Best of East County

The Best of East County

SPRING VALLEY'S HISTORIC BANCROFT ROCK HOUSE GETS MAKEOVER


Changes Enhance Historic Charm

 

November 17, 2010 (Spring Valley)--The public is invited to come glimpse what life was like for San Diego pioneers in the 1800s. Yesterday, County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and the County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation officially opened the newly restored Bancroft Rock House in Spring Valley.

 

HORSING AROUND IN EAST COUNTY: NEW HORSE CAMP HAS SUCCESSFUL OPENING


East County News Service

October 23, 2010 (Sacred Rocks) -- The inaugural horse camp experience launched October 15-17 at Sacred Rocks Horse Camp, with several participants and many horses visiting for a complementary weekend. “Riding, sitting around the campfire telling tales, and the Saturday night barbeque brought to mind the lifestyle of the old west when time seemed meaningless while folks were enjoying their days,” said Sharon Courmousis, owner of Scared Rocks Reserve and the new Sacred Rocks Horse Camp.

OH DEER! JULIAN BACKCOUNTRY TRIP HAS DELIGHTS IN STORE

Story and photos by Miriam Raftery
 

October 1, 2010 (Julian) –If you’re heading up to the Julian Apple Festival this weekend, you’ll find plenty of sights to see along the way.

 

HOT DOG! WELLS PARK OFFERS OFF-LEASH AREA IN EL CAJON

 

East County News Network

 

September 13, 2010 (El Cajon) – The City of El Cajon invites dog owners to visit the Wells Park “off leash” dog areas. “It’s perfect for those who live in a house, apartment or condo with little or no yard,” said Monica Zech, public information officer for El Cajon—and a proud dog owner.

HIDDEN GARDENS OF MT. HELIX: ALL ABOARD! MODEL RAILROAD PROVIDES FOCAL POINT AT COLLECTOR’S HOME

 

Part 3 in a 5-part series on gardens featured in the 2010 Grossmont-Mt. Helix Association garden tour.

August 27, 2010 (Mt. Helix) -- Dick and Cynthia Jackson have made the most of seemingly every inch in the front and back yards of their modest-sized home on Bonnie Vista. A courtyard of bricks set in sand welcomes guests to this charming garden, where classic boxwood hedges define a patriotic garden of red, white and blue blooms including hollyhocks, roses, silver sheen and razzleberry.

HIDDEN GARDENS OF MT. HELIX: WHERE ADVENTURE NEVER ENDS


Owner hand-crafts fantasy environment

Part II of a 5-part series on gardens featured in the Grossmont-Mt. Helix Improvement Association’s spring 2010 garden tour
 

By Miriam Raftery
 

August 7, 2010 (San Diego's East County) -- “I like Disneyland, so I created an escape environment,” said Bob Caparas, who single-handedly planted all landscaping and built each masonry wall, bridge and waterway at his private Shangri-La complete with switchback trails through a tropical jungle filled with prehistoric-style artifacts off Grandview Road.

THE HIDDEN GARDENS OF MT. HELIX

 

Part 1: English Tudor's country gardens are fit for royalty

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 19, 2010 (Mt. Helix) – Ever wonder what lies behind those gated estates on Mt. Helix? Each spring, Grossmont-Mt. Helix Improvement Association (GMIA) hosts an art and garden tour open to members only, showcasing amazingly elaborate landscapes (as well as works by local artists).
 

Some tour gardens are lavish, located on large lots where results are limited only by well-heeled owners’ imaginations. These range from an English country garden at a manor fit for a queen to a private jungle that Indiana Jones would envy.  Others are at more modest properties where creative homeowners have made the most of limited space and water conservation practices.  This week, we feature the first of five spectacular gardens from this year’s tour.

NEW BOOK ON LA MESA KICKS OFF CITY'S CENTENNIAL

 

JUNE 17, 2010 (LA MESA) --The new book, La Mesa, highlights the history of the city in over 200 evocative historical images of notable events, institutions, landmarks and individuals in the area.

 

The book marks the kick off of the 2012 City of La Mesa Centennial celebration, and all author proceeds are being donated to the La Mesa Historical Society, from whose archives the images come.

 

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ANDERSON RESOLUTION PASSES LEGISLATURE: GRANTS HISTORIC DESIGNATION TO HIGHWAY 94


Story and photos by Miriam Raftery

 

June 11, 2010 (Sacramento) - The California State Senate unanimously passed Assembly Concurrent Resolution 131, which grants historic designation to the portion of Highway 94 from Jamacha Road in Rancho San Diego to the junction with Historic Route 80. Authored by Assemblyman Joel Anderson (R-El Cajon), the Resolution previously passed the Assembly and is now law.

LA MESA TURNS 100: CITY PLANS CENTENNIAL CELEBRATIONS

 

Times have changed since La Mesa became a city in 1912--the year the Titanic sunk, Teddy Roosevelt ran as a Bull Moose, and silent movies were the hot pop culture crazes.

 

May 24, 2010 (La Mesa) – The jewel of the hills will be a century old in 2012—and city leaders are gearing up to celebrate La Mesa’s history and culture through exhibits, education venues, institutional presentations and community events. (Get ready to party hearty!)

 

How much do you know about La Mesa's history and how times have changed in the past 100 years?

JAMUL HAVEN: FEEL A WORLD AWAY IN 30 MINUTES

 

A"Staycation" in East County

 

By Rachel Ford
April 2010 (Jamul) -- Jamul Haven is an 1890 Victorian mansion that has been lovingly transformed into a luxury bed and breakfast. Situated within 30 minutes of downtown San Diego, this European style bed and breakfast is nestled in a picturesque valley and is well worth a visit.

WINTER RAINS BRING DESERT BLOOMS

 

 

February 28, 2010 (Anza Borrego) – record rainfall in January and February is expected to produce a banner season for wildflowers in Anza Borrego Desert State Park.

Blooms are expected to peak through mid-March, so plan your trip east to the desert on any clear day over the next couple of weeks.

 

25 WAYS TO ROMANCE YOUR VALENTINE IN EAST COUNTY

 

February 1, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – Looking for some creative ways to romance the sweetheart on Valentine’s Day weekend? San Diego’s eastern region has many unique options for romance, ranging from free hiking and picnic spots to gourmet dining, upscale resorts and sweetheart spa retreats.

BOOK REVIEW: ANZA-BORREGO: A PHOTOGRAPHIC JOURNEY

 

Anza-Borrego: A Photographic Journey. By Ernie Cowan.
Foreword by Diana Lindsay (Anza-Borrego Foundation and Institute).
San Diego. Sunbelt Publications. 2008. Illustrated with full color plates. 80 pages. $19.95.

Reviewed by Walter Hall

 

Cowan captures the essence of this grand desert Park and shares it with the world in this heartfelt account. Mark C. Jorgensen, Superintendent, Anza-Borrego.

December 17, 2009 (Borrego) -- This is the story of a desert love affair. A romantic journey suitable for all ages. San Diego author Ernie Cowan put his heart on his sleeve for Anza-Borrego many years ago. With this luminously illustrated volume, it is easy to understand why.

AN INSPIRING PLACE TO BE THANKFUL: SACRED ROCKS RESERVE

Rural retreat to host Thanksgiving potluck feast--and soon, a writer’s retreat

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 23, 2009 – It's not Plymouth Rock--but it may be the most dramatic natural setting in San Diego County to celebrate your Thanksgiving. 

“When I saw this, I felt sure there were ceremonies here in ancient times,” said Sharon Courmousis, standing before a natural rock cathedral at Sacred Rocks Reserve in Boulevard. “I also felt a sense of sacred space.” Sharon and her husband, Dmitri, offer guests opportunities to nurture creative artistry, enjoy stargazing, stroll a labyrinth--and savor a Thanksgiving Day potluck amid a natural retreat complete with campground, cottages and a clubhouse for the feast.

STAY COOL AT KNOTT'S SOAK CITY & OTHER FUN SPOTS IN SAN DIEGO'S EASTERN REGION


September 4, 2009 (Chula Vista) –Looking for a place to keep cool over this sweltering Labor Day weekend? Make a big splash with the kids by taking them to Knott’s Soak City. Located in the eastern portion of Chula Vista, the water park features a variety of water rides and pools for kids and the young at heart. What better way to end the summer and cool off amid triple-digit heat?

HISTORY COMES ALIVE AT STUDENT’S WALKING TOUR OF LA MESA

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

August 25, 2009 (La Mesa) –Young women in flapper costumes and men in dapper attire strolled the streets of La Mesa in mid-August, offer visitors a walk back through time to the city’s heyday as a silent movie filmmaking Mecca and a turn-of-the-century boom town.

WARNER SPRINGS PROGRAM TEACHES KIDS AGRICULTURAL SKILLS, PRESERVES WESTERN & NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE

By Miriam Raftery

June 1, 2009 (Warner Springs)—“It’s always fun when we get an adult to volunteer to be the cow,” Sherri Freeman quipped, then deftly lassoed a running parent. Nearby, youngsters saddled up on a bucking mechanical horse, ground acorns, studied history of the Butterfield Stage Coach, hiked with an ecologist, visited farm animals, and learned about wild herbs from a Native American healer.

Watch our slideshow

View our videos! Acorn-grinding lesson; teacher lassos a parent “cow”

FLIGHT OF FANCY: NEW ZIPLINE RIDE OFFERS BIRDS-EYE VIEWS OF WILD ANIMAL PARK

By Marisa Kezirian

Editor’s Note: In our quest to bring you the best of everything east of I-15, we sent ECM intern Marisa Kezirian on a fledgling flight to review San Diego Wild Animal Park’s new zip-line ride, which benefits the Park’s program to preserve endangered California condors. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it!

June 1, 2009 (Escondido)—Looking for adventure? Flightline, at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park, provides visitors with a great new zip-line experience, as you soar over the park like a bird.

LOST HIGHWAYS OF EAST COUNTY: TRAVELING OLD HWY 80 IS A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE

View the slideshow

 

By Miriam Raftery

Video by Rob Constantine

 

“Just like the Roman Empire, things that are built can decay, but they’re never lost as long as you keep them in your heart.” – Christian Woempner

 

May 7, 2009 (San Diego’s East County)—Traveling down Old Highway 80 with a man who helped build it proved a nostalgic and fascinating journey. “I love the sound of tires,” Craig Woemper, a 39-year veteran of Cal-Trans, said as the road ker-thumped beneath us. Raised in rural East County, Craig and his son, Christian, joined ECM’s editor and videographer for a trip down memory lane, providing insights not only into the road’s colorful history, but also sharing lore and legends of our region, assuring that these memories will not be consigned to the dust bin of history.

NEW LIFE AFTER FIRES AT SILVERWOOD WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

By Miriam Raftery

House finch

May 1, 2009 (Lakeside)—Towering wild lilacs line trails at Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary in Lakeside, where signs of new life abound five and a half years after the Cedar Fire. New trunks sprout forth from charred oaks. Wildflowers abound—including monkey flowers and golden eardrops—species never seen here before the fire. Bluebirds, gold finches, juncos, house wrens and nuthatches are among the many species of birds at feeders and bird houses in the preserve owned by the Audobon Society, which is also home to woodpeckers, hawks, owls, coyotes, foxes and bobcats.

BIRD SINGERS AND BASKET WEAVERS CELEBRATE OPENING OF NATIVE AMERICAN MUSEUM IN WARNER SPRINGS

By Miriam Raftery

Bird dancers demonstrate hand-made gourds at Warner Springs Native American museum.

--A broken song beneath the snow, the echo of a soaring joy, a shape in the mist, a touch, in the rain in wilderness you come again. You tell us what we used to know. You speak for all the free wild things whose ways were ours when the world had wings.—Bev Doolittle

April 20, 2009 (Warner Springs)- Inscribed on a wall in the new Outdoor Academic Experience (O.A.E.) Native American Museum in Warner Springs, the quote above reflects the rich cultural heritage and traditions of local Cahuilla, Luiseño, Cupeño and Kumeyaay tribes preserved and displayed here. To commemorate the museum’s grand opening on April 13, a trio of Native American bird singers performed traditional songs for visiting Girl Scouts from Troop 3125 and demonstrated gourd rattles which they crafted by hand.

DESERT DREAMS: LOOK WHAT’S NEW UNDER THE SUN AT ANZA-BORREGO

Wild horse sculptures

By Miriam Raftery

April 1, 2009 (Borrego)—Visitors to Anza-Borrego may be startled by the vision of life-sized metal sculptures of dinosaurs, mastodons and other prehistoric creatures rising from the desert floor like sentinels of a forgotten era.  Other sculptures portray wild horses, birds of prey, tortoises, a saber-tooth tiger and Native American themes.  The creations by sculptor Ricardo Breceda are just some of the many surprises in store for those who visit the Anza-Borrego Desert, a treasure trove of hidden gems.

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