San Diego County is chock full of great family activities, some of which cost a pretty penny and require considerable planning. I, myself, am partial to free activities and am a sucker for a beautiful garden. Wandering through Fallbrook, an agricultural community in Northern San Diego, we stumbled upon Myrtle Creek Botanical Gardens and Nursery. Located in a shady spot, on a picturesque drive, it's a great place to stop and spend an hour or two, or more.
The buildings on the property are old, in California terms, and represent some of the early architectural methods and history of the area. The big red barn was built near the end of the 1800's and is a lovely sight, nestled near the creek and surrounded by gardens. Old farm equipment can be found throughout the property and we had quite a time trying to figure out what they were once used for. Tours are offered by appointment only and I found myself wishing we had planned ahead to schedule one
Besides having lush gardens and interesting buildings, one of the more quirky and delightful aspects of Myrtle Creek Botanical Gardens is their goat rescue efforts. Happy Goat Mountain Rescue Goat Habitat is by far the coolest goat habitat I have ever seen, not that I've seen many, or any, for that matter. With goat bridges and perches, and even an old farm truck for the goats to climb, it's one heck of a goat playground. Entering and feeding the animals costs a few dollars but the money goes back into their rescue efforts.
Cafe Bloom offers organic farm to table food and Myrtle Berry pie and lemonade, the specialties of the kitchen. On the weekends the cafe dishes out some delicious smelling crepes. Lunch can be eaten on the patio, or, a really fun option for a family with antsy toddlers or for a romantic date, picnic baskets can be ordered to enjoy on the property.
They regularly offer events and a daily Mini-Merry Garden Workshop. More information can be found on the website. Do check the site or call before heading out, as it states they sometimes close for bad weather. Myrtle Creek is a nursery as well, with a large variety of plants and garden essentials. There are also lots of interesting products in the gift shop. They are open Wednesday through Monday from 10am to 5pm