Road Trip ~ Take A Long Weekend in Temecula

cinnamon-rolls.jpgTravel posts are harder to write than you might think. They can easily come off with the air of a braggy Christmas letter cuz of the FUN. But my intention is to deliver useful info to you… here’s today’s recommend. If you like the idea of an affordable yet busy So. Cal. getaway, a Long Weekend in Temecula will deliver. Eating is obviously one activity.

Temecula.  I grew up in Southern California, and that area always conjured up Dusty. Hot. Landlocked. We KNOW better, but still never think of it as a serious destination. Unlike a lot of folks in LA, we don’t take many short-distance weekends. Palm Springs (known as “the desert”) is a big draw. Except to us. Vegas is a quick flight, we rarely go. The mountains, nope. The beaches, nah. Somehow, we book 16 hour plane rides faster than agreeing upon a 96-mile drive south.

But, Larry, a Groupon junkie, spotted hot deals and roped in Fun Pals, Cathi and Barry, who brought their adorable butter yellow ‘51 Ford Woody. Want to attract attention? Drive around in a vintage auto.

Larry & woody

Here are the categories of busy-ness in Temecula. Cobble yourself together a very active weekend (but sign up for Groupon first):

Wineries – wine tasting, buying wine, scenery — more than forty wineries are in the area. Or, hire a wine tour van, limo or stretch SUV and you drink, they drive. Wineries have friendly pets, and this dog taught me the fine art of slowing down and watching vines grow.


Hot Air Ballooning – Larry scored a half-off Groupon – I love this activity. We’ve ballooned in Kenya, India, Cambodia (that one tethered) and Paso Robles, CA. Float over wineries, ranches, homes (and get yelled at by paranoid folks. Dude, we cannot see into your house). Sunrise Ballooning

Ballooning collage

Horseback Riding – the last time I rode a horse was 1981 with fellow employees from Berkhemer & Kline PR. Growing up in Palos Verdes, there was always a friend with a horse but that didn’t make me a horsewoman. So now, why was MINE the only one that wanted to trot?? Ouch, ow, wow, whoa. Overall, my horsey and I did OK riding through vineyards and down very PV-looking roads. It was definitely peaceful. Wine Country Trails By Horseback


Old Town Temecula – shopping, dining, sipping wine, hanging out. The weather wasn’t in our favor for an orchard tour of the Temecula Olive Oil Company, but we tasted and bought some darn delicious oils and vinegars. Dinner that evening at The Edge, superb.


Casinos – Popping up out of nowhere are gi-normous Indian casinos akin to Vegas with gambling, shows, buffets and concerts. Larry is a good roulette player but within minutes, the vile cigarette smoke gets the best of us. We hit only one casino long enough for Larry to triple his $50, then we crawled out gasping and our clothes reeked. “Smoke free” areas are a lie, they are not separated by anything besides the color of carpet.

Hot Springs – natural underground geysers have been tamed into resorts. Snag a lounge chair, soak in tubs and pools, book a massage, take a water aerobic class and muddy yourself up with natural clay. Murietta is this-away, Glen Ivy that-away, Warner Hot Springs over there. Not cheap, but if you like to get mellow, add one to your agenda. We did not have time this weekend for hot springs, but have gone to Glen Ivy enough for a day’s worth of relaxation and can report, it is well worth the drive.

Temecula Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lauren@LittleYellowKitchen April 17, 2011 at 11:40 am

I looove wine tasting in Temecula…and Groupon! I bet it’s HOT out there this weekend though. Yikes! Great pictures 🙂

2 Worth The Whisk April 15, 2011 at 8:11 am

Ted, I haven’t put any thought into the future of Temecula wines. My guess is, more wineries will be added, the weather will either cooperate or not, supply of grapes will determine prices and quality of wine, and hopefully, life will be good in Temecula. We’ll be back to check it out.

3 Laura @ Family Spice April 14, 2011 at 7:07 pm

One of these weekends, my husband and I will ditch the kids and do the wine tour of Temecula. I mean it’s only 45 minutes from me, right?!! Beautiful post!

4 Ted Liberti April 14, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Patti, Thanks for the very nice and informative write up on your Temecula adventures. I have been researching Temecula’s wines and wineries the last 4 weeks. How is the quality of the wines coming out of what was historically a feeder area from grapes into big volume wines. I would most enjoy you and Larry’s perspective on the quality and direction of Temecula’s boutique wineries wines. Where do see Temecula’s wines in 5 to 10 years, knowing the area has such lovely equine, trail and restaurant offerings. Thanks and best to you, Ted

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