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Hot Air Balloons, Cool Wines, and Cold Cash in Temecula, California
June 7, 2009
There’s probably no place in California that combines three of natures elements, air, water, and fire, quite like Temecula. This Southern California destination offers many reasons to explore beyond Los Angeles and San Diego, making it the best getaway for adults especially. With approx. 25 wineries, there’s enough sampling to make you come back a couple times, just so you can try them all. There are a handful of wine regions in California with the best known in Napa and Sonoma wine country. There are also wine regions in the Central Valley, Gold Country, Central Coast and in Southern California, Temecula’s the “toast” to a great vacation.
It’s no wonder that weddings are so popular, as well. On the day I arrived in early summer, the weather was a dry, comfortable 74. A mellow afternoon breeze softly stirred the air and golfers on the fairway at my hotel (Temecula Creek Inn), could be heard laughing as the air carried the sounds of their happy noises to the balcony of my second floor room overlooking the Creek Course. The resort features three-nine hole courses, ideal for vacations when you have so much to see and do. You can mix and match your course selection for a round of 18 holes of golf, which is great.
But for me, the tennis court across from my room slightly obstructed by graceful vines that grow along its fence, looked so inviting. After a round of tennis, or some afternoon browsing in the historic downtown district (Temecula sits along the western terminus of a once famous Butterfield trail that brought mail from to California in the 1800′s,) the night sizzles in the semi-arid desert with shrubbed landscaping, reddish-gold hills and that usually dry feel.
Pechanga Casino Resort isn’t just about gambling, it seems. Locals told me to be sure to check out the night club, Silk, or take in one of the hot acts in the theater. Of course no trip is complete without a little game of chance. And on that account, I took a chance and only lost a little money. Not bad for the joy of being in Southern California’s only four diamond casino resort.
I called it an early night. I had a 5 a.m. wake-up for my hot air balloon ride. There were four of going on this trip, and it was going to be so much fun. I’ve never ridden over a winery in the waking sun, nor any time. With a fire or flame that powers the balloon, the experience is something you have to experience once in your life. As you float nearly silently up in the sky, the occasional sound of the fuel igniting makes one realize that the earth offers so many gifts in this land that nature touched.
Temecula is an unexpected surprise for those who’ve never heard of it or experienced its joys.
When to go: Any time of year is great for visiting Temecula. For brides planning weddings, April through June, and October through November are the most popular months.
Where to stay: The Temecula Creek Inn has wedding facilities that are amazing, and it normally hosts around 100 weddings annually. You can book your rooms at the hotel, or stay in budget hotels or the Pechanga Casino nearby.
Getting there: There are four major airports within a one to three hour drive of Temecula, ranging from San Diego to Los Angeles. There are many highways to travel on but 1-15 exits at the city.
Plan your Temecula, Calif. vacation: There’s really only one starting point to make a vacation seamless and easy. Temecula Convention and Visitors Bureau should be your starting point. You can play, relax, learn, ask people questions, book a hotel room, then go.