This could be the start of something big. Wine has been around since man first squeezed grapes and set it aside to ferment. Since that time wine has grown up to be one of man's most recognized drinks, "the nectar of the gods" as one once put it. the party, dinner, gathering, social event drink of choice. There are many regions of the world that grow grapes, some more successfully than others. Some more recognized than others. But, the final word on the best is up to you and your taste buds. California has become not only recognized as having some of the best wines of the world but now different areas are awakening as wine regions and Tehachapi has now given birth to grape vines that will turn grapes into wine.
Souza Family Vineyard has started the ball rolling. Bob and Patty Souza have ranched in the Cummings Valley next to Tehachapi since 1990. In 2003, the wine bug had not only bitten the two of them, but it has set the stage for Tehachapi to become the next wine stop for aficionados of the liquid grape. Bob, "The Wine Guy", studied hard and Patty was right there with him as they both decided to go forward with this idea of having Tuscany in Tehachapi. So was born the Souza Family Vineyard. They grow a great grape to make Primitivo Zinfandel with two labels; "Quattro Stagioni" sold through their Souza Family Vineyard website, served at finer restaurants and Country Clubs and available for sale at local retail stores.
Tehachapi Wine & Cattle Company label is exclusively distributed in the Tehachapi area, so that tourists and visitors can take home a "remembrance" of their 'Tehachapi Experience'.
My own personal experience was a delightful one. The tasting of the "Primivito Zinfandel" was one of complete satisfaction. Bob and Patty are two wonderful hosts as well as owners of the Souza Family Vineyard. I have two travelogues with photos of the property. I also have a "Local Custom" tip about pruning the vineyard that was on my bucket list. For the price of the tasting you are rewarded with the history and efforts they put into making this vineyard produce an award winning wine and to me it was way before its time. They entered the very first produced wine they made at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition in 2008 and took home a silver medal. 2009 brought them a bronze medal and then the excitement builds as they took the gold medal in 2010. Tehachapi is on the map with wine and the thanks has to go to Bob and Patty Souza, who made a dream a reality. Now, all we common folk have to do is go to Tehachapi and enjoy the wine. I'll be back. The winery is open on Friday-Saturday-Sunday from 11am t0 6pm. If you go, please tell them that Virtual Tourist's "travelgourmet" said to say hello.
Triassic Legacy Vineyards and you might think that Fred Flintstone will be waiting for you behind the tasting bar. Maybe, even worry that the extinct raptor has come back to life. Well, you are partially right. Triassic is for the time frame of 248 to 206 Million Years Ago. The Legacy is for the handing down from the Triassic period to the present the dirt that was once mighty mountains now ground into tiny specks of rock. The naming of this vineyard the Triassic Legacy actually may be prophetic as in time the Triassic period was a transition period for earth. So to, the coming of the vine age in Tehachapi as vineyards begin to sprout a transition may appear from a rural town to stop for a bite to eat, a bed to sleep, and a gasoline station to fill the vehicle with gasoline for the drive down the road, to a true destination of vineyards and tasting rooms for this could be the next wine region of California.
Triassic Legacy Vineyards is located in Cummings Valley and one of the owners Chuck McCollough is counting on that Triassic meltdown to become pay-dirt. He has planted his vines with a few varietals and right outside his new tasting room the Viognier planting is starting to grow. I met Chuck in the tasting room and we had a great chat about wine and the influence the growth of vineyards in the area would have on Tehachapi. We both agreed that vineyards are a strong magnet for wine aficionados and that the Cummings Valley has already proven its worth with the neighbors of Triassic Legacy, the Souza Family Vineyard winning the gold at the 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition for their Primitivo Zinfendel.
Chuck McCollough and George Gonzales of Triassic Legacy Vineyards, along with Bob and Patty Souza of the Souza Family Vineyard and other vineyard hopefuls have formed the Tehachapi Mountain Valleys Wine Growers Association and are looking forward to the area becoming an American Viticulture Area Appellation for greater Tehachapi that would include the Cummings Valley, Brite Valley and Tehachapi Valley, plus the adjacent foot slopes along the edges of the valleys. That would encompass over 42 thousand acres of viticulture area. Some times dreams do become reality. I'm betting this one will. In fact, it is one of my weekend getaways now and I enjoy it anew everytime I sip a bit of wine. Triassic Legacy Vineyards is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11am - 6pm. If you stop by, please say hello from travelgourmet. Thanks and Cheers! :-)
"All Aboard!" From out of the west, we return to yesteryear, the mighty call was made to get on the steam spitting locomotive with passenger cars or rail cars and a caboose. This was a train making a stop at the original Tehachapi Depot built in 1876. It burned down and was replaced by another built in 1904. Owned by the Southern Pacific Railroad and then owned by Union Pacific Railroad. Passenger trains stopped here until 1971.
Misfortune struck again. Fire and the Depot burned down again in 2008. The City of Tehachapi has taken over and now only freight trains go by sounding their horns and making the Clickedy-Clack on the railroad track, as if to salute the renewed Tahachapi Depot rebuilt by the City of Tahachapi and the volunteers. Aspen Builders, Inc. was awarded the bid to rebuild the Depot and today you can see that even though trains don't stop here, the vibe and look is of the way it was. the best part is while you are walking aroung the Depot a freight train may go by to make you relive those days of old. Open Thursday through Monday 11am to 4pm. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
Murals tell the colorful history of Tehachapi.
Downtown Tehachapi is a quaint area of shops, stores, boutiques, restaurants and markets. What you are looking for is the murals that have been painted on the side walls of buildings and even a retaining wall. I was unable to photograph them all but I do have a few. It is refreshing to see beautiful murals that depict a time or date in the history of a city than to see the blight of the big cities with the graffiti which shows disrespect for the community. My favorite one is called "People Of The Mountains” by Colleen Mitchell-Veyna. It is the artists view of the Kawaiisu or Nuwa tribes village life who inhabited the area hundreds of years ago. The total mural was fantastic to see and I took a photo close up of the domed huts called kahnis which I felt told the story of peace and contentment in the Tehachapi Valley. Take the time when visiting Tehachapi to see the murals and to get an idea of small town America that takes pride in their community.
Chalk on the Walk is a yearly event sponsored by Tehachapi Valley Arts Association, Gallery 'N' Gifts, and Main Street-Tehachapi, with proceeds from the event going to Art Scholarships and Grants for local students.
Applications for Chalk on the Walk are usually available at Gallery ‘N’ Gifts, 100 W. Tehachapi Blvd. The entry fee vary from year to year, but includes a 4-foot by 4-foot square of sidewalk downtown, as well as a Chalk on the Walk T-shirt, and a box of 24 professional artist pastels and sometimes a t-shirt.
Check with the Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce:
Hours: M-F 10AM to 4PM
Closed 1-2PM for Lunch
Tehachapi Museum offers a glimpse to our simple past. It is a small building, but filled with lots of information and displays that has been so gracefully donated by our pioneer families so many in the future may enjoy them. They renovated the whole inside of the museum last year, so it is even better!
Built in 1936 by business men Frank Baumgart and Leo Kanstein who combined their names and called it Beekay Theatre. This theatre served the community for over 50 years and like many same theatres they fell on hard time. It was bought and converted into small business and it had its up and down. In 1994 it was gutted by a fire and all that was left was a shell. It stood like for many years until Tehachapi Community Theater group raised the funds to have her restored to her former glory if not better. Now she served the community with local plays and for rentals and special events.
This is next door to Centennial Plaza!
This is where we met up with VTer 'YAQUI', who hosted us for a lovely evening in the town!
The Depot was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999, and in 2005 the town made a deal with Union Pacific for the land and began restoration. Shortly before it was finished in 2008, it was gutted by fire, but a year later the second reconstruction project began, and it was opened just this Spring 2010!
As you can see by the photos, it is a beautiful building with many historical objects and memorabilia inside and is the culmination of great effort by the local people!
And Admission is FREE!
The Tehachapi Pass Railroad line was cut thru solid granite by over 3000 Chinese laborers between 1874 to 1876 and is considered a feat of civil engineering genius and one of the 7 wonders of the railroad world!
It is a single track line and still in constant use today. It was part of the last and final link of the first railroad line connecting San Francisco to Los Angeles and a primary factor in the early growth of Los Angeles and the State of California.
Called the 'LOOP' because the track passes over itself, a design which lessens the angle of the grade. The loop gains a total of 77 feet in elevation, and a long train in fact passes over itself.
Take a drive thru the town and see on many buildings the beautiful murals which depict much of the history of the area.
There is a listing of the various murals and a MAP of where they are in the website noted below.
The one shown here is of the MONOLITH CEMENT FACTORY, with the 2nd photo listing its history.
"The Monolith mural was designed and painted to honor the importance the cement plant and the township of Monolith played in Tehachapi’s history. It was created based on vintage photographs by artist Art Mortimer. The mural celebrates the 100th anniversary of the cement plant, where production began in 1908 by the City of Los Angeles to produce cement for the Los Angeles Aqueduct."
Other murals are in the Travelogue below.
Tehachapi offers many visitors so many things to see and do. If your an outdoor warrior, then maybe a night or two camping or just taking in a day trip to hiking to enjoy the fresh air and beautiful moutain views. There is the Nuooah Nature Trail.
Camping sites include 61 family campsites and 2 group facilities at the Tehachapi Mountain Camp and Sierra Flats. An Equestrian trail with a 10-horse corral that lies adjacent to the Horseshoe Campground. My hubby, his best friend, hubbies brother and my oldest son camped here frequently and have really enjoyed how easy it is get to the camp grounds and how nicely the camp is set up. The have recently upgraded the bathroom facilities too.5b
This is a wonderful theatre. Some may not like it and may consider it closet theatres, we like just fine. It is never overly crowed other when a new showing. It is always clean, huge restrooms, and friendly folks. Make sure you look at the coupon links and they have specials, that help you save money.
The poppies are our state flower and they are plentiful every spring if we had decent seasonal rain. We actually had more snow more than rain, so the poppies were excellent. Lots of people like to frequent Lancaster at the poppies reserve, but I think this year we had more.
The best time for flowering is from February to September.
Indian Point Ostrich Ranch is a 20 acre farm facility is nestled in the mountains overlooking beautiful Cummings Valley. They give tours for all groups. It is a working ranch that educates the public the benefits of raising ostriches for the quality of it's meat. Has a gift store also. To learn more you can checkout their website.
Over 30 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens with over 2800 species of plants with secret little paths that will lead you to different areas of beauty. They give lectures, seminars, and guided tours of the grounds. It's a very peaceful way to enjoy a sunny day.
Check my travelogue to see more of the beautiful blooms.