La Jolla Beach

Summer is when you really want to be in beautiful La Jolla. This beach village, minutes north of San Diego, is a popular vacation spot for folks from all over the world – just listen when there and you hear conversations in varieties of languages.

There are scenic coves, great beaches, a picturesque downtown and abundant recreational attractions. What’s more, first class cultural events are scheduled, including La Jolla SummerFest, an international chamber music festival, as well as plays at celebrated theaters – La Jolla Playhouse and the Globe Theatre in San Diego’s famous Balboa Park.

By July weather is warm, nights balmy – just the way you want it at the beach. The ocean warms up to about 70 degrees, inviting all to jump in. For years my wife and I have made an annual La Jolla trip, usually staying at La Jolla Cove Suites.  When there, whether in the main hotel building or in one of their cottages, the rooms are attractive and comfortable. Considering the prime location, rates are reasonable and include breakfast.

And, what a view from your balcony, most are facing the ocean with a picture-postcard scene of La Jolla Cove just below. For the sport-minded, this is one of the top diving and snorkeling spots on the West Coast.

La Jolla Cove

During the day we spend time with beach activities; most nights we like take in a play or concert.

SummerFest is considered by many as one of the top summer music festivals in the nation..

SummerFest Concert

It  officially begins on July 31 with a free outdoor concert, followed by the opening night concert Aug. 2 in La Jolla’s Sherwood Auditorium.

There are many highlights in the overall program that is largely sticking with the tried and true, with some surprises mixed in. One of those surprises is the SummerFest debut of pianist Daniil Trifonov. The young Russian pianist was a third-prize winner in the 2010 Chopin Competition.

The SummerFest series includes 80 other artists, seven ensembles and three composers, Programs run through Aug. 23 with three world premieres.

Meanwhile, this year’s Shakespeare Festival at Balboa Park is up and running.

Midsummer's Night Dream

On the large outdoor Festival Stage three productions will be featuring in repertory: “Midsummer’s Night Dream,” “The Merchant of Venice” and Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” a contemporary comedy based on Hamlet’s hapless school friends.

The Globe’s adjoining Conrad Presby Theater Center is featuring the thirties play “The Rainmaker,” by N. Richard Nash and directed by Maria Mileaf, and also the premiere of  “Double Indemnity,” a stage play based on the popular noir film from the James Cain novel.

“The Rainmaker” is a classic romantic comedy set against the sweeping landscape of the American Midwest, while “Indemnity” promises to keep the audience on the edge of their seats, as they say.

At the La Jolla Playhouse, “Sideways” is being given its world’s premiere as a stage play. Rex Pickett is author of the novel from which the Academy Award-winning film was made, and Playhouse Director Des McAnuff has put it together. Scheduled, as well, Chicago’s famed comedy troupe, the Second City, brings in “The Good, The Bad, and The I-5.” This spoof of the Southern California way of life is opening Aug. 6.

Back to the beach:  On calm days, we love to snorkel at the cove. You see an array of Pacific fish, including many bright orange Garibaldi, which seem to shimmer when sun rays hit the water.

Sea Lions

If you take a short swim north out of the cove along the cliffs of the shoreline, there are seven caves – fun to swim and snorkel through.  Along the way you’re sure to meet kayakers paddling their way among the rock grottoes. An added pleasure comes when sea lions basking on rocks jump in and swim with you.

Every morning before breakfast we make the 10-minute drive to La Jolla Shores, an impressive two-mile stretch of beach and have a walk and early morning swim.

But be sure to save some energy for the theater, music and shopping.

If you’re a shopper, La Jolla is paradise exploring the shops in the downtown area. For dining, we love Forever Fondue which offers a bit of nostalgia. While dipping our veggies and bread, we reminisced about the fondue we ate “way back when.”  Also Rappongi, a restaurant with an eclectic Asian-inspired menu is a favorite. Both are walkable from the hotel.

For sure, La Jolla has everything you want in a beach resort.

For information: SummerFest, (858) 459-3728,; Globe Theater, (619) 23-GLOBE; LaJolla Playhouse, (858) 550-1010,; La Jolla Cove Suites, (888) LA JOLLA