Tag - San Diego

San Diego’s Scary Spots

Maybe it’s coincidence and if that may be the case, it’s definitely a pleasant one. The paranormal has been one of my most profound interests since I can remember, and the city I’m from, San Diego, has been declared more than once to be one of the most haunted cities in the United States.


Hotel del Coronado

One of the most popular haunted sites in this haunted city is the Hotel del Coronado. Located at 1500 Orange Ave, it is one of the few surviving examples of the wooden Victorian beach resorts. The Hotel Del, which opened in February 1888, has had more than its fair share of famous guests, including Rudolf Valentino, Charlie Chaplin, Errol Flynn, and even the Prince of Wales, Edward VIII, in 1920. The famous Hotel was also featured in the 1959  film Some Like It Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe.

However, what gives the Hotel del Coronado its macabre sense of infamy is the ghost of a little-known guest named Kate Morgan, who checked into room 3327 (originally 302) on Thanksgiving Day, November 241892. Five days later, she was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head on the steps that lead to the beach. Whether it was suicide or murder, the circumstances surrounding her death remain a mystery. Hotel guests, who have stayed in this highly-requested room, have told of several strange occurrences. Some have reported having their bed covers pulled off of them in the middle of the night, while others have seen her ghostly silhouette. On a visit to the landmark hotel, I located the famous room. As I stood alone in the hallway next it for a few moments, I felt a faint but very icy brush of air pass right through me. Other paranormal incidents, especially in the gift shop, are common at the Hotel-Del. Aside from Kate Morgan, one other person has died at the Hotel del Coronado: actress Isadore Rush drowned there in 1904.

Another of the haunted sites in San Diego has been called ‘The Most Haunted Place in America’ by the Travel Channel: The Whaley House.

Located in the heart of San Diego’s Old Town, The Whaley House was the home of Thomas Whaley and his family. It was also San Diego’s second county courthouse and the city’s first commercial theater.



A supposed boat thief, Jim ‘Yankee’ Robinson, was convicted of grand larceny and hanged on the property in 1853. Many historians feel that it is his angry and restless spirit which haunts the property today. Incidents of loud footsteps heard in the upstairs bedrooms and sightings of a tall man with unkempt, blonde hair have been reported by visitors. There are also several who have claimed to smell phantom cigar smoke, which may come from the ghost of Thomas Whaley himself.

I have been there several times and I appreciate not only the Whaley House’s architecture, but also its Wild West aura. Moreover, it’s only one block from the El Campo Cemetery, which is the final resting place of the infamous ‘Yankee’ Jim.

Personally, the most haunted place I’ve happened upon in my hometown wasn’t exactly a place I’d call a star attraction. An aftermath of a tragedy, it was the site of a double homicide that occurred in Chula Vista in 2004. One day, I went to that residence, located in the middle of Whitney-Mankato Street,  and walked around the front yard. I wasn’t able to enter the house, because a police investigation was still taking place, but there was a presence in the air that I can only describe as ‘chilling’. It was same kind of feeling that any place associated with the loss of life permeates.

Whether it be ritzy hotels, bricked-up state landmarks, or century-old graveyards, one thing is for sure: There is no shortage of awe-inspiring haunted sites in San Diego.

Come and enjoy, if you dare!

Haunted Hotel in Downtown San Diego

My inclination to seek out places with a haunted past has taken me around to say the least. Be it a specter infested graveyard, a forest which was used by pagan covens, a former cemetery turned city park, I’ve actually crossed the Atlantic Ocean four times and gone coast to coast in the good old USA all in the name of morbid curiosity. So, needless to say, whenever I hear of some place that fits the mold that is somewhat close to home, one can imagine the next steps I usually take. It is especially apparent when such a place is in my hometown of San Diego. Recently I had the pleasure of visiting the distinguished, and supposedly haunted, Horton Grand Hotel.

Haunted Hotel in Downtown San DiegoBelieve it or not, I was unaware of most of the history surrounding it. Staring out as two separate buildings on two separate plots of land, it was actually a brothel at one time (or a house of ill-refute, as the locals of the old west would say). The madam of the brothel, Ida Bailey, reportedly haunts the hotel still today.

The most haunted room in the hotel is supposedly is room 309, where guests have reported being awaken in the middle of the night and having objects change locations while they slept.

Horton Grand, room 309, Credit - hdimagegallery.net

Horton Grand, room 309, Credit – hdimagegallery.net

Being fortunate enough to reserve a room on the fourth floor, I and my muse, the lovely Ms. Anthropy, marveled at the hotels rustic aura and antique furniture before going outside to the front where we and two other couples were taken up and down the street on a ghost tour. Our tour guide, calling himself ‘Mike’ and dressed in a black cowboy hat, had a wealth of information not only regarding the Horton Grand but of downtown as well. From him I learned that the restaurant Nikki Rotten was actually the site of the first mortuary in San Diego and that another restaurant ‘Jimmy Loves’, was the cities first jail. Some of the tid-bits he told us were right up my alley because they involved info regarding cemeteries. For example, in the old west days, people sometimes, as a result of sickness, would find themselves accidentally being buried alive. To prevent such a calamity, bells would be placed on graves and the term ‘Dead Ringers’ was spawned. The tour ended at the building formerly known as ‘George’s on 5th’, where ten people were reportedly murdered over the years.

Wyatt Earp, George’s on 5th, Credit -tripadvisor

Wyatt Earp, George’s on 5th, Credit -tripadvisor

After the tour, we headed to Nikki Rotten to enjoy the best tasting pizza I have had in a long while. Heading back to the hotel, our night was just beginning. During the witching hour, we explored each floor with an electro magnetic field, or EMF, sensor. To both of our surprise, it wasn’t room 309 that drew the most energy but an electrical room on the second floor and that was especially strange since the other electrical rooms drew no energy at all.

Retiring for the night, I was drifting off to dreamland when I was suddenly awakened by a light knocking on our rooms’ door. When Ms. Anthropy got up and checked to see who it was, no one was there. Immediately, I thought of Ida Bailey, the brothel madam, who has been known to knock on random doors throughout the hotel and only appears if the person answering the door is male. If only such pleasantries would occur in every hotel I stay in.

26 Reasons Why USA Must Be On Your Bucket List

Many people may not list the USA on their bucket lists. Perhaps the thought of other exotic locations sends the traveler spirit inside all of us aflutter. But wait, think again! The US is one of the most amazing places to visit, and here are 26 reasons why it should be on you bucket list.

Las Vegas, NV:

Las Vegas , NV

Las Vegas, NV

Noted as the  ‘gambling capital’ of the world, where else can you can flirt with lady luck, shop till you drop, dine at a top restaurant and get married by Elvis all in the same day?

Lake Champlain, VT:

Lake Chammplain, source Wikipedia

Lake Champlain, source Wikipedia

Lake Champlain in Vermont stretches from the US border to the Canadian province of Quebec. Widely known for recreational activities and tales about Champ the Champlain Lake Monster, the location is beautiful.

Space Needle, Seattle:

Space Needle at Night

Space Needle at Night

A prominent landmark of the Pacific Northwest, the Space Needle in Seattle is an observatory tower. The view from the 160-meter high observation deck is spectacular.

Grand Canyon, AZ:

 Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

No postcard does this natural wonder justice.  Adventure buffs can hike its trails, ride the waters of the Colorado River, go bungee jumping or walk on the transparent sky deck.

Arches National Park, Moab, UT:

Archers Nat Park, Moab, UT

Archers Nat Park, Moab, UT

A unique tapestry of geological formations, the Arches National Park in Eastern Utah is renowned around the word for its many famous sandstone formations.

Great Sand Dunes National Park  & Preserve, Alamosa:

Sand Dunes National Park, Alamosa, CO

Sand Dunes National Park, Alamosa, CO

With the tallest sand dunes in North America, this park in Colorado is a favorite tourist destination. People come here for dune climbing and sand sledding.

Mount Rushmore, SD:

Mt Rushmore

Mt Rushmore

This particular tourist attraction pays homage to America’s presidential heritage. This majestic sculpture in the Black Hills attracts 3 million visitors each year.

Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite National Park, Credit nationalparks.org

Yosemite National Park, Credit nationalparks.org

Captivating and picturesque scenery, Yosemite National Park is rich in bio diversity, with it’s montage of beautiful flora and fauna. The park is one of the prominent attractions in California.

Golden Gate Bridge, California:

Golden Gate Bridge seen from the boat

Golden Gate Bridge

Completed in 1937, the iconic suspension bridge, with its “international orange” color, connects US Route 101 and California State Route 1.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI:

Volcano National Park, Source-hawaiihideaways.com

Volcano National Park, Source -hawaiihideaways.com

A World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve, this park is the best on the Big Island of Hawaii. To fly above the molten rocks and gaze at the magnificent volcanoes is an experience like no other.

Monterey Bay, California:

Monterey Bay, Credit wikipedia

Monterey Bay, Credit Wikipedia

Stretching from Santa Cruz to the Monterey Peninsula, this bay in the Pacific Ocean is home to many coastal activities and some very nice beaches to soak up the sun and unwind.

Times Square, NY:

Timessquare, NY, Credit- NYpost

Times square, NY, Credit- NYpost

It’s the ‘Heart of Manhattan’ and the spirit of the hum-drum of the city. It’s also the perfect backdrop for movies, television series or your selfie.

The Wave Canyon, AZ:

The Wave Canyon, Credit-ecotraveller

The Wave Canyon, Credit-ecotraveller

The Wave is also located in Arizona, and many people know it from the default list of desktop backgrounds in Windows. It’s a marvel of nature and somewhat of an optical illusion–too good a location to not visit.

Niagara Falls, NY:

Niagara Falls, Canadian side

Niagara Falls, NY

One of the most famous falls on Earth,  hear the thunder of its power and feel the spray on your face. It’s a truly enriching experience.

Channel Islands National Park, California:

Channel Islands, Credit- nationalparks.org

Channel Islands, Credit- nationalparks.org

Consisting of five island and forming one of the biggest US National Parks, the Channel Islands is a great place for an adventurous getaway on the California coast.

Yellowstone National Park, WY:

Yellowstone glory pool, Credit-secondglobe.com

Yellowstone glory pool, Credit -secondglobe.com

Located in Wyoming, this park also extends into Montana and Idaho. Rich in forests and animals, it’s the perfect place to be thrilled by the beauty of nature.

Cape Canaveral, FL:

Cape Canaveral, Credit-flicker

Cape Canaveral, Credit-flicker

Enjoy the miles of beach along Florida’s Atlantic coast after a day at the Kennedy Space Center

Hampton Beach, NY:

Hampton Beach, Photo by Scott Goodwin

Hampton Beach, Photo by Scott Goodwin

The prominent beach resort in the divine and luxurious Hamptons, Hampton Beach is not only the state’s busiest beach but also one of its most famous. You might just catch a celebrity strolling around!

Capitol Hill, Washington D.C:

State capitol, D.C, Credit Panoramio.com

Washington D.C, Credit Panoramio.com

The Capitol building of Washington DC is one of America’s oldest and most prominent landmarks. Every year, thousands of school kids visit to learn more about the US government.

Lake Mead & Hoover Dam:

Hover Dam

Hoover Dam

Dedicated in 1935 and originally named Boulder Dam, the Hoover Dam is the largest in the US. Spanning the Colorado River and forming Lake Mead, it was renamed in 1947 in honor of Herbert Hoover.

Aspen, CO:

Aspen, CO, Credit- happinessseries.com

Aspen, CO, Credit- happinessseries.com

Aspen is one of Colorado’s most historic and romantic cities. With its paved roads and red brick churches, this town is great for a honeymoon couple or anyone keen on romantic locations!

​​Roswell, NM:

Roswell, NM

Roswell, NM

Roswell, New Mexico is famous for  an alleged UFO incident in 1947. Still a very big mystery to, every year people come  to see for themselves if it is possible for a UFO to have crash landed here!

Denali National Park, AK:

Denali Nat Park, Ak, Credit-pixdaus.com

Denali Nat Park, Ak, Credit-pixdaus.com

Denali National Park and Preserve is located in the interior of Alaska. The landscape includes conifer forests and steep snow-laden peaks. This location is perfect for skiing or camping in the breathtaking artistry of the Alaskan mountains.

Disney World, Orlando:

Disney World, credit- destinationsinflorida

Disney World, credit- destinationsinflorida

Whether as an adult, teenager or child, everyone wants to go to a Disney Land park at least once in their lifetime. Well, the Orlando Disney Land is the best of them, and it’s the cherry on top of a perfect holiday.

San Diego, California:

Coronado Bridge, San Diego, Credit-brokereddie.com

Coronado Bridge, San Diego, Credit-brokereddie.com

San Diego’s famous landmarks include the Coronado Bridge and the Hotel Del, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse and Balboa Park. Stay a few nights–it’s an urban paradise for tourists.

Denver, CO:

Red rocks Amphitheater, Credit-cpr.org

Red rocks Amphitheater, Credit-cpr.org

Colorado’s capital, Denver, is particularly famous for its history in sports. It’s a stone throw away from the majestic Rocky Mountains, and don’t forget a trip to the Red Rocks Amphitheater.

So, if the USA isn’t on your bucket list, think again! You are missing out  on lots of great places to visit.

Leave a comment if we miss out of something.

Things To Do In San Diego In The Rain

    Activity Card-California

Activity Card-California

It was Jason’s birthday, my brother from another mother back from my Stanford days.  We decided to head down to San Diego (we both live in Vegas now),  for some rest and relaxation after grinding out our finance jobs for the past 18 months!  How I ended up in Vegas and not New York is another story, but that’s exactly what happened –sin city baby! So, we hopped in the beamer and off we went, to lands of San Diego where we heard the fish tacos, sands, ladies, and cocktails on the beach were all amazing.

We stayed at the cozy hotel in Pacific Beach, put our shoes up on the porch, kicked back, and it started pouring rain! I’m not talking just rain, I’m talking the stuff you see in the movies where the faces become blurry, and it looks like you are watching Scream4 or something, it was bad.  So, what did  we do? We headed to the local fitness club, showed our Activity Cards, and we found ourselves in a steam room that was something out of Paradise.  I don’t’ know what is it but San Diego seems to have the best steam rooms this side of the Mississippi.

For those in the SD area, try Urban Calm, it’s great.  Well, let me back of for a second, and tell you that our saved the whole trip! See, sometimes it’s not about where you are going, its about what you are going to do once you get there, and we had no clue! We pulled out the Activity Card, checked what fun things to do were in the area on our cells, and we were off to adventure San Diego even though it was pouring cats and elephants!

Our next step, gas lamp for an amazing pub tour (again, 50% off with our Activity Card, can’t beat that!) – the pub tour was delicious and amazing. I would never think to use the word delicious for a pub tour, but if you were to see the appetizers that came with our beers, you would think that you were entering the pearly gates ! I would check out Island Prime, the Yard House, Searsucker, or Croce’s.  After that, we found ourselves using our card again at an indoor squash facility, which was a lot of fun, and then some movies down in the Gas Lamp.  Overall, if you are looking to find fun things to do in the rain, there are a bunch, but it’s really who you are with.  Being with friends in the rain is better than being along, that’s the moral of the story, and I can’ wait for my next adventures in San Diego but for now it’s back to Sin City, baby! –

Jason, The Original Vegas Adventure Guru

Useful info:


Cruising Out of Southern California Ports

Disney Cruise Ships

Disney Cruise Ships

Cruising makes for a great vacation, and what makes it even better is finding a great port city to sail in and out of that offers fun things to do before and after the cruise. Southern California offers three ports to choose from for cruises to Hawaii, the Panama Canal and Mexico. Cruise lines are also coming up with new ideas to draw vacationers to the West Coast such as Coastal California tours that focus on the ports of California with some even including wine tasting tours. For example, in the fall of 2012, Disney Cruise Line (800-951-3532) will be doing new California Coastal cruises featuring Pixar characters. To hear more about these ports, listen to our radio show by [clicking here]. Cruising out of Southern California ports gives you many options. Here are highlights for each of the three ports.

Long Beach:

The Port of Long Beach is a port for Carnival Cruise Lines and the area has made an amazing transformation over the past 10 years. (800-452-7829) Shopping and entertainment areas such as The Pike at Long Beach and Shoreline Village offer lots of great dining, shopping and activities, and are easy to get to from the cruise terminal.

Port of Los Angeles:

This port located in San Pedro (310-SEA-PORT) is incredibly busy in terms of container shipping, but also is an important embarkation point for cruises. The Port of L.A. is undergoing numerous long-term changes to its waterfront, with two new attractions, the U.S.S. Iowa ( 877-4-IOWA-61) and a craft market called “Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles” (310-732-1270) giving cruisers two new things to check out before embarking or after getting back from a trip.

San Diego:

The beautiful city of San Diego is full of great things to do, and its hard to think of a city where the port () is so near to so much to do. It’s easy to spend a day going to the Gaslamp Quarter for shopping, dining or a Padres game, or visit the many other attractions near the port, and still make it on your boat before San Diego port embarking, or make your flight home after a trip.

Southern California offers three different port cities that all have their own distinct character, and each one has attractions that make it a great place to start or end a cruise.

Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego Waterfront Hotel

Manchester Hyatt over the San Diego Bay  Credit: Manchester Hyatt

Manchester Hyatt over the San Diego Bay Credit: Manchester Hyatt

The beautiful bay of San Diego is one of California’s popular travel destinations and the Manchester Grand Hyatt is a beautiful waterfront hotel overlooking that bay.

Any trip to Southern California is not complete without a visit to picturesque San Diego. This stunning city, best known for its exceptional climate, is California’s second largest city. The Manchester Grand Hyatt, with its waterfront location and close proximity to local attractions such as Seaport Village and the San Diego Convention Center, makes for an excellent place to stay when visiting the city or taking a cruise out of the port of San Diego.

Manchester Grant Hyatt

The Manchester Grand has two towers that give it an impressive look along the skyline. The location of the hotel puts it a close distance to popular attractions like SeaWorld, the Gaslamp Quarter, U.S.S. Midway Museum or the port of San Diego.

The 1,625 rooms located in the two towers are classic in décor and many have a view of the bay. All have windows that open so guests can enjoys the fresh San Diego weather. Activities on site include a marina, tennis courts, gym, bike rentals and the Kin Spa. The pool deck is a large area that connects the two towers together and offers a great view of the sky line. The pool area includes hot tubs, cabanas and several fire pits that are lit up at night.

Family Friendly Activities and Camp Hyatt

Pool areas are always popular with kids of all ages and guests can enjoy warming up in the evening by making classic s’mores over the fire pits. The Hyatt also offers a seasonal backyard area where one can participate in lawn bowling, giant checkers and family friendly poolside cinema Saturday nights.

Camp Hyatt is also a unique feature where children can participate in half or full day sessions that include activities on and off site. There is also an evening session that includes dinner, so parents can plan an evening alone.

Sally’ Seafood on the Waterfront and Top of the Hyatt

The Hyatt has a several choices for dining and drinks such as Ann Marie’s Coffee Shop, Redfield’s Deli and the pool bar to Sally’s Seafood on the Waterfront. Sally’s offers fresh seafood including signature appetizers such as blue crab cake, and chicken spring rolls. The restaurant also offers local fish and chips and the popular lobster pot pie. It is also a great happy hour location with Mini Burger Mondays and Taco Tuesdays followed by Wasabi Wednesdays, which showcases the restaurant’s specialty sushi. One will enjoy Sally’s while dining on the boardwalk and basking in the sunny San Diego weather.

Those who want a great view of the bay should try the Top of the Hyatt, located 40 floors up. Enjoy a drink while looking out the floor-to-ceiling windows in the tallest waterfront hotel on the West Coast.

Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

One Market Place  San Diego, California 92101

(619) 232 1234

Staying in a hotel that offers waterfront views is nice, but staying in a waterfront hotel like the Manchester Grand Hyatt that offers great views, service, activities, dining and a programs for families is even better.