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Favorite Reading Spots in Linda Vista
Plus:Halloween Celebration Today at LV Farmers Market, Haunted SD Ghost Tour, Francis Parker Runner Wins at Invitational, and Vegetarians Like Weinerschnitzel
We know our Linda Vista Update subscribers like to read. They have a clear enthusiasm for the written word, which is a major reason they enjoy this newsletter each week. We try to satisfy that hunger by periodically publishing our book review section. And though many have a comfortable place at home to read…a favorite couch or chair… it’s always nice here in beautiful San Diego to venture out the door to a different place and do some reading.
Accordingly, we thought we would offer some recommendations regarding favorite reading spots here in Linda Vista. We looked for that enjoyable combination of a comfortable seating, good lighting, a pleasing, serene setting, and an overall relaxing vibe. Our very own Carnivore Sidekick—a voracious reader himself—volunteered to help demonstrate what makes these sites so good for reading.
USD campus: The first place we recommend is the plaza area that runs through the middle of the University of San Diego campus. Although there are plenty of great seating locations located in this plaza area, we especially like the big Adirondack chairs that face west. This is a great place to read on a sunny day. The atmosphere on a university campus like USD’s will always make you feel more intellectual, but you will feel especially smart when reading a book in this plaza area. And as you sit on one of these big chairs you can take an occasional break from your book and look west to catch a great view of Mission Bay.
Linda Vista Library: The second place we recommend is the long library table in the Linda Vista Library. The outdoor space at the library is a very serene place to read a book, and there are numerous chairs and tables for reading in the library interior, but the long table on the east side of the library has a traditional library feel to it—as if designed to attract fellow readers to sit beside you and indulge in great literary texts— and during the day has nice outdoor lighting provided by the large windows.
Sudz Laundromat: Though our best reading takes places when we focus exclusively on the text, there are times when it’s best to multi-task. This usually occurs when forced to do a mundane chore like laundry. On such an occasion we recommend a place like the Sudz Laundromat in the LV Plaza Shopping Center to do some casual reading. The time goes by much quicker when we can break out a book as we wait for the washer and dryer to do their jobs. The rhythmic sounds created by the washers and dryers can actually help provide a relaxing atmosphere capable of enhancing one’s reading focus. Of course, there is always the danger of having your reading be distracted by the interesting motion of the clothes inside the washing machine, as depicted below by the Carnivore Sidekick.
Mission Heights Community Park: Finally, the serene nature of a shady park lends itself quite easily to good reading. At the beautiful park in Mission Heights, you can always count on the quiet, grassy, leafy setting to provide a great outdoor environment for a relaxing read. Just grab your book and sit on a bench, lay out on the grass on a blanket, or even sit in your car. And if you’re like the Carnivore Sidekick, you can join a Yoga group and do your reading at the same time. You might say he is very “flexible” when it comes to picking a time and place to read.
If LV Update readers have their own favorite Linda Vista reading sites, please forward them to us so we can eventually pass the information along to all of our enthusiastic readers
Celebrate Halloween Today at LV Farmers Market
Haunted SD Ghost Tours Tell Quite a Story
Are you trying to get into the Halloween spirit. We found something that we think will take you there and beyond.
Steve and I recently went on the Haunted San Diego Ghost Tour which departs from Old Town, conveniently located near Linda Vista. From the moment I met the guide Rosalinda, dressed up beautifully as a Mexican widow complete with long black dress and lace veil, I knew we were in for a treat. She was standing in front of a gray ghost bus and told us all she had been “dying” to meet us. We were a group of about 11 persons looking for a creepy time.
The first stop was the Whaley House, well known as one of the scariest haunted houses in the United States. Rosalinda told us about the history of the first owner and the tragedy that befell his family and others as well who were associated with this house. People sometimes stay there overnight and have reported seeing spirits during their visit. This was the start of our haunted journey.
We then boarded the Ghost Bus and headed for Sherman Heights. Now, I have never been to Sherman Heights so it was a treat for me. We visited the Villa Montezuma. This is a beautiful mansion built in 1882 for a famous pianist who was known round the world. The house is very tall and was the only house in the area when built, and must have had beautiful views of the water and the whole of “new town” as San Diego was then known. There were beautiful stained glass windows and we were privileged to go inside and have a tour by a docent of the Friends of the Villa Montezuma, Inc. There are full tours given of this beautiful structure, and if you have a chance, you should take one. The owner gave seances in the beautiful music room we were privileged to see.
Our next stop was downtown San Diego. After a tour and storytelling about the “red light district” of yore (the Gaslamp District), we visited the Davis-Horton House where people would come to die. Sort of an old time hospice. The proprietor was paid $1 per day per bed and at the time, she probably made quite a haul. You knew when you went there, you would not come out. Tour guests have been known to be pushed around in this house or have apparitions show up on pictures on their cameras. The rooms were interestingly furnished. The Halloween spirit was starting to get to me!
Up the street we stopped at the Horton Grand Hotel which we were told was originally four hotels. Two of the rooms have their own ghosts and are still in service. If you want to stay in those rooms, there is a months long wait, especially during this time of the year. Don’t know why anyone would want to stay there. Not me!
Our final stop (no pun intended) was El Campo Santo Cemetery in Old Town. The ghosts there are all over the place as their remains have been moved many times. People have seen figures floating above the graves. And for those not already convinced, at this point Rosalinda gave us the ultimate proof that ghosts existed and even the skeptics among us could not deny - but I will leave that for Rosalinda to tell you.
I would describe this tour as “macabre” in a Victorian era way, much like the Addams Family. The historical homes we were given access to were fascinating and I enjoyed them all very much. Rosalinda was amazing. Not only did she look the part, she lived the part. She is a great storyteller and recited poetry from memory numerous times. She had visual aids which added to the tour. The little spiders on our seats added a nice touch. Creepy at times, always interesting and some not too funny jokes 😊.
I would recommend this tour and I will tell you that I am now fully in the Halloween spirit and can’t wait for the trick or treaters. LV Update readers who wish to go on the tour can use a discount code of SPOOKY at the company web site or call 619-255-6170.
Local HS Sports
Francis Parker Runner Wins First Place
Cross country running is a demanding sport, made all the more demanding by the frequent requirement to run along trails that go up steep hills and switchbacks. Based on this requirement, one would think that Linda Vista, with all of its steep inclines, might be the perfect training ground for developing a champion cross country runner. Fortunately, there is a student at Francis Parker School who is proving this sentiment true. Ariella Llorens, a sophomore on the Lancer varsity cross country team, recently proved herself capable of taking on the strenuous challenge of a hilly course by winning first place at the prestigious Mt. SAC Cross Country Invitational on October 20. Llorens finished first with a winning time of 17.44 over the three mile course in the Girls Division 3, 4 and 5 Individual Sweepstakes race. In doing so, she also led her Francis Parker teammates to a first place team finish. Teams from all over Southern California competed in the race.
The Mt. SAC Invitational course is known for its many uphill climbs, but that did not worry Llorens as she prepared for the tough competition. “Hills are my strong suit,” she commented. “I was more worried about the downhill parts of the course.’ But as it turns out, no part of the course ended up hindering her; she ended up cruising to a win that found her finishing well ahead of the second place finisher.
Also competing on the winning Francis Parker team at the Mt. SAC Invitational was Olivia Teates, Lindsay Clive-Smith, Isla Duncan, Leilani Muzzy, Mercy Bourgeois, and Melina Fernon.
Llorens, competing in only her second season of cross country running, has high expectations for this season. She looks forward to her team competing at the state level. “I think we can win at State this year,” she said.
Preparing to compete at such a high performance level during cross country is no easy thing. Training during the summer months is crucial and Llorens did her share of running during July and August, averaging about 50-60 miles a week. She emphasized a training regimen of alternating hard and easy days that included long runs of 10-14 miles. During the season her training also consists of speed work which involves running intensely for shorter distances on the track. Her favorite place to run here in Linda Vista is Tecolote Canyon. “There are several trails in Tecolote Canyon I like to run on,” she said.
When asked what she likes about distance running, she commented, “It’s time I get to be alone with my thoughts. I am busy with my studies, especially on the weekends, but running gives me the chance to think, and to be with nature.” She added, “Cross country has helped me make best friends. I am really happy to participate on the team.”
The Linda Vista Update wishes Ariella Llorens good luck for the rest of the cross country season, and we thank her for taking the time to answer all of our questions.
Even Vegetarians Like Wienerschitzel
Today’s food review covers several subjects besides just food. Let me explain. We have a friend who constantly talks about how much better Chicago is than San Diego. Talk to him for five minutes and you are sure to hear of Chicago’s superiority at least 10 times (okay, maybe a little exaggeration). Don’t want to name names, but JW can be found at the Farmers Market every Thursday. We often try to make him admit that if Chicago was so great, he would still be there instead of San Diego.
However, there is one thing on which we can agree regarding Chicago, and that is the famous Chicago-style hot dog. You never hear anyone rave about the San Diego hot dog or the Linda Vista hot dog. Maybe the New York hot dog. So as much as we hate to agree with our friend, we will concede the Chicago-style hot dog is great. What is a Chicago-style hot dog? An all-beef frankfurter in a poppy seed bun, topped with yellow mustard, neon green sweet pickle relish, chopped white onion, tomato slices, a dill pickle spear, pickled sport peppers and celery salt. It really is quite delicious. In any event, all this talk of hot dogs made us hungry, and as you probably know, we do not eat meat, so what to do?
Well, we heard recently that Wienerschnitzel, founded in 1961 not only sells Chicago- style hot dogs, but they are now carrying vegetarian Chicago-style hot dogs. In addition, the reasonable prices appealed to us; not quite 1960 prices, but perhaps 2015 prices, satisfying those of you who always complain about current food prices.
Wienerschnitzel started with one California location, and has grown into the world’s largest hot dog chain. They are equally famous for their chili, smothered on fries, hot dogs, and burgers and Tastee Freez soft serve treats.
The local Wienerschnitzel is located at 4393 Convoy Street. It is immediately recognized by its A frame building (which was very popular in the 1960’s) and bright red and yellow colors.
We ventured up there to give the veggie Chicago-style hot dogs a try. We won’t go into all the items they carry – you probably know most of them – but rather concentrate on our meals. The Chicago-style Veggie Dog that Steve ordered contained everything a real Chicago hot dog contains except the poppy seed roll. He said it was delicious—that rare non-meat hot dog that actually tastes like a real hot dog. He especially liked the pickle spear and the yellow mustard. Since I really don’t like tomato, I ordered the barbeque veggie dog which contained the dog, BBQ sauce, a pickle, and chopped onions. It was very good, but a little saucy for me. Next time I will stick with mustard.
Of course, once the Carnivore Sidekick heard the word “food”, he put in his order for the Bratwurst with Mustard and Kraut. Guess he is still thinking of Munich which he visited last summer and where he ate bratwurst every day. He didn’t say it was “awesome” but he did say it was “really tasty” and “the closest thing to German bratwurst outside the El Cajon Octoberfest.” High praise indeed.
The restaurant was very busy with cars in the drive-through, many outside tables were filled, and several people were picking up take-out orders. The staff was very friendly, but kind of annoyed me by giving me a senior discount without my asking for it. Just kidding—it’s always very nice to get a discount.
So, JW, take that. You don’t have to go to Chicago to get a Chicago-style hot dog. Head up to Wienerschnitzel and have a meat or meatless Chicago-style hot dog and enjoy.
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The Linda Vista Update is a weekly digital newsletter that publishes informative, interesting and fun news about Linda Vista and its neighboring communities.