Does one dare go back and visit a place you once loved? You might be disappointed, warned a friend.
When I lived in New York City and worked in Public TV, producing documentaries for WNET, every cold winter I'd try to get myself out to La Jolla, California, to pre-interview a scientist at Scripps Institute. The sunshine, the grassy campus at Scipps, the lovely, charming La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla, all offered such a relief and respite from the dreary, gray New York City winter.
So this May on our eighth wedding anniversary Ed and I decided it would be fun to drive down to La Jolla and poke around, and see how it is today. Ed had also been there in years past.
The seals and sea lions are still lumbering happily on the rocks and beach at La Jolla Cove. However, there are so many of them and so many birds pooping on all the rocks that the area stinks. We read in the paper that the City is seriously considering moving the sea lions and seals somewhere else, so the area won't smell. But then what would the tourist see?
The downtown shopping area of La Jolla, which was always such a draw, and I remembered fondly that it had the charm of Carmel, is a huge disappointment now. The sidewalks are cracked, there is litter, the landscaping has gone to pot. It looks and feels tacky and shabby. What is the City Council thinking? The private homes that are just a few blocks away are still handsome and look lovely and well-maintained.
The La Valencia Hotel, which used to be my escape from winters in NYC, and which Ed had known also, now looks old and weathered. Instead of feeling old-school and beloved, it seems dated and shabby, a has-been that needs a face-lift. Even the most basics need tending--the hallway to our room needed a new carpet runner and vacuuming. How hard is that?
We traveled back in time and weren't disappointed by our decision to revisit a old favorite. We just know we don't need to revisit La Jolla, and probably you don't, either!