Best of East County

The Best of East County

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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THE WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN REOPENS FOR PUBLIC ACTIVITIES

Story and photos by Alexa Oslowski

Click to view a video tour by Angela Kurysh including full interview with Pam  Meisner, or view the embedded video below this story.

April 24, 2021 (El Cajon) - The Water Conservation Garden, a beautiful and serene East County treasure located on Cuyamaca College’s campus, is open to the public for educational and recreational enjoyment.

The Garden hosts events for people of all ages. Adults can enjoy outdoor yoga classes, educational workshops and online seminars. Children can spend time with Ms. Smarty-Plants, a character created by the Director of Operations Pam Meisner.


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FIREBALLS IN THE SKY: METEOR SHOWERS START TONIGHT, PEAKING ON EARTH DAY

East County News Service

Image via NASA: Lyrid meteor showers in 2012

April 16, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – Look up during the early morning hours April 16-30 and you may be treated to a view of the Lyrids meteor shower. Called the "Old Faithful of meteor showers" by Space.com because their peak usually lasts for several hours, the Lyrids are known for producing fireballs, or meteors with trails of glowing, ionized gas in their wake. 


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ON A ROLL: ENJOY OUTDOOR SKATING AT VIEJAS OUTLETS IN ALPINE

East County News Service

April 11, 2021 (Alpine) – If you’re looking for some fun outdoor exercise, Southern California’s largest outdoor roller rink is open for the 2021 skating season.

The rink is located at the Viejas Outlet Center, 5003 Willows Road in Alpine.

Admission for roller skating is $10, including rental skates.  You can also get a season pass for $99, which provides unlimited roller skating all season long through September 6.


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LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS CELEBRATES NATIONAL PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY DAY

By Henri Migala & Miriam Raftery

 

April 3, 2021 (Alpine) -- Nearly 100 people, many of them children, came to Lions, Tigers and Bears in beautiful Alpine yesterday to help celebrate National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. 


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VIDEO OF THE WEEK: THREE SISTERS FALLS

 

March 21, 2021 (San Diego's East County) -- What better way to celebrate the arrival of spring than to hike to one of the most beautiful places in East County, Three Sisters Falls in Cleveland National Forest? 

Scott Lagace made the trip this week with friends. The trail is a steep two-mile hike down and two miles back -- all uphill.

Despite these challenges, Lagace says,"It was a beautiful hike there and back. The falls was flowing beautifully. It was amazing at a distance and close up. I would definitely do this hike again. Just got to remember to take the road from the Julian side, not Descanso!"


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ETIQUETTE ON THE HIKING TRAILS

Story and photos by Greg Dunne

March 14, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- A hiking we go, a hiking we will go, it’s a beautiful spring day, a hiking we will go! Hiking on the trails of San Diego County has been a great past time over the last 12 months of the pandemic. Let’s have our trail etiquette boots on when we are out there with our fellow hikers.

The hiking trails have been packed with people the last 12 months. The increase is due to Covid-19. As a regular hiker here in our East County, I would estimate it to be 8 to 10 times as many people and even more than that on the weekend. With more people on the trails, we need to be more diligent out there. So, let’s be conscience of our surroundings.

Don’t be in a hiking daze when on the trail. It’s important we know a few rules of the trail so everyone can enjoy the outdoors. Trail etiquette is needed on the trails when hiking, especially on narrow paths. Always try to stay to your right side when passing hikers along the trail coming from the opposite direction—just as when we are driving in our cars, we drive on the right-hand side of the road. There are a few hikers out there sticking to the left side, maybe they’re used to European trails?


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FIRE PITS AVAILABLE FOR RENT At LAKE JENNINGS

By Miriam Raftery
 
March 10, 2021 (Lakeside) – What could be cozier than a lakeside fire on a springtime evening?  Grab your marshmallows and chocolate for S’mores, roast hot dogs or get your best campfire stories ready – now you can rent a fire pit at Lake Jennings in Lakeside.

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STATE PARKS REOPEN FOR CAMPING

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo: Jonny Victorino, via Anza-Borrego Foundation

 

February 3, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- As of February 1, camping is now officially open again at California State Parks, including Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, and Palomar Mountain State Park in San Diego’s inland region. State health rules and social distancing guidelines will apply.

 

Here is what’s open in our local state parks:


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BORREGO PALM CANYON: A WONDERFUL HIKE FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY

Source: Anza-Borrego Foundation

January 30, 2021 (Anza-Borrego) -- With recent rains and even snow in the upper watershed, and thus more creek water flowing down Borrego Palm Canyon, this is the perfect time to head out on the iconic 3-mile roundtrip hike up the Canyon to the first grove. Although you can not enter the palm grove itself, the modified loop trail brings you to a stunning overlook where you can admire how Mother Nature has bounced back and how the native fan palms are recovering.


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HOW THE PANDEMIC LED TO HORSES AND SECOND ACTS

By Mimi Pollack
 
January 22, 2021 (El Cajon) -- 2020 was a strange, difficult, and even transformative year for so many. In my case, the pandemic made me feel very mortal and I decided to start checking things off my “bucket list.” First up was going back to horseback riding after 20 years of not riding or being in the horse world.

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ESTRELLA COUNTY PARK OPENS IN CASA DE ORO

East County News Service

January 1, 2021 (Spring Valley) -- On Friday, Dec. 18, the County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation opened Estrella County Park in San Diego’s Casa de Oro community.


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‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS 2020 IN EAST COUNTY

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through East County

Not a creature was stirring, in December 2020.

Cowboy boots were hung by chimneys with care

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

 

From Barona to Ramona, Jacumba to Jamul

East County folks in quarantine this Yule

Can’t party hearty with potluck dishes,

But they did send Santa these 2021 wishes.


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