I could spend hours in Farenheit 451, a classy used bookstore a block from the beach on Carlsbad’s main drag. Shelves upon shelves of great old books, including a huge selection of literature and poetry, including vintage Dickens, Twain, Browning and Spencer from the 1800s. Dusty old mysteries by Chandler and Stout; elegant leather-bound classics and vintage paperbacks from the days when pulp fiction was a business and not a movie. Farenheit 451—the name is a deliberate misspelling of the famous Ray Bradbury book Fahrenheit 451—has occupied its roadside perch on Carlsbad Boulevard for five years, which is a miracle, given that used bookstores are a vanishing breed now that the Internet has sent the rare-book trade careening into cyberspace. A book collector myself, I admit I’m drawn to websites like ABE and eBay, where I can browse through vast online libraries of classic books and almost always find just what I am looking for—although rarely at a price I am willing to pay. But there’s something special, almost hallowed, about a good used bookstore like the ones that used to be all over downtown San Diego, Hillcrest and Adams Avenue, but now have pretty much disappeared. Being surrounded by all those wonderful books, adventures just waiting to unfold with the turn of the page… ah, that’s something the Internet simply cannot reproduce. And then there’s the thrill of the hunt. Just the other day, I found a true first printing of William Faulkner’s 1939 classic The Wild Palms for $25 at a used bookstore in L.A. And while I haven’t yet found a similar deal at Farenheit 451, I’m going to keep going back until one day maybe, just maybe, I will.


Farenheit 451 Books

325 Carlsbad Village Drive


(760) 720-3373


Is there any North Countyite who has not, at one point or another, whiled away at afternoon at Yogi’s, the sports bar and restaurant on the old Coast Highway as its winds along the beach just west of Cardiff? Yogi’s is as much a part of North County culture as surfing, beach erosion and the Self-Realization Fellowship Temple. I don’t remember a time when it was not there, and I can’t imagine it ever leaving. The special thing about Yogi’s is that there’s nothing really special about it; it’s just, well, Yogi’s. The food is decent, with the menu consisting mostly of run-of-the-mill sports-bar snacks like chicken fingers, quesadillas, potato skins, nachos, grilled chicken sandwiches, Philly cheesesteaks and, for heartier appetites, surf-and-turf.  Dozens of screens feed the diehard sports fan’s insatiable appetite, although some days it’s hard to concentrate on the action in light of the postcard-perfect views of the ocean. And while at night it’s become quite the singles bar, with loud music and dancing, on sports days it’s everything we know and love about North County: a place to get away from the routine, unwind and be yourself.


Yogi’s Beach Bar & Restaurant

2633 Highway 101


(760) 943-9644


On the agenda: It’s whale-watching season, that time of the year when gray whales cruise past the San Diego coast, traveling their summer feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi Seas of Alaska for the warm-water nursery and breeding lagoons of Baja California, Mexico. Late February is a particularly good time for whale-watching because that’s when some mothers begin the return trip north with their calves. Up here in North County, Helgren’s Sportfishing offers whale-watching excursions out of Oceanside Harbor. The two-hour "Sea Life Adventure" cruises are offered twice daily aboard the Oceanside 95. The cruises are narrated by the captain and based on information provided by the American Cetacean Society, a leading authority on whales.

Helgren’s Sportfishing

315 Harbor Drive South


(760) 722-2133


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