I'm from Cleveland," says Patricia Heaton. "But I know San Diego because I have four kids. You can basically deal with four kids in San Diego for weeks and weeks and never run out of things to do." As Debra Barone in the hit CBS comedy Everybody Loves Raymond, Heaton tends to Raymond and their extended, idiosyncratic family. In real life, however, the 44-year-old actress and her actor husband, David Hunt, have an even bigger brood to handle: four boys, ages 4 to 9, all of whom are ever-eager to take the two-hour weekend jaunt to San Diego. "They'd go there every weekend if they could," she says. A struggling New York stage actress for almost 10 years, Heaton first headed to California to appear in theater, before landing a role on the series Thirtysomething and eventually being cast in Raymond in 1996. In her spare time, Heaton and her husband are working on producing local plays in Los Angeles. But the couple's most recurring role is that of parent. Here's a child-friendly weekend with Patricia Heaton and her brood at the endless attractions of the California playground of San Diego.
"We stay right outside of San Diego in Carlsbad at the Four Seasons Aviara. It's beautiful. They have suites with kitchens that you can stay in, which is great for families. Often with kids, room service takes a long time and they don't really have what the kids normally eat. So in the suites, you can bring groceries with you. Also, Carlsbad is the center for the golf equipment industry, so there are lots of golf courses for dad. If you want to stay in San Diego, it's the Hotel del Coronado. My husband and I stayed there before we had kids. It's quite romantic. It opened in 1888, and you can stay in the old part, in these wonderful old rooms. It's right on the beach. It's also where they filmed Some Like it Hot."