Quick Trip to San Diego, California

San Diego, CASan Diego is California’s answer to the oft-asked question: “What’s a typical SoCal destination that’s not just another trendy, pricey beach town?” Founded in 1769, “America’s Finest City”, combines the heart and soul of an established city with its Mexican-American heritage, Coronado’s military influence, and the surf culture. This easy blend of features set against an upscale, high-rise skyline is maybe why San Diego is a favorite getaway choice.

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Since 1915, visitors have been able to ease into San Diego’s historic downtown by way of train. The Santa Fe Depot is worth a visit, regardless of your mode of transportation. It is a stunning example of Spanish Revival architecture and is festooned with lovely fountains, mosaics, and palm trees. The depot’s former baggage handling building is now home to the Museum of Contemporary Art and has an ever-changing calendar of events and exhibits.

Head north a bit to take in the sights along the San Diego bay. It’s the ideal spot to see downtown from a distance, the Maritime Museum’s tall ships, and maybe take a ride on the famous old wooden roller coaster in Mission Bay. While here, you’ll no doubt be enticed by some of the waterfront restaurants and pubs. San Diego’s culinary offerings are unique and not to be missed! Be on the lookout for pork carnitas, fish tacos, craft beers, Mexican chocolate, and frozen temptations such as salted caramel or mango chile popsicles.

While exploring the coastal side of town, a scenic drive by the Sunset Cliffs to the Cabrillo National Monument is well worth it. Nature lovers enjoy the 2-mile trek along Bayside Trail. It’s close to where in 1542; Juan Rodriguez led the first European expedition to explore the area. Farther up the coast around La Jolla, are some favorite surf spots and the 2000-acre Torrey Pines State National Reserve. The nearby lagoon area, framed by majestic sandstone cliffs is an awesome place to picnic and bird watch. (While in San Diego, be sure and make plans to visit a few of its 15 museums and outstanding zoos.)

It is definitely worth your time to venture inland, towards the westerly areas of San Diego. The Mission Basilica was founded in 1769 and was the first mission in the state. Today it is still an active parish and an excellent place to buy Mexican folk art and pottery.

Of course the only real way to get to know a place is with an extended visit. At Masterpiece Rentals, we have a number of choice accommodations in the San Diego area.

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Paris Revisited

Revisiting Paris, France

Perhaps like many travelers, you feel that Paris has already been covered inside out. You’ve been to the top of the Eiffel Tower, shopped at Galeries Lafayette, strolled along the Champs-Elysees, cruised the Seine, and picnicked at Place de Voges. There have also likely been scores of photo ops at the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Latin Quarter, and the Opera Bastille. Before turning your nose up at yet another trip to the “City of Light”, consider what recent visitors have been discovering: Paris has become a center for contemporary architecture. If the idea of seeing Paris through a new lens intrigues you, here a few suggestions:

1. The Citroen Showroom - Female architect,Manuelle Gautrand, designed this automobile showroom, known as C42, right on the Champs-Elysees. The high-tech glass and steel structure features a stack of revolving turntables that display the French automaker’s newest models. The company’s logo incorporates the ancient geometric symbol, the chevron, and a series of them is incorporated into the building’s design. Serious car shoppers are allowed to sit in the driver’s seat and observe the action along the city’s most famous avenue.

2. Docks of Paris – Formerly a tired turn of the century holding area for cargo carriers, this new centerpiece on the Seine was redesigned by the architectural firm, Jakob+MacFarlane. Covered with attention-getting lime green metal work and modernistic glass, it has fast become a Left Bank landmark. No longer just for cargo, the Docks of Paris also house several trendy bars, restaurants, shops, and a fashion design school.

3. Musee de Quai Brandy - In the same neighborhood as the Eiffel Tower is the eclectic museum for indigenous world art. One exterior wall was designed by botanist, Patrick Blanc, and is essentially a gigantic planter. Other parts of the building resemble oversized children’s building blocks and huge glass cubes. The entire ground level area is a contemporary garden, which is a favorite gathering place for street performers and picnickers.

Why not skip a stuffy hotel during your next visit to Paris? Here are a few of our charming Parisian properties for rent.

Riding the Rails in Canada

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Summer Excursions to our National Parks

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The Gathering – Ireland 2013

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Tech Help for Solo Travelers

San Antonio River Walk

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3 Romantic Destinations – Which One is Right for You?

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Plan Your Escape to Tamarindo, Costa Rica!

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Consider a Wellness Retreat

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Spring Break Trips with a Purpose

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If you are lucky enough to have some time off for Spring Break, why not consider some rewarding alternatives to the usual choices? Sure Disney World and Cancun have their charms, but what about trying a new path? If you have not yet made plans for … [Continue reading]