Weekend Getaways

Weekend Getaways

DESTINATION RELAXATION: THE SPA AT LA CASA DEL ZORRO

 

All-new seasonal treatments and spa-inspired fare are carefully curated to soothe and rejuvenate with a nod to the Anza-Borrego Desert

July 13, 2015 (Borrego Springs) -- When it comes to summertime relaxation, there’s no better place than the spa to prep for long, laid-back days and fun in the sun. This season, the luxurious Spa at La Casa del Zorro is offering a suite of new services and a health-centric menu to help guests feel bright, brilliant and beautiful inside and out.

BAJA BLOG: FOURTH OF JULY BAJA STYLE AT ANGEL'S CAMP AND THE CANTINA

 

Story and photos by Susan A Mahalick

July 7, 2015 (Baja, Mexico)--The day dawned cloudy and cool as it often does this time of year; sometimes the marine layer stays all day, or for a month at a time along the Pacific coastline. At about three in the afternoon the layer was thin enough that the sun came out for a brief time. Time to go to Angel’s Camp for the annual 4th of July pig roast.

BAJA BLOG: MY BIRTHDAY IN THE WINE VALLEY WITH SITARA MONICA PEREZ

 

by Susan A Mahalick. Photos and article by the author

June 23, 2015 (Baja, Mexico) - I met Sitara when she first got here from Costa Rica with not much more than the clothes on her back and a dog named Lily. We became fast friends, fast. She got enrolled in the wine school which has tough requirements, one of which is knowing Spanish well enough to understand the classes and become proficient in business afterwards. I was her very first investor and it is indeed the best investment I have ever made. In a few short years she is now sending her wines to Mexico City which is the ultimate market here and poised to export to the United States. It takes at least a year to become legal, getting a tax stamp for your bottles, becoming a legal resident and the like. Since her grandmother was Mexican this allows her to become a dual citizen with the US. Originally from Alaska, she is an adventurer like so many of us expats in Mexico. She prefers to create blends so I just got a case of her Dolcetto at the rock bottom price of five dollars a bottle. I am going to use some of these along with her new house wine, Ruffian, for a wine tasting BBQ tomorrow on my patio with two friends.

8 ROAD TRIP TIPS TO BE SAFE AND SAVE MONEY

 

East County News Service

June 15, 2015 (San Diego) -- Road tripping for the summer? Road trips can be a fun and cost-effective way to spend time with family and friends while traveling to your summer vacation destination. But, if you don’t know what car maintenance you should complete before you leave or the best ways to save money while on the road, the adventure could end up costing you more than an airplane ticket.

Lisa Copeland, founder of Buying Cars Her Way and a leader in the automotive industry for more than 25 years, offers 8 tips on road tripping:

SUMMER NIGHT SKY TOURS IN ANZA BORREGO DESERT

 

East County News Service

June 12, 2015 (Borrego Springs)--Dazzling sights can be viewed each night in the clear dark skies over Southern California's Anza-Borrego Desert―including colorful stars, stellar clusters, planets, star-forming nebulae, Earth-orbiting satellites, distant galaxies and more. 

Famed astronomer and night sky photographer Dennis Mammana invites you to treat yourself or your family to an inspiring and personalized tour of the cosmos above Borrego Springs—California’s first and only International Dark Sky community – with the power of a large telescope and one of America’s favorite celestial tour guides. The summer 2015 night sky tour schedule is now available at http://www.borregonightskytours.com/.

BAJA BLOG: BLACK CROSS WINERY 1ST ANNIVERSARY PARTY

 

Story and photos by Susan A Mahalick

June 3, 2015 (Cantamar, Mexico)--Robin MacKenzie, proprietor of Black Cross winery in Cantamar up in the hills helps to support Pretty Horse Rescue owned by Krystal Redmon. Robin had her first anniversary party on a fine May afternoon overlooking the hills surrounding the property where both businesses coexist.

BAJA BLOG: THE NEW SPLASH OCEANFRONT RESTAURANT AND BAR

 

Photos and story by Susan A Mahalick

May 17, 2015 (Baja, Mexico)--Established June 13th, 2009 and owned by the Santos family, this is the place to hang out, be seen and meet new people all wrapped up with excellent food, service and views of the volcanic rocks being shaped by the waves of the Pacific Ocean.

BAJA BLOG: LA SALINA CANTINA IN LA MISION, A REAL MEXICAN CANTINA

 

Story and photos by Susan A Mahalick

April 20, 2015 (Baja, Mexico)--Located as an exit off the toll road, or Cuota, is La Salina at Km 73. Two exits after crossing the bridge with the estuary to the left as you travel south from Rosarito is a public beach with palapas to the right. It is Easter weekend which traditionally starts the official camping on the beaches, no matter the weather, as Mexicali, Tijuana and Tecate empty out for all the free camping in this part of Baja. Here the fee is $500 pesos, around $4 at the current exchange rate, per vehicle which accounts for this beach not being overcrowded.

MOST ROMANTIC VALENTINE RETREATS IN EAST COUNTY

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 2, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) -- What better way to infuse passion into your relationship than to slip away for a Valentine weekend stay  at one of East County’s romantic inns, cabins or lodges? Or give a getaway gift for later in the year as the perfect way to say”I love you.”

Here are few idyllic places to rejuvenate your spirit with that special someone:

MEXICO TRAVEL WARNING BROADENED TO INCLUDE BORDER REGIONS

 

East County News Service

December 28, 2014 (San Diego)--The U.S. State Department has broadened its warning for U.S. citizens regarding risks of traveling to parts of Mexico due to criminal activity that has resulted in deaths of 85 American citizens this year, including some who were innocent bystanders. Kidnappings are also on the rise; 130 American citizens were kidnapped during the first 11 months of this year.

HEADING ABROAD FOR THE HOLIDAYS? APPLY FOR YOUR PASSPORT NOW

 

Source: County of San Diego’s News Service

November 16, 2014 (San Diego)--If you’re planning to travel out of the country over the holidays, now is the time to apply for your passport book or card, the County advises.

BAJA BLOG: LA MISION EQUESTRIANS - MORE ABOUT HORSES IN BAJA

 

By Susan A Mahalick

October 21, 2014 (Baja, Mexico)--In my previous article about Black Cross Winery and the Pretty Horses Ranch, I touched on how important both wine and horses are in this part of Baja. Now I want to expand on a group founded by Carla Jesme to help pay for the upkeep of her horse. She arrived here and fell in love with horses and the way of life in La Misión, with all the unpaved roads and trails up in the hills, along with beach rides.

BAJA BLOG: BLACK CROSS WINERY IN ROSARITO AND PRETTY HORSES RESCUE

 

By Susan A. Mahalick

September 6, 2014 (Baja, Mexico)--Nestled up in the golden hills is a winery that is the vision of another one of our women winemakers here in Baja. The location of this venue was determined by the location of the Pretty Horses Rescue ranch. This part of Baja and horses go together with wine tasting as a natural outcome of blending two favorite activities of residents down here. There is a hitching post at the tasting room and plans are to build a horse trail around the ranch property.

BAJA BLOG: SPLASH, BEST OCEANFRONT RESTAURANT AND SPORTS BAR

 

By Susan A. Mahalick

August 5, 2014 (Baja, Mexico) - Want to be outside, see waves splash up onto volcanic rocks, watch dolphins swim by and sea birds perch everywhere? Add to this some of the finest hospitality, drinks and food and this is a sure winner.

VIVIAN BLACKSTONE - A REMARKABLE WOMAN

 

Former Campo artist now creating film on cofounder of Rancho La Puerta

By Mimi Pollack

On July 24th, 2014, my good friend Vivian Blackstone will celebrate her 86th birthday. A woman in excellent health, she has lived an unconventional life with an artistic, bohemian and spiritual bent. That artistic side still continues as she is working on a film about Edmond Szekely [aka the professor], who along with Deborah Szekely, created and developed the world famous spa and resort in Tecate, Mexico, called Rancho La Puerta. This film is important to Vivian as the professor was an influential person in her life and she hopes this film will honor him and the influence he had on her.

SATURDAYS AT THE RANCH: A DAY TO REJUVENATE YOUR SPIRIT

 

By Mimi Pollack

July 24, 2014 (Tecate)--Many of us lead hectic, stressful lives, so it is always healthy to find ways to unwind. Spending a week at a spa is one good way to relax and recharge, but not everyone can afford that or has the time. Here in San Diego, we are lucky to have a world class spa and retreat, Rancho La Puerta, just across the border from East County. Founded in Tecate, Mexico in 1940 by Edmond and Deborah Szekely, Rancho La Puerta has built a solid reputation and a loyal following over the years.

BAJA BLOG: POPOTLA FISHING VILLAGE - OFF THE BEATEN TRACK

 

By Susan A. Mahalick

July 10, 2014 (Baja) - Many have heard of Puerto Nuevo as a lobster village, an adventure in eating experiences. Few have the same pleasure of knowing of Popotla, Km 33, just south of Baja Studios, there is an arch and a dirt road leading into a tiny village full of tiny eateries and curio shops. Unlike Puerto Nuevo, much more than lobster is served up, caught only minutes or hours before it is served to you. The entire village can be walked in a mere twenty minutes. One can bring in their own beverages most places. It is also possible to purchase fish to take home for that party or intimate dinner.

TECATE'S RANCH CATS

 

By Mimi Pollack

July 3, 2014 (Tecate)--Gizmo is one of the official greeters at Rancho La Puerta, a spa in Tecate, Mexico, just over the border from San Diego’s East County. Deborah Szekely and her late husband, Edmond, started Rancho La Puerta [the ranch] in 1940. Back then, it was very rustic and primitive as they were living in harmony with the surrounding nature. That love of nature continues, and today Rancho La Puerta is ranked as one of the best spa destinations in the world.

PRESERVING THE PAST AT CENTRO CULTURAL AND KUMEYAAY MUSEUM IN TECATE

 

By Mimi Pollack

July 1, 2014 (Tecate)--There are only 70 to 80 people left in Baja California who speak Kumeyaay, according to Michael Wilken Robertson, an anthropologist who also specializes in ethno-botany. When Wilken-Robertson first started his journey studying the indigenous people of Baja California, he was told there were no indigenous cultures there.  

He believed something had to be done to preserve these ancient cultures and traditions before they were lost, especially those of the Kumeyaay [Kumiai] people. The Kumiai are the indigenous people on both sides of the border, starting from Carlsbad on the United States side, down to the Santo Tomas Valley in Baja California, Mexico.

The Museo Communitario de Tecate [Tecate Community Museum] and the Kumiai wing is a good first step towards documenting the life and history of these people. It is part of the Centro Cultural [Cultural Center] in Tecate, Baja California.

VACATION TIPS, CHECK-UP SERVICE FOR HOMEOWNERS AWAY

 

Source: San Diego Sheriff

June 25, 2014 (San Diego)-- It's officially summer and finally time to take that vacation. You can make your break even more stress-free and sign up for vacation checks from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

BAJA BLOG: CAVA VINTANGO IN THE GUADALUPE VALLEY

        

 

By Susan A. Mahalick

June 11, 2014 (Baja California, Mexico)--Designed by Jo Ann Knox Martino, and situated in the eastern portion of the valley in the same area as Baron Balché in Porvenir, is the elegant cava built for storage, wine making and tastings of her famous Tango wines. The name, Vintango, comes from Jo Ann’s love of tango.

A REJUVENATING WEEKEND AT THE HEALING WATERS & ARTS FESTIVAL

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 4, 2014 (Jacumba Hot Springs)—Slipping away to the high desert community of Jacumba Hot Springs proves a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Not too long ago, Jacumba nearly became a ghost town after a resort hotel from the ‘20s burned down and Interstate 8 was built, drawing traffic away from Old Highway 80 through the heart of Jacumba.  But then a revitalization committee petitioned the state to take back the town's historic name -- Jacumba Hot Springs. Since then, these movers and shakers have infused new life into a town named by the Kumeyaay Native Americans who once camped here in the winter months: Jacum—a place of healing waters.

Now celebrating its centennial year, the town recently hosted the Healing Waters & Arts Festival--a successful event for the community and guests alike. 

BAJA BLOG: WHY MOVE TO BAJA?

 

By Susan Mahalick

May 20, 2014 (Baja)--I am not retired, like so many people are down here, but I consider Baja to be my home, and have for eleven years now. I used to come down for long weekends when I lived up in San Diego, staying with a friend in Baja del Mar. I started crying going back over the border on Sunday evenings, so I decided I could fix that problem by moving here. My friend helped me a find my first tiny casita to rent in Colonia Reforma which is close to the power plant in Rosarito.

BAJA BLOG: 5TH ANNUAL ROSARITO ART FEST 2014 MAY 24 - 25

 

By Susan Mahalick

May 9, 2014 (Baja California)--Art Fest started due to the vision of one man who wanted to promote the abundance of fine art in the northern Baja area. Organizer Benito del Aguila Malvaez, owner of Los Naguales, a Mexican folk art gallery, has been putting on this event since it started in 2009 with 5000 attendees.

NEW CABINS OPEN AT POTRERO COUNTY PARK THANKS TO GROUP HELPING CAMPERS WITH DISABILITIES

 

April 29, 2014 (Potrero) --For the first time, Potrero County Park is offering cabins to visitors who want to enjoy the natural beauty of San Diego County’s southeast region.

County Parks and Recreation celebrated the grand opening of two new disabled-friendly cabins Monday. Each one, with porch, measures 390 square feet, sleeps five and features heating, a ceiling fan, a restroom, and a small seating area.

BAJA BLOG: VALLEY GIRL TOURS COME TO GUADALUPE VALLEY IN BAJA

 

By Susan A Mahalick

Photos by Sitara Monica Perez and the author

April 12, 2014 (Baja, Mexico)--Sitara Monica Perez, the woman with the lyrical name, arrived here almost two years ago to accomplish her dream of making wine. She is not only doing that, but also becoming an expert on the winemakers and wineries in the process. Originally from Alaska, she has lived in Costa Rica and Argentina before coming to Baja to learn winemaking.

BAJA BLOG: MULE 61, AREA'S NEWEST CONCEPT RESTAURANT

 

New column! 

(If you would like to sponsor the Baja Blog, or any column on ECM, contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org)

By Susan A Mahalick

Photos by Sitara Monica Perez

March 19, 2014 (Baja)--You walk into a long space broken up by curves of white walls, stained glass windows and a large bar with lights behind the stained glass at the base at night. Both bistro type seating and regular dining tables are available in the main dining room. There is a second room for events or private parties. A very large window at the rear overlooking the Pacific opens to the fresh salt air. Ceiling fans circulate in key locations. The ceiling is made from plastic, clear tiles which provide plenty of natural light.

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