Several weeks ago, well months now, Ken and I went away for a few days while Casey was enjoying the fun of house boats on Lake Shasta. (Have to say that it is worth every penny to send him to summer activities far away so that we can have our own fun.)
Anyway, thanks to a Groupon purchase, we had a few discounted nights at The Inn at Churon a winery/BandB in San Diego's own wine belt, Temecula Valley, which is producing some excellent wines. Unfortunately, we were not very pleased with our lodging as it is in a state of approaching being a "has-been" in need of new owners who are willing to invest. This is quite strange as everything in Temecula Valley is relative new making it surprising that anything could be in serious disrepair so soon. Did not like their wine either.
We did stop by some wineries that we had found in the past and discovered new ones tucked into hillsides and resting on hill tops; thus adding to our "wine cellar" which consists of a small cooler and any cool hideaways in the house. How I would like the wonderful basements we had in St. Louis and Syracuse (which actually had a wine cellar but, sad to say, was before we were wine aficionados.)
However, this blog entry is not about wine or the lush Tuscanesque landscape of Temecula Valley.
Instead it is about the discovery of a hidden treasure that we have ignored and misunderstood for years and years. When we lived in Riverside, we would occasionally drive down to San Diego and now that we are in San Diego, we have driven up I15 more times than I can count or remember--on our way to Riverside, Palm Springs, Idlewild, Arrowhead, Big Bear, Apple Valley and other SoCal destinations. Each time we have driven right by the Temecula city turn off--seeing only the businesses spread out along the highway--MacDonalds, tire shops, a mall, maybe a roadside restaurant or two. Certainly nothing beckoned us down the ramp. It seemed like just a small, old, tired place, certainly not a place of charm or interest. As this old town and the new vibrant Temecula Valley are on opposite sides of the freeway, the town is easily ignored.
Our foray into the town only happened because Temecula Valley restaurants are really geared for the weekend crowds that come for wine tasting and a few days get away time. Many are closed during the week, or so it seems. So, we decided to cross the tracks (really the freeway overpass) and see what was available in Temecula proper. And we were enthralled by what we found. A town that lost its history and purpose when the freeway went in, reimagined itself and has become a place of wooden sidewalks, cute shops carrying wares different than the ubiquitous offerings of the mall culture, places to eat (not Michelin quality, for sure), a look into its old time jail, a Lionel Train store that has anything for which you may be searching, a wonderful new theater and cultural complex and an old hotel for sale in the event you have always wanted to run an inn. It's a fun way to spend a few hours, strolling, exploring, and in my case, finding clothing that is unique that I love wearing.
So, if you have time to kick back, relax and just stroll a bit, take a detour into Temecula town.
While we were meandering, we began talking with Kristine Turner from nearby Marietta Springs. She offers "A Culinary and Wine Lovers Tour" if that sounds interesting. I have no idea whether it is good but she seemed interesting and firstname.lastname@example.org or 931-239-5973