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Encinitas – Tea by the Sea – A British Perspective

Despite calling Southern California my home for the past 35 years, I am an unashamedly proud Brit. Proud of my heritage, proud of my history, and very much at home (thank you very much) with the rolling meadows and snug pubs of jolly old England. Not, you would think, the obvious choice of roving correspondent when it comes to the sun-soaked world of Encinitas, CA. But, as we say where I come from, I’ll give it a bash…..

Encinitas to me is a quirky blend of tranquility, community spirit, and enough salt in the air to rival my fish and chips addiction. Stick with me, and, I’ll attempt to navigate the differences between the quintessential British village vibe and Encinitas beach bliss.

Strolling through downtown Encinitas, along Highway 101 (famous Highway 101 I should say – Brits can only name two American roads, the other being Route 66), it feels like a whole new world, only it’s not a whole new world. They have tea. Yes, tea! Ok, they call themselves coffee shops, but they serve tea too. And if you go to Broadstreet Dough Co., who don’t even call themselves a coffee shop, (think donuts – yes, just the three please), they do English Breakfast Tea – I like this town already!  

Next, it’s off for a stroll along the beach. In Encinitas, Mother Nature isn’t just a nosy neighbor; she’s the grand orchestrator, dictating life’s rhythm with the ebb and flow of tides. Say goodbye to the village green; here, it’s all about the Ocean;  it’s blue, it’s calm and it’s surprising warm. There are surfers, who don’t seem to be surfing, but rather sitting in the middle of the ocean chatting with neighbors, swapping stock tips I would imagine. The paddleboarders ARE paddling, but that seems like such a lot of work. Kids are running, screaming, and digging holes in the sand. There are seemingly very intense games of flag football and volleyball being contested and most of all, people are laying out and enjoying the sun. 

Watching so many people exercise is thirsty work, it’s time for a traditional British Pint of Ale in a non-traditional pub.  Encinitas boasts some of the finest watering holes along the West Coast. I’m in Modern Times Beer and Coffee (Not Tea), they have an outstanding selection of dark and light ales, but they are not the only ones. Encinitas has dozens of breweries. But don’t fret dear reader, this reporter takes his job very seriously and will try every one, so that you don’t have to. 

I’m at home here. There is a sense of community and a sense of welcome. Alone at the pub? You can always rely on a local to start up a conversation or invite you over to a full table to join in the discussion.

Villages, where I come from, may have their cozy pub quizzes and quaint fêtes, but Encinitas takes community spirit to new heights. Sure, they’ll do the traditional stuff like sunrise yoga on the beach or impromptu barbecues by the shore, but with a twist – particularly, if you combine yoga and pints!

In these sandy enclaves, neighbors aren’t just neighbors; they’re family. Need a hand with a beach cleanup?  You’ll have a queue of volunteers at six the next morning. Planning a charity event? Expect the whole town to rally behind you, even if it means sacrificing a day’s worth of surfing.

Unlike the concrete jungles of urban centers, Encinitas gives big-box stores and fast-food chains the cold shoulder. Instead, I see mom-and-pop cafes dishing out freshly caught seafood, artisanal shops hawking seashell trinkets, bookshops,  boutique clothes shops, and small independent hotels so cozy you’ll forget you ever needed a high-rise hotel.

Why the aversion to commercial giants? It’s not just about preserving the quaint charm; it’s about preserving sanity. Who needs a Starbucks when I can sip my tea (sorry latte folk)  with a side of ocean breeze? And forget about fast food; here, it’s all about slow food – because when the backyard is the sea, there’s no rushing perfection.

Having spent my day reporting, analyzing, and sampling I find myself in need of sustenance, I’m off for some fish and chips, of course, I am. But where to go? If in need, ask a local!  Now, here’s where Encinitas truly shines – their hospitality. Whether I’m a weary traveler seeking solace or a city slicker craving a taste of the coast, I’m welcomed with open arms.

Far from being cliquey, Encinitas locals pride themselves on their inclusivity. Joining a pickup game of beach volleyball? Expect to make friends fast and don’t be surprised if you are invited to the locals-only barbecue by the end –  just don’t ask for the secret sauce recipe.

Fish and Chips? Of course, Encinitas has fish and chips. Quickly and enthusiastically I am offered three different experiences within a two-minute walk from my pub. Fun fact, Fish and Chips is no longer the national dish of Great Britain, Indian Curry is. And guess what, they have that too!  There’s an endless choice of unique restaurants in Encinitas, and each one has a story to tell. And talking of stories, I haven’t even touched on the art, the sports, the entertainment, the nature and wildlife, the spas, the pet-friendly options, the family-friendly options, or the romantic ‘let’s ditch the kids” options. All these things need a deeper dive. It looks like I will be coming back!

Time to bid farewell to sandy shores and streets filled with walkers, joggers, bikers, and bladders. I did, in the end, find my contrast between the UK and Encinitas, but I found even more similarities. , Encinitas may have its quirks – from wetsuit-clad garden ornaments to yoga and beer sessions – but beneath the surface, it’s just like any other British community: tight-knit, welcoming, and embracing of the natural wonders it sits on.

So, whether I find myself nestled in the heart of the countryside or perched on the edge of the sea in Encinitas, I’ll remember this: the true essence of community knows no bounds. Whether I’m raising a pint in a cozy pub or sipping a tea (still no cappuccino here) with my toes in the sand, the bonds of kinship and camaraderie are alive and well, weaving a tapestry of connection that stretches from shore to shore – and beyond. Cheers to that, mate!

Andy Soler
Author: Andy Soler

After three decades of sending people around the world, Andy now uses his skills to promote local business and the City of Encinitas in particular. He heads up Renewww Marketing a successful online Digital Marketing Company, specializing in promoting the the brands of local companies worldwide. He sits on the board of the American Business Council of San Diego. He sits on the board of AFX Charitable Foundation, Inc.

Picture of Andy Soler

Andy Soler

After three decades of sending people around the world, Andy now uses his skills to promote local business and the City of Encinitas in particular. He heads up Renewww Marketing a successful online Digital Marketing Company, specializing in promoting the the brands of local companies worldwide. He sits on the board of the American Business Council of San Diego. He sits on the board of AFX Charitable Foundation, Inc.

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