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Walking Tour: Cedros Faves

April 6, 2010

After finally dragging ourselves away from Solana Succulents for a beachside lunch, we headed from there into the Cedros Design District in Solana Beach for a much-needed walk. Only a few blocks long, the area boasts an amazing number of shops and design-related businesses. There are also clothing stores, restaurants and a great pet accessories store called Muttropolis. When the weather’s San Diego-ideal, like it was Saturday, it’s perfect for leisurely strolling with out-of-town guests and (window) shopping. The goods on display range from the high-end to more tourist-y fare, and a wide variety of styles and design trends are represented. In this post I’ll show some faves from our visit. In the montage above (clockwise from top left), this salvaged wood table and chair set is found at the David Alan Collection — but is only a tiny part of the rich array of items found there. Scroll down to see and read more. Next, a ceramic face pocket-planter by Encinitas artist Tammy Joplin dreams of succulent adornment at Cedros Gardens in the heart of the district; more follows. At Hands On Cedros, a Gallery of Functional Art, a fun mosaic surfboard shower would be awesome either beach- or pool-side. Finally, my fave person on the stroll was this well-accessorized and embellished artist, willing to hoist her iced beverage for my camera. (She happily pointed out the face tattoo as her father’s image.) Now, let’s see more …

The David Alan Collection experience begins on the sidewalk out front. Giant carved stone Buddha heads, Asian monuments, enormous rustic rock basins, a fantastic stone turtle and a lifesize horse made of driftwood, line the store’s front walkway. Interesting patio furnishings and fountains are also there. But, as exciting as all of this is in itself, it’s when you go inside that excitement turns into amazement. The store is huge and everywhere your eye goes there’s something to stop you in your tracks. Items from a number of exotic locales loom in weathered glory, some in sizes that boggle the mind. Worn rustic ancestral figures; a water buffalo horn sort-of family tree; beautifully-finished gnarled wood root sculptures; fine carved wooden furniture and, well, just more, more, more surprises meet us at every turn. There are ornaments and accessories and pillows and jewelry and massive carved stone figures; armor, statues of deities, huge metal bowls; an already-sold, at least 10 foot-tall anchor (complete with huge-linked matching rusted chain) leans heavily, awaiting pickup. This is a you-gotta-see-this! shopping experience, and as expected, not one for people with shallow pockets. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit; the staff was very nice and answered our questions readily. Maybe we looked like recent lottery winners?

There are number of garden-geared businesses in the district, some selling succulents in both container arrangements and singly. But, my fave is Cedros Gardens. Mia McCarville’s nursery is home to plants and garden accessories that delight. Most noticeable was the great variety of flowering plants on display that seemed almost supernaturally beautiful, with intense reds, pinks, oranges, yellows and other rainbow hues taking on a variety of exotic forms. The succulent area is backed by a vibrantly painted wall in tangerine that sets off both the hot desert colors and cool blue-greens of the juicy leaf specimens in front of it. In the rear, high up, a bright turquoise fence provides a cool backdrop for more ceramic faces. Flaunting succulent millinery, they peer down haughtily. Like the sunken bathtub planted with black aeoniums out front, it’s a friendly, unpretentious place and I can’t wait to visit again soon.

Next post: My favorite place in the district of all, SoLo!

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