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September 18, 2023

Birthdays and Idyllwild

With Fran returning on Monday evening, Marty and I had a couple days to hangout.  A couple of the adventures we did include Queen Califia's Magical Circle.  It is only open when docents are available on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month.

Located within Kit Carson Park in Escondido.  It is fun to see the artist interpretation of the legendary queen that California is named after.  This is Queen Califia on her eagle.

The underside of the eagle represents the universe.

I did a more complete blog on Queen Califia’s Magical Circle HERE.

We turned our outing into a long loop with a stop to visit the Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory  Once inside there are another 70 steps to the viewing area.

We continued over Mt Palomar and past Lake Henshaw.

With a brief stop at Dudley’s, we made our way to Edwards Vineyards, my favorite local fermenter.  We'll test the 'Original 2017 Syrah' (old vine) against the '2017 New Syrah' (new vine), and a 2017 Cab ... just because.

Victor Edwards died of cancer last December and his widow Beth Edwards is now making a go of it on her own.  I’ll certainly visit again and check out her releases. 

We celebrated both Marty’s and Fran’s birthdays in Idyllwild near Mt San Jacinto. 

The Manzanita Cantina easily has the best Margarita on the hill. 

And they offer FREE birthday shots!

Fran skipped the tequila shot, but enjoyed Happy Birthday sung in Spanish.

Tahquitz Peak is the signature photo of the area.  There certainly is no shortage of granite boulders in the area.

Strolling the shops at The Fort is an easy way to see some of the tourist traps.

There are over 50 whimsical deer sculptures around the town, but I only saw this one unicorn.

The small Farmer’s Market had a nice selection of veggies and citrus, but little else.  These are brought up from the farm in Riverside, providing fresh to the locals.

Marty and Juanita taking a break in town

At 11 weeks post-surgery ... finally my FIRST hike.

OK it was just the 1 mile Nature Trail, but with my boots on and a hiking stick it indeed counts!  Our favorite hike up here is the Earnie Maxwell Scenic Trail.

But the reason for this trip, was not just the birthdays … We wanted to do the Idyllwild Home Tour supporting their Historical Society.

The Southern California AAA Westways magazine did an article on the tour that most of SoCal must have seen.  It was a huge turnout.

My favorite was a 1928 cabin that retains the charm and period furnishing of that era.

The 500 sq ft cabin was used in the 1962 filming of Kid Galahad staring Elvis Presley.  The cabin has been in the same family since its construction, thus home to nearly a century of memories.

The most unique home was the Donaldson Futuro House.

The link details the restoration and moving of the house from San Diego to its present location on a granite outcropping.  It is on the California Register of Historic Places.

Relaxing by a campfire is often the best part of camping.

The blog of a previous visit to Idyllwild offers more information on the town and the Ernie Maxwell Trail can be found HERE.  As mentioned in that link we hike the trail up to Heber Park and return.  There is also a link to John and Sharon's hike 'backwards'.

And of course fish tacos:


  1. Congratulations…so happy to read you did your first hike and the 70 steps in the observatory. That’s certainly deserves a big pat on the back! Happy birthday to Fran and Marty. Idyllwild looks very interesting. The home tour would be fun and I find the trivia so much fun. And yes, I took notes…more fish taco places in three of my favorite areas!

    1. thanks gay! I did indeed make it to the viewing deck at the observatory! But a hike among the pines was a wonderful treat. You'll going to have fun selecting your favorite fish taco! And I look forward to your decisions.

  2. I love your reasoning for comparing those 2017 wines; "Just because". Congrats on the hike, I bet it feels good to hit the trail again! I too would love to see that 1928 cabin, sounds very interesting.

    1. Jim - It was very nice to be back on the trail again! It felt so good to smell the vanilla of the pines in the forest.

  3. So....what was the wine tasting verdict? Congratulations on getting out and about after surgery....more fun to come!

    1. Hi Suzi - The Old Syrah over the New and the Cab overall was our hedonistic opinion. Yours may vary ...
      It was indeed fun to be out and about.


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