FLINN SPRINGS, Calif. — Southern California is home to hundreds of hidden gems just waiting to be found. That includes a whimsical, long-standing farm tucked away in East County that feels like it was pulled right out of a fairytale.

Nestled in El Cajon foothills off historic Olde Highway 80, Summers Past Farm has served the community as a local getaway for over three decades, bringing to East County the charm of New England’s boutique farms and tranquility of the English countryside.

The farm had been built-up by Marshall and Sheryl Lozier on five acres of land where Marshall’s family had lived for over 50 years.

“I saw the property and it was nothing,” Sheryl recalled to FOX5SanDiego.com. “It was no fences, there were no gardens except for a vegetable garden from (Marshall’s) parents.”

But Sheryl and Marshall had seen the potential to create something with the land that would combine their experience and passions.

For Sheryl, that was a place to garden and grow herbs for cooking, while encouraging others to do it as well. As a contractor, Marshall, on the other hand wanted to build a rustic post and timber barn, among other things.

“We all of a sudden realized that we can create something here that I saw in New England … growing flowers and making wreaths and having herb gardens,” Sheryl described about the land and what she envisioned.

The couple started planning in the late 1980s, coming to fruition years later in 1992 when Summers Past officially opened. After that, it blossomed into the picturesque grounds for leisurely exploration, complete with gardens, shops, a coffee bar and nursery.

In the shops, they sell their own handmade herbal soaps and lavender-based body products, as well as other things like garden décor, fairy garden pieces, candles and homemade spreads like honey and jam.

While providing visitors a place to relax is important to their business, the two were motivated to make a space that would give people the tools and inspiration to create a garden of their own that will thrive in Southern California’s Mediterranean climate.

“The inspiration really was to educate people on growing plants, and herbs were always our emphasis,” Sheryl said. “Our inspiration was to have a nursery to help people educate them, and let them see in our garden, that’s why we have gardens.”

“No matter where you live, you should really have somewhere to go sit down,” she added. “(Where) you drink your coffee, and you have your flower pots there and a table … just something that is really a reflection of your space that you can sit outside and enjoy.”

  • The Barn Shoppe at Summers Past Farm. (Courtesy of Sheryl Lozier)
  • The nursery at Summers Past Farm. (Courtesy of Sheryl Lozier)
  • A Fairy Garden at Summers Past Farm. (Courtesy of Sheryl Lozier)
  • The Coffee Bar at Summers Past Farm during autumn. (Courtesy of Sheryl Lozier)
  • The annual Pumpkin Patch at Summers Past Farm. (Courtesy of Sheryl Lozier)
  • Holiday décor at Summers Past Farm. (Courtesy of Sheryl Lozier)
  • Buildings with the wedding garden at Summers Past Farm. (Courtesy of Sheryl Lozier)

In addition to the day-to-day activities, Sheryl and Marshall also host weddings, birthdays and other seasonal events — everything from an antique fair and wine tasting, to a Sweet Pea Day, Lavender Celebration and Pumpkin Patch.

Being such a long-standing small business in the area, it has become a favorite destination for locals and those traveling through the area.

“What we really have cultivated is a getaway for people — a place to come visit your friends, family,” Sheryl said. “For the community, we are a place that I’ve seen so many families grow-up and these kids that used to play in my sandbox, now they come with their kids and their kids play in the sandbox.”

Summers Past Farms can be found at 15602 Olde Highway in Flinn Springs. The farm is open Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., as well as Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.