Author Archive for Sue Gillingham

Holiday Shopping in San Diego

Holiday shopping and events near San Diego Bed & Breakfast Guild locations

The shopping season is short this year and if your gift list is long, San Diego’s B&B owners will gladly help by sharing their favorite holiday events and stores.  Why not plan a shopping getaway – relax in sunny San Diego and find the perfect gift for everyone on your list.

The first weekend in December is chock full of festivities that combine fun and purchasing power.

Balboa Park’s December Nights, one of the nation’s premier holiday festivals, takes place Friday, December 5 from 3 –11 p.m. and Saturday, December 6 from noon-11 p.m.  Entry into the dozens of museums is free 5-9 p.m. and their shops have a bonanza of fine gifts as well as original art.  As you stroll around the 1200-acre park, pause to enjoy numerous entertainment venues – music, dance, singing, and even a puppet theatre showing A Christmas Carol.

If you enjoy holiday parades followed by shopping at unique stores, you have two events to consider.  Coronado Island hosts Santa on Friday, December 5 at 3:20 p.m. when he arrives at the Ferry Landing.  Local merchants kick off their special sales 5:30–9 p.m. and the parade down mainstreet is from 6–7 p.m.

Ocean Beach Christmas Parade and Food and Toy Drive Events near the Elsbree House Bed & BreakfastThe quaint surfing village of Ocean Beach is celebrating “35 years of Peace, Love & OB” Parade on Saturday, December 6 at 5:05 p.m (OB Time).  The VW Beetle club and classic Woodies join marching bands and floats to make their own version of holiday joy.

Friday Night Liberty at Liberty Station is San Diego’s biggest gallery walk.  Purchase original art, handmade jewelry, accessories, clothing, chocolates, books, ceramics, and more. The San Diego Watercolor Society will provide live music and hor d’oeuvres at their gallery.

On Saturday, December 6, don’t miss the annual Artisan’s Alley Craft Fair in Coronado.  For 42 years, local artists, crafters, and designers have gathered on the school grounds to sell their handmade gifts.   The fair is held rain or shine.  You’ll be serenaded by the middle and high school bands while you shop, as this is a fundraiser for the music programs in Coronado.

Don’t feel that you must cram all your shopping into the first week of the month.  Here are some recommended stores open all season for your finicky or funny friends’ gifts.

San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood boasts blocks of shops from the Village Hat Shop (fedoras to sports caps to women’s wearable art and more) to Babette Schwartz (irreverent and fun items for all ages) to Adam and Eve (romantic and sexy gifts).  See a list of shops at the Hillcrest shopping website.

Not to be missed in Coronado is d’Forsythe’s Jewelry with stunning pieces from around the world. (A portion of all profits is donated to the Foundation for Women, a micro-lending organization.)  For the men on your list, consider stopping by Village Hardware where they will help you design a “BUD Kit” with items typically included in the survival kits local Navy SEALs carry.

La Jolla Playhouse near the B&B Inn at La JollaFor some of the most upscale shops in San Diego, spend the day in La Jolla.  If diamonds are on your list, Bella Fine Jewelry will design one-of-a-kind pieces.   Another spot for unusual gifts is Africa and Beyond, one of the country’s leading galleries specializing in arts and crafts from African nations.  And for a gift that lasts all year long, purchase season tickets to the La Jolla Playhouse noted for Broadway-bound hits, experimental, and avant garde theater.

Finally, a perfect one-size-fits-all present – a gift certificate to one of San Diego’s special Bed & Breakfast establishments!    Your dollar goes even further at the Hillcrest House B&B where the purchase of $100 comes with a free $20 gift certificate.

For more information on each B&B, check out their website:

B&B at La Jolla

Carole’s B&B

Cosmopolitan Hotel

1906 Lodge at Coronado Beach

Elsbree House Bed and Breakfast and Vacation Condo

Glory’s Holiday House

Hillcrest House B&B

Keating House

Business Travel B and B Style

Business Travelers Enjoy Staying at Bed & Breakfast Guild of San Diego LocationsTraveling on business to San Diego? Why not try something different from the generic coldness of a chain hotel? A bed and breakfast inn is the answer with free amenities galore!

The San Diego Bed and Breakfast Guild properties offer diverse atmospheres from beach funky to elegant high style. What they have in common is personal service, yummy breakfasts, free Wi-Fi, and easy access to the business hubs of our city.

Starting at the north end of the city, consider the elegant Bed & Breakfast Inn at La Jolla if your business is biotech or medical research related. La Jolla is close to Sorrento Valley, the Salk Institute, the Scripps Institute of Oceanography as well as the University of California, San Diego. This inn offers a corporate rate for midweek travel, onsite meeting space, catered lunches, and secretarial services. Guests traveling on government per diem can reserve rooms for a Sunday through Thursday stay, subject to availability (without the complimentary breakfast and wine reception).

At the other end of town, an equally upscale B and B is the 1906 Lodge at Coronado Beach. Travelers with business downtown San Diego or at the San Diego Convention Center can take the San Diego/Coronado Ferry across the bay and skip the parking fees at the Convention Center.   Plus the Ferry is free during the early morning commute hour.  The 1906 Lodge has an onsite meeting center with a conference room for up to 40 attendees and a smaller breakout room.  In addition to free Wi-Fi throughout, the 1906 Lodge has a small business center where guests can print documents and boarding passes.  Government per diem guests can reserve rooms for an additional $20 fee per night for breakfast, parking, and happy hour (subject to availability).  Remember, it’s easy to unwind in Coronado!

The six B and B’s in the heart of San Diego all offer easy access to the airport as well as a short commute to downtown, the Convention Center, and other business hubs of San Diego.

Stay at the Hillcrest House and say good-bye to exorbitant mini-bar charges, business center and Wi-Fi fees, $5 bottled waters, and resort fees. Strong Wi-Fi signal, and wireless printer, accessed from the comfort of your guest room is a bonus! In the guest dining room you’ll find 24-hour beverage service bottled waters, and snacks. A guest refrigerator is a handy amenity to keep anything you need cold, and the microwave does just the trick to heat up those yummy leftovers from last night’s dinner meeting. You’ll always find off street, free parking, and you’ll always find the light on and someone to greet you by name when you return home. With just a quick, 15-minute city bus ride, you will find yourself at the historic Gaslamp Quarter, the entryway to the Convention Center front steps! Click here, to see more reasons why “repeat” business travelers love the Hillcrest House.

Bed and Breakfast Guild of San Diego has convenient locations in San DiegoGlory’s Holiday House and the Elsbree Hoouse Beach Bed and Breakfast are both great choices when you want to combine a quick trip from the airport, views of San Diego’s beach and bay, and the relaxed atmosphere of coastal San Diego. Both have very affordable rates for all business travelers. Government travelers spending time at the Pt. Loma naval facilities find Glory’s Holiday House a perfect choice for a few nights or long term. Guests can relax in the spa tub at the end of a day sitting in meetings. Or you can stop at Stone Brewery, just down the hill at Liberty Station, and enjoy one of San Diego best craft beers.

For the feel of a true California beach town, stay at Elsbree House B & B in Ocean Beach. It is close to dozens of laidback restaurants and pubs, a wide beach, and the beautiful sunset cliffs. The Elsbree House also offers a condo accommodation with three bedrooms and a full kitchen plus a washer and dryer, great for a long-term stay.

If your business is in the heart of San Diego, close to Balboa Park and downtown, Carole’s Bed and Breakfast and the Keating House are perfect options. Carole’s is located in North Park, the craft brewery hub of San Diego, great for unwinding after work. Breakfast, cooked by her son Michael, will spoil you – no bland restaurant food here. On the other side of Balboa Park, the Keating House also offers a wonderful breakfast in their Victorian dining room. Downtown is walking distance or a quick trip by bus or taxi.

After work, enjoy relaxing on the old fashioned front porch or in the secluded back garden (with complimentary hummingbird serenades).

Bed and Breakfast Guild of San Diego members provide accommodations for Business travelers

Just five minutes from the airport is the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town San Diego. It’s also located a block from one of the trolley hubs for the city, providing easy access to downtown as well as east county. The hotel rooms are located in the 1870s building along with a full restaurant and meeting spaces. If you are looking for a unique venue to impress your clients, consider having your conference at the Cosmopolitan.

Whatever your travel preferences or budget, a San Diego Bed and Breakfast is sure to fit the bill. Try one of us next time you visit on business (or for pleasure)!

Bed, Breakfast, and Beer in the Craft Beer Capital of the World!

San Diego Bed, Breakfast, and Beer in the Craft Beer Capital of the World!

With over 85 craft breweries in San Diego, it is difficult to pick a place to start our Bed and Breakfast recommended tour. Our innkeepers all have their local favorites so we’ll start in the heart of beer town – North Park. Carole’s Bed and Breakfast is walking distance from three great choices. She recommends starting at Modern Times Tasting Room with sixteen taps in the Flavordome including “variations on our core beers, pilot batches, mysterious experiments.”

Another good choice is Mike Hess Brewing. Mike turned his fifteen years of home brewing experience into premier craft beer. The tasting room in North Park is kid- and dog-friendly, and is designed to encourage socializing – no TVs and lots of opportunity to meet the folks sitting around you.

Don’t leave North Park without checking out the Thorn Street Brewery. Savor your beer with a meal from one of the rotating food trucks.  You can find the menu schedule online, and pick from thai to pizza to sushi and beyond.

Bed and Breakfasts in San Diego near Craft Beer BfreweriesAnn Callahan of the Hillcrest House Bed and Breakfast highly recommends the Salt and Cleaver. Not only do they have an extensive craft beer list (you can view the current selection online), they specialize in the ancient art of sausage making.

If you are staying at the Keating House, try the downtown San Diego Karl Strauss Brewing Company, which launched the current wave of breweries. It opened in 1989 and was the first local brewery start up in more than fifty years. Thursday night is Cask Night when the Cask Master introduces a new creation each week at 5:00 sharp.

If you’re staying at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town San Diego, they suggest a trip to the nearby Acoustic Ales Brewing Experiment. It is located in the oldest standing brewing facility in San Diego County. Pair your taste for history with a choice of eighteen beers.

Just down the hill from Glory’s Holiday House in Point Loma is the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens at Liberty Station.  It is home to San Diego’s largest brewery and is the tenth largest craft brewery in the United States. In addition to their own first class beers, their menu includes over forty beers on tap and one hundred bottled beers. If you have a wine drinker in your party, don’t despair.  They offer dozens of wine choices. Finally, they have a full restaurant, serving lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch.

Pizza Port is known for both yummy pizza and craft beers. At its location in Ocean Beach near Katie Elsbree’s Beach Bed and Breakfast, it promises “the highest quality and the best service humanly possible while having too much fun.”  That’s a proposition that’s hard to resist.

Coronado Brewing Company near 1906 Lodge at Coronado Beach

You might not guess that upscale La Jolla, home to fine dining and exclusive shops, would also boast its own brewery. The La Jolla Brewing Company, walking distance from the The Bed and Breakfast Inn at La Jolla, serves its own beers as well as notable choices from other San Diego breweries.

The 1906 Lodge at Coronado Beach innkeepers are proud to brag about their hometown Coronado Brewing Company (CBC) that opened in 1996 and has recently begun distributing to multiple states. Their favorites brews: Coronado Golden, Mermaid Red, or Islander IPA.  Mention this blog and you’ll received two ice-cold CBC beers at check-in during the month of October 2014.

If it’s too difficult to decide where to start, stay at any of our neighborhood B&Bs for San Diego Beer Week, November 7-16. The price of the ticket includes unlimited beer samples coupled with unlimited food samples.  San Diego…. Hoppiness is Calling!

Bed, Breakfast, Beach – Have it all in San Diego!

A summertime trip to San Diego wouldn’t be complete without a trip to one of our famous beaches.

The owners of the eight B&Bs in the Bed and Breakfast Guild of San Diego have the inside scoop on which beach will match your tastes. And many of the inns provide loaner chairs and towels. But remember to bring your sunscreen!

Here’s a sampling of our favorite spots…

Just like in the movies, San Diego’s beaches are white, wide, and wonderful. Coronado Beach takes top honors as it has been named the #1 beach in the country by seaside expert Dr. Beach. Coronado Beach’s gentle waves are great for a refreshing dip and body surfing.  It’s never crowded, but please note that public parking is limited.Coronado’s wide beach at low tide near 1906 Lodge at Coronado Beach

Ocean Beach is a laid-back beach community that features a 1971-foot long concrete pier, that’s great for fishing or just strolling in the warm sun.  At the base of the pier, at low tide, you can explore the tide pools packed with shore crabs, hermit crabs, and sea anemones. Ocean Beach is a great place to learn to surf with gentle, low waves. Beginners can rent boards and sign up for lessons at one of the shops along the main beach or on Newport Avenue.

Looking for a lively and youthful vibe? Mission Beach is the place for you. Its three and a half mile long and generously wide boardwalk is great for walking, biking, or rollerblading. Or if people watching is your preferred sport, settle down in one of the many eateries or bars and take in the amazing array of humanity. Most of the action is centered at Belmont Park at the intersection of Mission Boulevard and West Mission Bay Drive. The main attraction at the park is the famous 73-foot tall wooden roller coaster, the Giant Dipper. Catch a ride on it and you can enjoy breath-taking views of the Pacific Ocean.

On the north end of town is the La Jolla Cove, San Diego’s best spot for snorkeling, kayaking, and scuba diving.  The water is calm, providing a safe home for colorful fish. (No flotation devices are allowed.) A little further north is La Jolla Shores, a wide, mile-long cozy beach. The large free parking lot, bathrooms, showers, grassy picnic area, and playground all contribute to its reputation as a great family beach. Surf, kayak, and scuba lessons are all available in La Jolla.

San Diego Beaches near San Diego Bed & Breakfast Guild member locations

San Diego Beaches are great places to learn to surf

Check with your innkeeper for detailed information about parking, services, and other expert advice about our not-to-be-missed beaches!

One final note, September is one of the best months to visit our beaches.  The weather is phenomenal and the crowds are gone!

Celebrate the 4th of July in San Diego

View July 4 fireworks shows from all the San Diego Bed & Breakfast Guild locations

Fireworks light up the sky over San Diego on the 4th of July

Looking for a hotel for the 4th of July in San Diego?  Check out these possibilities.

Independence Day may well be the favorite holiday in the city of San Diego.  And all the Bed and Breakfast Inns in our Guild stand ready to help you celebrate with gusto.

Our B&Bs offer lodging in homes and historic buildings with character and attention to detail.  Our staff members are available to provide the insider scoop on where to go, schedules, and parking (if necessary).

Starting on the north end of town, you can enjoy a full day of patriotic festivities, rides, music and finally fireworks at the San Diego County Fair.  We recommend a stay at the Bed and Breakfast Inn at La Jolla, the closest B&B to the fair grounds.

Travel south a few miles and you can experience a small town celebration. The Elsbree House B&B is the perfect place to stay in quaint Ocean Beach (OB to the locals).  Take a whole week off and you can enjoy the 35th Annual OB Street Fair and Chili Cook-off on June 28.  Then, six days later on July 4th, enjoy a day at the beach topped off with fabulous fireworks viewed from the elevations on Sunset Cliffs.

Travel a bit inland to step back in time and enjoy an old-fashioned Independence Day celebration in San Diego’s Old Town.  The Cosmopolitan Hotel, situated in the heart of Old Town, is the perfect overnight lodging for this event.  Not only is there free parking, but you can sit on the second story veranda outside of your room and watch the fireworks at SeaWorld.

Head to downtown San Diego where they definitely go a bit overboard with the fireworks – the Big Bay Boom is a coordinated display from four locations on the waterfront.  For the best seat in the house, stay at Glory’s Holiday House and view the extravaganza from her deck.  Other nearby downtown B&B owners can direct you to their secret viewing spots, many within just a few blocks.   Rooms are still available at the Keating House, Carole’s B&B, and the Hillcrest House B&B, all located near Balboa Park with its museums, theaters, gardens, and the famous San Diego Zoo.

Walk to the July 4 parade in Coronado from the 1906 Lodge, a San Diego Bed & Breakfast Guild member

Vintage fire truck in the Coronado Independence Day Parade

Travel south of downtown, and out into San Diego Bay, to where the village of Coronado hosts a full day of outdoor activities.  Parking is at a premium, so stay at the 1906 Lodge at Coronado Beach and park for free.  It is located a block from the parade route (the biggest parade in the county) and provides loaner chairs to view the two hour spectacle.  After a day at the beach, take your chairs and head to the golf course two blocks away to watch the Coronado fireworks.

July is definitely the busiest month of the year in San Diego.  Our B&B owners suggest that you consider leaving your car at home and take advantage of our public transportation or utilize the convenient service of Uber.com. (It’s everyone’s personal driver!)  Use promo code “rlr02” and you’ll receive $10 off your first trip.

Make your reservations today as every room in the county is full on our favorite holiday of the year!