The Coast News Group
Machel's Ranch

The perfect getaway right here in San Diego — Jamul Haven

(The following excerpt is from the B&B Journal I wrote in while I stayed at Jamul Haven).
February 20th, 2010
Dear Bill and Mariann,
I am sitting in the white furry bathrobe I found hanging in the closet. I am reading your magazines on Victorian homes and relaxing, while my husband is having the most peaceful sleep. For a bit, I hung out in the Angel House kitchen and ate the delicious snacks I found in the refrigerator. I drank the milk and ate the banana. Then I called my mother and told her I was having the best birthday of my life. We haven’t even left the Peacock Room because we love it so much. We had forgone dinner in town because this time is too precious at your beautiful B&B and I don’t want to waste it by eating at a typical restaurant. My heart is quieted by the stillness and history of this room. Time feels trapped here and I am so glad to have found “Jamul Haven.”
“Sometimes dreams do come true,” is what I said to my husband tonight. Thank you for having us stay here this weekend. You deserve more blessings because you have blessed others by restoring such a wonderful historic landmark. God Bless you Always.
Sincerely, Machel Penn Shull and Robin
This was my entry the weekend of my birthday at a Bed and Breakfast I had found on the Internet. Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you. You don’t realize there is an ache in your heart until something reminds you it’s still there. That’s what happened to me at this quaint B&B. I found pieces of my childhood inside the walls in Angel House. I sat there on the wraparound porch and watched the clouds drift across this hills. I listened to the birds sing that weekend I turned 39. I reminisced about what I still miss, which is the farm I raised on in Missouri.
What I want to focus on here now with you is what I discovered that weekend. I unearthed the most amazing getaway that is like something out of a Jane Austin novel. We’re talking history and romance restored inside a ranch that was established by Charles Gifford in 1890. He was the first person to can olives successfully for commercial sale in America.
The owners today — Marianne and William Roetzheim — took three years to restore this historic landmark into an already internationally recognized B&B. The, which is an exclusive group of independently owned hotels in Europe, USA, Canada and Southern Africa, rate list only five B&B’s in America and Jamul Haven is one of them.
What you must know is there is a place within reach where you can escape for one or two days. You can find the relaxation you need and pampering in one of the finest B&Bs. You can drive to Jamul, which only 40 minutes to from Del Mar. There you can find reprieve in a forgotten time you cannot find here in San Diego.
Perched up on a hill, above the gated communities near the golf course there, Bill and Marianne have created a retreat where you feel safe from worries in the real world. Their caring nature and their suburb manor as the hosts of Jamul Haven, reassures you that good down to earth people do exist.
After one of the best breakfasts I have had in years — I had frittata, ham, fruit, homemade coffee cake, plus more — you simply don’t want to leave. What I discovered there was a little piece of my soul that still misses the red earth in Missouri. Thank you Bill and Marianne for letting me go home, albeit if only in my dreams.
Around town
On Feb. 19, Meredith MacDonald and I celebrated our back-to-back February birthdays together at Mille Fleurs. Sometimes you just don’t know when you are going to have the best birthday ever. That evening 40 to 50 friends came by to help us celebrate our birthdays. I had one of those crisis moments where I just couldn’t figure out the dress, but managed to find a cute blackish baby-doll backless dress for the evening. My best friend Meredith chose a colorful Versace dress, which looked straight out of Hollywood. I must say if you were there, I was in rare form and felt like I was attending prom. Someone asked my good friend Denny Fallon if we thought Mille Fleurs was our living room, and the answer is yes! Only because this is the best place in town to celebrate a party. Thanks to the behind the scenes staff for accommodating all of that evening during your regular Friday schedule. It was truly a night to remember. Some of those that stopped by were Holly and Heather Manion, Debi and Katie Holder, Brian and Angie Lee, Janice Jaraicie, Melissa Williams, Matt Baker, Denise Hug, Dr. Anthony Smith and many more. Thanks to everyone that came to help celebrate our birthdays. And, a most special thanks to Ms. Krista Lafferty who brought the birthday cake. Take it from me, it’s much more fun to celebrate your birthdays!
On Feb. 20, Robin and I drove to Jamul Haven for my birthday weekend. As you’ve read above, I revealed to you the more intimate side of what my experience was like at this fantastic bed and breakfast. When we arrived we met Mariann and Bill and they showed us around the property. We soon discovered there was also an entertainment facility apart from the main house, where guests could either sing karaoke, play pool, ping pong or enjoy the bar area near the outside pool. There is also a jacuzzi on right below the cascading stone waterfall. And for breakfast there is no need to drive to the grocery store for eggs. There is a hen house on the property. Can you believe that? The next morning we enjoined an gourmet breakfast (check the Web site) and met the other wonderful guests that stayed that weekend, too. After breakfast was over, Bill entertained us with fascinating stories of his own life. From software owner, to knowing Bill Gates, and being a recent Broadway playwright, I was hanging on every word. Then his wife Marianne sat down next to him, looking truly in love still with her husband. Bill also informed me that he will be doing a play reading on April 3 at Jamul Haven. If you enjoy the arts, you just might get the chance to read a Broadway success before it hits New York! Check out for more information on this luxury Victorian Bed and Breakfast. As we were leaving, one of the guests shared with me one of his favorite quotes, “Soar with the eagles and avoid the chickens.” I liked that. Thank you Marianne and Bill. We were enchanted. Call (619)-669-3100 for more information.
On Feb. 22, I actually turned 39. I went to work with all of the splendid people in the office. Thank you to Jim, Laurie, Chris, Jean, Becky, Eric, Cheryl, Tony, Phyllis, Chuck, Sandy and Krista for being the coolest bunch of people anyone could ever hope to work with from 9 to 5. I am truly blessed. Did you know Feb. 22nd is National Margarita Day? How fitting since I love tequila … Mexico has changed me I guess.
On Feb. 23, Robin and I drove down to Little Italy to meet some great friends of ours —Heidi Cruz and Denny Fallon. If you want to feel like you are in the West Village in New York, spend more time on India Street. We ate dinner at Buon Appetito, which is basically the center of this trendy area. Denny, Heidi, Robin and I enjoyed the fine food and great conversation of good friends just sharing their lives together. What you may not know is Heidi, Denny and I all worked together at a different publication many eons ago in Rancho Santa Fe. Heidi had recently been in China for over one month, so I was thrilled to reconnect with her once again.
On March 1, Mille Fleurs launched their “Gourmet Hamburger March Month.” During this month, make sure you stop in for a gourmet burger, with either french fries or salad, with a glass of wine or beer, for only $25. With Chef Martin, you know this will be the best hamburger you’ve ever tried. Make sure you don’t miss out! Call (858) 756-3085 for more details on this special. I am pretty sure it’s only for this month. You can also follow Mille Fleurs on Facebook if you would like to be more informed of the latest happenings at the hottest French restaurant in town.
Save the date
On March 24 and March 25, Oxygen Medical Spa located on Cedros in Solana Beach invites you to take advantage of their “Beautiful Body Regime.” There are all sorts of specials available, from Botox, to Brow design, to Oxygen facial treatments. For more information, call (858) 792-7111. This is your chance to get ready for bikini weather, which is just around the corner. Visit for more information.
If you have an event you would like Machel to cover, you can e-mail her at

1 comment

Micky Penn March 11, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Jamul Haven sure sounds inviting, Machel. Thanks for sharing.

Comments are closed.