Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pinecrest: In the News!

Trailer park in Julian is Vintage Escape!

For nearly 50 years, Pinecrest Resort has been a quiet mountain retreat

Saturday, August 14, 2010 at 9:04 p.m.

— Driving down a narrow paved road off state Route 79 leads to a quaint trailer park nestled among stately oak trees.

Home to nearly 100 vintage travel trailers, somewhat more modern motorhomes and an occasional fifth-wheeler, Pinecrest Resort is a vintage trailer park on 85 acres. The park will reach a milestone next year when it marks 50 years of providing an escape for people who want to experience a few days of peace and quiet in the mountains.

Driving around the park, the solitude is evident. The privately owned sites are not crowded; there’s plenty of space for a trailer and room for a picnic area, lawn chairs and storage shed, as well as an area for parking a car.

The trailer park sits in a shaded canyon in the Cuyamaca Mountains, a few miles from the center of the town of Julian. Silver Airstreams, streamlined Prairie Schooners, mini Fans and the smaller Teardrops sit under the trees.

Pinecrest opened in 1961 and was limited to employees and their families from Convair and General Dynamics in San Diego. It sold in the mid-1990s and has been privately owned since then.

Frank Spevacek and his wife, Kathy Rosenow, have been the owners of Pinecrest since 2005. They moved to Julian from Santa Ana 13 years ago, and when they heard the park was for sale, they knew it was a project they wanted to undertake.

“We didn’t go out looking for a trailer park to buy, we kind of stumbled into it,” Rosenow said. “The other part of it is we always loved camping. When our kids were little, we learned quickly the best vacations were taking them out camping.”

The park sustained considerable damage from the Cedar fire in 2003, including the loss of 55 trailers and the previous owners’ house. About one-third of the park was damaged.

For the past five years, the main focus has been on cleaning up the park and replanting vegetation lost in the fire. One of the challenges is that the fire destroyed many of the older shade trees. Plantings have replaced some of the lost trees, but the owners also are working on shade designs for the sites.

“We will build shade structures where it was burned so badly,” Rosenow said.

Much of the work centers on finding ways to create more spaces and attract new owners. Site ownership currently is at its highest since the fire, with 110 sites sold. There’s room for 70 more.

Managers Sydney and Richard Fox are the only full-time residents, moving in when they became managers in 2004 for the previous owners, Dian and Stan Cornett. They first started coming to the park with their family in 1975 and purchased a site 19 years later.

“People who like the outdoors, and it’s not too fancy,” Sydney Fox said of the visitors who come to the trailer park. “It’s a place to go when it rains or snows. We love it.”

Many local residents take advantage of park facilities by joining the Swim Club, giving them daily access to the pool and yoga classes from June through September. Julian resident Bobbi Zane said she joined the Swim Club for the exercise.

“I’ve been so happy since I’ve been able to go to the Swim Club a couple of times a week … can’t beat the environment either, great mountain views, sometimes thunderheads in the sky,” Zane said.

While the park is for members who own their sites, there are a few trailers available to the public, or for members who may need extra space for overnight guests. This includes a 1968 Banner and a 1976 Automate, each with room to sleep two adults, while a 1976 Terry can accommodate a family of four.

Ruth Lepper is a freelance writer from Ramona.

Take a moment to check out the actual post in the Union Tribune: