temecula1While  is long known for its vibrant history, excellent shopping and natural beauty, it has become the heart of Southern California‘s wine region. With its proximity to San Diego an hour to the south and Los Angeles a little over an hour north, it provides the perfect getaway for wine enthusiasts as a stop over or as its own destination.

Over recent decades the landscape has taken shape with rolling vineyards, world class wineries and spas, and award winning restaurants. Gorgeous views of surrounding 11,000 foot mountains tops and valley floors that are cooled by air swept ocean breezes have morphed Temecula into the “up and coming” wine region of Southern California.

My girlfriend, teen daughter, and I recently enjoyed a girlfriend getaway to Temecula, California. We wished we had more than two nights to enjoy this unique little wine region but we managed to pack quite a lot into our little respite of relaxation and exploration.

We stayed at the Quality Inn in Temecula and while it was not high end or luxurious, it did provide a very nice clean and comfortable hub from which to enjoy our varied excursions and exploration. The staff there were very helpful and friendly and it was convenient to shopping, restaurants, and the freeway. The location proved helpful.

temecula2We started off with a lunch in Old Town at Sweet Lumpy’s BBQ. This small, casual, Texas-style, smoked barbecue local eatery offered excellent choices of salads and all the stereotypical barbecue cuisine one would expect.  

Mesquite and hickory smoked ribs, brisket, tri-tip, pulled pork, and chicken were all moist and flavorful. The salads we had were fresh and satisfying with delicious home made dressings. We were satiated and enjoyed our meal amidst locals and tourists alike.

We enjoyed strolling the quaint downtown area and a few blocks away we stopped into the Temecula Children’s Museum. We’ve been to many notable childrens’ museums across the United States and this one truly was one of the best. It’s absolutely evident why the museum and Pennypickle’s Workshop have been deemed a winner of Nickelodeon’s Best Museum and Best Kids’ Party Place.

Whacky and whimsical gadgets and gizmos adorn walls, floors, and ceilings. Workshops, field trips, hands-on displays, classes, presentations, experiments, labs, and even birthday parties, make this place the cat’s meow for kids in Temecula or visiting from anywhere. It was high quality, interactive, creatively designed and very intriguing at every turn.

temecula4While my teen daughter could browse boutiques for some special finds, my friend and I decided to explore all the buzz we had heard about Temecula wines and we were pleasantly pleased as well. We visited three wineries and wish we had time for more.

Temecula is peppered with spas and excellent award winning restaurants as well. It truly does hold appeal for all ages and is the perfect girlfriend getaway.

Carmel L. Mooney is the editor of Roadtripsforcouples.com, an online travel magazine. Carmel’s been on local talk radio for 17 years and now co-hosts THE GOOD LIFE with Mike the Wine Guy on KMYC 1410AM. Her family travel column can be read in California Kids Magazine at: Valcomnews.com You can follow her on Twitter: @CarmelLeeMooney or Facebook. Carmel is also the Executive Director of Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions, a non-profit that trains and places Autism Service Dogs.