The Happy Heart Haven is a most delightful animal rescue in Valley Center. Proprietor Cristi Walker and her husband Mike recently moved out to VC and started this passion project. Sometimes when one door closes, another one opens and it is the right path that you are meant to be on. That is the case for the Walker family. Two years ago I'm sure they would never have imagined where they would be today.
Cristi was born with a congenital heart defect and after a series of surgeries, she eventually was outfitted with a heart valve that she received from a cow. Could it be that this was not a coincidence that her favorite animal ended up giving her new life? It certainly birthed a dream within her and her supportive husband. They traded in life in suburbia for life in the country and they now own and operate a rescue outfit with scores of animals. They opened in July of 2020 and have all kinds of things going on for you to enjoy like private tours, birthday parties, open farm days, and so much more. Their goal is to have you leave with your heart happier than when you came. I can say that this was certainly my experience. There is a whole lot of happiness radiating from this place and I hope that you will help support the dreams of the Walker family and go check it out. Schedule a tour. Tell a friend. Send a donation to help feed the animals.
Did you know that Carlsbad has its own oyster farm and that they have been offering tours, complete with oyster tastings since the beginning of 2021? Carlsbad Aquafarm is Southern California's only shellfish farm growing Pacific oysters and Mediterranean mussels since 1990. They are committed to pursuing a balance between producing seafood of unsurpassed quality and conserving the ocean's resources.
They are involved in restoring coastal habitats by working with environmental groups to establish "living shorelines" consisting of oyster reefs and Eelgrass that remove excess algae from bays and estuaries while providing vital habitats for fish and seabirds.
Even if you are not a fan of oysters, it's very interesting to learn about this business and how the birds, fish, plant life and ocean all work together to form the perfect oyster habitat in the lagoon. You will be impressed by the lengths this company goes to to provide the very best product for the public's consumption. Schedule your tour of this hidden North County gem today!
Quiet Days are on select days every month. Escape the noise and hectic pace of everyday life. Enjoy some solitude and balance activity and contemplation in your life. The day is yours to create, experience time on your own to meditate in the chapel or the gardens, to enjoy nature or to catch up on some much-needed rest. A private room with bed and sink are included. Quiet Days are during the hours of 9:00am and 4:00pm. The cost is $35.00 per person includes a beautiful lunch. Please pre-register by calling 760-757-3659 or online HERE.
I’ve lived in San Diego County 18 years and I recently visited The Cave Store in La Jolla for the first time. You enter the store, pay $5 admission for adults, $3 for kids and down into the cave you descend...144 narrow steps down through the earth to the mouth of a sea cave. At the bottom you have an amazing view out the sea cave of sea lions swimming and kayakers doing their thing. The shape of the entrance to the cave is in the shape of a profile, thus the name of the cave, Sunny Jim's. And yes, after viewing this amazing sight, it's 144 stairs back up to the top. It's a fun thing to do and lots to look at in the area, so be sure to check it out! The Cave Store is located at 1325 Coast Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037. 858-459-0746.
Can we talk for a moment or two about one of my favorite places in San Diego County, San Diego Botanic Garden? Did you know that they were recently named one of the top 10 gardens worth traveling for in North America? WOW! You might want to know that they have been around since the 1940's. It's a 37-acre "botanic wonderland" that features zonal plantings from all over the world, beautiful waterfalls, rotating sculpture gardens and a special Children's Garden with plans to build an educational center. No doubt plants cultivated at the very beginning are still thriving. Did you know that some of these plants have lives that will outlive the average human, and then some? It's truly amazing that this garden grows and develops with the decades that pass. Almost every time you visit, something will be new and different. For the last 24 years, Julian Duval has been at the helm serving as president and CEO. Julian has done tremendous, great work but is now retiring and passing the baton to Ari Novi.The two will work together through the transition.
San Diego Botanic Garden hosts a plethora of fun, festive and educational events throughout the year and you will be happy to know that if you are a San Diego County resident, you get free entry to the park every first Tuesday of the month. There is a small parking fee, but it is waived if you have four or more in your car.
Regular pricing is $18 for adults, $12 for seniors and active military and $10 for kids 3-18. The garden is opening 9-5 daily except for Christmas.
Rancho Buena Vista Adobe, located at 640 Alta Vista Drive (across from the Civic Center) is a beautiful, fascinating, historical adobe dating back to 1845 that has been preserved for your viewing pleasure by the city of Vista. In fact, if this adobe had not been built, the city of Vista as we know it would not be established today as the surrounding area was built around it to support its function! Learn about the history of the adobe and the many families that lived in it, as well as what life looked like on this homestead. Also onsite are a lovely gift shop and art gallery with rotating presentations.
Tours are provided for a nominal fee on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays between the hours of 10am and 3pm (last tour starts at 2:15). Guided tours are also available. Admission: Adults $4, Seniors $3, Students $1 and children 12 and under .50. The adobe also has field trip opportunities for local schools as well as summer programs. Different events are held on the grounds throughout the year and it is also available for wedding and special occasion rentals. What a beautiful backdrop it is! If spooky is your thing, join in the Spirits of The Adobe tours ($25) that take place select evenings once a month. For more on that, call 760-643-5275.
I want to introduce you to a newer North County business, Riddle Routes. Started in Bend, Oregon, with three routes, you can now find them in California with routes in Carlsbad, Big Bear and Palm Springs.
I took the Riddle Route challenge starting my quest in Carlsbad, totally unsure what the experience would be like. Suggested teams are 2-4 people, so we double-dated and made it a team of 4. The routes are designed to be about 2 miles of walking, 2 hours of time with 22 stops. You purchase the package online for $38 (this fee covers the whole team), which I feel is very reasonable and certainly less expensive than going to a movie. Once you pay you are given a link to access your route, using your smartphone to get your clues.
The whole thing was put together very cleverly, and you can tell the designers of Riddle Routes are teachers. Let’s just say I was thankful for the help of my teammates when the riddle involved math! As you go from point to point you are looking for specific things, solving riddles and problems and doing a lot of teamwork. We saw some points of interest that we knew about and others that we were learning about for the first time. After you get to each destination and solve your riddle, you’ll learn some fun facts about that specific location or business. So, with Riddle Routes you are having fun, exercising and getting fresh air, working with others, using your brains and learning new things about the area you are in.
We all agreed that it was a lot of fun and interesting as well. I would wholeheartedly recommend that everyone do this with their family or friends. It was a great day followed by a nice dinner in The Village. I did not take pictures (whaaat?) as I don’t want to give away the route. I want it all to be new and fresh when you give it a try.
Does this sound like something you would want to do? For more information and to purchase your Riddle Route go to: http://riddleroutes.com/product/carlsbad-route/. Be sure to use code: BARB$10 to save $10!
Boy did I have a fun afternoon on my first ever walking food tour! I recently went on the maiden voyage of Carla and Linda's Walking Food Tours NEW Vista tour with a group of wonderful food-loving people. We started our tour at Starbucks in the village where we all assembled and introduced ourselves. Our first stop was Belching Beaver Brewery Tavern & Grill, where after a brief walk we enjoyed crispy plantains topped with pit-roasted mojo pork and dressed with cilantro, citrus sauce and me so honey cream. Next visit was Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen for house-made pasta with veggies, sausage, micro greens and a carrot reduction sauce. Next we looped around to When Pigs Fly BBQ for a smoked rib with slaw. We finished our tour by walking back to Little Cakes Cupcake Kitchen to indulge in our choice of cupcake. I selected chocolate peanut butter and it was divine.
All along the tour we were blessed to be able to chat with the chefs and owners/operators and find out more about them, their food and restaurants. While on the walking portion of the tour Linda told us great little facts about different pieces of art and businesses along the way. One of the fun things about these tours is that ahead of time we have no idea what we will be served. We just show up and enjoy!
***Update: Since I originally wrote this, I have also been on two additional Oceanside tours and they were both fantastic as well as was the Vista tour. I highly recommend this experience. The concept, restaurants and tour guides are all tops. I definitely plan to do this again and again in the future. Find out more at www.shoesandchews.com. Use code Barb to save $10 on each ticket you purchase.
I recently started my day with joy and laughter doing goat yoga at Sugar Sweet Farm in Encinitas! They invited me to experience their class so I could share my thoughts with you. I admit, I had no idea what it was about but yes we actually did get some yoga done and yes we also did quite a bit of laughing and snuggling as well. We even got to bottle-feed milk to the goats. While this type of yoga is maybe a little more down and dirty than you are used to, it also comes with towels steeped in lavender essential oil for your eyes during shavasana and chilled cucumber water when you’re finished with your workout.
Thank you Elizabeth for opening up your sweet farm to us and sharing your fruits, and thank you Beth for your instruction. Thank you for providing a professional photographer to catch all the magical (and funny) moments so we could hold on to the memories of the day! We had such a great time and you can bet we will be back!
Barb's tips: Leave plenty of time to get there and map your route out in advance. Maybe not wear your very favorite yoga outfit, you will be interacting with goats, afterall. :) I suggest leaving your yoga mat at home and using one of theirs for obvious reasons. Lastly, just be prepared for enjoyment, laughter and fun. EMBRACE the experience!
If you would like to give it a try, I highly suggest Sugar Sweet Farm and if you use code: BARB10 when you sign up, you will save $10! http://www.sugarsweetfarm.com/goat-yoga.html