This week marks my six month-a-versary at Ramona Patch. It seems like such a short period and such a long stretch all at the same time.
There's a saying at Patch that goes one normal year is nine years in Patch—or something like that. I'm sure some of you can relate.
After six months of introducing myself to the new sheriff in town, running around town looking for new businesses and keeping up with local politics, I think it's safe to say I've learned a thing or two about "small town" Ramona. And I thought it might be fun to share six of those things with you—the readers. Because without you, Patch and my six months of experience wouldn't exist!
So before I jump into my fun list that you're all dying to read, let me say "thank you" for all the tips, comments, blogs and warm welcomes into your town. The first thing I tell folks who ask me how I like Ramona is "Everyone is so nice!" And I mean it.
Without futher ado, here are six things I've learned in six months about Ramona:
1) Water is a big deal.
Truth be told, I did know that water was an issue up here for Ramona. But what I didn't know is how intricate the system is and how many issues arise out of it. People are always shocked to hear that I "have to go to a water board meeting." But I do and it's interesting to write about past problems, current issues and future financing.
Like the Poway Partnership proposal? That's ingenuity and could be cool to say "Ramona did it first."
2) Ramona is in San Diego?
I didn't fail geography and I can read a map plenty fine, but I think it's true that when you enter Ramona, you don't feel like you're in Kansas... er, San Diego anymore—especially once you hit the San Diego Country Estates or the outskirts of town.
Mussey Grade Road is magical and I find it nice to drive down on a gorgeous day (read: every day in San Diego) just to smile and appreciate the small things in life. The biggest problem Ramona has is people only see Main Street. They don't take the time to travel a little further out to see Mt. Woodson or visit the local farmstand or go pick grapes on a vineyard.
What I'm saying is, I get the appeal. I really do. Ramona is absolutely beautiful, most certainly a "hidden gem" in San Diego.
3) Ramona is a proud people.
As should any town be, right? But you are exceptionally proud, and it's inspiring. You're all so community-oriented and really fight for local business and the town's rural character.
Even though I'm a "suburbia girl," Ramona's rural appeal isn't lost on me. Towns like this are few and far between and preserving them is respectable. Growing up, I can't recall even one time my parents or friends' parents spoke out against their town's zoning plans or the new billboard in town.
It's nice to see a community fight for what they want.
4) You've got a cool chef.
As a self-proclaimed foodie, you can imagine my initial disappointment at the lack of restaurants in town. But after paying a visit to the San Vicente Resort and chatting it up with local chef Ben Peterson, I'm hoping to say "I knew him when..." in the future.
Who needs to go "down the hill" when you've got Chef Ben?
5) Speaking of "down the hill...".
I learned the lingo quickly. Ramona's "up the hill" and everything else is "down the hill." Outsiders may perceive this as a deliberate separation, a sort of arrogance for those living "up the hill."
But I've come to know it as nothing more than geographically accurate. Have you driven Hwy 67? One way is up, the other is down. It's as simple as that.
Besides, we couldn't call Ramona a hidden gem if it wasn't hidden, right?
6) You love wine.
And who am I to complain? Bring on the Pinots, the Cabs, the Merlots! Let me help you stomp those grapes and finish that bottle!
I'm fairly certain that someone refers to wine at almost every community meeting or interview with me. And I love it. You're all so enthusiastic about fermented grapes that it's contagious.
It makes my heart swell when I enter Ramona on Hwy 67 and see the wineries dotted along the roadside. I'm rooting for a successful vintner's industry and if I was sitting next to you right now, I'd clink my wine glass with yours.
So there you have it. Six things I've learned in my short time here at Ramona Patch. Of course, there are plenty of other things I've gained along the way, but we've got to save up stuff for my one year mark, right?
Here's to many more lessons, informing, blogging and neighborly chats. Thanks for welcoming me into town, Ramona! It's been a great six months.