My Memories of the Trip
On Wednesday, October 18, 2017, Geneva Carnahan, Mickey Hardert, and I flew from Ohio to San Diego, California to attend the Friends of La Leche League trip. It was after dark when we arrived at the Hacienda Hotel Old Town. We were driven [by a hotel staff member] to the building where our room was located. The next morning we ventured out to enjoy the delicious breakfast buffet in the hotel’s Tequila Factory Restaurant and Cantina. That is when we discovered our accommodations were on a hill and consisted of several buildings. It was fun to see many familiar faces and chat with other Friends during breakfast. Since the first scheduled event of Thursday would not occur until the 4:00 P.M. welcome reception, Geneva, Mickey, and I had time to explore Old Town. Across the street was an interesting block full of Victorian houses. On the local map it was listed as Victorian Heritage Park. We walked over to investigate and learned that seven historic homes along with Temple Beth Israel were moved to the park and restored to save from being demolished. After walking through the temple (now a nondenominational rental facility) and viewing the outside of the houses, we made a reservation for a traditional Victorian English tea experience at the Coral Tree Tea House in the historic McConaughy House before heading to the Whaley House Museum situated on the other side of the hotel. Whaley House is billed as “America’s most haunted house.” Docents in some rooms recounted many tales about the building, its occupants, and its uses as we took our self-guided tour. We checked out a few shops before climbing back up the hill for our afternoon tea, followed by a rest until 4:00 P.M.
At the Welcome Reception, we received a registration packet/itinerary and munched on refreshments while visiting with friends old and new. After receiving instructions about the following day’s events, we were on our own for dinner. Some of us ended up back at the hotel lounge to take advantage of complimentary drinks and have a bite to eat before retiring early since our bodies were still on Eastern time. After breakfast on Friday, we met in the lobby at 8:15 A.M. to board one of two private trolleys for the drive to Mission San Diego de Alcala. The original mission was the first of the 21 missions built in California. It was moved to its present location after five years, went through several transformations, and was rebuilt in 1943 to resemble its original structure. The next stop was Mt. Soledad where a veterans’ monument featuring the pictures and biographical information of active and retired servicemen and women could be visited while enjoying a magnificent view of the San Diego area. The last stop of the morning was Birch Aquarium to enjoy a box lunch and spend time viewing exhibits. We saw some truly unusual fish in many tanks. The trolley tour continued through La Jolla and along the coast past several beaches and piers, Belmont Amusement Park, and Sea World before arriving back at the hotel. We had time to freshen up before meeting in the lobby to walk to the Cosmopolitan Hotel. It was then that we saw co-Founder Marian Tompson for the first time. When we assembled in front of the hotel for a group photo I was lucky enough to be in the front row next to Marian who held one of the signs! The always moving and inspiring “We Remember” ceremony was held in the dining room before the buffet dinner. Following the meal, some people ventured to Casa de Reyes entertainment area. But the three of us again were ready to retire to our room for the night.
Saturday found us back on the trolley for a drive through the Embarcadero district and over the Coronado Bridge to Coronado Island and the famous Hotel del Coronado. During our time there, we had a guided tour of the hotel and time to explore the area, followed by lunch on our own. The trolleys transported us back to Seaport Village where we boarded amphibious SEAL vehicles for a waterfront and sea tour of San Diego Harbor. Seeing real seals was a highlight of the excursion. Back on the trolleys we were driven through Balboa Park with a stop long enough to walk through the free Timken Museum of Art and whet our appetites for a return visit to the park on Sunday. Our final stop of the day was in Little Italy where we had dinner on our own before being transported back to the hotel. On Sunday some alumnae attended early Mass at the nearby Church of the Immaculate Conception. Later, Friends who wanted to take a guided walking tour of Old Town State Historic Park met in the lobby and walked to the park together. Following the informative tour we were on our own for the day. So the three of us decided to use the included trolley ticket to venture back to Balboa Park. We had lunch at The Prado restaurant before finding seats at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion for the free one-hour weekly concert featuring the world’s largest outdoor pipe organ. After the amazing performance by Jared Jacobsen, former San Diego civic organist, we viewed the 5,017 pipes and inner workings of the organ. Before returning to the hotel we had time to walk through the botanical building. The farewell fiesta buffet was held in the hotel’s La Palma Ballroom. It was a low-key affair after the busy days of sightseeing and reconnecting with the group. After our final breakfast, Mickey joined with other attendees to brainstorm with the Friends Board. Later she met Geneva and me in the State Historic Park for some final shopping before we checked out of our room and took the courtesy hotel shuttle to the airport for our flight home. We agreed that it was another wonderful getaway with congenial women who share a history of promoting breastfeeding and mothering as a womanly art. Here’s hoping another Friends of La Leche League trip is in our future!
By Andi LaMar
Springfield, Ohio USA
Continuum January-April 2018