Temecula Valley Strawberry Farm is a great little spot just south of Temecula on the 15 freeway. They are open to the public for picking strawberries which they grow hydroponically in stacked containers. When we went, there were beautiful strawberries in incredible abundance. This is a great activity for families with children, though I was somewhat surprised to see several young couples arriving during the time that we were there. They charge $4/pound and are open weekends only. Recommended.
Temecula Valley has it's own viticulture area named the same as of 2004. It was the Temecula Appellation since 1989 and grew to become a major player in California wines. There are about 28 wineries in Temecula and most are in the valley portion about 15 minutes from the I-15 freeway. Temecula is the perfect week-end getaway that can include many wine tastings at the wineries located just on Rancho California Road. Eleven such wineries line this road up into the valley. Many wineries have tasting rooms, tours, restaurants, and picnic areas. My two favorites are Callaway Vineyard and Winery and Baily Vineyard and Winery. Callaway has complimentary tours at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm. Both wineries are class operations with Baily's being a family business with many wine gold medals. My wife and I have lunch at Baily's Winery when we go wine tasting in the Temecula Valley.
This can be an all day affair with a couple of wineries visited in the morning, well, wine tastes good in the morning, just as much as later in the day. Most wineries open at 10am and stay open until 5pm. Have lunch at a restaurant or picnic at a winery. Back out on the road for a couple of more wine tastings at two of the many wineries. Remember that in wine tasting, you can spit out the wine you are tasting into a container. This is the way to stay sober. If you do enjoy the tastings and drink up, please by careful and have a designated driver with you or hire out a limo to drive you around. The wine seems to taste better when you step out of a limo. There is golfing nearby and hot air ballooning. Several resorts are located right in the wine valley with many hotels/motels in Temecula, proper.
Just off the I-15 in Temecula, on Front Street is the heart of Temecula, Old Town. the part of Temecula was started up in 1859 when the second post office in California was established. The first was in San Francisco. The Pechanga Band of Indians had been around for up to 10,000 years before the Spanish came in 1797 to look for an area to build a mission. One was built a few miles away in Pala.
As for Old Town today, it is a great week-end getaway for most of Southern California. Within an hour's drive from San Diego and about two hours from Los Angeles, this area of Temecula calls out to the old west feel in most of us. Antique stores, boutiques, restaurants, bars, and one of the largest country western music venues in the Stampede.
Aside from Old Town, Temecula also has 28 wineries in the valley, about 15-20 minutes up Rancho California Road. A lot of fun, a lot of walking, talking, eating, and drinking go on between Old Town and the winery road. Spend the week-end and enjoy this wonderful part of Southern California.
The gallery at the Merc always has a rotating show of different art types. It ranges from oils, watercolor, sculpture, etc. Always interesting and open during regular box office times.
In October there is an outdoor quilt show (Oct 2, 2010) this year and in the gallery will be a contemporary art quilt show. I live local and have been there the every year they have held it.
Wonderful day of wandering Front Street looking at the quilts, going to the gallery and dining in some fantastic restaurants. Check out The Public House for some wonderful organic and creative food. Several winery tasting rooms are also in the immediate area.
Popular local artist, minister, and musician, Ralph Love, opened an art studio in an abandoned shack near this location in 1957. Best known for his paintings of the Grand Canyon, his landscapes of the Southwest include many scenes of the Temecula Valley. Love’s art is now highly valued by international collectors.
Opened in 1915 by Mrs. Lizzie Hall, who was both proprietor and chef until the 1930’s. Daughter, Edna Swanguen, served as the only local telephone operator from 1918-1961 and ran the café when her mother retired. The switchboard was located in the rear of the café, where Edna lived with her husband, Carl.
The Friedemann family purchased the building about 1910. From 1916 into the 1940s, Will and Jessie Friedemann operated the meat market there. Will Friedemann also built and ran a nearby slaughterhouse.
This wonderful museum has many exhibits represent life in the Temecula Valley through time and different cultures. Lots of beautiful displays of handcrafted artifacts, cultural items, ranching and farming equipment, documents, photographs, and more, Other exhibits depict key stories, including the Luiseno Indians, Mission San Luis Rey period, establishment of the ranchos, and transportation influences including the stagecoach and railroads.
And so much more!
Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Sunday 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Suggested donation $2.00
Built in 1892 by Macedonia Machado, this general merchandise store later became the Temecula station post office with Mr. Machado serving as post master. For a long time it was the "Long Branch Saloon" and is now and antique mall.
Built in 1882 by R.J. and Mary Welty, the year the railroad came to Temecula, It burned down in 1981 and was rebuilt in the same year. Bought by Dr. and Mrs. Horace Parker in 1960, renamed "Temecula Hotel" and restored to its turn-of-the-century decor. It is now a private residence.
Built in 1891 from local bricks, Mr. Burnham ran this complete "shop center" for ranchers for 60 years. A terminal for jerkline freighters who delivered supplies to isolated ranches. See granite hitching posts and steps. Now the home of the Old Town Community Theater.
Mr. & Mrs. R.J. Welty built this store/saloon about the same time as the hotel. In 1902 Joe Winkles bought it and named it "Ramona Inn". In the 1920's a "Blind Pig Saloon" with gymnasium hosted prize fighters Jefferies, Sharkey and Dempsey for workouts. Today an antique store and deli occupy the building.
Built in 1914, it was the first poured cement building constructed in Inland California. Mr. Vail called it his "pawn shop". Robbed only once in 1930. Upstairs featured a community center and dance hall. Closed in 1914, now a Mexican restaurant.
Wineries are aplenty in Temecula and the atmosphere is fun and less commercialized than other popular wineries in the State of California.
My sister chose to get married in a nice winery in Temecula which has a windmill (Maurice Carrie Winery). The garden wedding was a blast, although on an October night, it was a little bit chilly! But my sister looked radiant and happy...
There are Temecula wine tours like through http://www.winetastingintemecula.com/ or you can just drive around yourself and look at the list of wineries: http://www.winetastingintemecula.com/
There are a handful of wineries up here to taste. It is a great day trip. The wine isn't nearly as good as central coast or napa but it's different. Below is a list of some of the wineries and their prices per tasting (as of 12/05).
Wine tasting prices are shown below per winery:
Thornton $9 - 15 (place makes champagne)
Wilson crk $10 (with coupon $5)
Bella Vista $6
Leonesse $? Tour with tasting
Stuart Cellars (Picnic area) $10
Stuart Cellars (Picnic area)
We hit up:
My favorite place is Thornton. You can go sit down with your friends or family and they'll bring the tastings to your table. They have some very interesting sparkling wines there. TRY the Syrah Champagne! It's great!!!