Best of East County

The Best of East County

SNOW DAY AT LINDO LAKES

Story and photos by Shiloh Ireland

 

December 23, 2022 (Lakeside) - Wesley Maddocks of San Diego County Parks and Recreation featured Snow Day at Lindo Park in Lakeside.

 

"It has been a dream of our directors to bring snow to our parks," says Maddocks.

 

Twenty tons of ice were donated for this event and the crowd grew to approximately 150 as kids arrived from school. Santa sat patiently for the children to hear their Christmas wishes. It looked like all the participants had a fun afternoon.


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VIDEO OF THE WEEK: LIGHTS AT THE LAKES HOLIDAY SHOW IN SANTEE

 

December 16, 2022 (Santee)  -- ECM took a drive through the first-annual Lights at the Lakes holiday show, now running on select dates through December 24 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve. John Levken's video shows highlights of the one-mile drive through over 35 different sparkling light displays set to music synchronized to your car radio.

Each time guests attend the show, it's a new experience.

Tickets are not available on site, and must be pre-purchased online.


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VIDEO OF THE WEEK: FALL IN EAST COUNTY

December 5, 2022 (San Diego's East County) -- ECM intern John Lekven and editor Miriam Raftery highlight the many annual autumn attractions, festivals and events across San Diego's East County.

From colorful fall foliage to Oktoberfests, grapestomps at local wineries, Halloween happenings and fall festivals, culiminating in events to herald in the holiday season, each fall brings a magnificent array of options for residents and visitors to San Diego's inland region.


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WHY THE NATIVITY? LOCAL CAMELS PLAY KEY ROLES IN NEW FILM

East County News Service

View trailer of “Why the Nativity”   

November 30, 2022 (Ramona) – If you watch the docudrama “Why the Nativity” that opened over Thanksgiving weekend, you’ll see some local talent.  Camels and their handlers from Oasis Camel Dairy in Ramona are key players in the film, which depicts the Christmas story in Bethlehem.  


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MISSION TRAILS PARK ATTENDANCE IS UP AND GROWING

By Susan Taylor

Photo  Volunteer trail guide Nancy Stassinopoulis (right) and Susan Taylor (left)

November 29, 2022 (San Diego) -- On the Saturday after Thanksgiving with beautiful weather, the Guided Nature Walk at Mission Trails Regional Park wasn’t lacking for participants.  A park ranger and two volunteer trail guides led Girl Scouts and their leaders, a couple with a leashed dog, and a hiker originally from Portugal. All learned about native plants, birds, and the Kumeyaay people who once inhabited the area at San Diego’s own Mission Trails Regional Park. 


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LIONS TIGERS & BEARS HOSTS THANKSGIVING TURKEY BASH NOV. 25-26

East County News Service

November 20, 2022 (Alpine) – You’re invited to watch rescued big cats and bears enjoy their Thanksgiving feast during the annual Turkey Bash at Lions, Tigers and Bears in Alpine. Reserve in advance for Friday or Saturday, Nov. 25 or 26.


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ADAMS AVENUE STREET FAIR WARMS UP

By Susan Taylor

September 28, 2022 (Normal Heights) - The Adams Avenue Street Fair was back in Normal Heights on September 24 and September 25. This was the 40th year of the annual event and featured 65 musical acts.  The Fair is Southern California’s largest free two-day music festival and is held every year in September.  Included in the fun were carnival rides, beer gardens and beer tastings, arts and crafts and plenty of tasty food.


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EXPERIENCE SKY FALCONRY RANCH IN EAST COUNTY

Discover the fabulous world of raptors right in East County’s backyard

By Josh Stotler

September 19, 2022 (Alpine) -- As I hike along the dirt trail, the morning fog rolls through the canyon. A hawk swoops from a branch and glides gently by. I am in awe as this amazing creature effortlessly soars by me, heading for the sun-drenched rock just to my left. It is a treat to see this animal up close and I’m lost in the moment, completely enveloped in the East County back country. This is no chance encounter though; I am at Sky Falconry, a 40 acre ranch located in the hills of Alpine.

When I arrived at the property earlier in the morning, the fog was heavy and the diffused sun rays were shining through the oak trees. I was warmly greeted by Kirk Sellinger and Denise Disharoon, the owners of Sky Falconry. Dressed exactly as one would envision a raptor handler to look (think Dr.’s Sadler & Grant from Jurassic Park) they quickly made me feel at home. As the other participants arrived and shuffled toward the circle of benches, we filled out a waiver and it was time to learn about these amazing birds.


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FROM VINE TO TABLE: HARVEST TIME AT TREVI HILLS WINERY IN LAKESIDE

By Shiloh Ireland

September 10, 2022 (Lakeside) -- It was a dark and calm morning as I arrived at 5:00 a.m. on August 16 at Trevi Hills Winery in Lakeside, where each harvest, several varieties are hand-picked by staff as well as neighbors who enjoy coming out and volunteering their time.


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SAN DIEGO ZOO SAFARI PARK WELCOMES THREE LIONESSES

Source: San Diego Zoo Safari Park

 

Photo credit: Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance

 

July 14, 2022 (San Pasqual)  — The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has welcomed three new residents: 8-year-old female African lions Malika, Zuri and Amira from the Caldwell Zoo in Texas. The three lions, who are sisters, curiously explored their new home at Lion Camp earlier today—shyly at first, but soon showing great confidence as they became comfortable with their new surroundings.


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CAMPO DAY BRINGS WESTERN HISTORY TO LIFE

 

By Kylie Dees

View video: Click Youtube image at left, or visit https://youtu.be/1WHC0JjAu84

June 21, 2022 (Campo) – Campo, an unincorporated community in the Mountain Empire area of southeastern San Diego County, is striving to keep its Wild West heritage alive. The town has a rich history that includes railway lore, cowboys, a former cavalry fort, and a notorious gunfight. Earlier this month, the community revived its signature annual event. 


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TIPS FOR VISITING THE ANZA-BORREGO DESERT

 

By Kylie Dees

May 21, 2022 (Anza-Borrego Desert) - Anza Borrego Desert State Park, located in San Diego County is just two to three hours east of San Diego. It’s the largest state park in California – and nearby Borrego Springs also has much to offer. There is definitely something for everyone of every age to experience and enjoy.


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THE FLAG OVER FLETCHER HILLS

By Ray Bello

April 21, 2022 (El Cajon) -- If you live in Fletcher Hills, El Cajon, San Carlos, San Diego or near Parkway Middle School, La Mesa, you’ve probably driven by the star-spangled flag atop the flagpole at the intersection of Fletcher Parkway and Navajo Road many times without really seeing it.     


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AFTER MORE THAN A CENTURY IN BUSINESS, HUNTER’S NURSERY IS STILL GROWING STRONG

 

 

By Kylie Dees

 

View video, left, to watch the full interviews

 

April 7, 2022 (Lemon Grove) -- Hunter’s Nursery, located in Lemon Grove, California, was started in 1919 by Howard Hunter. He began by running an orchard, growing lemons and oranges. It has been in the Hunter family all 103 years. 


Kendall Rhodes is a fourth-generation owner of the nursery, along with her dad. Rhodes explained that the nursery has a wide variety of ornamental plants for the yard. They also have a huge selection of house plants, along with cactuses and succulents. Many customers are now trying to grow their own food, so the Nursery now specializes in fruit trees and vegetables. They also feature a variety of roses, in a wide range of colors and sizes.

 

"Roses are fun to grow and fun to have as a part of your garden!” Rhodes told us.


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DAFFODILS BLOOM BY THE THOUSANDS IN JULIAN DURING DAFFODIL DAYS

By Kyle Alderman
 
March 12, 2022 (Julian) — Already famous for its autumn apple harvest, the rustic mountain mining town of Julian is developing a new reputation for its spring daffodil season.
 
This year all eyes are on Julian Farm and Orchard, where more than 50,000 daffodil bulbs have already begun to explode in bright yellow color just days before the start of the first annual “Daffodil Days” event.  The 25-acre family-friendly farm and orchard will be open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays beginning March 19 through May 1 for “you-pick” daffodil harvesting as well as hayrides, a petting zoo experience, and axe throwing.

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ROMANTIC IDEAS FOR VALENTINE’S DAY IN EAST COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery

 

February 3, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) – Looking for some passionate places to treat your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day?  Here are several sweet spots in East County serving up specials to delight you and your darling.


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ON THE BRINK OF CHANGE IN THE WORLD OF WILD ANIMAL WELFARE

By Karen Pearlman

Republished with permission from Local Umbrella Media

January 25, 2022 (Alpine) -- Among the many jobs she had in the food service industry, Bobbi Brink once worked at a waitress for a San Diego restaurant known as “Hungry Hunter” and another one called “Hungry Tiger.” 


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HUNDREDS HIKE TO TOP OF MOUNT HELIX

 

Story and photos by Karen Pearlman

January 8, 2022 (Mount Helix) -- More than 200 people circled the 3/4-mile winding road from the San Miguel Fire Station on Vivera Drive up to Mount Helix, where a festive atmosphere and the famed 360-degree view of San Diego County awaited them this crisp Saturday morning.

A possible threat of rain never emerged, with clouds making way for partly sunny skies during the Grossmont Mount Helix Improvement Association's 14th annual Walk to the Top of Mount Helix. Live music, fresh-picked lemonsand tangerines from trees of neighbors living in the Mount Helix area also awaited the walkers.


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SANTEE’S STARLIGHT CIRCLE WELCOMES VISITORS TO VIEW HOLIDAY LIGHTS

East County News Service

December 23, 2021 (Santee) – Each year, residents in an area dubbed “Starlight Circle” decorate their homes elaborately for the holidays, drawing thousands of visitors.


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NEED GIFTS? SHOP THESE NEW EAST COUNTY RETAILERS: PART 4 - JULIAN

 

 

By Kiki Skagen Munshi

 

December 11, 2021 (Julian) – ‘Tis the season to bundle up and head to Julian, East County’s charming and historic mountain town. Among the shopping options to discover are five new retail outlets that opened during 2020 and 2021 – offering delightful gift items such as locally made goat soaps, pet products, sports memorabilia, gems, jewelry and geodes. 

Supporting local businesses also helps keep your tax dollars in our region – as well as providing unique holiday gifts for those on your list. 


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NEED GIFTS? SHOP THESE NEW EAST COUNTY RETAILERS: PART 3 – LEMON GROVE

 

By Elijah McKee

 

December 5, 2021 (Lemon Grove) – Lemon Grove has several new businesses that you may want to check out when doing your holiday shopping including a boutique and art space, a coffee shop with health and wellness gifts, and a brewery.

Shopping locally not only brightens the holiday season for local businesses and those on your holiday gift list, it also puts some sales tax jingle into the city’s coffers to help fund projects that benefit the community.

This is part 3 in our series on new local retailers in East County.


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NEED GIFTS? SHOP THESE NEW RETAILERS IN EAST COUNTY: PART 2 – EL CAJON

 

 

By Henri Migala

 

December 4, 2021 (El Cajon) – Within a couple of blocks in downtown El Cajon, you’ll find an array of new boutiques, a salon, galleries, gift stores, a pastry shop and a coffee shop – all brand new.

For your holiday shopping needs, consider supporting our local economy and these new small businesses, many offering unique goods from around the world reflecting the owners’ multicultural backgrounds. 

This is part 2 in our series on new local retailers in East County.


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NEED GIFTS? SHOP THESE NEW RETAILERS IN EAST COUNTY: PART 1 – LA MESA

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

December 4, 2021 (La Mesa) – This holiday season, why not spread some cheer by shopping local to find some unique gifts right here in East County? 

If you haven’t ventured out lately, you may not realize that many new stores have opened amid the pandemic in 2020 and 2021. 

In this series, we’ll be focusing on new retail outlets perfect for your gift-giving needs – starting with La Mesa’s downtown village.


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AN EX-PAT'S GUIDE TO THE BEST GOLF COURSES IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

In our expat’s guide to the best golf courses in San Diego's East County, we cover 5 top-class courses that are worth a day out in the sun and fresh air. 
 
By Jordan Fuller
 
November 24, 2021 (San Diego) - Who wouldn’t want to move to sunny San Diego? With just a month’s worth of rainy days year-round, the climate is ideal for golf lovers. 

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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: BOUNTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL FALL IN EAST COUNTY

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left:  fall foliage along Highway 78 in Ramona Valley

 


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CHILDREN’S NATURE RETREAT NEEDS HELP TO CARE FOR RESCUED ANIMALS DUE TO PANDEMIC FUNDING CUTS

By Mimi Pollack

October 26, 2021 (Alpine) -- Giving back to others is always good, but when you can give back to both animals and humans, that is even better! Local humanitarian, Agnes Barrelet, is doing just that up in Alpine, heading up the non-profit, Children’s Nature Retreat Foundation.  Now the retreat needs our help.


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MEET THE NEW OWNER OF KEYS CREEK LAVENDER FARM AT HIGH TEA CLASS ON SEPT. 4

East County News Service

August 24, 2021 (Valley Center) – You’re invited to meet the new owner of Keys Creek Lavender Farm, Heidi Blanton and bid farewell to outgoing owner Alicia Wolff at an English High Tea class.  Dress up, don a hat and bring flat shoes to celebrate the joy of lavender at the high tea class on Saturday, September 4 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. outdoors under shady pepper trees.


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DOG DAYS OF SUMMER IN SAN DIEGO’S MOUNTAIN COMMUNITIES

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 29, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – If you’re looking for a getaway with your furry friends, you’ll find many dog-friendly destinations in San Diego’s mountain communities

Your options range from dog-friendly hikes to restaurants, wineries, breweries, stores and adventures to share with your four-footed traveling companions.


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CELEBRATING ITS 60TH ANNIVERSARY, SANTEE LAKES GETS EVEN NICER WITH NEW LAKEVIEW DECK AT TIN FISH RESTAURANT

By Mike Allen
 
Photos by Mike Allen and Rebecca Jefferis Williamson
 
June 19, 2021 (Santee) - Santee’s best known tourist attraction, Santee Lakes, just got a whole lot more attractive with the opening of a new observation deck at Lake 4.

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HISTORIC SITES TO SEE IN LEMON GROVE FOR NATIONAL PRESERVATION MONTH

Source: Lemon Grove Historical Society

 

May 5, 2021 (Lemon Grove) – May is National Preservation Month. The Lemon Grove Historical Society invites you to take a stroll around town to visit Lemon Grove’s beloved preserved historic structures.


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