Los Jilgueros Preserve by Jayne Crabtree

I was born at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital in San Diego and lived by the beach in Leucadia until I was 4. My parents bought a home in Vista in 1975 and that is where I grew up; on a quiet little cul-de-sac, only about 10 minutes from where I have lived for the past 25 years.

Fallbrook always seemed like a far away place when I was young. On special occasions, we’d get dressed up and “drive into Fallbrook” to have dinner at The Cask & Cleaver (which is now Casa Estrella) or The Sizzler (which is now Denny’s). I remember holding my breath as we drove across the Bonsall Bridge on those evenings out as a family. It makes me a bit sad to see her today, covered in paint and overgrown brush. Standing alone, not completely forgotten, but no longer inspiring the awe and fear that I so vividly remember as a child. I feel sorry for those that have never traveled her distance on a dark Bonsall night.

Bonsall Bridge Courtesy of www.onlyinyourstate.com

My husband was born and raised in Fallbrook and Bonsall and was a firefighter for North County Fire for several years before moving to Orange County Fire Authority in 2000. We built our first home together in Bonsall in January of 2002. We got married at the Pala Mesa Resort the following year and welcomed our only child at the now defunct Fallbrook Hospital in 2005.

Photo Courtesy of www.palamesa.com/weddings/

I’ve lived a lot of life here. Fallbrook (Bonsall) has been a wonderful place to settle down, start a family, and grow older. My son went to the same elementary school that my husband attended 40 years ago.

As they say, life comes full circle.

I’ve watched this slow, sleepy little town grow and evolve over the years. Although many things are the same as they were 40 years ago, much has changed. Many young families move here from heavily congested cities and counties, like San Diego, Riverside and Orange County looking for a slower pace and room to stretch out and plant roots. Fallbrook is known for for its agriculture, grassy knolls, and tree-lined streets. When I tell people I live in Fallbrook, I usually hear things like, “oh my gosh, it’s so beautiful there” or “I used to visit my grandparents there when I was a kid!” Their faces light up like they’re talking about Disneyland. (I never get the same reaction when I say I grew up in Vista). There’s just something magical about Fallbrook…and that rustic old-world charm invites families and retirees here, from all over the country, year after year.

Santa Margarita River Courtesy of Jerry Kalman

Downtown on Main Avenue, many of the storefronts and buildings have been modernized over the years, but if you look closely, you can still see glimpses of a time when life was less hectic, days passed by more leisurely, and people waved, smiled and weren’t in such a hurry to get somewhere else. You really have to pay attention, but it’s there.

Photo Courtesy of The Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce

Sometimes when I walk into an old building like 127, I can feel this indescribable energy that seems to come from deep within the soul of the structure. A gentle wave of awareness and melancholy. It’s like looking through an old family photo album, full of relatives you never met, but somehow know. Memories of creation and visions for the future that aren’t yours yet are familiar and comforting, nonetheless. I try to “feel” with all of my senses when I’m in these historic places; to soak up that tingling sensation of realness, to imagine, to remember and to pay my respects to the dwelling that has brought happiness, shelter and livelihood to many generations.

Photo Courtesy of 127 W Social House

We have a small piece of paradise here that needs our love and care, more than ever. We must protect and preserve the true and unique sense of community that is treasured by all who come to Fallbrook looking for something better/different.

Heller’s Bend Preserve Courtesy of Jacquie Miller Photography

“Divide the constant tide and random noisiness of energetic flow, with conscious recurring moments of empty mind, solitude, gratitude and deep…slow…breathing. Of this, the natural law of self-preservation demands.”

T.F. Hodge


  • Margot
    November 22, 2022 at 5:56 pm

    Lovely. I have to admit it’s grown on me. I looked at Fallbrook like a pit stop til I found where I wanted to live in SD county. By the time I looked at various towns far and wide I realized I was where I wanted to be and actually where I needed to be to have a more simple life with plenty of room in each day to sooth my psyche of the clutter of modern life. In many ways although Fallbrook has evolved it’s still like a time warp with a 70’s vibe. A time from which I came and have loved returning too. I live in my own little paradise on my own patch on a hill where overlooking a stunning vista facing west with brilliant sunsets and verdant gardens to meander through that elevates my soul. I live a blessed life here and no longer have a desire to leave for a more sophisticated life in a beach city crawling with weekend warriors. I can be a weekend warrior but most often I choose my perfect place on this earth and hunker down in its comfort and serenity.

  • Christine Chase
    November 22, 2022 at 6:03 pm

    Tracey was able to describe all the reasons why I love Fallbrook….moved here from Poway 25 years ago and still love it.

  • Susan Edmonds/Guy
    November 22, 2022 at 7:03 pm

    You’ve described our little town so beautifully! My family moved here in 1979 and I have always loved Fallbrook since then until now. God Bless our little Friendly Village of Fallbrook.

  • Pat Shobe
    November 22, 2022 at 9:27 pm

    Tracey, your comments were right on, my family moved from Orange County 41 years ago for a slower pace of life to raise our 3 children. Fallbrook was smaller then , with the passing time things have changed . My children are all grown , my husband has passed away, but Fallbrook will always be our home. I always say “The worst day in Fallbrook is better than the best day anywhere else”

  • Carl Catlin
    November 23, 2022 at 12:04 am

    Tracey, you are always a treat to read and this was not at all disappointing. Thank you for sparking some memories of my 51 years in Fallbrook-almost all of them good and memorable. As a very happy resident of Texas I do miss our family, our Church and a dwindling group of friends and customers that we left behind. And lots of memories of Fallbrook Country Club, working summers at Fallbrook High, The Boy’s Club-when it was the Boy’s Club…thanks again.

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