GIFTS FROM THE EAST: OUR 2015 LOCAL GIFT-GIVING GUIDE

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By Miriam Raftery

December 22, 2015 (San Diego's East County) -- If you’re looking for a special gift for someone on your list, here are a few ideas available right here in East County that show the uniqueness of our region. This year's options range from savoring the fruits of local winemakers' labors to purchasing locally made pottery, camel milk lotions, and hand-woven weareable art to taking a staycation at a sumptuous desert resort. 

“Sacchara” reserve honey wine:  What could be sweeter than a wine made from wildflower honey, vanilla and Valencia oranges?  Pearson Brothers Winery in Jamul  hand-mixes and ferments these special libations, now sold across the world.  At $14 a bottle, it’s a delicious treat to tuck into your special someone’s stocking.  http://pearsonbrotherswinery.com/

Wearable art from Julian Weaving Works:  Beryl Warnes and other artists at Julian Weaving Works (30352 Highway 78, Santa Ysabel) create items from shawls to cloaks in a rich variety of colors and textures, all hand-woven and one-of-a-kind. For the creative at heart, she also teaches at a weaving academy that she founded.  http://weaverslink.com/

Ramona wines:  The Ramona region has fast emerged as a premier wine lover’s destination.   This year our newest discovery is Vineyard Grant James on the old Julian Highway in Ramona, where you can savor wines on an outdoor stone terrace while watching the sunset.  In addition to some complex and wonderful red wines (one with five varietals!) there’s also a rose and a chardonnay/orange muscat blend to savor.  www.VineyardGrantJames.com

Camel milk lotion:  Oasis Camel Dairy’s Rare Milk lotions are made with camel’s milk, providing soothing softness for your skin in a variety of sumptuous scents such as pomegranate, milk and honey, rosemary mint and frankincense and myhrr .  Oasis is located in Ramona and open by appointment, though you can also order online at http://www.cameldairy.com/ .

Pottery gifts and classes:  Get Centered Clay Studio in La Mesa offers pottery gifts as well as classes for aspiring potters to learn the arts of pottery making with or without a potter's wheel as well as glazing and much more.  They are also forming up an East County Potters Guild.  www.GetCenteredClay.com .

La Casa Del Zorro vacation:  If you’re looking to splurge on an indulgent vacation, consider La Casa Del Zorro Resort, now fully restored to its full grandeur in Borrego Springs.  You’ll find everything you need on site, from a full-service spa, tennis and pools to fine dining and a cantina. Borrego  Springs is an artsy community that also has outstanding golf and is the gateway to Anza Borrego Desert State Park, where there are many fascinating day hikes.  There’s even a stargazing package available.  Winter rates offered now start at $144 a night including breakfast, or reserve space for a dressy New Year’s Eve party to ring in 2015 in style.  http://www.lacasadelzorro.com/experience.php