Monday, October 5, 2015

A 24-hour Guide To Enjoying Fall In San Diego

Lower temperatures. Leaves changing color. The smell of pumpkin spice. Fall is in the air. Its finally October! Since I gush about fall all the time I figured it is high time I put together a 24-hour guide to enjoying fall in San Diego.

I have some strong Midwest roots, as that is where my childhood took place. When I moved to San Diego and the temperatures didn’t exactly drop 20-30 degrees I had to get creative to feel festive. I like to go all out. As soon as I can I am buying miniature pumpkins and headed to Trader Joes to get their pumpkin bread mix and Marshalls to stock up on kitchen towels and apple and pumpkin spice candles.

Yet time seems to be a sneaky thing and sometimes I feel like my ability to enjoy fall is limited. So, if I only had 24-hours to experience all of what fall has to offer in San Diego, here is what I would do:

The first thing my husband and I would do would walk to our favorite local coffee shop, Dark Horse Coffee. They specialize in pour-overs, cold brews and French presses at their Normal Heights location. Ever since it opened a couple years ago we have been hooked! They have a cozy space with a large window that overlooks bustling Adams Avenue. The costumer service is amazing. They are friendly and they know their coffee. Come fall I am very excited about what Dark Horse has in store. My fall favorite is their Pumpkin Spice Latte but they also have a Dirty Pumpkin Space Latte as well as their brand new Salted Maple Latte. We would pick up or drink and our donuts (yes their donuts are amazing. I usually get the French Toast) and head on out to our car to drive up to Bates Nut Farm.

Bates Nut Farm is 100 acres of sprawling land, pumpkins and nuts. They roast and package their own nuts and have everything from walnuts, pistachios, and pecans to cashews. They also have homemade fudge.  The first time my husband and I went here it was 80 degrees out still and we wore shorts. But just being in this area made me feel very festive and full of magical fall feelings. They have a picnic area, a petting zoo and plenty of food vendors, which give it a farmer’s market type feel. My favorite part is their huge pumpkin patch. They have gourds, miniature pumpkins, huge orange pumpkins and little white pumpkins. It is a dream come true for a pumpkin lover such as myself. My husband and I were determined to find just the right pumpkin. We ended up getting a little carried away and got one that weighed 46-pounds! We needed a wheelbarrow to maneuver it the half mile to our car! It sat in our small one bedroom apartment all fall looking huge and glorious and made me smile every time I passed by.

After this we would probably drive back to our neighborhood and maybe take a “nature walk”. I love going on walks around our neighborhood especially in the fall. The leaves are falling and their brilliant colors cover the sidewalks and streets. During this season, I notice a fresh earthy smell in the air.

We would probably get hungry for dinner and probably walk to one of our favorite locale eateries called Soda and Swine. It’s a hip and casual restaurant with a retractable roof. It has a cozy fireplace that makes it feel very inviting during the fall months. It is filled with wood, brick and bright red stools. They have chalkboard menus and craft bottled soda to consider as you wait in line. I usually order a Cheerwine soda to start. They specialize in gourmet meatballs. You first select your meatball and then whether you would like it as slide, a submarine or on spaghetti. I go back and forth between the Bovine (beef with marinara and mozzarella) and the Hen (chicken with mushroom cream and provolone) and have it with spaghetti.

For me though, the sides are where it’s at. I’ve been a “side girl.” For much of my life I’ve genuinely felt like a sidekick to other people’s entertaining and dramatic lives. I’ve secretly felt that sidekicks have more fun though and I guess I have taken this theory into the way I eat. I don’t eat at places for their main dish. I go for the sides and drinks.  Here they have an array of options and I have gotten anything from hand cut twice cooked fries, to their apple salad to their garlic lemon parmesan broccolini, to their macaroni and cheese with aged cheddar.

For desert they have a Classic Apple Pie and a Carmel Pecan Apple Pie. They also have a seasonal pie special, which I am guessing is going to be pumpkin something.  My whole life growing up around the holidays especially in the fall my mom makes pies. She makes the crust from scratch. I mean she is legit. So when she told me Soda and Swine’s Classic Apple Pie was the best she’s ever had in her 59 years I really believed her.

Considering it’s Sunday we head on over to Balboa Park Spreckel’s Organ Pavilion. This very special organ contains 5,005 pipes! If you don’t know much about organs you are not alone! My husband and I decided to check out these concerts one day impulsively and now we just love them. They will have concerts every Sunday all throughout October 31st they have a special Halloween 2015 Silent Movie. They are going to be showing the classic 1925 silent film Phantom of the Opera accompanied with organ. Honestly the first time I went to a silent film at the Spreckel’s Pavilion I was afraid I would be bored. But honestly it was so interesting and fun! The organist was so skilled and made me feel sad, sorrow and humor whenever I was supposed to during the course of the film! Now that it’s fall it’s a perfect time to grab a hot chocolate or hot tea and visit Balboa Park!

After the concert, Scott and I would head to Ballast Point Brewery in Little Italy and grab a  Pumpkin Down, which is a Scottish ale with pumpkin,toffee and caramel flavor. I just tried it this weekend and was pleasantly surprised as I am picky about my beer. My mother-in-law and I both loved it! 

After our nightcap we would go home and if we aren’t too tired watch It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and fall asleep content and happy after our day of fall festivities. 

For any other fall happenings or events make sure to check out Eventbrite to help figure out what autumn festivities you might want to incorporate in your day. I’ve used them numerous times to purchase tickets for events and they have been fabulous! You can also use their event management software to really get your fall event going!


  1. Wonderful! Autumn sounds so beautiful in San Diego Heather, enjoy! We've gotten very cold, damp & miserable in Scotland all of a sudden. The past two nights the temperature has dropped to zero brrrr Not for the first time I wish I was a grizzly bear, I could then go for a nap and wake up sometime in March just in time to hang out my laundry :) Sending heaps & heaps of huggles xx

    1. Awww thank you Rosie! It was very fun to write! I can't believe it's already dropped to zero in Scotland!I I wish it was more cold here and more rainy but it seems you always want what you don't have!