Day Tripper: Encinitas
While San Diego is overflowing with natural beauty, the strains of living here can make it easy to forget. Some believe there's a timeless, natural energy we can tap into when stepping on grass or walking barefoot along the shore. They call it earthing and it draws me back to Encinitas again and again.
The mist, walking the beach on a warm winter day, the fragrance of Eucalyptus from towering trees—all that greeted me in Encinitas as a transplant from the Pacific Northwest nearly 15 years ago. The city still embraces its re-charging, retro, natural vibe like a sister’s hug and won’t let go. From the hillside to the shore, here are a dozen places to visit and recharge your internal batteries.
Start the day at Coastal Roots Farms
When you pull up to the Saxony street location and park under the towering Eucalyptus trees, you'll notice the fresh smell as soon as you're out of the car. Each month Coastal Roots Farms sets aside one Sunday and opens the gates to the public for tours, but you can stop by the Farm Stand most any day. It's a pay-what-you-can system. If the stand is closed, you can drop food scraps in buckets near the gate. They'll go into the 'Food Waste to Chicken Feed' program. While it’s a fairly new farm, its philosophical roots are ancient. Annelise Jolley, Communications Manager, says that the farm, "draws inspiration from Jewish agricultural traditions promoting patience, gratitude, and connection to the land and each other."
Don't Miss Butterfly Farms
Before you get on your way, visit the Butterfly Farms Vivarium next door to the farm. The Quonset hut-shaped, butterfly free-flight house moved into the neighborhood this year to study and grow plants important to native pollinators. If you're lucky, there'll be Monarch Butterflies emerging. Look for chrysalis on stems around the lot. You can take home your own butterfly loving plants too.
Get Lost at the San Diego Botanic Garden
Looking for more green? Trails snake through this North County landmark, the San Diego Botanic Garden, home to plants and trees from around the globe. There are blossoms to linger over every month of the year, a children's garden, special events, and a lookout platform with views up and down the coast. Slip off your sandals while walking to the waterfall or stroll the bamboo grove and pause on one of the benches scattered throughout the grounds.
Put life in perspective at the Peace Pole
There are more than 200,000 Peace Poles in 180 countries, and Encinitas has one. Each pole is a reminder to visualize and pray for world peace. The Encinitas pole stands on the NW corner of the Seaside Center for Spiritual Living's main building and is accessible any time. It's inscribed, 'May Peace prevail on Earth' in five languages.
Cliffside Koi Time at the Self Realization Fellowship Temple
Watching fish swim can be a mesmerizing and calming pastime. Some of the largest in the county swim freely in ponds within the gardens created by the Self Realization Fellowship. It’s easy to imagine Yogananda writing his Autobiography of a Yogi here and the internationally renowned gardens retain his grace. They overflow with lush greenery and are open to the public Tuesdays through Sundays. Stroll the meandering paths, take shelter from the day's heat, or enjoy mists flowing over the bluff.
Take a Lunch or Brunch Break
Admire surf city’s finest working the waves at Swami’s beach, a short walk south from the gardens. If hunger is disturbing your tranquility, walk carefully across Highway 101 to the original Swami's Cafe for smoothies, breakfast, or lunch.
The Lotus Cafe and Juice Bar serves healthy, gluten free, vegetarian, as well as fish or poultry options for breakfast, lunch or dinner in the Lumberyard Shopping Center.
EVE is a vegan café with creative options from Buddah bowls to burritos but there’s much more than food on the menu. With community building, feel-good workshops and performances, Eve’s motto “Good peeps, good food, good music, and good vibes” breathes.
Stay for a Drinks, Shopping, and Maybe Dinner, Too
For Cocktails, views and brunch, saunter into Solace and the Moonlight Lounge at Pacific Station. There’s a daily oyster special. Check out the rotating craft drafts at Union Kitchen & Tap. If brunch and a Bloody Mary with a beer chaser is your thing, grab a seat in the Bier Garden.
Save time to cruise the beachy boutiques, visit the weekend bazaar (at 495 South Coast Highway 101, 9am-4pm Saturday and Sunday), and dip your toes in the tide at Moonlight Beach. You'll leave Encinitas recharged with earth energy and a happy tummy.