provolone.

The highlight of one of our dinners was the carrots I had purchased earlier that day from the Farmer’s Market in the Carlsbad Village Shopping Center.  My daughter asked if I had put butter on the carrots, and I had the joy of explaining that when carrots are pulled from the ground when they are at their peak of ripeness, they naturally have a buttery flavor and that I had not even seasoned them.

The favorite part for me was the sweet fresh strawberries we picked up from the Carlsbad Strawberry company.  While we could have picked our own berries, we opted for the already picked.  After we devoured all three quarts in an afternoon, we ended up driving back to pick up another sleeve of 3 quarts for the evening and the next day.  Nothing in the world compares to a massive strawberry, picked in the early morning, bursting with sweetness.  I can only imagine hitting the Powerball as being sweeter than that.

Now about our condo…..amazing.  20130414_075622Two showers, one bedroom, and a fold out king were more than ample for my two daughters and me.  Flat screen TV, two sinks, and a lanai made for plenty of entertainment options for me while my daughters were getting ready for the day.

The resort had two pool areas, one exclusively for adults, and another geared towards the kids.  The hot tub was a welcome relief after long days of shopping and playing on the beach.  In fact, it was also good after a 3 mile run to the beach and back.  And after breakfast.  And after lunch.  We liked the hot tub, can you tell?

All in all, from the Outlet Mall to the Forum (think “Bradley Fair” with palm trees), we had a great time at the shopping venues.  In fact, the order taker at the Starbucks at the Outlet Mall knew our order by heart by the third day.  Great service.  I wish he lived in Wichita so I could hire him for a secret project at the new Mercedes-Benz building.  Or an Airport Shuttle Driver.

I am looking forward to going back to Carlsbad soon and taking the rest of the family.  definitely worth the time and money to go back.

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