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.
Old Town Temecula was established around 1849, this is where the stagecoaches stops were. Its a lovely area, with lots of shopping, one of its stores is a huge Antique store 3 stories high!, lots of great bargains and antiques if you know how to look for them. There are also excellent restaurants here.
Old town is where several festivals and shows start, check their schedule when you come to visit. Usually there are car shows, blue grass or country festivals going on.
There are several public and private golf courses in the Temecula Valley. There are 5 in Temecula, and several others in Fallbrook (about a 15 min drive from Temecula) and Murrieta (5 min drive). The public golf courses within Temecula are:
Cross Creek Golf Club
Rancho del Cielo Golf Course
Temecula Creek Inn
Temeku Hills Golf Course
Pala Mesa Resort (Public Welcome)
SCGA Member's Club (Public Welcome)
Bear Creek Golf Club (Private)
The biggest Indian Resort/Casino in California, Am I in Vegas? You might ask when you get there. Has an 88,000 square feet casino area. Pechanga Resort & Casino carries the prestigious title of California’s only AAA Four Diamond Resort. They have 522 Rooms and Suites, Convention area, Pool and Spa, with the warm and sunny climate Temecula offers nearly all year round, the relaxing outdoor pool and sundeck are open throughout the year.
Also the resort has an awesome Showroom, check the schedule, this showroom has NO bad seats!, even in the nose-bleed section you can see very well. Lots of famous artists/entertainers perform here.
Temecula is famous for its wineries, we boast 17 excellent wineries to chose from, most of them offer free wine tasting (make sure you have a driver who doesnt drink, so he/she can drive you around, or rent a limo!), and some of them charge a low fee like $5 for 5 tastes but you get to keep a souvenier glass (like Callaway Winery). Most if not all of these wineries are located in one street, which is Rancho California Rd so its easy to get there! My personal favorite is Maurice Car'rie Winery, where they have a picnic area and their brie bread is fresh and very yummy!
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.