My guest blogger today is Carli Leavitt, the editor of SanDiego.com. Carli is a San Diego native with a wealth of knowledge about local attractions, hotels, beaches and nightlife venues in Southern California. Enjoy reading her article about finding meditation in San Diego:
Travelers who vacation in San Diego may get caught up in the hustle and bustle of downtown or the sometimes crowded beach scene. San Diego can seem like a big beautiful city packed with tons of people and no true solace – but that’s only if you don’t know where to look. With over three million residents, San Diego definitely isn’t lacking when it comes to a social scene, but for visitors looking to get away from it all in America’s Finest City, the best place for relaxing meditation is the Self-Realization Fellowship in Encinitas.
San Diego County happens to be home to one of the most amazing meditation grounds in the world. The Self-Realization Fellowship (or SRF as it’s often called) is home to an incredible meditation garden high atop a sea bluff above the gorgeous and famous surf spot, Swami’s. Located in the quaint coastal community of Encinitas in north county San Diego, SRF is just 30 minutes from downtown San Diego, but makes visitors feel like they’re a world away.
The north county coastal region of San Diego attracts yogis and yoga enthusiasts from all over the globe because of its laid-back vibe and health conscious culture. You’ll find restaurants catering to a healthy, yoga-infused lifestyle such as the Lotus Café focusing on healthy cuisine with vegetarian and vegan options, just a few blocks down Highway 101 from the meditation gardens. It seems there is a yoga studio on every block of this beach community, scattered in between countless local surf and skate shops just steps away from some of the most beautiful beaches on Earth.
Encinitas is an interesting area with a large population of people who love surfing and yoga. One morning they’re in their wetsuits at famous surf spot, Cardiff Reef, rubbing elbows with local surf celebrity Rob Machado, and the next their perfecting the crane pose at a local yoga studio. Of course, you don’t have to be a yoga aficionado to enjoy meditation and take advantage of the relaxation this area has to offer. The Self-Realization Fellowship is the best place for meditation in San Diego County with a gorgeous tropical meditation garden overlooking Swami’s beach. The gardens have flowing streams, koi ponds, waterfalls and lush green foliage with winding footpaths creating a serene environment for meditation. It’s open to the public so visitors can sit and get lost in the sounds of the ocean, resident birds and breezes blowing through the ferns in this beautiful coastal garden.
The timeless spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi was written at the Self-Realization Fellowship Ashram Center in Encinitas by founder and renowned yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda. Its overwhelming beauty and serene location make it a popular destination for visitors from all over the world, looking to meditate in these inspiring coastal gardens just 25 miles north of San Diego.
For guests staying in one of the downtown hotels in San Diego, SRF is an easy drive up Interstate 5 or a relaxing drive up Highway 101 along the coast. It usually takes between 30 minutes and an hour to get to the meditation gardens from downtown depending on traffic, but it’s definitely worth the trip. For those traveling to San Diego without a car, the NCTD Coaster also runs from downtown to Encinitas for an easy and stress-free public transportation option.
The convenient location and stunning coastal setting make the meditation gardens at the Self-Realization Fellowship in Encinitas the best place to find solace and meditate in peace in San Diego County. Get away from it all on your next San Diego vacation by making time to meditate or take a stroll through these unique oceanfront gardens.
215 ‘K’ Street
Encinitas, CA 92024
Tuesday – Saturday 9am – 5pm
Sunday 11am – 5pm
I hope you will follow up on Carli’s recommendation to visit the SLF gardens in Encinitas. My wife and I visited for the first time this past weekend and really enjoyed the visit. The gardens are in full bloom, the birds are chirping away, the babbling brook is full of koi, and the views of the Pacific Ocean, where the garden reaches the seaside cliffs, are spectacular.
Although we were lured to the Pacific Highway side of the Meditation Center by the gold domed structures you’ll see along the roadway, the entrance is actually a one block walk down K Street. Quite a few people were enjoying the meditation gardens on the day of our visit but there are a number of nooks and crannies where we found secluded benches and a grassy knoll next to the pool, which used to be used used by Swami Yogananda, to sit and enjoy the atmosphere of the gardens and watch the surfers on Swami’s Beach below.
January 22, 2013
Yes, it does look like a mini-cruise ship since it’s longer than a football field and has two helipads. But no, it’s actually the 19th largest superyacht in the world and when first built in 2010, it was claimed to the the largest expeditionary yacht in the world able to traverse long distances without refueling.
It’s been in San Diego Harbor for the past two months and you can still see it today. I’m not sure who’s brought it to town since it is owned by a Russian Billionaire, who also owns what is now the largest superyacht in the world, but charters these boats out to others. I have heard rumors that there was a Russion Billionaire who was visiting La Jolla and is now traveling the Southwest. However, I don’t know if the two are connected.
Anyways, keep your eyes open when driving or walking along Harbor Drive in San Diego. What may look like a cruise ship could in fact be one of the largest yachts in the world owned by someone famous. Here are the pictures I’ve taken and a little background on three superyachts I’ve seen San Diego. If any of the superyacht visitors are reading this, I’d love to take a tour of your yacht!
Superyacht Luna in San Diego Bay
Owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. It’s the 19th largest yacht in the world at 115 meters long (377 feet …longer than a football field!) and has two helipads. Abramovich apparently started off selling rubber ducks and built an empire that now includes the Chelsea football team. [Yacht photo taken December 30, 2012]
Superyacht Attessa IV in San Diego Bay
Owned by American billionaire Dennis Washington. It’s the 27th largest yacht in the world at 100.6 meters long (330 feet) and has a helipad. Washington started a construction business to build highways in Montana and branched out into mining, railroads, shipping, and more. [Yacht photo taken July 7, 2012]
Wikipedia Profile for Dennis Washington
Attessa IV profile on Charterworld.com
Superyacht Ice in San Diego Bay
Owned by Russian billionaire and politician Suleyman Kerimov. It’s the 39th largest yacht in the world at 90.1 meters long (295 feet) but surprisingly no helipad as it was built supposedly to be an environmentally friendly yacht. Kerimov started as an economist before helping to start a bank to invest in struggling companies, which obviously became quite successful. He also served in the Russian Duma. [Yacht photo taken September 4, 2008]
Wikipedia Profile for Suleyman Kerimov
Ice Yacht profile on Superyachts.com
Largest Yachts in San Diego
The yacht rankings above will change as it seems each week a newer, longer yacht is introduced to the world. There’s a good chance we’ll get to see some of them not only because they like to visit San Diego but when I took a tour of the Port of San Diego, I learned that billionaire’s like Larry Ellison and Paul Allen send their yachts to San Diego for repairs and maintenance.
I’m curious if any of you know what are the largest yachts home ported in San Diego. If you have some ideas, let me know!
I agree. Watch the new McDonalds video, read my reasons on why San Diego is the luckiest city, and then share your thoughts on why we are the luckiest city in the U.S.
Monopoly at McDonalds
This McDonalds commercial caught my attention over the weekend during the NBC Sunday Night Football Game when I heard ‘San Diego’.
Looks like we’ve got a new resident moving into town because San Diego has the most sweepstakes winners and the fewest lightning strikes. Gotta like those odds. Update: McDonalds took the video off air now that the Monopoly promotion has ended. Basically, the commercial shows two buddies, one of whom is going to move to San Diego because it has the fewest lightning strikes and most sweepstakes winners so he feels he’ll be lucky once he moves to San Diego.
I hadn’t heard about San Diegans having great odds for winning sweepstakes but it doesn’t surprise me based on all the stories I’ve gathered as a tour guide in San Diego, some of which I share below. I’m certainly not surprised we have the fewest lightning strikes because we rarely ever have a lightning storm but don’t let that fool you into thinking most San Diegans know how to stay out of harm’s way. Since it is such a rarity (seems from my experience over the 14 years I’ve lived here that there is maybe one thunderstorm a year that I can at least hear somewhere off in the distance), I’ve seen many people ‘race outside’ to enjoy the rare spectacle.
Why San Diego is the Luckiest City
Here are a few stories about people from San Diego hitting it big with a little luck on their side:
Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia) – The founder of one of the world’s most used web sites is Jimmy Wales. Before Wikipedia’s time, it’s eventual founder Jimmy Wales moved to San Diego and set up a small internet hosting business in Pacific Beach. He had an idea to create an online encylopedia called Nupedia that was being created by experts in their respective academic fields. However, after a lot of time and money being spent on the project, they had little to show for it. That’s when a lucky opportunity struck. Larry Sanger, who was running Nupedia for Jimmy Wales, got together for dinner at the former Mama Mia’s in Pacific Beach with an old friend Ben Kovitz who had just moved to San Diego. Ben started sharing with Larry the new concept called wiki’s. A week later Wikipedia was launched so anyone on the internet could help work on the project and the rest is history.
Jewel – The signer Jewel was living out of a van and performing in a local coffee shop in Pacific Beach before she got discovered. Word about a surfer girl with an amazing voice singing on Thursday nights made its way to a friend of a friend who happened to know someone at Atlantic Records…and again, the rest is history.
Charles Brandes – Charles Brandes, one of the most successful investors in the country and owner of the most expensive home in San Diego County, which the County Assessor initially valued at $60 million before it was challenged, was a young stockbroker in La Jolla when a retired guy walked in the door and offered to mentor him. Who happened to walk in that fateful day when Brandes was in charge of handling the walk-ins? Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffet’s mentor, who had just moved to La Jolla to enjoy his retirement.
There are many interesting people in San Diego who have had fortuitous opportunities. What are your stories about lucky San Diegans?
I was sad to see musician and conductor Marvin Hamlisch passed away yesterday. He was a very entertaining conductor for the Symphony Pops Concerts in San Diego. I’ve always wondered how San Diego attracted so much of his attention. Maybe it was for the same reason why so many people want to live here.
I tweeted a comment he made during the Jane Monheit concert with the San Diego Symphony last year: “San Diego has great weather … and it has La Jolla. What more could it want?” I certainly agree.
But, I also read that he served as a Principle Conductor in Pasadena, Seattle, Dallas, Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee on top of all the other work he was providing for various productions. How was he able to be in so many places at the same time?! I’ve always wanted to be in multiple places or working on multiple projects at the same time. If anyone knew his secret, please clue me in!
Well, I’m glad so many people in so many cities got to see Hamlisch in person. He brought beautiful music and joy to our lives.
Have a good day.
There are many locals competing in the 2012 Olympics in London. In fact, there are over 80 Olympians from San Diego who are receiving great coverage from the Union Tribune.
However, there is one San Diegan who the local media isn’t talking about but she’s the one getting most of the air time on NBC.
That person is NBC sideline reporter Alex Flanagan. She’s the one interviewing the Olympic winners after their competitions. For quite some time, Alex has been the sideline reporter for NBC’s broadcasts of Notre Dame football games and their Sunday Night NFL Games. She also served as an NBC host during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
A few months back I met her husband Kevin who’s just launching an interesting business…selling shoes made from recycled materials. You can read more about The People’s Movement, which is based in Solana Beach.
I’m glad the oppressive heat wave sweeping the country during the 4th of July holiday week is finally subsiding. It’s been the leading national news story for more than 10 days with headlines like:
Chicago Heat wave: 3 consecutive days with temperatures in the 100s.
North Carolina Heat wave: 6 consecutive days with temperatures in the 100s.
Missouri Heat wave: 11 consecutive days with temperatures in the 100s.
Denver Heat wave: 14 consecutive days with temperatures 95 degrees or higher.
Washington D.C. Heat wave: 9 consecutive days with temperatures 95 degrees or higher.
Philadelphia Heat wave: 12 consecutive days with temperatures 90 degrees or higher.
New York City Heat wave: 5 consecutive days with temperatures 90 degrees or higher.
I get to meet guests from across the country who join my Coastal San Diego Tour. All of my guests over the past few weeks have been very happy they were missing the heat waves back home and enjoying the cool temperatures in San Diego.
I feel bad when I see them wearing jackets and sweaters but they say they couldn’t be happier avoiding not only the heat, but the humidity oppressing other parts of the country.
I’ve learned over time that most guests think they just had ‘good timing’ for their visit to San Diego to enjoy the nice weather and don’t realize that the weather is just as nice all summer long. The local adage is that San Diego weather is always in the 70s with sunshine all year round. Although not completely true, the weather usually does not vary far from that adage. For example, San Diego has the least amount of change in barometric pressure in the continental United States and the average monthly high temperatures range from 65 in January to 77 in September.
San Diego generally does not see heat waves during the summer just like it generally does not see cold waves during the winter…at least relative to how most people define heat and cold waves. (Locally, we call a streak of days in the 80s a heat wave and a streak of days with high temperatures lower than 65 a cold wave.)
Here are a couple weather facts I recently mentioned to my guests that made some of their jaws drop: In June, the highest temperature recorded in San Diego was 76 and the lowest was 59. And, the only months so far in 2012 to see temperatures in the 80s were January and March. In fact, the hottest day of the year so far was 83 degrees back on January 5th. (I’m posting this as of July 11.)
During the summer months, San Diego becomes home to a lot of Arizonans escaping their perpetual heat wave. Now, I want others across the country to start thinking about San Diego as a place to escape the next time they have to endure the hazy, hot, and humid days of summer.
Have a perfect weather day!