Relaxing (and Reeling) at Hawaii’s Mauna Lani Resort
San Diego Magazine » Travel
by Nicolle Monico
1w ago
“Keep going! Keep reeling it in!” the captain shouted at me. My right arm was throbbing. I was struggling.  My left thumb ran back and forth across the line, guiding it from side to side to keep it from getting tangled. My other hand gripped the fishing pole, cranking the handle and fighting with my opponent. All eyes were on me. It had been a long time since I’d grappled with a fish. I first learned how during childhood camping trips to places like Sequoia National Park, Mount Lassen, and Yosemite. I vividly remember watching as my best friend’s dad grilled up our catch each day. Garlic ..read more
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Securing the Future of Kauai’s Native Flora
San Diego Magazine » Travel
by Cole Novak
1M ago
I went to Kauai in search of some green. During my first visit there in 2018 for a botanical-themed journalism fellowship, I developed a newfound appreciation for the mystifying wonder of plants—their astounding diversity, limitless complexity, and extraordinary beauty. Returning this winter from a gray-skied San Diego, I wanted to reconnect with that sunny greenery. Photo Credit: Keith Ketchum A sampling of the flora thriving at the 200-acre McBryde Garden on Kauai. Known as the Garden Island, Hawai‘i’s most westerly offering is a verdant blotch of craggy jungled peaks and sluicing waterfalls ..read more
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Finding San Diego in Southern Spain
San Diego Magazine » Travel
by Cole Novak
1M ago
I take the winding, country road from my hometown of Seville, in Andalusia—the southernmost region of Spain—to the mountain range known as Sierra Morena. I’m here to find out more about Saint Diego, the namesake of the city where I’ve lived for almost a decade, some 5,000 miles away.  This road is as familiar to me as the 79 to Julian, the narrow curves peppered with childhood memories of driving up here on the weekends. Hundreds of cork and holm oaks, not unlike the ones in southern California, line the road. It rained recently, so the soil is covered in grass and wildflowers, but I know ..read more
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I Drastically Underestimated Martin Short’s Funny
San Diego Magazine » Travel
by Cole Novak
1M ago
“The first thing I did when I came to this country was go to a department store and squeeze the Charmin,” says Martin Short. “I had to know.” The new mayor is sitting next to me at a professional, un-contagious distance, wearing purple sparkly shoes (rhinestones? A glittery mirage of unfathomable political power?). His purple suit is elegant yet playful, inhabiting a world somewhere between a nicely tailored Crown Royal bag and the singing dinosaur with obvious inflammatory issues who gave a whole generation of children morning-routine PTSD.  He is wearing a cumberbund, which is one of t ..read more
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CH Projects’ Latest Hotel in San Diego Gets a Name
San Diego Magazine » Travel
by Nicolle Monico
1M ago
Add another notch in CH Projects’ belt—The Baby Grand is the newly revealed name of the group’s revamped hotel slated to open this October on Coronado. CH Projects launched in 2007 with East Village eatery Neighborhood and has since expanded into a bonafide hospitality empire, boasting nearly 20 standalone restaurants and bars (Part Time Lover, Born & Raised, Craft & Commerce, Polite Provisions, Seneca Trattoria, etc.), a $31 million revival of North Park’s historic LaFayette Hotel, and La Pensione Hotel, a planned hotel-slash-wellness center-slash-corporate headquarters in Little Ital ..read more
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Inside the Hotel del Coronado’s $550M Renovation
San Diego Magazine » Travel
by Cole Novak
1M ago
Like that neighbor of yours who is aging suspiciously well, the Hotel del Coronado’s been somewhat quietly getting a makeover. The 135-year-old resort has been under construction in various phases since 2018, with new properties being built on the resort’s grounds and builders painstakingly restoring some of the older sections of the original resort. When Elisha Babcock and H.L. Story built the hotel in 1888, they dreamed of building a seaside resort that would be “the talk of the Western world,” a phrase they coined that became a slogan of sorts in the early days. Seeing as it’s now 2024, and ..read more
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Where to Stay, What to Eat, and What to Do in Scottsdale, Arizona
San Diego Magazine » Travel
by Cole Novak
2M ago
It seems like Scottsdale is the place to be these days—my friends and acquaintances appear to be constantly en route there for bachelorette parties, spa getaways, even guys’ golfing trips. I never really understood why. It’s just a suburb of Phoenix, right? What do people do there all day? Like any intrepid journalist, I took it upon myself to find out with a two-day getaway in the area. Courtesy of Hyatt Best Places to Stay in Scottsdale First point in Scottsdale’s favor: There are fantastic places to stay, like Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows. The mid-century modern resort is on a bu ..read more
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Finding Family Heritage (& Losing an Earring) in Mexico
San Diego Magazine » Travel
by Cole Novak
3M ago
My father and his six siblings grew up in Comala, a cozy town in the small, coastal Mexican state of Colima, about three hours by plane from San Diego. I spent childhood summers visiting but had returned only once since my parents split in 2010. I recalled Colima mostly in senses: the sweet scent of ripe guava, the croak of white-lipped frogs and itch of mosquito bites, the patter of rain on a neighbor’s pool, surrounded by lush gardens. Monolingual, I couldn’t speak much to my grandmother, with whom I share a name, but I remember her hugs and the way she’d let my brother and I splash in the d ..read more
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The Best Surf Spots in Baja California
San Diego Magazine » Travel
by Cole Novak
4M ago
Growing up riding the waves of San Diego’s many breaks, I’ve come to appreciate our city’s consistent surf and beautiful beaches—but as summer arrives, so do flocks of tourists, beginners on wavestorms, and other coastal calamities. During these times, I daydream of the surfer’s paradise that lies just below our southern border: Baja California, Mexico. There, untouched reefs and punchy breaks await those that seek them. And while each San Diego surf spot has a handful of nicknames assigned by locals, Baja surf spots are often identified by the kilometer marker along Highway 1 (K-38, K-42, K-5 ..read more
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9 Non-Touristy Things To Do on the Big Island of Hawaii
San Diego Magazine » Travel
by Cole Novak
4M ago
The Big Island of Hawaii is shrouded in a deep mystique and whispers a quiet foreboding to all who enter her sacred land. Boasting pristine tree-lined beaches, active volcanoes, lush rainforests, black lava fields as far as the eye can see, and an unmistakable “If You Know, You Know” factor, the captivating southernmost point of the Hawaiian archipelago is worth the trip off the beaten path.  Fiercely protective of the mostly untouched interior, locals like myself and transplants alike (Matthew McConaghey is often spotted around town in Waimea) are often hesitant to share favorite hidden ..read more
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