Best of East County

The Best of East County

VIDEO OF THE MONTH: WINTER HIKING AT WILDERNESS GARDENS PRESERVE

 

East County News Service

 

January 1, 2016 (Wilderness Gardens Preserve)--The County of San Diego has created a video showing the joys of winter season hiking at Wilderness Gardens Preserve, located in  the picturesque San Luis Rey River watershed in Pauma Valley in northeast San Diego County.

DESCANSO: EAST COUNTY’S HIDDEN TREASURE

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 17, 2015 (Descanso) – Gateway to Cleveland National Forest, the Cuyamaca and Laguna Mountains, Descanso is a small town that takes pride in its rural tranquility, scenic beauty, and rich history. 

The very name means “place of rest” in Spanish, a haven where early travelers stopped off  to encamp beneath the shade of pine and oak trees beside fresh-flowing water fed by mountain streams.  Descanso Valley was once known as Guatay Valley, reportedly derived from the Kumeyaay Indian name for “Na-Wa-Ti-e,” meaning Big Chief’s House, as Native Americans called the majestic mountain often veiled in mist beyond meadows strewn with wildflowers, golden in the sun.

ALPINE BECOMES WINTER WONDERLAND FOR A NIGHT

By Miriam Raftery

December 7, 2015 (Alpine)—Santa and Mrs. Claus rode in on a fire truck as Alpine’s Parade of Lights rolled through town.  The procession included everything from donkeys to big rigs—all festooned in holiday lights.

A craftsman wielded a chainsaw, carving a work of art from a block of ice amid a Snow Festival at the parade route’s end in the Alpine Creek shopping center.  His handicrafts included a glistening reindeer, gingerbread man and more.

Kids skidded gleefully down a sledding hill created just for the occasion, while adults and kids alike frolicked in frothy snow bubbles spewed into the air by a snow-making machine.

TIGER CUB “HIMMEL” THRIVES AT LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS

Hear our interview with Bobbi Brink, founder of Lions Tigers and Bears, originally aired on KNSJ:  http://k003.kiwi6.com/hotlink/uotfmyp3u1/Newsmaker-LionsTigersBears-TigerCubHimmel-BobbieBrink.mp3

By Tasha Matthews and Miriam Raftery

Tiger photos provided by Lions, Tigers and Bears

November 21, 2015 (Alpine) – A tiger cub found wandering the streets of Hemet, is now thriving thanks to care at Lions, Tigers and Bears sanctuary in Alpine.  Meet Himmel, named by a unanimous vote of LTB members after the late San Diego News 8 reporter Larry Himmel, a creative and brilliant newscaster who would often visit Lions, Tigers, and Bears.

Himmel, now four months old, is full of life and joy. When we visited, he ran up to the cage bars ready to romp and eager to be free. Fortunately at Lions, Tigers and Bears, the frisky cub can spend play time in larger enclosures where he has the opportunity to run, climb and even swim, also interacting with other tigers at this very special facility.

Audio: 

HALLOWEEN EVE MASQUERADE BASH: BENEFITS EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE OCT. 30

Join East County Magazine at our Halloween Eve Masquerade Party at our editor's "haunting" home on Mt. Helix!

Friday, October 30th, 6-10 p.m.

Savor a "spook-tacular" feast, hear local spine-tingling ghost stories, watch classic '50s suspense films, listen to live original and variety music with Paul Nichols, and win wonderful prizes!  Free, fabulous masquerade masks for the first 50 RSVPs. 

Suggested donation: Just $10 and bring a dish to share. Happy Halloween Eve!

This event is open exclusively to East County Magazine subscribers. Our subscriptions to our weekly e-newsletter are FREE. Sign up here: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/wild-fire-alerts  and then reserve your space!  Reserve space now!  Call 619-698-7617 or email editor@eastcountymagazine.org to RSVP and get the address.

JACUMBA HIKERS /WALKERS ANNOUNCE NOVEMBER-DECEMBER SCHEDULE

 

East County News Service

October 24, 2015 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – Fall is in the air and it’s a great time to take a hike.  The Jacumba Hikers/Walkers have a series of hikes coming up to intriguing locations, with various levels of difficulties from easy to extreme. 

November’s destinations include Tule Canyon, Round Mountain, the Old Butterfield Stage Coach route, and Amadeo’s Straw bale cabin compound. In December, the group will hit the trail for an ancient waterfall and Davies Valley, wind caves in Anza Borrego Desert State Park, an ancient juniper forest, and the Valley of the Moon. 

DESERT JEWEL: LA CASA DEL ZORRO RESORT SHINES ANEW

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 22, 2015 (Borrego Springs) – Treasure hunters have long been drawn to the Anza-Borrego Desert, seeking gold and precious gemstones. But the real treasure to be found today is La Casa del Zorro Resort, restored to its former splendor with a hospitality that welcomes all—a sparkling oasis amid the desert sands.

Whether you’re heading out for this weekend’s 50th anniversary Borrego Days Desert Festival and parade, or seeking an off-season adventure in summer, spring or fall, La Casa del Zorro provides a delightful haven year-round.

ALPACA FARMING: A WILD AND WOOLY VENTURE

By Miriam Raftery

October 10, 2015 (Descanso) – Weavers spun yarn, kids petted alpacas with names like Cinnamon and Swirl, while guests of all ages learned about the care and feeding of these Andean  denizens during National Alpaca Farm Days.

The event was held locally at Atlas Alpacas in Descanso, a ranch owned by Amay Alyeshmerni and her partner, David Kabbai.  The venture recently merged with Hazard Alpacas of Jamul to form Alpacas of San Diego.

 “This isn’t about selling alpacas. It’s about teaching people,” says Kabbai, adding that he loves the experience.  “Kids come up here and have no idea where their sweaters are coming from.”

PUMPKIN PATCH OPEN AT SUMMERS PAST FARMS

 

East County News Service

October 2, 2015 (Flinn Springs) – If you’re looking for the pick of the patch to carve your Jack-o-lantern, Summers Past Farms in Flinn Springs has a pumpkin patch that’s now open Wednesdays through Sundays, with kid-friendly activities on weekends.

Stop by on Saturdays or Sundays to also enjoy an inflatable jump, popcorn, corndogs, coffee drinks and smoothies, as well as browsing through a gift shop while enjoying a day in the country.

READY, SET, STOMP! HACIENDA DE LAS ROSAS WINERY CELEBRATES REOPENING

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Miriam Raftery and Kristin Kjaero

September 7, 2015 (Ramona) -- Members of the Hacienda de las Rosas Winery's wine club kicked up their heels on Labor Day at the winery's 8th annual grape stomp.  The occasion also marked the grand reopening of the winery, which was closed over the summer following the death last winter of winemaker William Holzhaur.

Today, however, was a day of festivities as guests stomped grapes, sipped wine, savored tacos and enjoyed horse-drawn carriage rides.  The event also included a silent auction and donations to benefit the Ramona Humane Society.

TIGER CUB FINDS NEW HOME AT LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS IN ALPINE

 

September 4, 2015 (Alpine)--Bobbi Brink, Founder/Director of San Diego's Lions Tigers & Bears (LTB) sanctuary announced that a 2.5 month old tiger cub found roaming the Southern California neighborhood of Hemet is being transferred to the accredited sanctuary in East San Diego County on Friday afternoon.

ZIP ZOOM! LA JOLLA INDIANS OPEN ZIPLINE

 

East County News Service

August 27, 2015 (La Jolla Indian Reservation)—On September 3rd, the  La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians will celebrate the Grand Opening of California’s longest Zipline course, soaring above oak canopies with views of Pauma Valley and Mount Palomar.

Thrill-seekers can choose from four zipline courses ranging from 300 feet to over 2,500 feet in length, traveling at speeds up to 55 miles per hour.  There are even parallel lines – side by side so you can share your adventure and enjoy spectacular views of Palomar Mountain, Pauma Valley, and the La Jolla Indian Reservation.

WINERIES ON HIGHWAY 94 WEBSITE NOW UP: TOURS TO LAUNCH SOON

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 24, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – The newest growing wine region in our area is along historic Highway 94. A website has been set up at http://www.thewineriesonhighway94.com/ by growers and wine producers bringing their vision of a wine-region in the southeast county to fruition.

EAST COUNTY ADVENTURE: SPELUNKING IN ANZA-BORREGO MUD CAVES

 

By Greg Dunne

August 8, 2015 (Anza-Borrego Desert)—I'm always up for a new outdoor adventure--especially something I haven't done in my own back yard (our East County). I was treated to one yesterday when Kyle (his third trip there) took me spelunking (Caving) at the Mud Caves in Anza-Borrego desert. WOW, what a cool (no pun intended) adventure; it was only 103 degrees yesterday in our desert, but was a whopping 106 the day before. I was a bit apprehensive about going, (Kyle's been threatening to take me for some time now) not liking the fact of a tight crawling space in a dark, unfamiliar place. But once I got started it was awesome--and about 30 degrees cooler!

ONCE IN A BLUE MOON HIKE: VOLCAN MOUNTAIN JULY 31

 

July 28, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) - Here’s an event that happens only once in a blue moon. The County’s Parks and Recreation department is offering a free Sunset-Blue Moon hike at Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve  in Julian on Friday, July 31 starting at 6:45 p.m.  Bring a flashlight and a sense of adventure for the two-mile hike on Five Oaks Trail to the summit for views of Julian at sunset before making your way back under a shimmering blue moon. (Which is not actually blue, by the way. That's just the nickname for the second of two full moons in one calendar month.)

VOLCAN MOUNTAIN FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES JULIAN EVENTS IN AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER

 

East County News Service

July 20, 2015 (Julian) – From a film festival to guided hikes to a dinner in the meadow benefit and more, the Volcan Mountain Foundation is hosting an array of fascinating events coming up in August and September.  Below are details on these activities, which all benefit conservation efforts to preserve Volcan Mountain in the scenic and historic Julian area.

STARS COME OUT IN BORREGO --ALONG WITH PLANETS, SPACE STATIONS AND MORE

 

By Mark and Miriam Raftery

Photo, leftMilky Way galazy and dragon sculpture in Anza Borrego Desert; © Dennis Mammana/dennismammana.com

July 4, 2015 (Borrego Springs) – Stargazing guru Dennis Mammana has been photographing the night sky for nearly a half century and leading night sky tours for nearly thirty years.  He also teaches workshops that provide in-depth tips on how you can photograph everything from the Milky Way to constellations – and  as we discovered last weekend in Borrego, you don’t have to have a backpack full of professional camera gear to come up with some gorgeous images.

Borrego Springs in 2009 became the first designated International Dark Sky Community in California--thanks in part to the efforts of our helpful host, teacher and guide.  That means there are no bright lights at night to interview with your night-sky viewing pleasure.

FISH STORIES FROM LAKE JENNINGS

 

Photo: Kayla Douglas of Spring  Valley landed this 5 lb. 4 oz Channel Catfish at Hermits Cove

July 1, 2015 (Lakeside) – The Lake Jennings Fish Report for July is out-with plenty of tips and news for fishing enthusiasts. The lake is open every day in July. Here are a few highlights:

VOLCAN MOUNTAIN FOUNDATION IN JULIAN ANNOUNCES JULY AND AUGUST EVENTS

 

June 26, 2015 (Julian) – The Volcan Mountain Foundation is offering a series of events, from hikes to beer-tasting to a summer film festival.  Scroll down for highlights, and visit www.VolcanMt.org. for full details.

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/.

ANIMAL TALES: ROY TOFT, WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER AND TOUR GUIDE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to hear our exclusive radio interview with Roy Toft during our show on KNSJ 89.1 FM: http://k003.kiwi6.com/hotlink/1uet4ydret/AnimalTales-RoyToft-final.mp3 . Scroll down to view his fabulous photos and read more.

By Mimi Pollack

May 28, 2015 (Ramona)--Many of us lead mundane lives, but not Roy Toft. This amiable Ramona wildlife photographer has had enough adventures for many lifetimes. His pictures have appeared in National Geographic, Audubon Magazines and Zoonooz, gaining him international acclaim.

HIKING IN SAN DIEGO'S EAST COUNTY: AIRPLANE MONUMENT

 

By Sharon Penny

May 5, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) - I’m a lifelong resident of East County and, for the past 25 years, I’ve lived four miles from Green Valley Falls. Until last week, I had never heard of the Airplane Monument hiking trail just north of Green Valley – literally 4.5 miles from my house.

TEDDY AND BALOO MOVE INTO NEW HABITAT IN ALPINE

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 12, 2015 (Alpine)—Teddy and Baloo, two “moon” bears (also known as Himalayan black bears) were released this week into a new multi-acre habitat at the Lions, Tigers and Bears sanctuary in Alpine.

HELEN STODDARD, A POWERFUL WOMAN IN EAST COUNTY'S PAST

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 8, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) –April is Women’s History Month.   It’s an appropriate time to share a story about a remarkable woman from East County’s past. Helen Gerrells Stoddard, a former resident of La Mesa , Lemon Grove and Ramona, was a prominent leader in the fight to win women the right to vote,  as well as in the temperance movement. She even earned a place in history at the national political level.

10 COUNTY TRAILS TO TRY IN 2015

 

Source: County News Service

March 27, 2015 (San Diego)--Looking to get away from the stress of everyday life? Or perhaps you have a new personal fitness goal for 2015? Maybe you just enjoy nature or have an adventurous spirit and want to get out and explore your surroundings. Spring is here- and it’s a great time to put down the electronic devices and participate in a sport you can do at your own pace.

No matter your motivation, the San Diego County Parks and Recreation Department has more than 300 miles of trails throughout the County.  The County has picked out ten trails for you to check out in 2015 with a wide variety of lengths, skill levels and sights.

CENTURY OLD LANDMARK COMING DOWN

By Miriam Raftery

March 12, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – A barn that has stood for more than a century at the site of the former Paul  citrus orchard, later known as the Fryendale Ranch, at 11861 Fuerte Drive in El Cajon is coming down.

CATERPILLARS MUNCHING DOWN DESERT WILDFLOWERS

 

Photo: "Hummingbird Moth (9691010084)" by Larry Lamsa - Hummingbird MothUploaded by PDTillman. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

March 10, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) - Anza Borrego’s desert wildflowers are both beautiful and fragile.

WILDFLOWERS ARE BLOOMING IN ANZA-BORREGO DESERT

 

 

February 28, 2015 (Borrego) - Wildflower season has begun and annual flowers, including purple phacelia and yellow desert dandelion, are blooming at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center.

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