Coronado Island, in San Diego, California, is blessed with scenic beauty that has the mind whirl joyful cartwheels of creativity, to paraphrase Jonathan L. Huie.
It is also blessed with a rich history going back to the seventeenth century when Spanish explorer Sebastian Vizcaino caught sight of a group of islands seventeen miles off the coast of Southern California and named them Las Yslas Coronadas (Crown Islands). Over the years, Coronado transformed into a place of affluence, the playground for celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Duke of Windsor, and many political figures.
Today, the island is a magnificent getaway with Victorian houses, old-style mansions, and beach bungalows. Although part of San Diego, it maintains a different personality and appearance, like that one family member whose style and characteristics are unlike the rest.
And so our trip began, over Coronado Bridge and into a different world, one of fun, a measure of sophistication, and utter relaxation. Quite the mix.
over the bridge walkway to famous Del Coronado hotel
Crown Manor, Tudor-style mansion, across from the beach
Del Coronado has its own vegetable garden
on the beach, hotel in the background sand castle
As we played on the sand and roamed the narrow streets, all I could think about was the scene of a novel, for the island has it all — beauty and stories and secrets begging to be probed.
Stories about royalty, famous love affairs, and of course, the resident ghost: Kate Morgan, a young woman who checked into the hotel under an alias over the Thanksgiving weekend in 1892, stayed a few nights, and killed herself on the steps of the hotel leading to the ocean. Or so the story goes.
Destinations are novels, and many times I found myself drifting away from a conversation, imagining the possibilities. But stories, like good meals, must simmer in our minds before they are done.
Image: wikipedia; allposters.com