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Sunny, Spectacular San Diego

Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer

The first time was the summer of 1975. Harvey was deeply focused researching and interviewing  for his first book – “A Baseball Century: the First Hundred Years of the National League.” He had flown around the country to NL cities with the Philadelphia Phillies  and was hard at work at his task at hand - - until he arrived in San Diego.

There, he admits, he slackened up a bit, taken in by the climate, the beauty, the feel of the lovely California dream city.

The Padres played in Jack Murphy Stadium. A very young Dave Winfield was on the roster along with veteran Willie McCovey, salaried at $110,000. Ray Kroc, the man who owned McDonald’s, had purchased the Padres the year before 

“I am a baseball fan,” he revealed in an interview with Harvey.  “I didn’t buy the team to make money. I own it just as a hobby.”

Pete Wilson had been Mayor of San Diego since 1971; his tenure would extend until 1982 - -enough time to transform the city from a sleepy Navy and Marine town into an international hub for trade and a sought-after place for people to live in.

But Although his time in San Diego was brief, when Harvey returned to New York he remained smitten by the city, so much so that we contemplated the possibility of re-locating.

That never came to be, but we did return to San Diego as a couple and as a family, and each time the San Deigo dream resurfaced. Our most recent visit was in early 2011, now as travel writers, and from that perspective we could see how much bigger and better and more sophisticated San Diego has become.

We experienced  a remarkable stay at the Grand Del Mar Hotel in Northern San Diego which underscored the level of luxury accommodations available in this special city.

One evening, we went downtown for dinner and to hear Lang Lang perform with the San Diego Symphony under the baton of music director Jahja Ling. It was SRO at historic Copley Symphony Hall,  which had opened as the Fox Theater in 1929.

Copley Symphony Hall ( Photo by: David Hartig)

Music director Jahja Ling leads the San Diego Symphony
at Copley Symphony Hall. 
( Photo by: David Hartig)

On a typically beautiful San Diego afternoon, we again drove from the Grand del Mar downtown for a cruise through San Diego harbor that provided breathtaking views of the city as well as historic ships and the Naval sub base. Professionally narrated and with a choice of indoor or outdoor seating, it proved both enjoyable and educational providing a unique view of more of the style and substance of what makes San Diego special.

Photo by

It had been too long a time that we were away from this magical city, we thought, as the boat pulled into the dock. We will have to return again soon. “Make your happy happen in San Diego” is more than a slogan. It is a way of life.

Photo by David Hartig

Photographs by Harvey Frommer

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About the Authors:  Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer are a wife and husband team who successfully bridge the worlds of popular culture and traditional scholarship. Co-authors of the critically acclaimed interactive oral histories It Happened in the Catskills, It Happened in Brooklyn, Growing Up Jewish in America, It Happened on Broadway, It Happened in Manhattan, It Happened in Miami. They teach what they practice as professors at Dartmouth College.

They are also travel writers who specialize in luxury properties and fine dining as well as cultural history and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. More about these authors.

You can contact the Frommers at: 

Email: myrna.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU
Email: harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU

This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2012 by Harvey and Myrna Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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