Friday, April 29, 2011

California Snapshot: Old Town Temecula

Known as Southern California’s Napa Valley, Temecula has transformed in the past few decades from a sleepy commuter town into a must visit wine destination.

But there’s more to Temecula than just wine as I soon discovered.

Arriving tired and exhausted after the two hour ‘white knuckle’ drive through the maze of Los Angeles freeways, the welcoming Temecula Creek Inn beckoned like a home away from home. Within minutes, I’d booked in, unpacked, and was on the veranda outside my room, coffee in hand, breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the view of Temecula Creek’s sprawling 27 hole golf course.

Checking out the next morning, I programmed the GPS for Old Town Temecula. First on the agenda was breakfast. On the recommendation of the Temecula Creek Inn’s front desk staff, I headed for Swing Inn Café where, they promised, I’d find some real home cooking and they sure weren‘t kidding. A favorite with locals and visitors alike, the Swing Inn Café was busy with a constant stream of people coming in and out.

After filling up on pancakes and eggs, it was time to do some walking and Old Town, with plenty of history and shops, was just the place to do it.

Armed with a tour map from the Temecula Valley Museum, I wandered the streets of Old Town, learning about the various historic buildings, including the Hotel Palomar, the town’s first modern hotel with electricity and indoor restrooms.

Turns out that the Hotel Palomar and the Swing Inn Café, both built in 1927, are the only two historic buildings in Temecula that still run the same type of business that they were built for.

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