Peachhead™ Approved Vacations: Vacation in Temecula, CA
I love my girlfriend getaways, and I especially love when they are nearby. One of my favorite weekend getaways is Temecula wine country. It is a one-and-a-half hour drive from Los Angeles and you feel like you are in an entirely different world. My first stop is always Wilson Creek Winery for their almond champagne and chocolate port served in a chocolate cup…yum!!!
This trip I was lucky enough to stay in one of the nicest resorts in Temecula, South Coast Winery Resort and Spa. The rooms are all villas (76 of them) and they are very nicely decorated. Each room has a Jacuzzi tub, fold-out couch, fireplace, even a refrigerator to store your wine, champagne, and cheese. The resort also leaves a bottle of their wine in the room for you upon your arrival. I love their wine (in fact, I am a member of their wine club).
When we arrived at the hotel we went on a behind-the-scenes wine tour. Gregg showed us around the winery, taught us interesting facts about wine growing, and explained why there are so many roses on the property (they indicate if there is a problem with the soil before the grapes do). The tour includes a sit-down fruit and cheese service with a tasting. Gregg explained the different wines and what to pair them with. Lovely.
I am a happy hour girl so I was thrilled when I learned that the South Coast Winery Resort and Spahas a happy hour Monday – Friday from 4:00 – 6:30. Everything on the happy hour menu looked fabulous and the majority of the items were $7.00 (half price) for very large portions. We ended up having the ahi poke, crabcake, crispy calamari and shrimp, shrimp and scallop tropical ceviche, and the antipasto platter. Everything was perfection and the service was wonderful.
Temecula has an area called Old Town Temecula. During the daytime you walk around and shop at the cute stores selling jewelry, clothes, antiques and you can go wine tasting. My friend Mark ownsLorimar Winery, so if you stop in, tell him you are a Peachheader. On Saturdays there is a farmers' market. Stop by there to get appetizers to take on your wine tasting day. We got the spinach and feta cheese hummus from Baba Foods that was incredible with their pita chips, along with their roma salad. We also tried an apricot honey goat cheese that was amazing (unfortunately they ran out so we couldn’t buy it). Be sure to bring your ice chest with you to store your food while you go wine tasting. At night, Old Town comes alive with live music at the various restaurants and bars. We started out atTemecula Wine and Beer Garden. They have an outdoor patio with a live band. The band that was playing was called Xceeded. They were really fun and had everyone dancing all night. We also stopped at The Edge which is a very nice restaurant and bar, beautifully designed. They had live music as well but it was too crowded so we didn’t stay. Our next stop was The Public House. They have a large outdoor patio with really cool waterfalls/firepits. The band that was playing there was more of a jazz band.
The next morning we had to get up very early because I was finally going to go hot air ballooning withMagical Adventure Balloon rides. Be sure to check their website as they offer great online specials. You have to meet them at 5:45 in the morning in the parking lot at South Coast Winery Resort and Spa. The morning was very cloudy so they had to recalculate where we were going to take off. It was pretty amazing to see what goes into getting a balloon off the ground. Once we were up in the air I was amazed at how smooth the ride is. You are literally gliding in the air. We reached as high as 3000 feet and went right through the clouds. Pretty cool. They never know where they are going to land because it all depends on the wind so they talk to the “chasers” on the radio to determine the meeting spot. As we came down they were there waiting for us to guide the balloon to a safe landing spot. With the sunrise package, a continental breakfast at South Coast Winery is included; however, you can order anything off the menu and just pay the difference. I was surprised to see most of the breakfast items run in the $10-$15 range. My omelet came with an incredible warm berry cobbler….heaven. The company also takes pictures of you in the morning and offers them on their website. And get this…you can download them for free. Very unusual for a company to offer free pictures and I really appreciate it.
The resort has a spa called Grapeseed Spa. I found their prices pretty reasonable. You can use the pool area if you are not getting a spa treatment, but if you are getting a spa treatment you can also use the steam, sauna, and a separate Jacuzzi in the spa. I had the most amazing massage there. I had Carol and my friend had Belinda and we were both very pleased. In fact, I met a group of 4 women who all raved about their massages. There is also a fitness room available to guests (which, believe me, after the food and drinks I was having, I needed it). The pool was nice and calm with relaxing music. Everyone at the pool was drinking champagne and having chocolate-covered strawberries and enjoying the beautiful day.
For dinner that night we went to Café Champagne at Thornton Winery. Anytime you walk past an herb garden into a restaurant, you know you are in for something special. This restaurant has a beautiful view of the wineries and they have live music on Friday and Saturday nights. This night they had an amazing flamenco guitar duo called Desert Rose that played throughout the night. Their music was angelic. You can start out your dinner with a flight of wine. There are a variety to choose from. I loved that the flight included a glass of sparkling wine along with a variety of reds. We started out with a couple of appetizers. The seared Hawaiian Ahi was very good. It was served with the most amazing pickled shitake mushrooms (and I don’t ever eat mushrooms). We also had the warm brie en croute. This was served with a warm honey walnut sauce…unbelievable. For dinner I had the filet and my friend had the seafood cioppino and was blown away by how delicious it was. Although we were full, I couldn’t leave without trying the warm lava cake for dessert. A perfect ending to a perfect meal.
We stopped at Bailey’s Old Town Temecula to catch some live music after dinner. Harms Way was the band performing that night and they were great. The outdoor patio was very big with a number of fire pits throughout the patio. Everyone was dancing, having a great time. I really love the vibe that the bars have in Temecula. Everyone is just dressed casual having a great time listening to great music and very friendly.
In the morning we headed back to Old Town to have breakfast at Front Street Bar and Grill (at Bailey’s). I had the most delicious strawberry crepe. It was served cold and every bite melted in your mouth. I can’t wait to go back for another one.
I love visiting Temecula because it is a close drive, beautiful scenery, wonderful wines, delicious food, great weather, fun night life, and friendly people. I can’t wait to return.
Bailey’s Old Town Temcula hosted my breakfast, Café Champagne hosted my dinner, and Magical Adventure Balloon Ride hosted my balloon adventure.