Friday, May 13, 2011

Pinecrest at 50: A Community with-in a Community.

Julian is a very special place, no-one could deny that. It prides itself on old time values and the strength of a community who comes together in times of adversity. Amazingly, there is a community with-in that community that shares those values and incorporates new ones. This enclave is a private retreat called Pinecrest.

Pinecrest Retreat has been around for a long, long time. In fact, it may surprise you to learn that on Labor Day of this year, Pinecrest will be celebrating its 50 year anniversary! Pinecrest is a private retreat that is home to a significant number of classic vintage trailers and a second home (get-away) to those who own them.

The park has one of the largest, solar-heated outdoor pools in Southern California, and a long history of inviting the community to share in this rich resource. In fact, for many locals, Pinecrest was the place they first learned to swim. Today the Olympic-sized pool is still enjoyed by the extended Julian community, with individual and family “Swim Club” memberships available for purchase at the club house (more information on the “Swim Club” is available at the Pinecrest website: The clubhouse holds dressing rooms with lockers and heated showers, and a classic little snack bar with goodies for all. The park is happy to announce that Judy Fender will be the new Pool Manager this summer! "Our pool club offers a quiet relaxing place to swim laps or practice exercises in a beautiful environment," says Kathleen Rosenow, who with her husband Frank Spevacek, has owned the retreat once used by employees of Convair and General Dynamics since 2005. What could be more inviting on a hot summer day than a sparkling swimming pool surrounded by an oak forest and mountain peaks?

Because the club house and pool are at the heart of Pinecrest, (it’s where site-holders come to sign-in and sign-out when they visit the park)  it has an old time general store feel. Newsworthy items are posted on the community bulletin board and bags of ice can be had for $1.25. Conversely on days when the sunlight is shimmering on the water just right and someone is quietly lounging on a deck chair reading a New Yorker magazine, it can feel a bit more like an exclusive summer resort than a funky rustic hide-away. But it’s the right blend people who make it magic. A combination of rural firefighters and shop-keepers mixed with urban Los Angelinos and San Diegans looking for some down time give the scene a relaxed and often playful vibe.

Another part of what makes Pinecrest special is the mix of old and new, funky and sophisticated, that make it hard to put a label on. For instance, while the road ways within the park remain dusty and unpaved, owners Rosenow and Spevacek are working with an architect to build a contemporary roof-shade structure that will also incorporate new solar heating for the pool as well as a photovoltaic solar system for electricity!

At 50 Pinecrest is still growing and changing, keeping the best of the past and while making thoughtful improvements to ensure a bright future.  In a world that seems to spin faster and faster, this is a place keeps its own pace. Come for the impromptu potluck picnics by the pool and stay for the sound of campfire songs wafting in the distance. Pinecrest is 50 years old now, and with the leadership of the new owners (along with the creative participation of the site holders and community at large) it will continue to change and improve for another 50!