Torrey Pines State Beach Hike, Photo via EscapingAbroad

Our next local guide is for the always-sunny and classic beachside area of Del Mar, CA and Rancho Santa Fe, CA, written by our very own Jamie Ehrsam. Jamie finds herself traveling to Del Mar and Rancho Sante Fe more than the average San Diegan, since many of our estates are in this area.

In the area of North County San Diego, there are many independently owned businesses and boutiques where you can find hand-picked items sourced from all around the world and some of the finest things in life such as beautiful beaches and 5-star hotels. Find your next places to bookmark on your next vacation below!

Cucina Enoteca, Photo via SanDiegoRestaurantWeek

Cucina Enoteca, Photo via SanDiegoRestaurantWeek

Favorite Local Hot Spot:

Cucina Enoteca is a fun, eclectic local hot spot. The drinks are super creative and AMAZING. The Tequila lover in me cannot go without having the Spicy Pepper-infused Tequila... shaken over ice and I am in heaven. They also have a wonderful wine list and wine shop where you can get some amazing wines all sold at retail price. Every day of the week they offer different specials. My favorite is Social Saturday: $5 infusion per person. If you are social savvy, check their twitter feed for one Social Saturday special that changes weekly. The flat breads are to die for, and their appetizers are all delish. My favorite is the foraged mushroom, taleggio + braised leek + truffle oil flat bread - YUMMY!

Favorite Local Goods:

Pacific Beach Farmer's Market

San Diego Farmer's Market

If you have time to make it to one of our wonderful farmers markets spread out over San Diego County I HIGHLY recommend loading up on Bitchin' Sauce and Majestic Garlic. Don't worry about not having a refrigerator in your hotel room, they're so good you will finish the entire container for an afternoon snack. If a farmers market is not on the itinerary, then don't worry, the local Whole Foods carries these delish dips.

If You Were Having A Stay-Cation Where Would You Stay:

Rancho Valencia, Photo via RanchoValencia

Rancho Valencia, Photo via RanchoValencia

If I am looking for a quiet relaxing getaway and to be pampered like crazy,  I stay at Rancho Valencia. Enjoy an afternoon at the spa, drinks and appetizers in the Pony room and a lovely Sunday brunch. For a night on the town, stay-cation, stay at the beautiful beach side resort L'Auberge. L'Auberge is the definition of San Diego. Great views, walking distance to all the great restaurants, bars, shops and beach.

Free Fun:

Torrey Pines State Beach Hike, Photo via EscapingAbroad

Torrey Pines State Beach Hike, Photo via EscapingAbroad

For free North County fun, hike Torrey Pines State Beach and then head over to the Del Mar Farmers Market to sample some fresh local produce and products. In the summer time, enjoy a free concert on the beach.

Describe Your Perfect Day In Del Mar:

Claire's on Cedros, Photo via Gastrobits

Claire's on Cedros, Photo via Gastrobits

I would start with breakfast at one of the many great breakfast joints. One of my favorites is just north in Solana Beach at Claire's on Cedros. After that, I would stroll the fabulous Solana Beach design district where you can find one-of-a-kind items not sold anywhere else.

SoLo in Cedros Design District, Photo via ALife'sStyle

SoLo in Cedros Design District, Photo via ALife'sStyle

If I was hungry again, I would choose one of the many great Mexican restaurants in North County like El Callejon or Fidel's for some fish tacos. After lunch and a bit more window shopping, I would head over to the plaza in Del Mar to soak in the view and enjoy a glass of wine. If I am extremely lucky and it's a weekend in the summertime when concerts on the beach are in full effect, I would head down with the family, pack a blanket and some snacks, and enjoy the sunset with some local music.

If I Had A Rental Car I Would Go:

Encuento Guadalupe in Valle de Guadalupe, Photo via CNTraveler

Encuento Guadalupe in Valle de Guadalupe, Photo via CNTraveler

If I had a rental car, I would make a day trip down to Valle De Guadalupe just 1.5 hours south of the border for a day of wine tasting. I would start off at La Dona Esthela’s for the best typical Mexican breakfast south of the border, visit a few of my favorite wineries including Vena Cava, Alximia, and end at Encuentro Guadalupe to soak in the sun.

Mariscos La Guerrerense, Photo via LATimes

Mariscos La Guerrerense, Photo via LATimes

Before heading back to San Diego I would make a final stop in Ensenada and visit Mariscos La Guerrerense, the best seafood tostadas in Ensenada and frequently visited by culinary icon Anthony Bourdain. If that wasn’t enough food, I would make one last stop at Mulle 3 for a heaping pot of mussels and clams. (I am hungry just thinking about it!). More Details on Valle De Guadalupe

For more information on Things to do in North County, check out Your North County.

Perhaps our grandest private estates are located in North County, San Diego. Find your perfect San Diego event venue here.