Working Out/Getting Out
Posh Pilates Place
Cardio is king and every perspiring patron royalty at downtown’s Fit Athletic Club (350 10th Avenue, Suite 200, 619-764-5348; fitathletic.com/sandiego). The $120-per-month dues may seem steep, but once you’ve stretched, cycled or sat lotus on the shaded patio overlooking Petco Park, you’ll know you’ve arrived. Membership includes unlimited access to a slew of classes, and each cycle, climber and treadmill is equipped with a computer monitor, so attorneys can peruse documents and bill while biking.
Remedy for an Existential Crisis
Golden lotus flower towers symbolizing the top tier of enlightenment in Buddhism greet guests as they approach the iron gates of the Self-Realization Fellowship Temple (215 K Street, Encinitas, 760-753-2888). Sit and take stock of your life at one of several sublime garden spaces designed for meditation and reflection.
It’s a steep and tricky 2.5-mile trek, but Cedar Creek Falls is one of the most beautiful spots in the county. East of Ramona, the San Diego River tributary tumbles 100 feet into a spacious punch bowl, beckoning winded hikers to take a dip. Climbing and diving are discouraged. Download a map and directions, or phone the Forest Service for restrictions (858- 673-6180; trails.com).
Spot to Strike, Spare or Slice
At Parkway Bowl (1280 Fletcher Parkway, El Cajon, 619-448- 4111; parkwaybowl.com), parents get an old-fangled Milwaukee workout on one of 60 lanes while kids play laser tag or take a spin on the Himalaya or other carnival rides. A private room is available for corporate parties. Midnight bowling lasts until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Place to Pick a Pear and Pluck an Apple
Among the last remaining orchards in the county where people can pick their own apples, Calico Ranch (State Route 78 before Calico Ranch Road, Julian, 858-586-0392; spencervalley .com) features more than 130 varieties of apples and pears on 30 acres. Public harvesting begins at the end of September and runs through October, until the fruit is gone.
At the southern edge of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, a series of natural mud caves (one with bats) await the intrepid explorer. The fossilized bones of mammoth, rhinoceros and a sabertoothed cat have been found here. Some caves, formed one to five million years ago, have rooms up to 80 feet high with sinkholes (like skylights) illuminating their interiors. Caution is recommended, as well as a light hardhat and drinking water. Directions and more: hiddensandiego.com.
Lonesome Whistle Excursion
Each Saturday morning when the whistle blows at the Campo Depot (State Highway 94 and Forrest Gate Road, Campo, 619-478-9937; ), a restored 1940s-era locomotive departs for Tecate, Mexico. During the three-hour layover, guests can scour the quaint border town for blankets, ceramics and chatchki, take a one-hour tour of the Tecate Brewery, dine or enjoy fresh-fruit ice cream from a street vendor.
Way to Unwind on a Sunday
Tucked away in a sleepy residential neighborhood, the 119-yearold Bernardo Winery (13330 Paseo del Verano North, 858-487- 1866; bernardowinery.com) is like a trip back in time, with an oldworld village vibe. Sip some palatable wines, enjoy lunch at Café Merlot, and view an array of fine art and crafts, from ceramics and glassblowing to photographs.
Step back in time to the 1940s, when the Gaslamp Quarter was undergoing a Harlem-like renaissance of music and culture for San Diego’s African-American community. The Harlem of the West walking tour departs from the corner of Market Street and Eighth Avenue at 11 a.m. Saturdays, near the new home of the Black Historical Society of San Diego (740 Market Street, 619- 232-1480; harlemofthewest .com). The tour points out the locale of many sadly lost historical buildings of black heritage, including the Creole Palace, which hosted the likes of Billie Holiday and Cab Calloway, and the Sliver Slipper on Fifth Avenue, which Nat King Cole was known to frequent.
Place to Discover Your Herbal Essence
Giant granite boulders stud the rolling hills surrounding The La - vender Fields (12460 Keys Creek Road, Valley Center, 888-407- 1489; thelavenderfields.com), a certified organic farm in the back country. When the fields are covered with purple blooms in May and June, the farm is open to the public. A line of lotions, soaps and candles infused with distilled lavender oil can be found yearround, online or at the Antique Mall on Grand Avenue in Escondido.
Bike or Hike Along the Beach
The scenic San Onofre State Beach, south of San Clemente (Basilone Road exit off I-5, 949- 492-4872), is a coastal-canyon park with rugged dirt access trails ideal for mountain biking. It’s best to park off Las Pulgas in the lot on the east side of the interchange. Hike or bike along the bluffs, breathe in ocean breezes, and watch the waves crash on the beach below.
Place to Ponder the Heavens
At more than 4,000 feet elevation, Julian is ideal for star-watching. Local astronomers host the inaugural Julian Starfest on August 1 and 2 at the Menghini Winery (1150 Julian Orchards Drive, Julian; julianstarfest.com). The event includes space for 100 campers, an astronomy vendor exhibition area, a swap meet, guest lecturers and a tour of the Palomar Observatory.
The spacious and elegant Pacific Athletic Club (12000 Carmel Country Road, 858-509-9933; pacsandiego.com) is more like a resort than a place to work out, with a spa, swimming pools, tennis courts, a boutique and a café onsite. Children ages 6 weeks to 12 years are cared for by staff certified in CPR and first aid. A new facility will open in Carlsbad in 2009.
Way to Glimpse a Garibaldi
Launching from La Jolla Shores, kayakers are guided along one of the more scenic stretches of South ern California coast. Gaze beneath the surface as rays, leopard sharks and brightly colored garibaldis swim by. Sea lions and seals sun themselves on the rocks as you reach seven caves etched into the cliffs by time and tides. Kayaks, paddles, helmets and life jackets can be rented at La Jolla Kayak (2199 Avenida de la Playa, 858-459-1114; lajollakayak.com) and at La Jolla Sea Cave Kayaks (2164 Avenida de la Playa, 858- 454-0111; lajollaseacavekayaks .com).