Aki

Museum Month: With Seven Days Left, Head North!

With only seven days left until the end of San Diego Museum Month, I still have a few museums to check out. As a resident of Encinitas, I’ve got a few favorites in North County that I frequent, and one in particular that tops my list of best museum I haven’t been to yet, but love already.

Music History Comes Alive at The Museum of Making Music

As a music lover and North County resident, I’m frankly ashamed that I haven’t been to this museum yet. Located in Carlsbad, The Museum of Making Music is the only museum of its kind in San Diego County. Founded in 1998 by the National Association of Music Merchants, the museum showcases and celebrates the music products industry.

The museum’s exhibits are arranged chronologically in five galleries, beginning with the coming of age in America’s music industry between 1890 to 1909, all the way to the 1980’s. Each gallery showcases hundreds of vintage instruments, along with historic audio and video clips and interactive displays, providing a 360 degree look at the innovations, trends and popular music of the era.

Unlike the traditional hall of fame or celebrity instrument collection, the Museum of Making Music focuses on the historical changes and innovations of musical instruments, how they came to be made and sold, and how these developments influenced popular music. Some of the breakthrough instruments in their collection include a Gibson mandolin, the Ludwig drum pedal, a Rickenbacker Lap Steel guitar, Fender Telecaster guitar, and Yamaha DX-7 Synthesizer.

Currently on view is a special exhibition that provides a comprehensive survey on the history of reed instruments, Roots of Reeds (through March 2012). I am completely jazzed about visiting the museum (pun intended), as I know it will surely deepen my appreciation of music and may even inspire me to finally sign up for that guitar lesson.

William Glen Crooks at the Oceanside Museum of Art

There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a deserving friend get their due. In the case of William Glen Crooks, it was only a matter of time that his talent would be celebrated. I had the pleasure and privilege of working with him in my past life as a San Diego gallerist, and watched with glee as his star steadily rose over the years. His career retrospective exhibition Point of View at the Oceanside Museum of Art, curated by leading San Diego gallery Scott White Contemporary Art, celebrates a life’s work by the gifted painter and Imperial Beach native.

Known for glowing landscapes and timeless scenes, Glen’s paintings emanate a warmth that makes you feel the atmosphere of his pictures. He has an uncanny ability to bring out the extraordinary in what would otherwise be a mundane scene, and he does so with his own brand of modesty and humility that makes him a true original. On view through April 22, this is an exhibition you won’t want to miss!

Fantastical Home Furnishings at the Lux Art Institute

One of the most inspiring institutions and spaces in San Diego is nestled in the hills of Encinitas. The Lux Art Institute is a museum unlike any other, where you can witness the creative process and engage with the artists as they produce their work in a studio setting. Lux invites internationally renowned artists to live and work in their beautifully designed facility for several weeks as they create and exhibit their work.

Current artist-in-residence, sculptor Lila Jang, puts a whimsical spin on home furnishings. Restricted by a small apartment and armed with a desire to escape the mundane routine of everyday life, Jang looked at traditional home furnishings in a new light. By removing the need for functionality from chairs, dressers, stools, and other furniture, she transforms these everyday objects into fantastical sculptural works that are animated, playful and expressionistic. Ms. Jang’s residency and exhibition closes on March 3, 2012. Go for the art, and stay to explore the gorgeous architecture and lush landscapes that surround the museum premises.

Candice

Restaurant Week Picks: Fabulous French Fare

Restaurant Week is great time to branch out and try something a little unexpected. San Diego may be best known for the fish taco, but why not explore the culinary landscape with a little taste of France? From downtown to North County, French delicacies aren’t hard to find in San Diego during this Restaurant Week:

Cafe Chloe charms diners in the East Village

Café Chloe

You may have a view of downtown’s East Village, but at this elegant yet casual bistro, you’ll swear you’re dining just off a Parisian sidewalk. Prepared to be perfectly authentic, their steak frites paired with herbes de provence butter, green beans, yellow wax beans and honey onions followed by their famous chocolate pot de crème is the ideal meal when you can’t decide between haute cuisine and comfort food.

Cavaillon's dining room, smoked salmon and warm chocolate moelleux

Cavaillon

This warm and friendly French hideaway in the North County neighborhood of Santaluz recently welcomed new chef Michael von Euw. Sample von Euw’s fresh updates on classic dishes with Cavaillon’s Restaurant Week offerings, including a delicate smoked salmon appetizer, sumptuous beef tenderloin and sinfully decadent warm chocolate moelleux for dessert, and you’ll be delighted to have made his acquaintance.

Bleu Boheme in Kensington - try the escargots!

Bleu Boheme

I love this restaurant so much, I married it! Well, that’s not exactly true, but I did have my wedding there. The rustic French farmhouse setting is just as charming as the traditional peasant-style dishes. One bite of their melt-in-your-mouth coq au vin, and you’ll fall in love, too. Be brave and try the escargots – you’ll be glad you did.

Candice

San Diego Spas Get Top Honors by Travel + Leisure

Between the year-round mild weather, gorgeous scenery and the easygoing attitude of the locals, it’s hard not to feel relaxed in San Diego. But if you’re looking for the ultimate rejuvenating escape, San Diego County is home to some of the best destination spas in the world. Just ask Travel + Leisure magazine: they recently recognized four San Diego area spas with their 2011 “Worlds Best” award for top destination spas!

Here’s a peak at what makes these spas four of the best in the world:

Cal-a-Vie Health Spa's scenic setting

Nestled on 200 private acres in the rustic community of Vista, located approximately 40 miles northeast of downtown San Diego, Cal-a-Vie health spa and resort offers an unparalleled level of personalized attention with a 4-to-1 staff-to-guest ratio.  The resort combines luxurious European spa philosophies with the California concepts of fitness, health and nutrition.  Three-, four- and seven-night packages include gourmet spa cuisine, fitness classes, golfing, hiking, beauty and spa treatments.  Guests stay in private, luxuriously appointed Mediterranean-style villas featuring breathtaking views from private balconies.

The Golden Door's serene accommodations

The Golden Door, located on a winding country road five miles north of Escondido in San Diego’s North County, greets guests with a  jewel-encrusted entrance gate flanked by camellias and fuchsia. The facilities include three guest lounges, a dining room, kitchen, indoor/outdoor exercise studios, the Dragon Tree Gym, two swimming pools, two tennis courts and a private hillside for hiking. The bathhouse contains a steam room, sauna, showers, fan-shaped therapy pool and sequestered rooms for body scrubs and herbal wraps.  With a clientele that includes the very famous and ultra-rich, the Golden Door has earned a reputation for exclusivity, luxury and unparalleled relaxation and rejuvenation.

A relaxing Shirodara treatment at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing

Located in the beautiful La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, the Chopra Center for Wellbeing was founded by the internationally renowned Dr. Deepak Chopra.  The Chopra Center explores new frontiers in the expansion of human consciousness through programs, products and services that integrate the mind, body and spirit.  Here, spa guests can relax with an exotic mix of body massages, treatments and facials.

Rancho La Puerta's world-class views

The #1 pick in Travel + Leisure‘s poll, Rancho la Puerta, located just an hour’s drive southeast of San Diego in Tecate, Baja, Mexico, is a fitness-spa showplace featuring 84 handsome casitas set amongst 3,000 beautiful acres.  Active endeavors include hiking, Pilates, yoga and tennis, while the more indulgent pursuits include massages, hydrotherapy, herbal facials and body wrap treatments.  The riches of the earth are also celebrated at the six-acre organic farm that serves the Rancho La Puerta kitchen.  The farm is a vibrant tapestry of orchards, raised vegetable beds and herbs where the flavors of freshly picked produce are available year-round, as are the homemade honey and extra virgin olive oil.

Out of the four listed, which one would you pick for a relaxing getaway?