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Santa Anita
by Martina

Santa Anita, a Gateway to the Wine Country

By Martina

Santa Anita Baja
Santa Anita Baja

Heading to the wine country? There is a little pueblo on the way and it is a must-see. Santa Anita hides within the greater La Misión area on the free road to the Guadalupe Valley. You won’t want to miss what Santa Anita's Puerta al Valle (Gateway to the Valley) has to offer. You can be assured that there will be some surprises, delightful encounters and yummy eats. Tucked away in little shops you are bound to meet the spirited and talented locals that call this area home. On Saturday the community gets together displaying of their baked goods, arts, crafts, jewelry and stunning upscale vintage fashion. The residents come from all walks of life from Capitol Hill to the Navajo Nation. Everyone has found a way of expressing their uniqueness by sharing what they love. Take the free road from La Fonda. You are just minutes away.

As you walk into the covered patio the first thing that might capture your attention is the lively music of Scott Haynes’s voice and guitar. You are automatically pulled into the fun and you will swear you hear Jimmy Buffet singing. Scott’s voice will take you back to the warm sand on the beach and Margaritaville. Scott writes much of his own music and the songs are of the country, men, women and love. Many of Scott’s songs he composed over the years while living in Honduras, but he is now a resident of La Misión. The lyrics are filled with humor and good life. On other weekends there might be a popular rock band from Tijuana or local Derek Wille performing. Derek is a MYNDSTREAM recording artist and he has worked over 30 years as an internationally known musician and composer. He has played keyboard and guitar with top names like Chic, Carly Simon, Cher, Royal Crown Revue, and James Burton as well as many others.

Santa Anita Baja
Santa Anita Baja

The shade trees are busting with masses of yellow blossoms and invite you to sit for a while and listen to the music and sample The Baja Gourmet’s menu. The rice bowls are a treat featuring fresh yellow tail and sautéed veggies. You can add a cerveza or two. A must-try are the artisanal cheeses and smoked fish. Or you can take a few stairs up to Del Valle Bistro and Café. Here you will find the locals enjoying the gourmet artisanal menu. Whoever penned the names for each dish had some fun with their creative wit. Try the Mad-Hatter Sandwich; a thick grilled homemade sourdough filled with smoked ham and parmesan smothered in Bejamel sauce with an egg plopped on top. Enough for two hearty eaters. The names are so fun, it will be hard to choose: House Benny, Bombero Sombrero, New Yorkah’ and for the vegetarians, the Garden Scramble. For lunch, veggie burgers and the traditional ham and cheese are taken to a new level. Other features are the organic smoothie bar and cold pressed juices with names like Up-Beet!, Morning Burst, Green Juice and Yummy Tummy. And of course, name your favorite coffee drink. The café turns into a gathering place for storytellers, book signings and music.

Santa Anita Baja
Santa Anita Baja

Right next door a new shop has opened called Cultivate. Now you are invited into a world within a world. Stepping inside you will immediately sense there is something mysterious here. It can be felt as a deep quiet. Soft lighting shines on beautiful works of art. Cal Nez and Vanessa Rose introduce their collective heart to seekers in a world where answers can be found. The word cultivate is an action word and the definition is an insight to what this couple is up to. To cultivate something is to bring about an effect, or to draw on and introduce something new. To cultivate a heart’s desire for something that can bring change. Cal Nez is a Navajo painter. His brush captures the heart and history of the Navajo Nation. The canvases can be viewed as a story hidden within the painted images. Vanessa Rose’s, Medicine Carrier line of natural remedies is a perfect pairing to introduce people to a path of restoration. Who couldn’t benefit these days by a little help reducing stress? Vanessa will also be giving yoga classes. Cal Nez learned a special skill from his Navajo wisdom keepers called crystal gazing. The practitioner is able to gaze into a crystal and see within the body areas that might be of concern. Often Vanessa has a natural remedy to help in restoring balance. Cal and Vanessa have created a world that touches the heart and they have been called to share their wisdom of self-discovery.

Santa Anita Baja
Santa Anita Baja

A short walk takes you past the Mail Room and the lending library. You are about to enter Remix. Prepare yourself to be overwhelmed by the delicious vintage fashions, jewelry and glassware. Light seems to bounce off everything. Stacy DiTata will greet you with her dazzling smile. She is a true bright light in the community. Everything she touches comes alive in colorful hand painted vintage clothing to brightly painted furniture and glassware. For seven years Stacy sold her creations on Capital Hill’s famous Pennsylvania Avenue. Then, as now, her mission is based on sustainable living. Her passion is to do something which can benefit the environment. The facts about how much clothing is thrown away each year will astound you and worth noting here. Between 15 to 45 billion garments are never purchased, and for those that are at least three out of five articles of clothing are discarded within a year. This translates to 92 million tons of textile waste dumped into landfills. Stacy said that her business is really based on addressing this unconscionable waste. She buys in bulk, adds her special touch and then sells at very reasonable prices. On the second level of the complex you will find Stacy’s charming furniture store.

Santa Anita Baja
Santa Anita Baja

Archer’s Pizza is open for lunch into the evenings. Inside the secluded patio you will see the stunning photos by Chris Gallo that make the area look like a movie set. Archer, a young Mexican national, actually lived in Napoli, Italy while he learned to create the Archer pizza based on the authentic Italian recipe. Make your choice from his gourmet artisanal menu: Boscalola Napolitana, Caramelized Onions and Gorgonzola or go for the Meat Lovers Favorite. You are invited to bring in a bottle of one of the great Mexican wines from your visit to Baja’s wine country, or stop on your way home for a pizza to go.

Well, that’s the tour of this hidden gem. When you make your plans to visit the wine country, be sure to add this to your list of places to visit.

About Martina

Storytelling is an ancient oral tradition among many of the world’s early inhabitants. Martina, author, freelance writer and journalist, presents her version of how storytelling can vividly portray travel in Baja. Her stories are visual, vibrant and authentic with intriguing hints of Baja magic filtering through her words. She has traveled and lived in both states of Baja California since 1993. Martina offers the reader a truly heartfelt journey. Enjoy! Martina can be reached at: mteomaya(at)gmail.com.
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