So the youngest monkey in Kongo’s troop and his bride are in town through New Year’s and Mrs. Kongo has been planning activities for when the two starving students from Boston broke free from the winter weather in the Northeast. One of these things (or several of them, actually) were to “explore and do new things” and we were off to breakfast at some place she’d discovered on a monkey wife walking tour in Encinitas, and see some other things up there. Encinitas is a small beach town about 25 miles north of downtown San Diego. It is filled with people who ride bikes and walk dogs. Anyway, away we went.
The breakfast was to be at The Potato Shack, a well known local cafe famous for its “manhole cover sized” pancakes and other things. Mrs. Kongo gave directions to a public parking lot (so we would’t have to shark for a spot in the “village”). When Kongo asked how far it was to the cafe, Mrs. Kongo blithely replied, “a few blocks.” 1.2 miles later we arrived at The Potato Shack but the hike was worth it. Kongo had sausage gravy and biscuits which were just about as close to perfect as you can get. We also had a nice sidewalk table and didn’t have to wait to be seated on a Sunday morning at prime time and that was very good. What more could you ask for? Uh…convenient parking but actually there was plenty of convenient parking nearby so Kongo was content to hike 1.2 miles up America’s Best Main Street 2004 and keep his monkey lips pressed tightly together. Did you know that Encinitas and other small communities nearby were all incorporated together? Another factoid from Mrs. Kongo’s mission to explore and do new things.
So after stuffing ourselves at the Potato Shack, it was off to explore and do more new things and the first of these was a visit to the Self-Realization Fellowship Retreat and Hermitage, only “a few blocks” from the Potato Shack. This was actually a pretty cool place. Founded by Paramahansa Yogamanda in 1937. Sri Yogamanda was an Indian guru who brought self-meditation to the West Coast and devoted himself to furthering the lasting ties of spiritual understanding and helping others toward the realization of the limitless love and peace that exist within every human being. Now that’s a monkey mouthful but the good guru set out this beautiful garden retreat that is free and open to everyone six days a week. This was indeed a fantastic setting for all the love, peace, and meditation that has been going on at this place 60-some years.
After an hour taking in the gardens at the SRF center it was off to discover other new and interesting things in Encinitas. This time it was the boat houses. They were “only a few blocks” away.
These two boat cottages, built in the late 1920s, were constructed from a bath house and hotel that failed to survive prohibition. Today the SS Encinitas and SS Moonlight are owned by the Encinitas Historical Society but real people actually live in them. Each house is about 1100 square feet and definitely add a bit of flavor to the neighborhood.
After hiking back 1.2 miles and a few blocks to the car parked in a pretty empty public parking lot because, well there was actually plenty of parking in the village, it was off to visit the San Diego Botanical Gardens, also known as Quail Gardens.
The botanical gardens are home to more than 3,300 species of plants spread out over 37 acres. There are winding trails, waterfalls, scenic overlooks, shaded groves, and sunny cactus gardens. In fact there are 29 subdivided gardens with theme plants from different areas of the world. The gardens are beautifully maintained and interesting. This time of year the aloe vera is blooming and it’s one of Kongo’s favorites.
Admission to the gardens is $14 for adults. Senior monkeys, active duty military, and students can get in for $10. Parking is $2,
Travel safe. Have fun. Go explore something. Check the parking in advance.