Graphic illustration by Attiba Royster
Torrey Pines Gliderport – graphic illustration by Attiba Royster (

I never knew about the Torrey Pines Gliderport until I started working in UTC. It reminds me of the saying I always used to hear from my parents as an impressionable teenager – “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you follow?” Swap the bridge for a cliff in this case, and the answer is yes. At the gliderport you can try all forms of non-powered flight from hang gliding and paragliding, to sailpanes and radio-controlled model aircraft. They also offer flight lessons and certificates for the aviation enthusiasts. I like walking to the gliderport on a pretty day and watching all the paragliders jump off the edge of the cliffs toward Black’s Beach below, and then float through the air effortlessly. I haven’t taken the big plunge yet, but stay tuned. For spectators and scaredy-cats, the ocean view is unbeatable and comes with live entertainment.

Croque Madame and lobster bisque at Bella Vista Social Club & Caffe
Croque Madame and lobster bisque at Bella Vista Social Club & Caffe

Nearby Italian café Bella Vista Social Club & Caffe is a great lunch spot and has prime outdoor seating. The fast casual restaurant serves salads, soup, paninis, pasta, quiche and more. My favorite item is the Croque Madame panini that has ham, cheese and a fried egg on top. Each panini comes with soup or salad, and if you’re lucky, they’ll be serving the lobster bisque as the soup du jour. They also have daily specials that are usually worth checking out (like the fish tacos). Bella Vista has live music Thursdays and Fridays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., happy hour on weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m. daily, and serves weekend brunch from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Can you believe the café’s namesake movie came out in 1999? Paragliders aren’t the only things flying.