Mermaids Sighted in Solana Beach

Mermaid's Delight, Mermaid Cottage, Solana Beach, California

Mermaid’s Delight, Mermaid Cottage, Solana Beach, California

Mermaids encircled me this weekend and I didn’t even have a toe in the ocean. The mermaid-inspired cottage we rented in Solana Beach was awash in sleek, green-finned mermaids — at the front door, embedded in the bathroom tiles, adorning the walls and the pièce de résistance — a sparkling 5-foot mermaid mosaic in blues and greens that illuminated our private patio.

Solana Beach is nestled along the northern coast of San Diego County and a 30- minute drive from downtown San Diego. After a relaxing 2½-hour ride on Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner, Jim and I arrived at Solana Beach’s Quonset hut-inspired train station.

Solana Beach is a favorite destination of ours. Small and inviting with lovely beaches, shops, restaurants, and nearby hiking. The Cedros design district has abundant art galleries, import and antique stores and cafes. Leaping Lotus, one of my favorites, has 21,000 square feet of shopping pleasure. Beautiful, fun, quirky and unique gifts, many created by local artists, always tempt me.

Many stores carry decorative items featuring the mythical oceanic half-female, half-fish mermaid. These beautiful, seductive maidens with their streaming auburn tresses have mystified seafarers for thousands of years and inspired myths, stories, movies and even an annual Mermaid Parade in Coney Island. Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid is perhaps the best know mermaid of all time, but who can forget Daryl Hannah and Tom Hanks in the 1980’s romantic comedy Splash?

In 1493, Christopher Columbus sighted three mermaids near what is now the Dominican Republic. He wrote they “came quite high out of the water but were not as pretty as they are depicted, for somehow in the face they look like men.” English adventurer John Smith described a mermaid he saw off Newfoundland in 1614, “her long green hair imparted to her an original character that was by no means unattractive.”

Mermaids, manatee, doppelganger, who knows? The mermaid spell has endured across space and time and clearly lingers in Solana Beach where surfers, paddle boarders, and families enjoyed the unseasonably warm November day.

On my last evening there, I walked to Tide Beach to watch the sunset. As the sun kissed the sea good night, I wondered if the fleeting green flash I saw was the shimmering tail of a lost mermaid as she dove down to the idyllic oceanic floor. I don’t know for sure… but I’d like to think so.


16 thoughts on “Mermaids Sighted in Solana Beach

  1. It sounds like I need to put this place on my list.

    I recently edited a short story for a client, a contest entry. It was a haunting tale of a man in love with a mermaid, and it was really good. He took me beneath the waves and into another world. I hope he wins the contest.

  2. I had no idea that Solana Beach was such a gem. Thank you for letting us know how special it is. The mermaid theme was enchanting. I enjoyed your imaginative writing.
    You were in Solana Beach while Walt and I were in Cambria enjoying Moonstone Beach for my birthday!

    1. We’ve driven by so many times, especially when Laura was in San Diego in college. Now I really want to visit and maybe even take the AmTrack. Great writing, Sue.

  3. Mermaids have always fascinated me, and your vivid descriptions of them and of the mermaid lore in Solana Beach rekindled that interest. I must go there. The Chamber of Commerce should pay you a commission!

  4. Oh, Susan! This sounds so enchanting. It is a place that I will definitely have to visit. Would love to get more info about where you stayed. The mermaid mosaic is absolutely beautiful. And you know what a water person I am having been raised on or lived near by it my whole life. Thank you so much for sharing this. It was thoroughly enjoyable as usual!

  5. Thanks you so much for bringing some of the art back to me. Put my paper weight in my new office. It looks beautiful and feels like good luck!

  6. Susan,
    You mention the theory that manatees may have been the basis for mermaid “sightings.” Growing up in Florida, I was an avid diver and was in the water several times with manatees, even having them come up to me for a belly rub at Crystal River, where they may have become a bit too accustomed to humans in the water. I have also seen them many times from kayaks and docks.
    Yes they are mammals, but at over half a ton of oval gray, any resemblance to women beyond that stretches the imagination of what even the most drunken of sailors may have thought he saw.
    Columbus on the other hand, may have only been indulging in what succeeding generations of tourism and real estate promoters generously refer to as creative marketing of his new world.

  7. What a wonderful travel log. I am ready to hop on the train and visit this lovely site.
    Gorgeous mosaic. It must be absolutely enchanting when standing in front of it.

  8. John and I love San Diego and try to visit as much as possible. We have never ventured to Solano Beach, so it will be next on our list. I hope you and Jim are well. Happy Holidays to both of you. Look forward to seeing you soon.

  9. Hi Susan, What a wonderful story about one of my favorite subjects! I am sure that green flash was a mermaid’s tail. Most definitely! It sounds like you two had a wonderful trip. I wish you a wonderful holiday season! –Janell

  10. Beautiful post, Susan, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading (more than once). Your words carried me away to a mystical place. I am reminded of an enchanting novel called Orkney by Amy Sackville about a selkie, a sort of second cousin, once removed, of the mermaid. It is hard not to long for these little slices of paradise found only in California!

  11. What enchantment, charm and invitation into the mystical and magic. This destination is definitely on our list. I do love the mosaic–the colors so vivid and lovely. Thank you for the history and the glimpse of one sea lady at sunset. That will linger in my mind…Wonderful writing and photographs.

  12. I somehow missed this particular post. I love mermaids. I am very interested visiting this mermaid cottage in Solana Beach. Thank you for sharing Susan.

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