I woke up on Sunday morning knowing that we had just about a half day before we needed to hit the highway, leave the ocean breezes and drive through the scorching desert back home to Phoenix. It really wasn’t as depressing as it sounds. We knew that our La Jolla visit was going to be short and we also knew that we will be leaving for Scotland and Ireland in a few short weeks. (Stay tuned for more on that.)
After enjoying our free breakfast at the hotel I spent a little time surfing the web to try to get some ideas on things to do in our last hours there. I thought about heading downtown to check out some shops and galleries, since we didn’t do any of that on Saturday, but wasn’t sure when everything opened. Then I stumbled onto a reference for the La Jolla Open Aire Market. Since it was in the middle of summer, I was thinking it might be a great place to pick up some delicious So Cal produce to take home with us. Turns out it was all that and so much more!
The Market is held every Sunday at the playground and all proceeds benefit the La Jolla Elementary School, just a block or so from downtown. What a brilliant way to bring in additional funds for our budget conscious schools! I would imagine it’s a fair amount of work to coordinate, but even if you only did it once a month or a few times a year I would imagine that you could bring in a decent amount of money for your favorite educational institution.
Because of it’s location at the corner of Girard Avenue and Genter Street you run into a similar parking problem here as you do trying to get to the beach. So Terry was nice enough to drop me off at the entrance and drive around until he found a parking space.
Admission is free, which is always nice. Once we walked inside we were immediately flooded with vibrant sights, irresistible smells and perfectly lovely sounds. We enjoyed a talented guitar player and vocalist right at the entrance (sadly, I didn’t get his name). Some of the vendors that caught my eye offered fresh flowers, produce, children’s clothes, fine art photography, jewelry, home-made soaps and more. There was also a woman selling gorgeous orchids for very reasonable prices and I was so tempted to buy one. Unfortunately, I wasn’t sure how it would fare in our trek across the desert (or if it would make it through the border check going back into Arizona). Here’s an extensive list of their vendors as of the latest update.
We did stop and buy some peaches, green and wax beans and a loaf of rosemary bread. Mmmmm…
As we wandered around the booths I couldn’t help but notice the amazing scents that wafted through the crowds. At the far corner of the market there was a concentration of food vendors that were obviously competing for our appetites. This was one time that I was disappointed to have had a free (boring) breakfast an hour or so before, because I really wished that I could justify buying one of the delicacies that was tempting my taste buds. Using all the will-power I could muster, I walked past the Turkish Grill and squeezed by the long line for the Creperie. I was able to talk Terry into getting a huge cup filled with fresh sliced mangos and melon. Let’s call it dessert after breakfast. It was delicious! I’ll tell you, if I lived nearby I would do brunch every Sunday there until I had tried out all the food vendors. They smelled and looked THAT good!
Then on the way out we spotted a booth called “Gingersnaps” with these adorable little girl’s summer dresses. I was SO tempted to buy one or two, except the fact that I don’t have any grandchildren yet, and didn’t have an immediate plan to attend a baby shower, so I wasn’t sure who I could give them to. I did think about my little friends, Emolyn and Elsie, but just didn’t have it in the budget to pick up something for them that day…and Terry would have thought I was crazy…maybe next time.
Here’s a small gallery of a few more enticing vendors from the Market. It was a such an unexpected adventure, chock full of treasures of all shapes and sizes. Oh, don’t I wish it was Christmas shopping season already! What am I saying! It’s Christmas shopping season all year long, but it’s also vacation season, so we had to save our pennies for the big trip in August.
Hey, I’ve decided to add one more post about La Jolla, so stop by later this week to see what other treasures we found there.
What’s your favorite open air market and what do you love to buy there?