Dining Outside the Home: Tom Ham’s Lighthouse in San Diego, California. Did you ever wish, as a kid, that you could eat in a real lighthouse? How cool is that?! Tom Ham understood the allure of making dreams comes true. This is the only restaurant in the United States to have a USCG operated and maintained lighthouse attached to it. Its location is even listed on nautical maps as Beacon #9, making Tom Ham’s Lighthouse an architectural landmark. Dine outside on a sunny day with a view of Harbor Island, Coronado Bridge, the San Diego Bay, and skyline. Munch away on Corn and Shrimp fritters before ordering the fresh Tuna Niçoise Salad. This is just a sampling of the fabulous food you’ll experience from the restaurant on the water’s edge. Thank you, Mr. Ham, for making dreams come true.
The night the moon was full from dusk to dawn, the ocean seemed black as coal and restless as a cat. Across the bay an amber-tinted beacon of light on Ninini Point flashed methodically, enough to mark the coast for the landing strip at the edge of the cliff. On the ground two or three sets of faint headlights indicated a road must lead to the old lighthouse. The next afternoon we were on a quest to find out. Like a treasure hunt, signs promised shore access to Ninini Point. However, at the end of a paved road the trail became difficult to navigate. Pick-up trucks and SUVs climb over the rough terrain with ease. Not so much the rented Mustang convertible. Clay ruts and lava boulders made the ride bumpy at best. Around each impassable turn I wondered what lurked beyond the thick wall of yucca spikes and swaying grasses that smacked against the car door. At the end of the road, we finally arrived in one piece. Finally. With the lighthouse towering above us, an unexpected eerie feeling crept in. At the foot of a low gnarled tree was a collection of memorial paraphernalia including beverage bottles, dried flowers, good-luck charms, and religious statues. Messages scrawled on a broken surfboard, suspended across a tree branch, indicated heartache and loss of love. Such a tragic sight to behold. I wondered what other disappointments this old lighthouse had witnessed. Life could not have been easier to face in 1897. An isolated existence of lighting the lamp daily and maintaining the structure against nature’s ferocity had to prove challenging. In time, the government would intercede and rebuild the current seventy-two foot concrete tower, dated 1932. Like others, Nawiliwili Lighthouse became automated. A cliffside view of the cobalt waters and crashing waves afforded us the perfect spot for whale watching, six-man canoe races, swirling water spouts, and landing planes. A treasure trove, indeed.
Old Point Loma Lighthouse and Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego, California. Imagine discovering a land of plenty with unbridled beauty from cliff to sea. The 16th century explorer, Juan Cabrillo, managed such a feat on a voyage that began in Europe and ended on the California coast. Today it is known as an Historical Landmark. Many years later in 1855, 422 feet high above sea level, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse served as a coastal beacon and California’s first of its kind. Challenge yourself to ascend the spiral staircase leading to a 360° panoramic bird’s eye view of the Pacific Ocean, the skyline of San Diego, Coronado Island, and the Mexican coastline. During the winter months it’s not uncommon to walk around the grounds and watch migrating grey whales from several vantage points. Visit Point Loma for a view to remember.