For this adventurous East County couple, blowing San Diego makes perfect sense.
Mike, 58, grew up here, went to Mount Miguel High School in Spring Valley. The Matador had a career in the Navy and shipbuilding. Sixteen years ago, he met and married Ally.
The couple bought a house near Gillespie Field, not far from Ally’s family-owned Webb fine fabric company. Started by Ally’s grandmother in 1946, the factory moved from Glendale to an El Cajon 20,000-square-foot building in 1972.
Mike’s experience made him a natural to run the company, which has evolved from high-quality fabric into a manufacturer of specialty window shades for hospitals and mental-health facilities.
In his spare time, Mike fixed up MG sports cars and studied as a “groupie” the fledgling distillery scene in San Diego.
For her part, Ally discovered nine years ago that her years of hands-on work with fabric and dyes had prepared her for her real vocation as a painter. She opened a studio at Spanish Village and started selling prize-winning watercolors.
The Benbrooks like to get out on the open road. They took a special shine to Oakhurst, the last town on state Route 41 before you enter the Yosemite National Park.
Oakhurst is tiny, about 2,500 residents, but a steady stream of tourists pass through on the way to the jewel of California’s mountain playgrounds.
There’s a thriving art scene in Oakhurst, Ally tells me, with scores of artists drawn to the area’s natural beauty.
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