Whole Life Magazine

January/February 2015

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Page 28 of 43

photo right: Jack Burke I n the heart of the Colorado Desert, just three hours from L.A., the unassuming Casa Del Zorro (www.lac- asadelzorro.com) hacienda-style resort rst opened in 1933. Following a three-year hiatus, it re-opened in 2013. Surrounded by the vast, serene Anza Borrego state park, the resort's 42 acres sparkle with radiant pools and blissful hot tubs, natural vegetation, beautiful metal sculptures by Ricar- do Breceda, copious citrus trees and a lovely rose garden. Large, luxurious rooms feature walk-in marble showers, wood-burning replaces and balconies, or choose a private casita with multiple bedrooms and private pool. ere's an 80-thousand-gallon lap pool and six tennis courts with night lighting, as well as the privately operated Balance spa and salon, a yoga studio, exercise classes, plenty of nearby hiking and partnerships with two golf courses. e elegant Butter eld dining room, named for the stage coaches that once brought people to the area, includes organic options such as their signature Kit Fox salad made with local pink grapefruit, grape or tomato gazpacho, and roasted Portobel- lo and vegetable Napoleon. Stone-ground oatmeal and fresh local fruit are on the menu at breakfast, served in view of the rose garden. e wood-beamed Fox Den Bar and Cantina is the perfect spot to settle in for a drink. Clear desert nights are perfect for stargazing in this "dark-sky community." Whimsical gardens, a life-size chess- board, live music by the main pools and a multitude of strolling paths through the tamarisk trees contribute to an atmosphere of genteel enchantment. Green cleaning products, recycling, and an emphasis on guest awareness of the fragile desert eco-system encour- age respect for the environment. General manager Patrick Sampson showed us the newly operational state-of-the-art solar heating system that services guest rooms and the re- sort's 26 aquamarine pools. e resort's water comes from a natural well aquifer, and the spa o ers a complete line of vegan beauty products. F ewer than 90 minutes from Anza Borrego and a stone's throw from San Diego is the quaint mountain town of Julian, where visitors shop for antiques, visit u-pick or- chards and devour the town's iconic apple pie. It's also home to the Observers Inn (www.observersinn.com), a beautiful two-room guesthouse with its own private observatory, perched on a 4.5-acre oak and pine ranch. is relaxing, cozy inn is dedicated to educating visitors on the eco-system of not just planet Earth, but the entire universe. Nightly Sky Tours present a di erent guided celes- tial show each night, averaging 12 di erent stars, planets and constellations viewed through crystal clear, research-grade telescopes. Relax in the private retreat of the guesthouse living room, or in luxuriously appointed rooms with vaulted ceil- ings, cozy sitting areas, gorgeous framed astral photogra- phy, plush beds and extra deep soaking tubs. Proprietors Mike and Caroline Leigh use only Greenworks products and environmentally responsible detergents, o er recycling, and serve organic co ee and tea in the energy-e cient guest cottage. N o matter which of these options you choose, romance and sustainability are paired blissfully with an eye on the stars—and your heart. SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA IS A MECCA OF SUSTAINABLE ROMANTIC DESTINATIONS By Genie Davis Earth Lovers for february/march 2015 29

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