Learning La Jolla: Local couple offer audio walking tour
A local couple have created and launched an audio walking tour of La Jolla, hoping to encourage natives and newcomers alike to learn more about The Village.
The tour, called “La Jolla: The Riviera of California,” is run by Tour Freely, a company started by Mindy and Jerry Flanagan. They have lived “in every part of La Jolla,” said Mindy Flanagan, who has lived in La Jolla most of her life.
The La Jolla audio tour, written by Jerry Flanagan and narrated by Mindy, was designed as a 2-mile walking tour that runs through a user’s smartphone.
“You download an app, you pay [about $5] and then boom — you have that for life,” Mindy Flanagan said. “You start the tour, you put your phone in your pocket and you go.”
The route takes about an hour, though the tour may take longer if people spend more time at certain points.
“That’s the beauty to it,” Flanagan said. “It’s GPS-triggered, so you can turn the tour into anything that you like. You can stop at La Valencia [Hotel] and get some champagne and [the tour] just stops. The tour picks back up when you pick back up. It knows where you are at every single moment.”
The tour begins on Prospect Street in front of Eddie V’s and instructs walkers first to a historical fireplace inside the restaurant, originally part of the group of cottages that stood there as part of the Green Dragon Colony.
The tour continues through The Village, including Jose’s Courtroom restaurant on Prospect, where Flanagan said the first margarita was poured in 1947.
Once at The Bishop’s School, tour participants will turn toward Coast Boulevard, learning about the shoreline as they travel back north and east, finishing at the Cave Store.
As they walk, tourists will learn “historical facts about Ellen Browning Scripps and the Green Dragon Colony and Dr. Seuss,” Flanagan said. “You’re having a lot of fun and learning a lot along the way.”
The tour is wheelchair-accessible, Flanagan said, and manageable for families with strollers.
The tour launched early this year, but Flanagan says it’s even more relevant now, as coronavirus-related closures leave “people … scrambling around looking for safe things to do. This is one activity you can do that’s affordable and safe.”
The tour mentions several Village businesses and thus is “supporting the La Jolla businesses, getting people out,” Flanagan said.
The couple are looking for more business partnerships to add to the tour, she said.
Flanagan said the idea for the tour came from the couple’s love of adventure. “We really love the idea of getting out, walking and learning and exploring new towns,” she said.
Inspired by Europe travel adviser Rick Steves’ material, they looked for something like it in La Jolla and created their tour when they realized there was nothing similar.
“We have a love of La Jolla, an appreciation of La Jolla,” Flanagan said. “It all made sense.”
The couple, who now live in Tierrasanta, plan to develop more local walking tours and recently launched one based on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip.
“This is something fun that we can continue doing,” Flanagan said. “We believe in making your avocation your vocation.”
“La Jolla: The Riviera of California” is available for $4.99 at bit.ly/tourfreelylj. ◆
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