Enjoying La Jolla on Paw
One of my favorite parts of La Jolla is that it’s such a walkable neighborhood. The scenery is gorgeous, the shops tempting, and the mix of ridiculously-fit housewives, college students, business people, tourists, and those with enough time on their hands to spend hours of their the day at a coffee shop makes for amusing people watching. (One of my favorite spots is Pannikin, but also check out The Living Room for not only coffee, but tea, hookah, beer, wine and tasty desserts) My 10-month old Golden Retriever Sampson, however, cares little for people watching if he is not allowed to sniff them profusely—and would prefer to jump all over them if he had his way.
The Golden One demands multiple daily walks and highly prefers there to be a water element involved. La Jolla’s coastline offers him a piece of doggy heaven. (I’m pretty sure he’d pay more than a few Scooby snacks for the privilege—as do the human residents.) Luckily for me La Jolla is about as heavenly as you can get in human terms as well. The coastline is dramatically beautiful: More rock than sand, with a view of the stunning cliffs of Torrey Pines. You’re sure to catch a glimpse of seals, sea lions, pelicans, and cormorants at almost any time of day if you make your way to La Jolla Cove. (Occasionally you can even see a whale off the coastline, as I was lucky enough to do a few weeks ago as one frolicked much closer to shore than usual.) The people are friendly and you’ll share the view with tourists, locals, and swimmers brave/foolhardy enough to make their daily forays out into the cold waters of the Pacific to really get in touch with the protected sea life in the cove.
Sampson and I like to make our way south from Casa de la Manana (the perhaps strangely named House of Tomorrow) a retirement home for those lucky enough to afford it. We make our way further away from the cove and towards Wind and Sea Beach. The lack of lifeguards and rocky terrain makes dogs a more common occurrence in this area and Sampson always makes a few canine friends along the way. At low tide, he plays on the rocks and dives into the natural pools that form in the reef as the tide goes out.
Surfers ask if he’s a rescue dog when they get stuck among the rocks trying to come in from catching a few waves. There is always someone who needs to borrow him for dog petting time and he soaks up all the attention like a sea sponge and then goes bounding on to the next person looking for more. Today he licked an unsuspecting sunbather’s forehead. Thankfully, she was a dog person… or I assume so as instead of screaming at me to put him on a leash she just laughed and said it was fine. Thank the Sun-god for laid back Californians!
It’s spring so the wildflowers are starting to come bask in the sunshine and make California even more beautiful than usual. I’m impressed with their ability to hold up to the salt-air. Sampson is more interested in the kelp, which he enjoys dragging along until it falls into pieces and then flinging skyward. To each their own I guess. His antics usually brings a few smiles to the bystanders, anyway.
Sometimes I extend our walk away from the beach and meet a few friends at the local “dive bar” of La Jolla/WindanSea: The Shack. Dogs are welcome on the porch, and there’s a fire pit that you can stay warm by as you have a few brews. Many places in La Jolla have dog-friendly dining on the patio—but not all so—check before you bring your four-legged friend along. (La Jolla Brew House even offers a “Yappy Hour” once a month where you can purchase food from the restaurant for your favorite freeloader.)
The Shack actually borrows its name from the palm-covered shack that sits on WindanSea Beach. Three men constructed it in 1946 and today remains a well-loved historical landmark.
No matter where you decide to wander through La Jolla you’re sure to come across beautiful scenery, fine dining, as well as local coffee shops with affordable snacks, and some dog-friendly people so enjoy!