Marvin Hamlisch – I love what he had to say about San Diego

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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.

One Olympic Participant from San Diego Who Is Not Being Covered in the Local News

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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.

San Diego’s Hottest Day was in January! No Heat Waves Here.

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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!

Visiting Mount Soledad in San Diego – World’s Most Unique Veterans Memorial

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Memorial Plaque for President Dwight D Eisenhower
Open to see larger image

If you appreciate military history, you need to plan a trip to Mount Soledad.

Mount Soledad is a one-of-a-kind veterans memorial located in San Diego, California. It’s in the northern community of La Jolla and sits 822 feet above sea level, affording panoramic views of the San Diego region and the Pacific Ocean. Often the views extend south to Tijuana, Mexico and frequently during the winter months they extend to the snow capped mountains east of Los Angeles.

Mount Soledad is home to a veterans memorial that represents veterans of all wars starting with the American Revolution to the most recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The feature that sets this veterans memorial apart from any other veterans memorial is the fact it includes the images of the veterans who have served our country. You can see it in the image of President Dwight Eisenhower, who will be the newest inductee on Memorial Day 2012. I was able to get a sneak peak with the sightseeing guests I bring to the Memorial as part of my Coastal San Diego Tours.

There are about 3,000 plaques at the Memorial with room for about 300 more. A number of famous veterans have their plaques up here, including the highly decorated and eventual movie star Audie Murphy, the General of Generals …Pershing, General Patton, Actors Cliff Robertson and Jimmy Stewart, Presidents Reagan, Ford, and Truman and many other whose names you will recognize.

To give you a greater appreciate of what to expect to see at the Mt. Soledad Memorial, watch my video below.

January Weather in San Diego – Cold Nights & Warm Days

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January can bring warm sunny days…

Happy New Year! San Diego weather in January frequently offers warm days and cold nights. Although, I can tell you from first hand experience running a tour business serving guests from around the world, most travelers get a good laugh when we use the word ‘cold’ in San Diego.

To me, anytime it goes below freezing at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s cold! Well, January is the only month of the year, historically, where temperatures tracked at the San Diego Airport, just a mile away from downtown’s tourist attractions, have gone below freezing. (Yes, woe is us in San Diego.) Officially, it’s only gone below freezing four times in our history, always in January. The coldest was back in 1913 when it hit 25 degrees.

The cold temperatures come during clear nights when there are no clouds to keep the previous day’s heat from escaping into the atmosphere. But, it’s those same clear skies that bring us warm days. We frequently see days with highs in the 70s and even 80s. The highest was back in 1953 when we reached a high temperature in San Diego during January of 88 degrees.

As for the average highs and lows in San Diego during January, they are 65 degrees and 50 degrees respectively. (For foreigners, that’s about 18 degrees Celsius and 10 degrees Celsius respectively.)

…but also cold nights & snow to our local mountains.

January is the wettest month of the year, with an average of 7 days of rain. However, on the bright side, it’s also the fourth sunniest month of the year in San Diego.

So, that’s what you can expect in San Diego for weather in January. Visitors who want to learn more about weather in San Diego throughout the year can visit my San Diego Travel Guide. For locals wanting to learn more about San Diego’s weather history, visit the NOAA web site. I also highly recommend subscribing to the Union Tribune newspaper where weatherman Robert Krier answers readers questions about weather in San Diego.

Watch out for Christmas Berries on San Diego Hiking Trails

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Have you seen bushes of these bright red berries in recent weeks while enjoying your favorite San Diego hiking trails?

I’ve seen quite a few, especially in the Los Penasquitos Canyon. With a little research, I’ve found they are appropriately called Christmas Berries. They are also called Toyons, which are evergreen shrubs with leathery leaves, small white flowers that bloom in the summer and the red berries seen in the adjacent photo that arrive by Christmas.

Christmas berries are native to the area and can be found throughout San Diego County from our coastal areas to our mountains. They’ve even been seen in the Anza-Borrego Desert. Christmas berries are found primarily only within the borders of California and are a popular source of food for birds.

Don’t be tempted to taste the berries as they are rated as having ‘Major’ toxicity. However, according the the UC Davis website, native Indians did eat them after boiling away their bitter taste. The native Indians also used the Toyon branches to create their arrows, harpoons, and fishing spears according to the Western National Parks Association website.

Enjoy the bright colors offered by the Christmas berries during our winter months while hiking in San Diego.

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