Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

La Mesa

La Mesa - Image by Sandy Huffaker, Jr.
La Mesa

The doctor says, “You’re a few pounds overweight, your cholesterol’s a bit scary, and your blood pressure…”

“Yeah, okay,” I grumble. “So what’s your prescription?”

“You could change your diet.”

“Not for the better, I couldn’t. My wife already suckered me into eating like a bird.”

“Then…” He pauses so long, I imagine he’ll say, “Get ready to die.” But he says, “Exercise.”

Before I have a chance to complain about my overbooked schedule or to argue that I already play golf and softball and take our baby for a walk most every day, he says, “Whatever you do, double it.”

“Cool,” I say, thinking that if Pam suggests I play too much golf I can give her a shocked look and say, “Doctor’s orders.”

But she could argue that golf costs money and walking doesn’t, and we live in La Mesa, arguably the best walking neighborhood east of I-5.

For serious hiking, Cowles Mountain is maybe ten minutes by car from our home, and for strolling, Lake Murray’s even closer. But why drive at all when our part of La Mesa, which newcomers call “the Village,” is surrounded by three pretty hills?

Suppose we start from the trolley stop at Spring Street and La Mesa Boulevard. Rather than take the boulevard with its countless antiques shops, we go east on Allison, make a left on Pine, the greenest and homiest of the cross streets that take us to University Avenue. After crossing University, we’ll turn right and perhaps look down upon a game of Little League baseball or old-timers’ softball before we make a left on Memorial Drive, into MacArthur Park. If we’re lucky, as we pass Porter Hall, an AA meeting will be happening and we’ll overhear a confession or testimonial. Then, using the second stairs on the right, we’ll cut through the Community Center, pausing to glance at the seniors doing yoga or the tiny girls dancing, and pass the playground where moms chat while their kids hang precariously from the jungle gym. With an eye out for errant golf balls, we make a left and continue upward to the crest of the hill that overlooks the Sun Valley Golf Course clubhouse and the community swimming pool, and before the descent, we turn onto a paved path that leads us to a cul-de-sac and a modest but gracious neighborhood.

A few hundred yards along Porter Hill Terrace, we make a left and climb again on Tia Maria, go right on Tio Diego, and proceed to the top of Porter Hill, to peer southeast between houses across pleasant old La Mesa or to gaze north into the present and future, the megastores of Fletcher Parkway.

Back down the hill, we’ll follow Randlett to La Mesa Boulevard. On our way back to the trolley, we’d better stop and strengthen ourselves with a chile relleno at Mario’s or albóndigas at Por Favor. But then, remembering that pesky doctor, we need to walk off those calories.

We go one block east of Spring to Palm Avenue and stride south to Pasadena Avenue, the road that meanders around Collier Park, and as we leave the park behind, we start wandering, our compass set to northeast and upward, until we reach the crest of Boulder Heights and perhaps find ourselves wondering why people even want houses big as cathedrals, or how many hundreds of gallons of gas a week a family with two Explorers, a Navigator, and a Hummer must use.

By the time we find our way back to the boulevard, we crave beer. We rationalize the indulgence by reminding ourselves that we’ve got one more hill to climb, and it’s the toughest. The most aerobic. The fat burner.

So we stride west on the boulevard to Date Avenue, make a left, then a right on Lemon Avenue, plod up a short hill, and make another left onto Alta, where we continue ever upward to the intersection of Alta and Fairview, where we look for the steps, a walker’s trail between yards.

Olga, a fiery Russian prophet who lives here on Mount Nebo, tells of a route of steps like these that would take us to the mountaintop and down the other side, if the previous two hills, albóndigas, and beer hadn’t sapped our will to explore.

Atop the steps on Pasadena Avenue, we admire old houses and a mansion or two — Mount Nebo was an early haunt of La Mesa’s prosperous. It’s a good place to catch our breath and ponder some mysteries. Why is it, we wonder, that old mansions appear graceful, while new ones look obscene, or at least pretentious?

And why doesn’t someone appear and offer us lemonade on one of the decks that overlook La Mesa, from Lake Murray to Mount Helix?

At Vista Drive, we go left, then make a right on Prospect and march on. The road has flattened out. We’ve climbed all we’re going to. The road ends in a circle around some grand eucalyptus trees. We gaze west, from south to north, through sparkling air or smoggy haze, at the Pacific, from below the border to Del Mar, and congratulate ourselves for following doctor’s orders.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Dex Romweber Livestream from the Cave, Author Livestream: Clare Mackintosh

Events August 16-August 18, 2020
La Mesa - Image by Sandy Huffaker, Jr.
La Mesa

The doctor says, “You’re a few pounds overweight, your cholesterol’s a bit scary, and your blood pressure…”

“Yeah, okay,” I grumble. “So what’s your prescription?”

“You could change your diet.”

“Not for the better, I couldn’t. My wife already suckered me into eating like a bird.”

“Then…” He pauses so long, I imagine he’ll say, “Get ready to die.” But he says, “Exercise.”

Before I have a chance to complain about my overbooked schedule or to argue that I already play golf and softball and take our baby for a walk most every day, he says, “Whatever you do, double it.”

“Cool,” I say, thinking that if Pam suggests I play too much golf I can give her a shocked look and say, “Doctor’s orders.”

But she could argue that golf costs money and walking doesn’t, and we live in La Mesa, arguably the best walking neighborhood east of I-5.

For serious hiking, Cowles Mountain is maybe ten minutes by car from our home, and for strolling, Lake Murray’s even closer. But why drive at all when our part of La Mesa, which newcomers call “the Village,” is surrounded by three pretty hills?

Suppose we start from the trolley stop at Spring Street and La Mesa Boulevard. Rather than take the boulevard with its countless antiques shops, we go east on Allison, make a left on Pine, the greenest and homiest of the cross streets that take us to University Avenue. After crossing University, we’ll turn right and perhaps look down upon a game of Little League baseball or old-timers’ softball before we make a left on Memorial Drive, into MacArthur Park. If we’re lucky, as we pass Porter Hall, an AA meeting will be happening and we’ll overhear a confession or testimonial. Then, using the second stairs on the right, we’ll cut through the Community Center, pausing to glance at the seniors doing yoga or the tiny girls dancing, and pass the playground where moms chat while their kids hang precariously from the jungle gym. With an eye out for errant golf balls, we make a left and continue upward to the crest of the hill that overlooks the Sun Valley Golf Course clubhouse and the community swimming pool, and before the descent, we turn onto a paved path that leads us to a cul-de-sac and a modest but gracious neighborhood.

A few hundred yards along Porter Hill Terrace, we make a left and climb again on Tia Maria, go right on Tio Diego, and proceed to the top of Porter Hill, to peer southeast between houses across pleasant old La Mesa or to gaze north into the present and future, the megastores of Fletcher Parkway.

Back down the hill, we’ll follow Randlett to La Mesa Boulevard. On our way back to the trolley, we’d better stop and strengthen ourselves with a chile relleno at Mario’s or albóndigas at Por Favor. But then, remembering that pesky doctor, we need to walk off those calories.

We go one block east of Spring to Palm Avenue and stride south to Pasadena Avenue, the road that meanders around Collier Park, and as we leave the park behind, we start wandering, our compass set to northeast and upward, until we reach the crest of Boulder Heights and perhaps find ourselves wondering why people even want houses big as cathedrals, or how many hundreds of gallons of gas a week a family with two Explorers, a Navigator, and a Hummer must use.

By the time we find our way back to the boulevard, we crave beer. We rationalize the indulgence by reminding ourselves that we’ve got one more hill to climb, and it’s the toughest. The most aerobic. The fat burner.

So we stride west on the boulevard to Date Avenue, make a left, then a right on Lemon Avenue, plod up a short hill, and make another left onto Alta, where we continue ever upward to the intersection of Alta and Fairview, where we look for the steps, a walker’s trail between yards.

Olga, a fiery Russian prophet who lives here on Mount Nebo, tells of a route of steps like these that would take us to the mountaintop and down the other side, if the previous two hills, albóndigas, and beer hadn’t sapped our will to explore.

Atop the steps on Pasadena Avenue, we admire old houses and a mansion or two — Mount Nebo was an early haunt of La Mesa’s prosperous. It’s a good place to catch our breath and ponder some mysteries. Why is it, we wonder, that old mansions appear graceful, while new ones look obscene, or at least pretentious?

And why doesn’t someone appear and offer us lemonade on one of the decks that overlook La Mesa, from Lake Murray to Mount Helix?

At Vista Drive, we go left, then make a right on Prospect and march on. The road has flattened out. We’ve climbed all we’re going to. The road ends in a circle around some grand eucalyptus trees. We gaze west, from south to north, through sparkling air or smoggy haze, at the Pacific, from below the border to Del Mar, and congratulate ourselves for following doctor’s orders.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

North Park – the prime quartier

30th Street parking, Georgia Street bridge, PSA crash, water tower, North Park Main Street
Next Article

No longer a David, Stone Brewing recast as a Goliath

The foe of big beer tangles with small breweries over trademarks, including a local IPA
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close