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By Miriam Raftery

November 23, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – Shop local this season to find unique gifts that reflect our East County communities and help support our local economy.  From hand-crafted wares to pampering products to delicious locally made delicacies, here are some hints to help you with your holiday shopping this season.

Native American rugs at Squash Blossom Trading Company: Squash Blossom Trading Company at 780 Main St. in Ramona has one of the best collections of vintage Native American items that we’ve found.  There are woven rugs starting at $200 in a variety of rich colors and textures. There’s also a wonderful array of Native American jewelry and much more.  Questions? Find them on Facebook:

Treasure chest with gold, frankincense and myrrh at Julian Mining Company:  For $15 at Julian Mining Company (4444 Highway 78 at Wynola/Julian, you can give a miniature carved wooden treasure chest with a vial of gold plus fragrant frankincense and myrrh—gifts of the Magi.  Also find great stocking stuffers for kids here, such as fossils and old-fashioned toys. More specialties include geodes, gemstones, household goods such as hand-made candleholders and candles, historical items, vintage posters, coonskin caps, apple goods and honey.  While there, you can also try your luck at gold panning or sluicing gemstones, too.

Artisan yard art creations at Anza-Borrego Desert Nature Center, Borrego Springs:  Shopping at this delightful store run by the Anza Borrego Natural History Association or on their website supports desert education programs.  These Gambel’s Quail steel artisan-handcrafted yard art items range from $23.95 to $44.95.  Buy a flock to parade across your patio or display on your dining room table!  The shop also carries a variety of art, artisan crafts, photography, jewelry and more, all with a desert or southwest theme. Visit at 652 Palm Canyon Drive, Borrego Springs or online at

Craft coffees at Ryan Brothers Coffee, Lemon Grove:   Options include a “Sip of San Diego” line with flavors such as San Diego Sunrise, Cowboy Coffee, and Coronado Moonrise. Whether your taste runs to mild or full-bodied, you’ll find something to please any coffee-lovers palate here. Forget cookies for Santa – why not leave him a bag of whole-bean, chocolate spice Christmas roast coffee instead? Yes, you can order Ryan Brothers coffees online, too at

Old-fashioned candy at Ramona Antique Fair & Old Fashioned Candy Store:  If you need stocking stuffers, you’ll find delicious and affordable treats here.  Old-fashioned stick candy in flavors such as butterscotch, sour apple and tutti frutti are just 20 cents apiece. Other bulk candy such as salt water taffy runs $2 per quarter pound. They also have sugar-free candy—and of course, a store full of wonderful antiques, too. Savor your sweet tooth at at 734 Main St. in Ramona;

Cowhide coasters at Cowboy Rendezvous:  Located inside Julian Station ( at 4470 Julian Rd. (Highway78) at Julian. Cowboy Rendezvous has a delightful collection of western and Southwest themed items. Affordable gift options include cowhide coasters at $5 apiece or four for $20. Other great finds include Native American jewelry, leather cowboy hats, antique furniture, and southwest-themed pillows ranging from leather to Native American patterns. 

Wine and chocolate tasting at Julian Wine and Chocolate: What could be more divine than a chocolate and wine tasting for a couple on your gift list?  For $32 you can purchase a tasting for two that includes six different local wines plus six locally made chocolates—pure heaven.  For ultimate indulgence for your special someone, there’s also a wine and chocolate club with quarterly shipments. Visit Julian Wine and Chocolate’s tasting room in the Julian Station at 4470 Julian Rd. (Highway 78), Julian.

MOISTURIZING BODY SCRUBS AT UPTOWN BOUTIQUE:  Pamper someone special on your list with some moisturizing body scrubs ($17-$22) at Uptown Boutique, 738 Main Street in Ramona with options such as sugar whip grapefruit or pineapple plum.  Other items made locally include bath bombs ($8-10) and olive oils in flavors such as blood orange ($20).

BREAD OF THE MONTH CLUB AT DUDLEY’S FAMOUS BAKERY:  Dudley’s Famous Bakery, 30218 Highway 78, Santa Ysabel, has a tempting array of freshly baked breads in varieties ranging from apple nut to jalapeño cheddar. If your budget permits, treat someone to the bread of the month club – two delicious loaves a month ($16.95 a month, $199 for the year), shipped directly to your loved one’s door.

HAND-WOVEN GOODS AT JULIAN WEAVING WORKS:  At Julian Weaving Works, 30352 Highway 78 in Santa Ysabel just a block from Dudley’s, you’ll find an array of beautiful and colorful hand-woven creations.  From scarves at $40 (3 for $90) to shawls, ponchos, saddle blankets and $300 full-length tunics, there’s an abundance of warm and snuggly options. There are also rugs woven with hand-spun wool from local alpacas and sheep ($250).  You can even sign up for a class and make your own woven craetion.

HOT SPICED WINE KIT AT SAN PASQUAL WINERY TASTING ROOM:   Located in La Mesa’s historic downtown village at 8364 La Mesa Blvd., La  Mesa, San Pasqual Winery offers up a winter favorite each holiday season. Their mulled wine kit includes two bottles of wine (summer vine passionfruit blanc and petite syrah) plus mulling spices – just add orange juice and apple cider for a heartwarming holiday treat. ($39).

AFTERNOON TEA AT LONDON BAKERY AND TEA ROOM:  Treat Mom, Grandma or someone else on your gift list to an authentic afternoon British tea at the London Bakery, 630 Main St. in Ramona. Just $10.99 a person includes fresh fruit, finger sandwiches such as smoked salmon, cucumber cream cheese and dill, cheddar and chutney, plus warm scones, clotted cream, lemon curds and freshly steeped tea.  You can also take home holiday pies, cakes and pastries to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth- and pose for photos with cardboard cutouts of Queen Elizabeth, Princes Harry and William and their royal brides.

ENGINEER FOR AN HOUR AT PACIFIC SOUTHWEST RAILWAY MUSEUM:  Treat a  train lover on your list to the engineer for an  hour program at the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum at 750 Depot St. in Campo. After a brief lesson, each participant will operative the vintage locomotive to take the throttle, feel the power, sound the horn and ring the bell as you hear the rumble and the roar.  Cost is $200.  Less expensive options include riding in the locomotive cab or caboose.  Learn more at





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