Posted by: cantmisssd | February 19, 2010

Administrative Courtyard

I’m wary of writing this post, because the Administrative Courtyard is probably my favorite place in San Diego- largely because it’s usually deserted. But it’s the forgotten corners of Balboa Park that guarantee the majesty of the whole, so ignoring the overlooked gems wouldn’t be right.

I can’t really say, I suppose, what it’s like either way to work in the Balboa Park Administrative building. I have no real idea of the responsibilities and challenges of the folks who slave away there each day. But I can at least say that, aesthetically, it’s a pretty good situation. Stretching to the southwest is a sweeping view of downtown overlooking Inspiration Point. And to the east, hidden away where nobody has any reason to ever explore, is a beautiful courtyard, complete with Spanish architecture, lush greenery, fountains, and a little respite from the rest of the park… and life.

You can enter from either end of the courtyard- either past the Activity Center across from the Worldbeat Center, or via the sweeping stairs past the Veteran’s Museum in the Inspiration Point parking lot that climb up to the Admin Building and point you towards the secluded fountain at the south end of the courtyard. It isn’t a place to go to do things. It’s a place to go do breathe deeply, read, reflect, have and share a moment of simple calm.

The only downside to it being so far out of the way is that the periphery has become a dumping ground for the not-so-pretty stuff that it takes to keep the park humming (e.g., the secluded, shaded oasis complete with cherubed fountain borders directly on the parking lot for park vehicles). And try as I might, I don’t think it’s possible to properly capture the panoramic view to the south, anchored by the Coronado bridge, without getting a healthy dose of the dirt lot and construction detritus that litters the foreground. But these are quibbles, because the true beauty of the Admin Courtyard isn’t how much of the world it takes in, but how much of the world it shuts out. The virtue of being so far from the beaten path is that you mostly have it to yourself. And those moments with the sun and your thoughts are priceless.

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