Friday, April 25, 2014

A weekend of spiritual rejuvenation

We were so pleased when Elana Kobernick, the Congregation Beth El young adult coordinator, contacted us about creating a weekend retreat for their planning committee. Chai is a spiritual home for young adults who want to create meaningful connections and establish a sense of belonging in the San Diego community. They often work to partner with other organizations to build enduring relationships and inspire participants to lead fulfilling Jewish lives.

Our lush gardens and secluded grounds offered them a tranquil space to plan future events and come together to celebrate Shabbat. We were touched by Elana's kind words regarding their stay at our property. Please take a moment to read about their experience:

"What an incredible retreat space. I work at a non-profit in San Diego and we were looking for a space to do a weekend retreat for one of our committees. We were looking for somewhere not too far from our San Diego and Hidden Valley was just perfect. It is about a 40 minute drive from our office so it felt like we were getting out of town without going to far. The view/scenery is spectacular. You are up in the hills of Escondido and we had clear skies all weekend. There is no city noise or distraction. The cell phone coverage is spotty (better in some spots than others) but we liked being unplugged and focused on the tasks at hand. We slept about 15 people in the main house. Everyone enjoyed the "camplike" feel of bunks (which were large and comfy) and those that stayed in the rooms were happy with the setup. Working with Fiona, the owner, was a pleasure. She invited me out to visit the retreat center and get a feel for it before we committed to using the space. She gave me a full tour and explained how different pieces of the property could be used. Both Fiona and her staff are great at quick responses to emails and phone calls. Every question had an answer. Her warmth and flexibility made working with her easy and fun :-) We used the house kitchen to make all our meals. Hidden Valley provided everything. When we needed anything additional, the grounds keeper was quick to help. We ate some meals outside on the patio overlooking the hills and some meals in the kitchen - adding chairs around the table so that we all fit together. We played games, used the hot tub, walked the property and surrounding areas, lit fires (both in the fireplace inside and the bonfire pit outside), and roasted marshmellows. When we had to focus on work, we were able to all fit in the kitchen and get things done. We had a wonderful weekend and were invigorated. I would definitely recommend using Hidden Valley Retreat and Spa for family reunions, retreats, etc."

Monday, February 24, 2014

Camp Wedding: Carol and Chris


Ahh, summer.  The quintessential time of year that children of all ages look forward to. No school, no tests, no schedule. Just time to relax, enjoy good moments with friends, and for the lucky few, attend an awesome summer camp. But who says that good-time feeling has to end? Chris and Carol wanted all the fun and joy associated with camp, but with the company of their loved ones for their wedding day. It looks as though they achieved just the perfect amount of relaxation, celebration, and good times all around.

 Handmade details were present throughout the property, from the welcome signs and guestbook to the seating and flower-filled roll-top desk. A sign painted with the words "You are what you love" were prominently displayed on our rock-lined tiers for all guests to see. It was a motto that emanated from that morning deep into the dancing festivities at night. Guests were offered parasols to shade themselves from the sun peeking through the oaks and they were armed with signs shouting, "Hooray!" for the special moment the bride and groom would say, "I do."


From the ceremony, guests moved to the main lawn and terrace area for drinks, dancing, and fun! Reception tables were outfitted with our own vintage china place settings, complete with wine goblets and mason jars. Small, green succulents were scattered on the tables and were complimented by lacy LED votive holders for a romantic ambiance once the sun went down. All the decorations created a natural elegance that enhanced the space and echoed the Camp Wedding theme. 

As day turned to night, everyone flocked to the dance floor to celebrate Chris and Carol and the love they have for one another. A photo booth complete with silly props was set up for guests to take pictures and even the couple got in on the fun! From parasols on the dance floor to the Lego cupcake toppers, Chris and Carol crafted a unique, loving celebration for their wedding day. Who needs camp when you can have Camp Wedding?

A special thanks to the wonderful photographers at Atrero Photography and all the talented vendors who made this wedding one to remember! 

Wedding Consultant: Laura Lambillotte, I do...Weddings and Events
Florals: Melissa Barrad
Rentals: Hidden Valley
Officiant: Carolyn Krish
Photographer and Photobooth: Atrero Photography
Dessert: Twiggs Bakery
Hair: Bluxom Salon: Marchelle
Makeup: Mahal Style: Rochelle
Transportation: WESS Transportation, 760-272-0025

Friday, February 14, 2014

Lewis and Cheryl's Wedding

Love is always in the air at Hidden Valley, and what better time to showcase a beautiful wedding than now? Lewis and Cheryl were recently hitched at the property in a laid-back affair that oozed love, good feelings, and lots of laughs.

Fresh, natural succulents were used in Cheryl's bouquet for her walk under our canopy of oaks. A color palette of tan, turquoise, and cream flowed throughout the ceremony and reception spaces for a little pop of color among the greenery. Groomsmen carried turquoise pocket squares with tan jackets that complimented the bridesmaid dresses, blending everything seamlessly together. 

The reception was a true celebration of Cheryl and Lewis as a couple. Fresh, organic elements were interspersed at the reception and rustic items were placed around the tables as decor. For dessert, they made a sweet display with a cake and several yummy cupcakes for their guests to enjoy.

Here is what Cheryl had to say about her wonderful experience
 with Hidden Valley:

Hidden Valley Retreat and Spa is wonderful! If you are planning a wedding, this is the way to go. I rented the whole place for the entire weekend of my wedding. We paid the same amount other locations asked for, but would only give me 6 hours of their time. Talk about bang for your buck! So, I didn't feel rushed in and out. We had all the time in the world to set up and break down. That fact alone took so much stress off of me on our perfect day. Almost all of my husbands guests came from out of town, state, or country. I did not want money to be the reason they did not attend. By using Hidden Valley Retreat and Spa we where able to set his friends and family up with a place to stay on site and still had money to provide all the meals for the weekend.

Congratulations, Cheryl and Lewis! Thank you for letting us share in your beautiful day.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Carol and Chris: Camp Wedding

Carol and Chris's wedding was such great fun! Their "Camp Wedding" theme seamlessly blended into the environment at Hidden Valley and enhanced all the natural beauty. For now, enjoy a picture slideshow from their weekend of love and laughter! Oh, and stay tuned for more pictures, details, and gorgeous moments from their weekend!

Carol and Chris: Camp Wedding

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Michael and Maria's Wedding!

It was a joy to share in Michael and Maria's beautiful wedding this New Year's Eve. The guest list was strikingly international. Maria is Filipino, Michael is Italian, and their loved ones traveled from as far as Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and even the Philippines to be a part of this special day. They had a lovely ceremony in the enchanting Wedding Circle. Maria clutched a gorgeous bouquet of fuchsia flowers as she and Michael exchanged their touching vows before everyone important to them. After the loving ritual, the guests transitioned to the Terraces for a fabulous meal prepared by Michael's cousin, Enzo. Enzo is the founder and Head Chef of Stella Restaurant in La Jolla. His incredible, handcrafted Italianfare charmed the entire wedding party. It was certainly an Italian gourmet experience. After the sun went down, the group gathered in the Event Center for an intimate New Year's Eve party with champagne and dessert and plenty of tango. While the rest of San Diego stayed up to watch the ball drop, Michael, Maria and their friends danced to the distant sounds of coyotes howling to welcome in the New Year.

Congratulations, Michael and Maria! We wish you all the best.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Benefits of a Retreat

Looking for advice in planning your next retreat? We found a great article on Community Tool Box to help you! It begins:


A retreat is a type of group getaway in which the members of that group take time to form bonds with one another, contemplate their purpose and motives, and work on one or more specific goals.
People often mistake any group planning or training meeting for a retreat. Retreats are not supposed to be held at your office or any of the usual places your organization or initiative may use for meetings. Retreats often involve an overnight stay and are usually held at a retreat center where your members can take some time to enjoy nature, talk with one another, think about your organization or initiative, and have fun. Some unstructured time should be set aside in the retreat schedule to allow members to do their own thing, think, and relax.


Retreats can be useful for your staff, members, volunteers, or board of directors. Some of the benefits of retreats are that they can:
  • Eliminate the outside distractions of your usual daily setting
  • Build enthusiasm and commitment among your staff or members
  • Cultivate a casual mood
  • Create a sense of shared experience and bonding to help people work better together
  • Set aside some uninterrupted time to solve key problems
  • Allow you to step back and re-examine goals, objectives, and activities.

Retreats are a wonderful way to replenish and rejuvenate in the company of your peers. If you're thinking of planning a retreat, let us know! We would be happy to help you!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Lori and Jake's Wedding!

Lori and Jake celebrated their love with grace and style. The whole family contributed to their special day, helping to decorate and pull together detailed elements. They used a rainbow of colors throughout their wedding, and played off the rustic, barn-like setting at Hidden Valley. Pops of red could be seen on their wedding cake, reception tables, and in their guestbook. 

Lori's mom also made over 100 jars of jam to give away as favors. When added to the rest of the decor, the homemade gift created a sweet, personal, country feeling for the day.

The rustic theme was carried over from the ceremony to the reception area. With burlap adorned tables and bright flower bunches in vintage tin cans, the overall effect was naturally beautiful!

Time and time again, we are impressed by the creativity of our couples. A perfect example of this is our archway that leads to the wedding circle. Lori and Jake decided on a natural, floral arrangement to
 enhance the surroundings of the oaks. 

The wedding circle was truly an enchanted space. Crystal strands hung from the oak trees to create sparkling light during the ceremony. In a moment of tenderness, Lori's father escorted her down the aisle. It was just the beginning of a beautiful day filled with love, laughter, and warmth.

For their reception, Lori and Jake chose our good friends at Bekker's Catering for a family style feast! They brought a skilled team of servers to provide top-notch service for the guests. As friends and family gave speeches and shared well wishes, the newlyweds could be caught enjoying the fun together.

 They carried the home-made, country setting into the cake display by creating a bakery scene full of pies and sweets! It was a gorgeous, rustic set-up with every fruit pie imaginable!

Congratulations, Lori and Jake! We wish you endless years of happiness as you start your life together. 

Thank you to all of the vendors whose hard work made this special day possible:

Catering: Bekkers Catering
Transportation: Sun Diego Charter Co
Golf Cart Rental: Escondido Golf Cart Center 
Photography: Kate Colosi
Cake: Crimson Cake- Alicia