New owners at Red Hawk Ridge

Nestled in the foothills of Viejas Mountain in Alpine, Red Hawk Ridge Events is 27 acres of hills, mountain views, and red manzanitas and oak trees. Formally owned by Mario and Kathy Matranga, the owners of Alpine Garden and Gifts before they moved to Montana, the property was purchased by Jesse and Cassia Yi. They are not only making a home for their family but are also renovating the property as a stunning destination for events of all types.

Jesse Yi is an anesthesiologist who works at Sharp Grossmont Hospital, and Cassie Yi is a clinical nurse specialist and the advanced life support coordinator at UC San Diego.

Jesse Yi said their parents are in their “golden age” and originally were looking for a place for the entire family.

“We have a 5-year-old and 8-year-old. We were always looking for a place where they could run around and live like we did when growing up. Just go outside and play when the sun comes out and come home for dinner,” he said. “Nowadays, in coastal San Diego you really cannot do that. It is too crowded, too congested, and safety is an issue.”

So, they started looking at properties out in East County.

“I am familiar with East County. I have been a physician at Sharp Grossmont since 2008,” he said. “I have always enjoyed the unique character and warmth of East County. People in my case, the patients and colleagues that I have worked with. So, looking for a property out here was the focus of my mind. We were looking everywhere. El Cajon, Crest, Alpine, Descanso. It is one of those things when you are looking for a home and as soon as you walk in after months and months of trial and error, and walk into the property and in 10 seconds, you are like, yes, this is it. That is exactly how we felt with Red Hawk Ridge.

Red Hawk Ridge is three parcels of land, which they purchased all three together from the Matrangas.

“It came time that they wanted to move to Montana, and they sold Alpine Garden and Gifts, and we were the lucky recipients of the ones being able to take over this gorgeous property about a year-and-a-half ago,” he said.

When the purchased the property, Jesse Yi said the log cabins were massive. “They strike the eye pretty quickly,” he said.

“The log cabins were imported from the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana, built in Montana, disassembled and then transported to Alpine to be rebuilt at Red Hawk Ridge.”

The Japatul House has four bedrooms and sleeps 16. The upper level includes a bridal suite with full length mirrors, natural lighting, and a large bathroom. From the home’s wrap around deck, you can enjoy mountain views overlooking the private heated pool and hot tub. The Manzanita Lodge has five bedrooms and sleeps 18 with a gentleman’s lounge including a cowboy bar, pool table, and cigar patio. The home’s open floorplan opens to a 2,000 square foot wrap around viewpoint deck.

“Then we had to figure out how to pay for all of this,” he said. Jesse Yi said they had many thoughts, stay there as much as they could and Vrbo it and try to at least cover the mortgage.

“Then that evolved and grew,” he said. “Why do that? Let’s think bigger here. Let’s look at an opportunity here where we can not only just enjoy ourselves as the owners of the property, but we can share our love and excitement of these log cabins, the rolling hills, and the distinctive nature with those all around us. That evolved into a resort, a wellness center, and then finally, because my wife is so talented with logistics and operations, laid out the groundwork for an event center, and a wedding being a pinnacle event for most people’s lives.”

There are two ceremony site options. The Oaktree Lawn which accommodates 250 guests, and small ceremonies of up to 50 gusts can be held inside the Manzanita Lodge with is spacious Viewpoint Deck.

Cassia Yi said that Red Hawk Ridge is a dream come true for her.

“It was an intense year, remodeling almost 9,000 square feet of interior space and creating an outdoor venue from nothing,” she said. “It has been a lot of work, but it has also been really fun. My day job can be intense, and it is all left brain. It has been awesome to do something completely different. My sister is also an interior designer, so it has been great getting ideas and help from her. We spend as much time out here as we can. We love getting away from the city and enjoying everything that Alpine has to offer. My kids love exploring and have totally embraced country living.”

Jesse Yi said they are still a work in progress but have big plans for Red Hawk Ridge. They have already held wedding events, and have plans in the makings for wellness retreats, and business events.

“We did a kid’s Christmas holiday event where we brought in Santa. Santa passed out gifts. It was an opportunity for families to get together, take pictures with Santa in a country environment opposed to being in a strip mall. That was a really fun event,” he said. “We have done several weddings, and we are gearing up for a new season of weddings in the spring and the summer. It seems that here in Alpine, the busiest season for weddings is in September and October because people seem to like fall weddings. We are less than a year in truly marketing all the assets that this property can provide when it comes to types of events that we can offer.” He said they are meeting with corporate activity coordinators to tour the property to see about corporations that can hold weekend and weeklong retreats.

He said they are also working with the Veterans of East County Alliance to see what they can do on the property to help local veterans.

Jesse Yi said they have spent a “fair amount” of finances to modernize the property.

“The Matrangas lived here from the early 90s,” he said. “As you can expect, they did not have modern touches. Nor should they care about it. This was completely their home to enjoy the style they wished. For us, our hearts were never to change the bones of the property from the western styled accents to the log cabins,” adding that they kept many of the original designs of the Matrangas.

For more information, visit


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here