When I think “luxury,” images of Manhattan salons and LA boutiques come to mind. However, here in Southern California, where blondes and beaches rule the town, we have a different kind of pampering in mind. (Think long walks through the sand and meditation sessions under the sun.) During this holiday season, be sure to take a break and visit Encinitas, an artist’s haven 25 minutes north of downtown San Diego, where the pampering meets nature and nurture.
Sleep in on your day of luxury. Be sure to mark off some “me” time in your calendar with a trip to Spa for One Sanctuary located off E Street. Peggy, an esthetician and owner, will make you feel like a star. Sit quietly among the candles and warm lighting during one of their unique pedicure treatments-an extravagance compared to the factory feel of your mall’s nail salons. The most basic “Down to Business” pedicure includes a complementary Rainforest Foot Soak, serene setting, and a secluded room. With music playing in the background, curtains drawn, and carpeted floors, the décor makes you feel like you’re in a friend’s living room rather than a spa. It’s homey and perfect for a truly pampering experience.
When you can finally manage to pull yourself away from the Sanctuary, cross the coaster tracks and head west. Just down the hill you’ll find the main street of Encinitas: South Coast Highway 101. Saunter into Book Tales. The store-a tiny stop on your stroll-is packed to the ceiling with (used) guilty pleasures: paperbacks of everything from romance and mystery, to westerns. You’ll find yourself lost in the titles of this tiny corner store. There are a few hard cover books for the serious readers, but they’ll be cumbersome even to cross to the other side of the street to the coffee shop.
Walk your used belongings into the front door of the E Street Café, the next stop on your journey. Before grabbing a beverage (caffeinated, creamed, or cold), be sure to investigate the different spaces to chose from to unwind. Don’t settle for convenience. Chose the right room to fit your chi. Perch at a tall cocktail table up front, sit at a side table next to the piano, hunch over a computer screen in the back, or lap up the sun’s rays outside. Relax, kick up those pretty feet, and get lost in your “new” novel.
If you’re looking to spend some time meditating with the surf, take your goods to go and head towards Moonlight State Beach at the end of B Street. Its amenities-free parking, public bathrooms, picnic tables-allow for a peaceful afternoon. The only thing left to worry about is your mind, so find a comfy spot and relax with the surfers. It’ll do you good to watch them ride the waves for sure.
Stick around the shoreline to watch the sunset or head over to the D Street Bar and Grill for a bite to eat. Try one of the reasonably-priced house specialties-steamed clams, chili, or “Street” tacos. If you’re not ready to eat, you can choose from many other options: return to the E Street Café for one of the evening stage acts, cross to the east end of town to the Quail Botanical Gardens, or take a yoga class at the Self Realization Fellowship Meditation Gardens. Allow yourself to be pampered in Encinitas. If you can let go, the serenity of the town will take care of the rest.
What & Where:
Book Tales (603 South Coast Highway 101; 760-436-7892)
D Street Bar and Grill (485 South Coast Highway 101; 760-943-9101)
E Street Café (128 W. E St; 760-230-2038)
Moonlight State Beach (400 B St.; 760-942-6405)
Quail Botanical Gardens (230 Quail Gardens Dr.; 760-436-3036)
Self Realization Fellowship (SRF) Meditation Gardens (215 K Street between 2nd and 3rd St; 760-753-1811)
Spa for One (609 S. Vulcan Ave., Ste. 101; 760-634-7772)