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It's a Thing: Invisible San Diego

What we're talking about in the office this week


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Tuscany by the Convention Center Station

Nobody walks in L.A... And few people walk in San Diego. Most of us drive, which means that we speed past places and establishments—sometimes twice a day or more—and never notice them.

A writer just pitched me a tea room in East County she was surprised she hadn’t seen before. She spends a lot of time there. I started thinking about all those places that have stood the test of time, even if they haven’t stood in our purview.

Here’s an example: Volare Italian Restaurant in the Loma Portal area. It looks about 500 years old. How many times have I been cruising on Barnett Avenue, about to get on Pacific Highway, and never craned my head left? Have you passed it, too?

There is no good head-on shot of it because you pass it too fast.

And how about this: Tuscany in downtown (see above). Right by the New Children’s Museum. Tuscany! 

In a random area in Carmel Valley, there is a road that looks private because it has no sidewalks. This road leads to a housing development where my parents live. On the right side is a James Hubbell-designed home. The roof is very curvy and blends in with the trees. I have passed it 100,000 times, and I’ve only seen it twice. On a walk the other day, my parents ran into the owner, and she gave them a tour!

When I first noticed it a few years ago, I thought it looked like the work of famed local artist, James Hubbell. I did some poking around at The Ilan-Lael Foundation and was connected to Hubbell’s son. I emailed Drew Hubbell and he confirmed. “It is one of the cooler homes my father designed. The domes were formed using large balloons.” Wow! So Secret San Diego.

But Volare? Not a secret. I might call that "Invisible San Diego." Future feature, anyone?? What buildings or places have you been surprised you hadn't noticed sooner?

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