Robert Arends

San Diego’s East County is Music to Our Ears!

Taylor Guitar Factory in San Diego's East County

See music in the making on a tour of Taylor Guitars’ factory floor

Bet you didn’t know that three of the world’s most renowned musical instrument companies are headquartered in San Diego’s picturesque East County – in the cities of El Cajon and Spring Valley and small town of Mount Laguna.

Join me for a fine tuned tour of East County to discover where world-class guitars, banjos and harps are made:

Taylor Guitar Company

Rockin'! Taylor Guitars Factory Tour

Rockin’! Taylor Guitars Factory Tour in El Cajon

Our first stop is Taylor Guitar Company in El Cajon, a world-famous designer of top-line acoustic and electric guitars celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Taylor Guitars are played by some of the top musicians in rock and country music, including Neil Young and San Diego’s very own Jason Mraz. Visitors can take a free guided tour of the Taylor factory Monday through Friday at 1:00 PM.

Did you know: Taylor made 130,000 guitars in 2013!

Where: 1980 Gillespie Way, El Cajon, CA 92020
> Find out more about the Taylor Guitar Company Factory

Deering – The Great American Banjo Company

Taylor Swift playing a Deering Banjo

Taylor Swift playing a Deering Banjo

Nearby Spring Valley is home to Deering – The Great American Banjo Company, played by contemporary musicians like Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Mumford & Sons and even Steve Martin (who’s collaborating with Edie Brickell BTW on the world-premiere musical “Bright Star” at  The Old Globe theater in Balboa Park). Deering is the largest banjo manufacturer in the U.S., producing 10,000 of the sweet twanged musical instruments last year. Visitors can take a free Deering factory tour Tuesday through Friday at 1:00 PM. Call/email in advance to schedule a tour date: 1.800.845.7791, carolinabridges@deeringbanjos.com.

Did you know: Deering produces more than 80 banjo models, including their basic Goodtime banjo that sells for $499.

Where: 3733 Kenora Dr., Spring Valley, CA 91977
> Find out more about Deering – The Great American Banjo Company

Janet, Greg and Jamie Deering, founders of Deering Banjo Company

Janet, Greg and Jamie Deering, owners of Deering Banjo Company

(American Profile magazine recently featured Deering in their March issue.)

Robinson’s Harp Shop

Tucked away, high atop East County’s Mount Laguna – popular for hiking, camping and frolicking in the snow during the winter – is a world-renowned music marvel most San Diegans don’t know about: Robinson’s Harp Shop. Since 1967 this harp string manufacturer, housed in a cabin near the town’s general store, has been sending custom-made strings to loyal customers around the world. There aren’t any visitor tours, as it’s a low-profile, five-person operation that makes the most of its time to produce 150,000 handmade harp strings per year. But Laguna is lovely to visit any time of year…Check out my camping blog, featuring Laguna’s pristine alpine wilderness.

Did you know: Robinson’s is one of only four such harp shops in the U.S., and three of those are related to each other!

> Find out more about Robinson’s Harp Shop

See you in East County where wonders like these never cease!

Candice

Top Things to Do in San Diego: Nov. 19 – 24, 2013

sycuan casino s anniversary celebration san diego

From whiskey and jazz to holiday parades, there’s something for visitors of all ages this week in San Diego. Here are some suggestions for the top things to do in San Diego from Nov. 19 – 24, 2013.

Gilbert Castellanos Jazz Jam

Gilbert Castellanos jazz jam at seven grand whiskey bar San Diego

Gilbert Castellanos was named Artist of the Year by the 2013 San Diego Music Awards

Named Artist of the Year at the 2013 San Diego Music Awards, trumpet virtuoso Gilbert Castellanos plays both classic jazz that harks back to another era and fresh and lively Latin Jazz. His weekly jam sessions at Seven Grand San Diego, a North Park bar specializing in whiskeys from around the globe, vintage cocktails and craft beer, is a steal with no cover charge.

Where: 3054 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104
When: Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Time: 9 p.m.
Cost: Free
>Find out more about Seven Grand’s Weekly Jazz Jam 

Experience Sea Life in a Whole New Way with IMAX DEEP SEA

deep sea imax movie at the reuben h fleet science center balboa park san diego

Catch Deep Sea at The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center’s IMAX Theater

San Diego visitors may not be aware that Balboa Park’s Reuben H. Fleet Science Center installed the very first IMAX dome theater which opened in 1973. To this day, the Fleet continues to impress families and film buffs with its showcase of high quality flicks like DEEP SEA, a 40-minute documentary narrated by Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet that offers a visually stunning look at rare and mystical sea life the Wolf Eel and Giant Pacific Octopus on a 76-foot dome screen.

Where: 1875 El Prado, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101
When: November 21-30, 2013
Time:  11 a.m. (weekends), 1 p.m. & 3 p.m. showings daily
Cost:  $17 adults $14 youth (3-12) free for kids under 3 (includes admission to gallery)
>Find out more about Deep Sea at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

Sycuan Celebrates 30 Years of Gaming

sycuan casino s anniversary celebration san diego

Sycuan’s anniversary features tribal traditions along with the gambling excitement.

The celebratory festivities at Sycuan Casino kick-off at 10 a.m. and include Vegas-style showgirls greeting guests, free gifts for all players, hourly cash giveaways totaling $30,000, and $300,000 in “must go” Bingo payouts including two brand new BMWs. Sacred ceremonial Bird Singers and Dancers will serenade and entertain guests at 6 p.m., after which Sycuan Tribal Chairman Daniel Tucker hosts a giant cake cutting service.

Where: 5469 Casino Way, El Cajon, CA 92019
When: November 23, 2013
Time: 10 a. m – 12 a.m.
Cost: Free
>Find out more about Sycuan’s 30th Anniversary Celebration

Paranormal Investigation of the Davis House

gaslamp museum at the william heath davis house san diego

The William Heath Davis House welcomes guests, both normal and paranormal.

Just because Halloween is over doesn’t mean that the haunting has stopped in San Diego. Amateur ghost hunters can join the pros as the San Diego Ghost Hunters take photos and video of paranormal activities inside the historic house, thought to be the Gaslamp Quaters’ most haunted destination. Advance reservations are required to join this spooky research outing.

Where: 410 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
When: November 23 and 24, 2013
Time: 10 p. m – 12 a.m.
Cost: $45
>Register to attend the Paranormal Investigation of the Davis House

67th Annual Mother Goose Parade

mother goose parade el cajon san diego east county

Bring the family to the annual Mother Goose Parade.

A cherished holiday tradition attracting thousands of spectators to the streets of El Cajon in San Diego’s East County, the Mother Goose Parade is the largest parade in the county and also the largest of its type west of the Mississippi. The big annual holiday kick-off celebration features more than 100 colorful and exciting parade entries, including whimsical floats, marching bands and drill units, eloquent equestrians, clowns, giant helium balloons, celebrities and of course, Santa Claus.

Where:  Main Street, El Cajon, CA 92020
When:  November 24, 2013
Time:  9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Cost:  Free
>See the details of the Mother Goose Parade

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

Browse the Event Calendar

What will you be doing in San Diego this week? Let us know in the comments below.

Robert Arends

Surprising 2013 Summer Finds in San Diego’s East County!

There’s no place as diverse and full of surprises as San Diego’s expansive East County. Visitors to this region, ranging from rolling foothills to alpine mountains and pristine deserts, can find some of the most incredible sights, especially this summer.

Following are 5 to Try, as you hit the open road this May and June:

1. Julian Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Julian Apple Pies in San Diego's East County

Julian – home of apple pies and the Wild & Scenic Film Festival!

The charming historic Gold Rush mining town of Julian, famous for its apple pies, hosts the 2nd Annual Julian Wild & Scenic Film Festival this weekend. The theme: “A Climate of Change,” featuring 44 inspiring films! While you’re there, explore the town, enjoy a slice of pie and take in the beauty of East County’s most famous mountain town.

Where: Various Julian Locations
When: May 17-19, 2013
Cost: $5-$60
> Find out more about the Julian Wild & Scenic Film Festival

2. Hubbell/Ilan-Lael Open House

Find your muse at the Hubbell Open House & Studio Tour!

Find your muse at the Hubbell Open House & Studio Tour!

Down the road in Santa Ysabel, on June 16 (Father’s Day) visitors can get an exclusive peek at the art-filled compound of James Hubbell, “San Diego’s Gaudi.” A beautiful new headquarters and amphitheater, featuring fantastical colorful mosaics, plaster of Paris reliefs, stained glass and iron work, debuts at this year’s Hubbell/Ilan-Lael Open House. Get your tickets now before they sell out!

Where: 930 Orchard Lane, Santa Ysabel, CA 92070
When: June 16, 2013
Time: 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Cost: $30-$75. Kids 12 and under – Free.
> Find out more about the Hubbell/Ilan-Lael Open House

3. A Magnificent Bald Eagle Nest

Bald Eagle and Chick - Wildlife Research Institute - East County

Bald eagle and chick at Ramona Grasslands Preserve.

Soar like an eagle to the Wildlife Research Institute in the Ramona Grasslands Preserve to see firsthand a magnificent bald eagle nest – with a single chick and two proud parents! – located 1 mile from the institute headquarters. Bring your binoculars; the best vantage point is from Rangeland Road. Also visit the institute’s family of wild bison!

Where: 18030 Highland Valley Road, Ramona, CA 92065
> Find out more about the Wildlife Research Institute

4. Wings Over Gillespie Air Show

WOG13wpAdx820

High-flying fun can also be had at the big annual Wings Over Gillespie Air Show in El Cajon. Aviation aficionados of all ages will love the displays of dozens of classic aircraft, as well as military re-enactors and mock battles overhead. New this year: Silver Wings Wingwalking!

Where: Gillespie Field – 1960 Joe Crosson Dr, El Cajon, CA 92020
When: June 1-2, 2013
Time: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Cost: Starting at $8
> Find out more about Wings Over Gillespie Air Show

5. Giant Sloth Sculpture

Yours truly with Giant Sloth at Galleta Meadows, Borrego Springs!

Yours truly with Giant Sloth at Galleta Meadows, Borrego Springs!

In San Diego’s desert oasis of Borrego Springs, a new behemoth sculpture of a Giant Sloth – the last one in a collection of dozens of prehistoric beasts – was recently unveiled at Galleta Meadows. Photo ops abound in this “Land of the Lost” and people from all over the world have searched out these roadside wonders. The best thing: its Free!

> Find out more about Galleta Meadows

> Discover more of San Diego’s East County

Happy (early) summer from East County!

Alison

Free Summer Concerts Throughout San Diego County – 2013

Free Summer Concerts in Pacific Beach
Free Summer Concerts in Pacific Beach

Bring a chair or a blanket to sit on the grass and enjoy free summer concerts under the warm San Diego sunshine

Free summer concerts have become traditions in neighborhoods throughout San Diego County. They’re an opportunity for visitors, locals and their families to socialize, picnic, enjoy music together – and maybe even dance as the sun sets on another perfect San Diego day.

Here’s a sampling of the free summer concerts to expect this summer:

San Diego’s Free Summer Concerts

The Point Loma Summer Concert Series opens July 12 with Jumping Jack Flash (a Rolling Stones tribute band) and continues on consecutive Fridays through August 9. Shows run 5:30 to 8:30 PM. Pack a picnic or buy food at the venue. Bring blankets, lawn chairs and Frisbees to Point Loma Park, 1049 Catalina Blvd.

Pacific Beach Concerts on the Green are set for Sundays July 21 through August 11. Shows run from 4:00 to 6:30 PM at Kate Sessions Park (Lamont Street, just north of Beryl). Bring your own food and drink.

Mission Hills’ Concerts in the Park series opens June 21 at Pioneer Park and continues on consecutive Fridays through August 23. Once exception: No concert on July 5 because of the community’s big Fourth of July celebration, which includes a concert. The series opens with Hullabaloo followed by Zydeco Patrol on June 28 and Dr. Elvis on July 4. Pioneer Park is at 1425 Washington Place.

Balboa Park’s Twilight in the Park concert series kicks off at 6:15 PM June 18 and continues on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through August 29 at the park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion. The hour-long shows feature everything from classical music to R&B.

Enjoy organ music? The International Summer Organ Festival features organists from around the world. Showtime is 7:30 to 9:30 PM on Mondays, June 24 through Aug. 26, at Balboa Park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

The Bird Park Concert Series in North Park will open June 15 with jazzman Lenny Rankins. More concerts are scheduled June 29 (indie rock), July 13 (Latin jazz), July 27 (country rock) and August 10 (blues). All shows run 5:30 to 7:30 PM. Bird Park is at 28th and Thorn streets.

Enchanted Music on Coronado

Coronado’s Concerts in the Park series is set for 6:00 PM on Sundays, May 26 through September 8, at Spreckels Park, 7th and Orange. Families (but no dogs) are welcome to picnic during the 90-minute shows. The Coronado Community Concert Band will open the series.

Coronado Ferry Landing Concert Series kicks it off with the Coronado Big Band on May 25 and continues rocking Saturdays and Sundays through July 28. Most performances run from 2:00 to 5:00 PM.

Rocking Out in North County

Del Mar’s Summer Twilight Concerts are set for Powerhouse Park, overlooking the Pacific, at 1600 Coast Blvd. The series begins June 18 with Atomic Groove, followed by Mrs. Robinson on July 9, Back to the Garden on August 13 and Mark Wood and the Parrot Head band on September 8. Show time is 7:00 PM, with pre-show entertainment beginning at 6:00 PM.

Carlsbad’s TGIF Jazz in the Park is staged at three community parks. The 28th season opens at Stagecoach Park (3420 Camino de los Coches), with concerts on June 28, July 5 and 12. The party moves to Poinsettia Park (6600 Hidden Valley Road) for concerts on July 19, 26 and August 2. The season closes at Calavera Hills Park (2997 Glasgow Drive) with concerts on August 9, 16 and 23. Showtime is 6:00 to 8:00 PM. Wear your dancing shoes.

Roaring Good Time in East County

El Cajon’s Dinner and a Concert series is set for 6:00 to 8:00 PM Fridays through Sept. 30 on the Prescott Promenade near East Main Street and Rea Avenue in downtown El Cajon. The family oriented venue is smoke-, alcohol- and dog-free. No need to pack a picnic; about a dozen restaurants edge the promenade, offering on-the-spot dining or picnics to go.

Santee’s Free Summer Concerts are scheduled 6:30 to 8:30 PM on Thursdays, June 20 through August 22 (except July 4), at Town Center Community Park East, 550 Park Center Drive in Santee. The Navy’s Southwest Showband will open the series. Picnics are welcome, but know that food trucks rally nearby.

> Enjoy more live music in San Diego

Know of more free summer concerts I don’t have in this list? Let me and others know in the comments below.

Robert Arends

Mother Goose Parade Kicks off San Diego for the Holidays!

Horse Drawn Carriage - Mother Goose Parade

Giant Mother Goose balloon!

There’s no better way to make some merry this holiday season than to head to San Diego’s East County for the 66th Annual Mother Goose Parade this Sunday, November 18 in El Cajon.

Since 1947, the Mother Goose Parade has delighted families with its whimsical floats, marching bands, drill units, clowns, equestrians (including miniature horses!), giant helium balloons, dancers, classic cars and of course, Mother Goose!

Giddyup to the Mother Goose Parade!

Two miles long, and with an estimate attendance of over 250,000 people, it’s the largest parade in San Diego County! Festivities begin at 10:00 AM with the parade route going from Magnolia and Main Streets in downtown El Cajon, ending at Madison.

In celebration of El Cajon’s big Centennial bash, this year’s Grand Marshal is the city’s Mayor Mark Lewis.

Goose Float at the Mother Goose Parade in San Diego's East County

El Cajon’s Mother Goose Parade!

Afterward, kids can get their play on at Mother Goose Village (located at the Prescott Promenade; open until 3:00 PM), featuring a rock wall for climbing, bounce house and yummy food vendors!

Mother Goose Parade Information

Location: Begin at Magnolia and Main, head down Main St. to N. Second Street, turn North then end at Madison.
Date: November 18, 2012
Time: 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Parade starts at 10:00 AM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the 66th Annual Mother Goose Parade

Mother Goose Parade Trivia Time…

For decades, celebrities have joined in the fun of the Mother Goose Parade as Grand Marshals.

Which ONE of the following was NOT a Grand Marshal:

  • Erik Estrada (“Chips”)
  • Bugs Bunny
  • John Schneider (“Dukes of Hazard” and “Smallville”)
  • Mario Lopez (“Saved by the Bell” and “Extra” TV)
  • Katharine McPhee (“Smash” and “American Idol”)
  • George Takei (“Star Trek”)
  • Mickey Mouse

{Drum roll}… the answer is George Takei. This original Trekkie was never a Grand Marshal at the Mother Goose Parade. But there’s always next year! 😉

Happy holidays everyone!

Robert Arends

5 to Try: Sparkling East County Holiday Delights!

Skiers at the Viejas Outdoor Skating Rink
Skiers at the Viejas Outdoor Skating Rink in San Diego's East County

SoCal’s largest outdoor ice skating rink at Viejas!

OK, I know it’s only a few days after Halloween and Thanksgiving is still a few weeks away, but the winter holidays will be here before you know it!

So gather up the family, grab your gift list, Santa hat and mittens (yep, there’s a 55 degree chill her in the air at night – brrrr! 😉 ) and join me on a jolly jaunt to San Diego’s charming East County communities. They really know how to make some merry.

Following are 5 to Try East County Holiday Delights:

1. 66th Annual Mother Goose Parade

Goose Float at the Mother Goose Parade in San Diego's East County

El Cajon’s Mother Goose Parade!

The colorful Mother Goose Parade in El Cajon is San Diego’s traditional holiday kick-off, featuring thousands of spectators, colorful floats, marching bands, equestrians and celebrity appearances – fun for the whole family!

Location: Begin at Magnolia and Main, head down Main St. to N. Second Street, turn North then end at Madison.
Date: November 18, 2012
Time: 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Parade starts at 10:00 AM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the 66th Annual Mother Goose Parade

2. Julian’s Country Christmas Celebration & Tree Lighting

Julian Country Christmas & Tree Lighting.

The historic, Norman Rockwell-esque mountain town of Julian kicks off the holidays with a Country Christmas celebration & Tree Lighting, complete with costumed carolers, Santa Claus and, of course, their famous apple pies and piping hot apple cider!

Location: Julian’s Pioneer Park (map)
Date: November 24, 2012
Time: Starts at 4:00 PM. Lighting around 6:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Julian’s Country Christmas Celebration & Tree Lighting

3. Santa Train North Pole Limited

Santa on the North Pole Limited

Make tracks for the Santa Train North Pole Limited!

All aboard the Santa Train North Pole Limited, a Christmas vintage train ride through our rustic backcountry, departing from the Campo Depot. The adventure features Santa and his elves, cookies and hot cocoa, plus a reading of the famous holiday story, The Polar Express. Reserve seats now for this sell-out holiday favorite!

Location: State Highway 94 & Forrest Gate Road, Campo, CA (map)
Dates: Fridays and Saturdays, November 23 – December 22
Times: Trains at 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM (depending on the date)
Cost: $20-$50, Toddlers under 2 are free
> Find out more about Santa Train North Pole Limited

4. Ice Skating at the Viejas Outlet Center

Ice Skaters at the Viejas Outlet Center in San Diego's East County

There’s plenty of room at the largest outdoor skating rink in Southern California.

The Peanuts Christmas special always comes to mind at the Viejas Outlet Center, home of the largest outdoor ice skating rink in Southern California!

Location: 5005 Willows Rd Suite 229, Alpine, CA 91901 (map)
Dates: November 16 – January 6, 2012
Time: TBD
Cost: TBD
> Find out more about Ice Skating at the Viejas Outlet Center 

5. Alpine Village Christmas Parade of Lights & Snow Festival

Santa Claus at the Alpine Christmas Parade!

The quaint town of Alpine kicks off the season with its Alpine Village Christmas Parade of Lights & Snow Festival, featuring a parade, Santa and his elves, caroling and a big snow mountain for sledding. Snow in San Diego… who knew?!

Location: 1347 Tavern Road, Alpine, CA (map)
Date: December 7, 2012
Time: Starts at 6:30 PM
> Find out more about the Alpine Village Christmas Parade of Lights & Festival

A hearty happy (early) “Ho ho ho” from San Diego! 🙂 Know of any other great East County Holiday events? Let us and other’s know in the comments below.

Suzzanne

Top Things to Do In San Diego: September 27-30

Band Playing at Oktoberfest

Fall is my favorite season of the year. I love pumpkin patches, crisp evenings and all the fun things there is to do in San Diego. Here’s my top picks for this weekend. What will you be doing?

1. Cabrillo Festival

Cabrillo National Monument

For the 49th year, San Diego will celebrate the day in 1542 when Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo landed on the shore that is now San Diego. On September 29th and 30th, visitors can learn more about San Diego’s early history at this fun event for the whole family.

2. Oktoberfest in El Cajon

Band Playing at Oktoberfest

Lederhosen, Beer, Bratwurst and Family Fun at the Authentic Oktoberfest in El Cajon.

Head east and partake in authentic German food, beers and liquors at the annual Oktoberfest in El Cajon. Visitors will enjoy traditional folk dancing performances, games and contests, vendor and craft booths and a Kids’ Zone. The fun kicks off September 28th.

3. 40th Annual Poway Rodeo

Girls Carrying Flags on top of Horses at the Poway Rodeo

Western Fun at the Poway Rodeo

Get a taste of the western life as professional rodeo cowboys from all over the country compete at the annual Poway Rodeo. This rodeo has everything including, bareback riding, tie down roping, a clown act, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing and bull riding. Break out your dancing boots for the Rodeo Dances on both nights. Rodeo runs Friday, September 28-Saturday, September 29.

4. Annual Adams Avenue Street Fair

Normal Heights sign above the Adams Avenue Street Fair

Music, Food, Rides and More at the Adams Avenue Street Fair

Southern California’s largest free music festival features arts and crafts, carnival rides, food, circus acts and musical acts on six outdoor stages. Festivities take place September 29-30 from 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM on Saturday and 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Sunday.

5. Trolley Dances

Discover Unconventional Dance Spaces during the 2012 Trolley Dances. Photo by Yvonne M. Portra.

Hop on board and travel to six stops along the MTS Trolley line featuring site-specific dance. New work to be performed by 50 of San Diego’s most adventurous dancers. As an added twist, this year’s event will present WillyGood, a French circus duo. Tickets includes a free all day Trolley Pass with advance purchase.

Robert Arends

3 for Free: Wheel fun in San Diego’s East County!

Cars Along the Street at Cajon Classic Cruise
Cars Along the Street at Cajon Classic Cruise

Cars Line the Streets of El Cajon during the Cajon Classic Cruise

Summer’s finally here – my favorite time of year to hit the open road and explore San Diego’s scenic backcountry! Our East County is dotted with small cities and towns nestled in the rolling foothills and mountains that entice motorists to their Norman Rockwell-esque main streets with classic car shows the whole family can enjoy.

Get your motor running all summer long at these three FREE roadside events:

1. Cajon Classic Cruise

The Cajon Classic Cruise, Southern California’s largest weekly classic car show, features classic and specialty cars on display along Main Street in downtown El Cajon. The cars are on display every Wednesday night, 5:00 – 8:00 pm, June through September 26. Some theme night highlights include “Salute to American Muscle” (July 4), “Dragsters Rule” (August 8), “Evolution of the Mustang” (September 5) and “British Invasion” (September 12).

2. La Mesa Summer Car Show

La Mesa Car Show

Classic 1950s wheels at the La Mesa Car Show

The City of La Mesa revs into gear with the La Mesa Summer Car Show every Thursday night, 5:00 – 8:00 pm, June through August. This classic “Back to the 50s” car show takes place along La Mesa Blvd. in downtown La Mesa. While you’re there, enjoy shopping, dining and live music with DJ Jumpin’ Jack Flash.

3. Julian Classic Motoring Show

Julian Classic Motoring Show at Menghini Winery in Julian

Julian Classic Motoring Show at Menghini Winery in Julian

The Julian Classic Motoring Show is coming up on July 14-15 in the historic Gold Rush mountain town of Julian. This year’s show celebrates the 45th running of the famed Score Baja 1000 desert race. On July 14, from 2:00 – 5:00 pm, check out vintage motor racing vehicles – including Ferraris, Porsches, Cobras, Corvettes – on display along Main Street in downtown Julian. On July 15, cruise out to Menghini Winery on the outskirts of town to view classic and exotic sports and race cars from around the world, along with historic trucks, buggies and motorcycles. Also enjoy food and wine tastings and live music, from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm.

> Find More Great Free Things to Do at SanDiego.org

Put the pedal to the metal and we’ll see you in East County!

Robert Arends

5 to Try: Roadside Wonders of San Diego’s East County

Cosmic car at Unarius Academy in El Cajon

You might recall my blog awhile back on Quirky Roadside Attractions in San Diego’s East County region. With Memorial Day around the bend, now is the perfect time to map out another adventure to discover some wonderfully fascinating finds in our backcountry. Following are 5 to Try:

Dino-sized greeting at Creation & Earth History Museum

1. Creation and Earth History Museum

Let there be light! The Creation and Earth History Museum in Santee is a showcase of the literal six-day creation of earth, according to the Bible’s book of Genesis. Highlights include stellar displays of planetary development (Day 1), a jungle-like Garden Room with live animal terrariums (Day 6), model of Noah’s Ark (great photo opp), an Ice Age Room and Ancient Civilizations Room with replicas of the Tower of Babel and Rosetta Stone. Admission is free.

Model of UFO spiritual tower at Unarius Academy

2. Unarius Academy of Science

Out of this world! The Unarius Academy of Science in El Cajon is a garden-like teaching center featuring cosmic art, a “Power Tower,” Future City Model and Star Center room with murals of Atlantis – illustrating Unariun beliefs in past lives, Tesla technology, lost civilizations and UFOs. The group is known for its 2001 prophecy of spaceships landing in nearby Jamul to form a spiritual tower. Call 619-444-7062 or e-mail uriel@unarius.org to arrange a visit. Did you know: Unarius stands for Universal Articulate Interdimensional Understanding of Science.

Goat Canyon Trestle Bridge in Anza-Borrego Dessert State Park

Goat Canyon Trestle Bridge

3. Goat Canyon Trestle Bridge

Make tracks… to the world’s tallest curved timber railroad trestle, the Goat Canyon Trestle Bridge traversing the steep-walled Carrizo Gorge near Jacumba. It spans 200 feet high and 750 feet long! It’s a hearty hike to the vista point, but well worth it. For those who may not have the hiking boots (or stamina) to make the trek, there’s a 10-foot high model at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum (the world’s largest operating model railroad museum) in Balboa Park.

Giant labyrinth at Sacred Rocks Reserve

Giant labyrinth at Sacred Rocks Reserve

4 and 5. California’s Two Largest Labyrinths

A-MAZE-ing! Check out California’s two largest labyrinths at Labyrinth in the Oaks, a private riverfront retreat along the San Diego River headwaters in Julian, and Sacred Rocks Reserve in Boulevard. Both claim to have the largest labyrinths in the state, but technically LITO is biggest at 105 feet in diameter. Sacred Rocks’ maze is still an impressive 100 feet, modeled after the labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral in France(!). Cost is $8 for a day pass to explore the grounds of Sacred Rocks. Labyrinth in the Oaks is open to overnight guests only.

Happy exploring! 🙂

Robert Arends

Make tracks for San Diego’s East County Museums

The Western art of Olaf Wieghorst

San Diego Museum Month is in full swing (1/2 price admission to 40 participating museums!) and there’s no better time to explore some lesser-known museum jewels in the San Diego’s East County communities. They may not be the biggest cultural institutions on the map, but they’re certainly some of the most charming and a great way to discover the Wild West heritage of our rustic backcountry.

Following are my Top 5 Favorite East County museums: Continue reading