by LIZ ONUFER | photos by Soul of Photography

Beach Living

Chasing dolphins, interviewing artists, and reading books are only a few of the activities that fill the Fessenden family’s days. Chris and Cyndie Fessenden and daughter, Elena, love the Del Mar lifestyle for all that it creates in their lives. Residents of the Del Mar beach community since 1990, they “treasure living at the ocean’s edge,” Chris explained. “The rhythm of the ocean, tide to tide, swell to swell, provides a nice counterbalance to living deadline to deadline and the other stresses of work.”

Chris and Cyndie moved to Del Mar shortly after graduating from UC San Diego. Today, Cyndie is the vice president at San Diego Pension Consultants and Chris recently founded The Artist Odyssey. The organization is an arts television network featuring interviews with a wide variety of artists. At the end of the interviews, artists record a short lesson to present in schools to support art curriculum. Partnering with UC San Diego, Chris looks forward to hosting live interviews on the campus’ stages over the next year.


As a family, the Fessendens love reading. Elena, a 2nd grader at Del Mar Heights School, is especially a bookworm. Chris shared a story from a recent trip to Hawaii, “During a hike to some tide pool swimming holes, Elena said ‘This is so much fun! When I’m on an adventure like this, I don’t even think about my books!’” When not reading, the youngest Fessenden also loves art and TRC Gymnastics in Solana Beach. “It’s been a real treat to raise Elena playing on the beach and taking her out in the ocean to chase dolphins on the paddleboard, catch waves, or go snorkeling,” Chris shared.

“It’s been a real treat to raise Elena playing on the beach and taking her out in the ocean to chase dolphins on the paddleboard, catch waves, or go snorkeling.”

Elena did have to overcome some difficulties as a child. She was born 11 weeks early, weighing only 2 pounds, 6 ounces. She spent the first two months of her life in UC San Diego’s NICU. “The amazing doctors and nurses of the NICU provided an extraordinary level of care and she ‘graduated’ with no lasting complications,” Chris said. Since then, the Fessenden family has given back to the NICU by hosting small grassroots fundraisers featuring the work of professional photographers.
Life in Del Mar is a “real treat” for this family of three. The outdoor-oriented neighborhood, access to the ocean, and lifestyle of coastal North County San Diego are the perfect fit for the creative, intellectual, and active pursuits of the Fessenden trio.



Parents: Chris and Cyndie Fessenden
Child: Elena Fessenden (7, Del Mar Heights School)
Community: Del Mar since 1990
Parents’ Hometowns: Chris – Camarillo, CA, Cyndie – Cherry Valley, CA
Parents’ Occupations: Chris – Founder of The Artist Odyssey,
Cyndie – VP, San Diego Pension Consultants
Pet: Monkey, a sweet and sometimes cranky 16-year-old cat
Favorite Places to Visit in Del Mar/Solana Beach: Jake’s, Del Mar Library, Sbicca, T’s, The Brig, and the farmers’ markets