Best of East County

The Best of East County

THANKS TO ALL WHO MADE OUR "MOUNTAIN MAGIC" EVENT A SUCCESS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 29, 2016 (Ramona) -- East County Magazine extends our hearty thanks to all who sponsored and attended our "Magic Mountain"benefit event at Vineyard Grant James in Ramona!  We raised over $1,200 from the event, helping us keep you safe and informed.

We extend our special thanks to our major sponsors:

LA MESA OFFERS 21 SUMMER CAMPS TO REMEMBER

 

Source: City of La Mesa

April 24, 2016 (La Mesa) -- Do you have a budding artist or a child that wants time with animals, to feed the hogs or wash an emu?  What about your sports enthusiasts, or do your kids love to work with wood and tools?  La Mesa Community Services is offering twenty-one (21) “Summer to Remember!” camps that will put a smile on any child’s face ages four years and up.  2016 Camps include:  

CAJON CLASSIC CRUISES SEASON BEGINS APRIL 20

 

East County News Service

Photos by  R. Jordan Photography

Photo, left, Best of Show in 2015

March 31, 2016 (El Cajon) – The Cajon Classic Cruises season will rev to life starting April 20th in downtown El Cajon.  This annual family-friendly event will take place each Wednesday evening from  5 p.m. to 8 p.m. along Main Street near Magnolia.

VINEYARD GRANT JAMES IN RAMONA DRAWS RAVE REVIEWS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 11, 2016 (Ramona) -- Savoring an afternoon of superb wine tasting at Vineyard Grant James in Ramona, it’s not hard to realize  why this family-owned winery has been drawing rave reviews on Yelp.  The place has ranked five stars—the top rating, with 64 reviews. 

The wines are complex and satisfying.  Owners/hosts Jacques and Susanne Sapier are warm and welcoming.  A stone patio with views of the sun setting over nearby mountains provides an idyllic setting.  Live music by a Dave Billock and his local band, plus delicious locally-made cheeses, round out a palette-pleasing experience.

HISTORIC TALE: JOHN HARBISON, KING OF THE BEEKEPERS

 

By Brigitte Garcia and Miriam Raftery

February 6, 2016 (Harbison Canyon) – Here’s a sweet fact from East County’s history: pioneer beekeeper John S. Harbison was once the largest producer of honey in the world.

 After settling with his family along the Sweetwater River in what later became known as Harbison Canyon, he led the way for San Diego County to become a major honey-making region during California’s “Golden Age of Beekeeping.”

But it wasn’t all sweet success. Obstacles along the way included severe weather, bees lost at sea, vindictive farmers and arson.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: JACUMBA’S BEAUTIFUL BIRDS

 

East County News Service

 

January 29, 2016 (Jacumba) — Eric Kallen, who runs the website www.JacumbaBirding.com has counted over 191 species of birds in Jacumba Hot Springs, a high-desert community in San Diego’s East County.  “I’ve had 124 species in my backyard,” he says.

 

Now is a great time to go bird-watching there, since you can see wintering and year-round species as well as some early spring migratory visitors.  Here are photos taken this January of a Scott’s Oriole, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, and Costa’s Hummingbird, with notes from Kallen on each:  

BACKYARD FARMER MAKES MOST OUT OF SMALL SPACE


By Brigitte Garcia

Photo: Don Axe and Brigitte Garcia

 

January 28, 2016 (Spring Valley) -- Spring Valley farmer Don Axe has used extra space in his backyard to create his own agricultural business, Valley View Urban Farm. He can now make anything from soap to ice cream. Axe has found a way to keep all different animals such as chickens, rabbits, goats, ducks, a pet dog and even a pot-bellied pig, also growing vegetables and fruits--all on just a half-acre lot.

 

He’s an accomplished farmer with four first place prizes won in the Del Mar Fair for his own homemade cheeses. You can learn what it takes to make his award winning mozzarella and more when he teaches his next cheese making class--one of several courses he teaches for those seeking farming opportunities in small spaces.

WEARING O’ THE GREEN: IRELAND OR EAST COUNTY?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.” – Irish blessing

January 26, 2016 (San Diego’s East County)—Those winter rains have left our drought-parched hills wearing a lovely coat of green.  In fact, some areas in San Diego’s backcountry now bear a striking resemblance to Ireland!  Can you tell which photo was taken in East County yesterday, and which was shot in the Irish countryside? (Click “read more” for the answer.)

BIRDING BASICS AT MISSION TRAILS JAN. 30

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 17, 2016 (San Diego's East County) -

Mission Trails Regional Park Guide and experienced birder Winona Sollock will lead a free educational bird identification class in the park on Saturday, January 30th  at 1 p.m.  The hour-and-a-half class will help increase your enjoyment of nature by teaching you five simple techniques to identify birds at a glance.You will also learn how to use a field guide, so bring one along if you have it.

CANYONEERS WALK JAN. 24 AT MISSION TRAILS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

January 17, 2016 (San Diego's East County) - Join naturalists, called Canyoneers, from the San Diego Natural History Museum, for a free guided walk in Oak Canyon in Mission Trails Regional Park on Sunday, January 24 starting at 9 a.m.

JACUMBA HIKERS AND WALKERS ANNOUNCE JANUARY-FEBRUARY OUTINGS

 

East County News Service

January 4, 2016 (Jacumba)--The Jacumba Hikers and Walkers have announced their schedule of hikes for January and February in the high desert region surrounding Jacumba Hot Springs. 

The hikes range from easy to extreme, covering terrain from wilderness to a desert oasis, mountains and canyons.  You’ll also see sites rich in history reflecting the region’s Native Americans, Spanish, and pioneer settlers. Other excursions including a trip to the Chinese Castle, a Garnet Mine, Goat Canyon’s railroad trestle, and a waterfall, plus dips in mineral hot springs at the Jacumba Spa and Resort.

For a full schedule, scroll down, and also be sure to read these hikng safety tips.

VIDEO OF THE MONTH: WINTER HIKING AT WILDERNESS GARDENS PRESERVE

 

East County News Service

 

January 1, 2016 (Wilderness Gardens Preserve)--The County of San Diego has created a video showing the joys of winter season hiking at Wilderness Gardens Preserve, located in  the picturesque San Luis Rey River watershed in Pauma Valley in northeast San Diego County.

DESCANSO: EAST COUNTY’S HIDDEN TREASURE

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 17, 2015 (Descanso) – Gateway to Cleveland National Forest, the Cuyamaca and Laguna Mountains, Descanso is a small town that takes pride in its rural tranquility, scenic beauty, and rich history. 

The very name means “place of rest” in Spanish, a haven where early travelers stopped off  to encamp beneath the shade of pine and oak trees beside fresh-flowing water fed by mountain streams.  Descanso Valley was once known as Guatay Valley, reportedly derived from the Kumeyaay Indian name for “Na-Wa-Ti-e,” meaning Big Chief’s House, as Native Americans called the majestic mountain often veiled in mist beyond meadows strewn with wildflowers, golden in the sun.

ALPINE BECOMES WINTER WONDERLAND FOR A NIGHT

By Miriam Raftery

December 7, 2015 (Alpine)—Santa and Mrs. Claus rode in on a fire truck as Alpine’s Parade of Lights rolled through town.  The procession included everything from donkeys to big rigs—all festooned in holiday lights.

A craftsman wielded a chainsaw, carving a work of art from a block of ice amid a Snow Festival at the parade route’s end in the Alpine Creek shopping center.  His handicrafts included a glistening reindeer, gingerbread man and more.

Kids skidded gleefully down a sledding hill created just for the occasion, while adults and kids alike frolicked in frothy snow bubbles spewed into the air by a snow-making machine.

TIGER CUB “HIMMEL” THRIVES AT LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS

Hear our interview with Bobbi Brink, founder of Lions Tigers and Bears, originally aired on KNSJ:  http://k003.kiwi6.com/hotlink/uotfmyp3u1/Newsmaker-LionsTigersBears-TigerCubHimmel-BobbieBrink.mp3

By Tasha Matthews and Miriam Raftery

Tiger photos provided by Lions, Tigers and Bears

November 21, 2015 (Alpine) – A tiger cub found wandering the streets of Hemet, is now thriving thanks to care at Lions, Tigers and Bears sanctuary in Alpine.  Meet Himmel, named by a unanimous vote of LTB members after the late San Diego News 8 reporter Larry Himmel, a creative and brilliant newscaster who would often visit Lions, Tigers, and Bears.

Himmel, now four months old, is full of life and joy. When we visited, he ran up to the cage bars ready to romp and eager to be free. Fortunately at Lions, Tigers and Bears, the frisky cub can spend play time in larger enclosures where he has the opportunity to run, climb and even swim, also interacting with other tigers at this very special facility.

Audio: 

HALLOWEEN EVE MASQUERADE BASH: BENEFITS EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE OCT. 30

Join East County Magazine at our Halloween Eve Masquerade Party at our editor's "haunting" home on Mt. Helix!

Friday, October 30th, 6-10 p.m.

Savor a "spook-tacular" feast, hear local spine-tingling ghost stories, watch classic '50s suspense films, listen to live original and variety music with Paul Nichols, and win wonderful prizes!  Free, fabulous masquerade masks for the first 50 RSVPs. 

Suggested donation: Just $10 and bring a dish to share. Happy Halloween Eve!

This event is open exclusively to East County Magazine subscribers. Our subscriptions to our weekly e-newsletter are FREE. Sign up here: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/wild-fire-alerts  and then reserve your space!  Reserve space now!  Call 619-698-7617 or email editor@eastcountymagazine.org to RSVP and get the address.

JACUMBA HIKERS /WALKERS ANNOUNCE NOVEMBER-DECEMBER SCHEDULE

 

East County News Service

October 24, 2015 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – Fall is in the air and it’s a great time to take a hike.  The Jacumba Hikers/Walkers have a series of hikes coming up to intriguing locations, with various levels of difficulties from easy to extreme. 

November’s destinations include Tule Canyon, Round Mountain, the Old Butterfield Stage Coach route, and Amadeo’s Straw bale cabin compound. In December, the group will hit the trail for an ancient waterfall and Davies Valley, wind caves in Anza Borrego Desert State Park, an ancient juniper forest, and the Valley of the Moon. 

DESERT JEWEL: LA CASA DEL ZORRO RESORT SHINES ANEW

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 22, 2015 (Borrego Springs) – Treasure hunters have long been drawn to the Anza-Borrego Desert, seeking gold and precious gemstones. But the real treasure to be found today is La Casa del Zorro Resort, restored to its former splendor with a hospitality that welcomes all—a sparkling oasis amid the desert sands.

Whether you’re heading out for this weekend’s 50th anniversary Borrego Days Desert Festival and parade, or seeking an off-season adventure in summer, spring or fall, La Casa del Zorro provides a delightful haven year-round.

ALPACA FARMING: A WILD AND WOOLY VENTURE

By Miriam Raftery

October 10, 2015 (Descanso) – Weavers spun yarn, kids petted alpacas with names like Cinnamon and Swirl, while guests of all ages learned about the care and feeding of these Andean  denizens during National Alpaca Farm Days.

The event was held locally at Atlas Alpacas in Descanso, a ranch owned by Amay Alyeshmerni and her partner, David Kabbai.  The venture recently merged with Hazard Alpacas of Jamul to form Alpacas of San Diego.

 “This isn’t about selling alpacas. It’s about teaching people,” says Kabbai, adding that he loves the experience.  “Kids come up here and have no idea where their sweaters are coming from.”

PUMPKIN PATCH OPEN AT SUMMERS PAST FARMS

 

East County News Service

October 2, 2015 (Flinn Springs) – If you’re looking for the pick of the patch to carve your Jack-o-lantern, Summers Past Farms in Flinn Springs has a pumpkin patch that’s now open Wednesdays through Sundays, with kid-friendly activities on weekends.

Stop by on Saturdays or Sundays to also enjoy an inflatable jump, popcorn, corndogs, coffee drinks and smoothies, as well as browsing through a gift shop while enjoying a day in the country.

READY, SET, STOMP! HACIENDA DE LAS ROSAS WINERY CELEBRATES REOPENING

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Miriam Raftery and Kristin Kjaero

September 7, 2015 (Ramona) -- Members of the Hacienda de las Rosas Winery's wine club kicked up their heels on Labor Day at the winery's 8th annual grape stomp.  The occasion also marked the grand reopening of the winery, which was closed over the summer following the death last winter of winemaker William Holzhaur.

Today, however, was a day of festivities as guests stomped grapes, sipped wine, savored tacos and enjoyed horse-drawn carriage rides.  The event also included a silent auction and donations to benefit the Ramona Humane Society.

TIGER CUB FINDS NEW HOME AT LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS IN ALPINE

 

September 4, 2015 (Alpine)--Bobbi Brink, Founder/Director of San Diego's Lions Tigers & Bears (LTB) sanctuary announced that a 2.5 month old tiger cub found roaming the Southern California neighborhood of Hemet is being transferred to the accredited sanctuary in East San Diego County on Friday afternoon.

ZIP ZOOM! LA JOLLA INDIANS OPEN ZIPLINE

 

East County News Service

August 27, 2015 (La Jolla Indian Reservation)—On September 3rd, the  La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians will celebrate the Grand Opening of California’s longest Zipline course, soaring above oak canopies with views of Pauma Valley and Mount Palomar.

Thrill-seekers can choose from four zipline courses ranging from 300 feet to over 2,500 feet in length, traveling at speeds up to 55 miles per hour.  There are even parallel lines – side by side so you can share your adventure and enjoy spectacular views of Palomar Mountain, Pauma Valley, and the La Jolla Indian Reservation.

WINERIES ON HIGHWAY 94 WEBSITE NOW UP: TOURS TO LAUNCH SOON

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 24, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – The newest growing wine region in our area is along historic Highway 94. A website has been set up at http://www.thewineriesonhighway94.com/ by growers and wine producers bringing their vision of a wine-region in the southeast county to fruition.

EAST COUNTY ADVENTURE: SPELUNKING IN ANZA-BORREGO MUD CAVES

 

By Greg Dunne

August 8, 2015 (Anza-Borrego Desert)—I'm always up for a new outdoor adventure--especially something I haven't done in my own back yard (our East County). I was treated to one yesterday when Kyle (his third trip there) took me spelunking (Caving) at the Mud Caves in Anza-Borrego desert. WOW, what a cool (no pun intended) adventure; it was only 103 degrees yesterday in our desert, but was a whopping 106 the day before. I was a bit apprehensive about going, (Kyle's been threatening to take me for some time now) not liking the fact of a tight crawling space in a dark, unfamiliar place. But once I got started it was awesome--and about 30 degrees cooler!

ONCE IN A BLUE MOON HIKE: VOLCAN MOUNTAIN JULY 31

 

July 28, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) - Here’s an event that happens only once in a blue moon. The County’s Parks and Recreation department is offering a free Sunset-Blue Moon hike at Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve  in Julian on Friday, July 31 starting at 6:45 p.m.  Bring a flashlight and a sense of adventure for the two-mile hike on Five Oaks Trail to the summit for views of Julian at sunset before making your way back under a shimmering blue moon. (Which is not actually blue, by the way. That's just the nickname for the second of two full moons in one calendar month.)

VOLCAN MOUNTAIN FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES JULIAN EVENTS IN AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER

 

East County News Service

July 20, 2015 (Julian) – From a film festival to guided hikes to a dinner in the meadow benefit and more, the Volcan Mountain Foundation is hosting an array of fascinating events coming up in August and September.  Below are details on these activities, which all benefit conservation efforts to preserve Volcan Mountain in the scenic and historic Julian area.

STARS COME OUT IN BORREGO --ALONG WITH PLANETS, SPACE STATIONS AND MORE

 

By Mark and Miriam Raftery

Photo, leftMilky Way galazy and dragon sculpture in Anza Borrego Desert; © Dennis Mammana/dennismammana.com

July 4, 2015 (Borrego Springs) – Stargazing guru Dennis Mammana has been photographing the night sky for nearly a half century and leading night sky tours for nearly thirty years.  He also teaches workshops that provide in-depth tips on how you can photograph everything from the Milky Way to constellations – and  as we discovered last weekend in Borrego, you don’t have to have a backpack full of professional camera gear to come up with some gorgeous images.

Borrego Springs in 2009 became the first designated International Dark Sky Community in California--thanks in part to the efforts of our helpful host, teacher and guide.  That means there are no bright lights at night to interview with your night-sky viewing pleasure.

FISH STORIES FROM LAKE JENNINGS

 

Photo: Kayla Douglas of Spring  Valley landed this 5 lb. 4 oz Channel Catfish at Hermits Cove

July 1, 2015 (Lakeside) – The Lake Jennings Fish Report for July is out-with plenty of tips and news for fishing enthusiasts. The lake is open every day in July. Here are a few highlights:

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