Fans of Coastal San Diego

This site is for the many fans of coastal San Diego, those who have lived here for years, as well as those new to the area. Here you can learn more about the different communities, the many things to do and places to visit in and around San Diego, share your experiences, and ask for advice and recommendations for restaurants, shopping, visitor activities, places to live, and more! Buyers thinking about moving here will find lots of information to help, too!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Take a Trip to Idyllwild, CA

I spent this past Saturday and Sunday visiting Idyllwild, about 90 miles from where I live in Carlsbad. For those of you who have not been there, it is worth the less-than-2-hour trip, out beyond Temecula and through the Anza Valley.

Idyllwild has a reputation as an arts town (“one of the 100 best art towns in America”), and offers some of the best hiking and rock climbing in the area, with trails to suit every skill level (Mt. Jacinto, 10,804 ft., Suicide Rock, 7,528, Lily Rock, 8,000, and Tahquitz Peak, 8,828). The Deer Springs Trail, off Route 243 just outside of town, is popular with the general public. More experienced hikers might choose to start out from Humber Park, near the base of Lily Rock. The views are breathtaking, whether you are hiking or simply driving along the many scenic roads. Camping is also available, as well as horseback riding, fishing, biking, and boating. Check with the ranger stations regarding where day and/or overnight permits are required (e.g., some hiking trails, camping).

The town itself offers a wide range of shopping, restaurants and galleries, and is easily walkable. We spent the entire afternoon on Saturday exploring the area shops and being good consumers. Next Sunday (Easter), April 7, is their 12th Annual Audible Art Tour with musicians, galleries, venues and artists, from 2 – 5 PM.

There are many lodging options in Idyllwild as well and nearby. These include house (Idyllwild Vacation Rentals) and cabin rentals (Manzanita Cabins), small hotels, inns (Creekstone Inn, Bluebird Cottage Inn) and rustic lodges, and a number of bed and breakfast establishments (Strawberry Creek Inn, the Lodge at Pine Cove B and B).

If you are interested in buying a home here (for vacations, investment, or to live in), there is a pretty good inventory now, up from last year by about 60%, per a local agent I met. There are small cabins and homes in the low to mid $200s, and good selection of 3-4 bedroom properties, many with views, in the $400K - $700K range, or you can spend over a million. Land is also available, and reasonably inexpensive by Los Angeles and San Diego standards – as low as $39,000 for .15 acre, for example, or you can get .26 acres with views of Lily Rock and more for $15,900. Idyllwild Realty is, I believe, the largest real estate office there – Ask for Bill Harris and tell him I sent you.

We weren’t there long enough to try more than one restaurant, but the Gastrognome was great for dinner Saturday night. It has a good reputation both for food and service, and is located right in the heart of Idyllwild (an easy walk if you are staying in town).

It was a great place to visit and a beautiful drive out and back – once you are past Temecula you are on a scenic two lane road the whole way, with little traffic. It’s absolutely worth the trip

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Jeff Dowler (RE/MAX Associates): Real Estate Agent in Carlsbad, San Diego County, California on