Town & Country Travel Magazine
Homes Away From Home
Whether it's an oceanfront mansion, a village town house or
cliff-top privacy you seek, this community near San Diego has a
property to satisfy you. By Kimberly Brown Seely
A time comes in every life when climate counts. Fortunately, for
those grown weary of Winnetka winters and Scottsdale summers,
there is La Jolla, where the weather is mild, sunny and nearly
perfect all year round. This California classic draws
second-home buyers for a host of reasons: its quaint but posh
downtown; its intellectual life, springing from nearby
University of California at San Diego; and its prime Pacific
The first thing buyers must realize is that here you trade
acreage for lifestyle. But who wants to mow the lawn when you
can be at the beach? In the 1950s Raymond Chandler was able to
live on La Jolla's most desirable street, Camino de la Costa, by
writing mysteries. Today his neighbors would probably be
biotech or telecom execs, but La Jolla still feels like
small-town U.S.A. with palm trees and the soothing sound of the
surf. Those shopping for property will find a multitude of
options, from easy-maintenance condos to hilltop homes and
oceanfront estates. What they won't find is a bargain, since in
the past six years, prices have doubled. And although La Jolla
has long been a resort community, today's second-home owners are
less likely to be driving down from Hollywood than flying in
from Dallas or Boston.
The lay of the land La Jolla sits about fourteen miles north of
downtown San Diego. At its core is the village, a tidy business
district surrounded by quiet residential streets. To the west,
sandstone cliffs drop away to the Pacific; to the east, canyons
and hills are studded with houses. And to the north is Torrey
Pines Mesa, home to UCSD, Scripps Research Institute and Salk
Institute for Biological Studies, among other institutions.
OCEANFRONT OPPORTUNITY, $12.9 million
Pacific-facing properties like this rarely become available. A
walled half-acre estate with expansive ocean views, it is only a
mite and a half south of the Village. Mahogany gates open from
Camino de la Costa onto a courtyard planted with yew and
fragrant juniper. Inside the 10,000-square-foot Spanish
Mediterranean home, grand spaces with marble floors and
mahogany woodwork set the tone. French doors lead to a stone
terrace-edged by a 100-foot-long balustrade that drops off to
waves crashing on rocks and, at low tide, a small sandy beach.
Completed in 1999, the compound also contains a two suite guest
The best times to visit In the winter, second-home owners from
the East Coast and the Midwest flock to La Jolla for the sun.
During the summer, entire neighborhoods from Texas and Arizona
move in. People come for the beach and the summer racing at
nearby Del Mar.
The beaches The area's seven miles of coastline range from long
stretches to secluded coves. Among the nine beaches are several
with distinct personalities. La Jolla Shores, for instance, is
anchored by the venerable fourteen-acre La Jolla Beach and
Tennis Club; Children's Pool, recently colonized by California
sea lions, has become the focus of an ongoing kids versus
animals debate; and Windansea (immortalized by Tom Wolfe in The
Pumphouse Gang) is a popular surfing spot.
The neighbors With Ph.D.'s accounting for a majority of the
population, La Jolla is an eclectic blend of university
community and beach town, with a dash of Old Guard Hollywood.
Thus you have actor Cliff Robertson and producer Samuel Goldwyn,
Jr., living next to such technology titans as Qualcomm founder
Irwin Jacobs and Gateway Computers founder Ted Waite, as well as
dozens of Nobel Prize winners. Hiding out: Ivan Boesky, on Mount
Where and what to buy Property sitting on the bluffs directly
above the ocean starts at about $3.5 million; beachfront estates
are $6 million and up. On Camino de la Costa, expect to pay at
least $4 million. At La Jolla Shores, you'll find smaller lots
and a wide, mile-long beach. The Village itself is ideal for
those who seek a California-cottage atmosphere, and the
convenience of having all the essentials within walking
distance. Finally, Mount Soledad is a different landscape
altogether with sweeping views of Torrey Pines and the Pacific.
Insider's tip: consider a condo. For $750,000 you can buy a
200-to-1,400-square-foot condominium within walking distance of
Local Ritual Longtime resident George Hauer, co-owner of La
Jolla eatery George's at the Cove, says, "Many people come here
straight from the airport and sit out on the terrace so they can
just look at the ocean and celebrate being back."
Top real-estate agents for sales, contact XXXXXXX, or Peter
Toner, with Prudential California Realty (858-551-3311).
COAST WALK, $5.95 million
Set on a secluded cul-de-sac, with views of La Jolla Cove and
easy access to the shops along Prospect Street, this oceanfront
contemporary was designed by noted architect Henry Hester in
1986 and extensively remodeled in 1999. Built for art
collectors, it has large expanses of glass and an open plan
ideal for displaying sculpture. The property includes a bronze
gate, a slate walkway and a water sculpture by the late
conceptual artist Eric Orr.
MOUNT SOLEDAD, $6 million
This Mediterranean-style villa on Via Casa Alta sits almost at
the summit of Mount Soledad and has extraordinary 270-degree
views: to the west, the Pacific; to the north, the coast toward
Del Mar; and to the east, University City. The contemporary
stucco and tile-roofed house, built in 1985, has clean lines,
five bedrooms and tons of light. In back is a pool surrounded by
a broad stone terrace. In addition to a spa, a fountain and a
deck with a gazebo, there is an outdoor kitchen to make alfresco
This 1935 English-style cottage in Mount Soledad's exclusive Old
Muirlands neighborhood has been beautifully restored. Light and
airy inside, with paned windows framing views of the Village and
the ocean, it has three bedrooms, including a large master suite
with his and hers dressing rooms. French doors lead to a deck
surrounded by mature gardens with fruit trees, Vermont slate,
handcrafted stone walls and winding paths designed by landscape
architect Ken Yasuda.
Click here to search by neighborhood for every La Jolla real estate listing!