This was a super long weekend for us because of President's Day and our school's semester break combined. We had five days off. Unfortunately, Dad's on a business trip to Hong Kong, so we thought it would be a good idea to get out of town and enjoy ourselves while he's away. Chloe and I went on a road trip with our mom to visit. . . the INLAND EMPIRE. More specifically, the wine country of Temecula. Mom decided that it's time I get ready to take my DMV road test, so she asked me to drive . . . all the way to Temecula. Aside from one scary lane change that scared the bejeezus out of all of us, we stayed in one piece.
I've always assumed Temecula would be a dusty, dry and hot town with not much to see. However we were pleasantly surprised. If you don't know what Temecula is like, here are some pictures of the vineyards:
|Vineyards at Churon Winery|
|Oak wine barrels at the Callaway Winery.|
We spent a lot of the first day just driving around and checking out the wine country, partly because mom didn't make any firm plans. We didn't really know which hotel we would be staying at. Eventually, we checked into the Fairfield Inn, and got a nice suite, which was the cheaper of the two hotels we were considering (bargain hunting rocks!).
Once we settled into the room, I took a really long nap. Mom wasn't too happy about that because she wanted to go out and eat dinner with us, so she woke me from my peaceful sleep (grr). She wanted to try this local steakhouse called The Gambling Cowboy, since it was getting kind of late and we hadn't had dinner yet. We drove all the way out to Old Town Temecula - a really charming, old-west kind of town - and checked out the steakhouse. That was when we realized that none of us were actually hungry. So in the end, we brought a couple of slices of pizza back to our hotel room and munched on them while we watched the season finale of Downton Abbey, which was [SPOILER] really depressing, by the way.
|Entrance to Old Town Temecula|
Mom had been talking about taking us to mine for tourmaline - that was really the big point of the trip - so on day two, she woke us up bright and early (nine-ish) to get ready to dig for those gems! I was never too big on the idea, but she insisted we give it a try at the Himalayan Mines.
We went to Old Town Temecula to grab a bite to eat, but again, we weren't very hungry. We ended up buying some fudge from a local candy store called Old Town Sweet Shop instead, and before long, we all decided to put off the gem-digging until the next day.
|Different kinds of delicious fudge.|
|The fudge is cut perfectly using these metal guides.|
We decided to spend day two checking out Temecula instead: we went on a tour of the Callaway Winery and wine cellars and learned some fascinating facts about how wine is made, not that we can drink wine yet. (Did you know Callaway winemakers are also the Callaway golf club makers? or that oak wine barrels from Europe can cost $1000 each?)
We walked around old town and took a look at an old jailhouse (scared the heck out of us - there were a couple of mannequins in there!), drove around the Wine Country some more, and had a lovely lunch at the beautiful Ponte Vineyard and Inn.
|Old Temecula Jail. You don't want to be locked up in here.|
|Beautiful day for an out door lunch at the Ponte Winery.|
After we moved our stuff into the room, mom checked the internet and found out that there was no gem-digging to occur the next day. The mines are all closed to the public on Tuesdays! Chloe and mom were really bummed out...but I didn't mind all that much. I didn't really want to get my fingers dirty. We ended up hanging out in the room for the rest of the day and having In n' Out for dinner.
|We were hoping to find some gems like this!|
The next morning, we had a nice breakfast at the inn and headed back home for school tomorrow. I drove all the way back, in the rain and did really well.
However unplanned and disorganized it may seem, it was a lovely little trip! Sometimes, you find more adventure that way. We definitely suggest you check out Temecula when you have the chance! We have to make it out to dig for gems some other time, and we'll let you know what that's about!