Kimberly Adams, President and CEO

Temecula Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau



Stay and Experience’s

New, Midweek, Old Town Temecula Top 10 in

Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country


TEMECULA VALLEY Southern California Wine Country, January 8 2013 – “New perspective from unique, new, Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country experiences is as transforming to individuals, couples, family and friends, as it is to tour, travel, business, corporate, and association groups. An intriguing combination of history, dining, culture, and shopping contributes to our newest recommendations for the midweek, Old Town Temecula Top 10,” shares Kimberly Adams, Temecula Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau president and CEO. “With special, Sunday-through-Thursday (better-than-weekend) hotel-motel-resort guestroom and group rates, visitors enjoy appealing savings that can become additional resources for Old Town Temecula activities.” The casual, picturesque valley is 1-hour from San Diego, Orange County, and Palm Desert; 1½-hours from Los Angeles. With natural gifts of climate and geography, bolstered by Pu’eska Mountain, the Rainbow Gap, and Margarita Gap, Temecula hotels-motels-and-resorts are conveniently located minutes – even steps – from Downtown Old Town Temecula; Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country; and Pechanga Resort & Casino.


1-Walk Historic Old Town Temecula

The first travelers to Temecula along the Southern Emigrant Trail into California were trappers, hunters, and explorers, followed by gold prospectors. In 1858, Temecula became one of the stops along the Butterfield Stage Route. Then in 1882, the first railroad line was completed and a new town site was established; that site is the location of Old Town Temecula today. Some repurposed structures built during the railroad years still exist. A stop at the Temecula Valley Visitors Center in Old Town (Third Street and Mercedes; between the Old Town free parking garage and Temecula Civic Center) secures visitors a ‘free’ self-guided Old Town Temecula Historic Walking Tour map/brochure.


Originally a storehouse and store, the circa 1890 Welty Building later became a hotel with a bar, pool tables, slot machines, and a boxing ring where American heavyweight boxing champions Jack Dempsey and Jack Sharkey reportedly sparred. Today, the structure is home to Temecula Olive Oil Company. Across the street, the historic 1891 Burham Store(later Temecula Mercantile) is now The MERC, a club-style performance space with a small art gallery. On the same block, the 1914 First National Bank of Temecula is now The Bank Mexican Restaurant. The first building built as a church in Temecula in 1917 held services until the 1980s. It was moved to its present Old Town location, is nestled by rose gardens, and serves as the Chapel of Memories for weddings. The historic walking-tour brochure includes additional historic properties.


With cattle ranches and grazing land the backbone of the local economy, Temecula’s Old West lifestyle flourished from the 1800s until the 1960s. Today, Old Towns’ “They Passed This Way” monument is a tribute to brave explorers and pioneers who traveled through Temecula in the years as the American West was settled. Etched in the locally quarried, 150-ton granite memorial are dozens of names – like legendary scout Kit Carson and mountain-man Jedediah Smith.


Nearby, the Temecula Valley Museum honors key stories through exhibits spanning the Luiseño Indians to modern day. By advance reservation, the museum provides docent-guided, Old West walking tours of historic Old Town for groups of 10 people and more. Participants stroll Old Town and learn historical facts about Old Town’s oldest landmarks and most colorful characters.


2-Savor the Old Town Temecula Tasting Trail

Old Town Temecula garners favor for its family-owned and operated, palate-pleasing establishments featuring artisan foods and local, Temecula Valley Southern California wines. Midweek visits along the Old Town Temecula Tasting Trail hold potential for opportunities to converse directly with talented merchants, artisans, and vineyard and winery owners.


Visitors to Old Town can taste the fresh, 100% California, 100% extra virgin, hand-blended olive oil and balsamic vinegars at the complimentary-daily Temecula Olive Oil tasting bar. At Old Town Spice Merchants, the shelves laden with fine herbs, spices, salts, and teas are intriguing. Temptation is found at Old Town Sweet Shop with fresh, made-by-the-store’s own chocolatiers, fudge, caramel apples, and chocolate-dipped treats. Old Town Root Beer’s family-recipe, namesake beverage is highly touted; there is also a crazy variety of 300 other classic and nostalgic sodas. Among Old Town wine tasting rooms is Lorimar, a trendy, friendly, relaxed place where guests enjoy premium, handcrafted wines as well as music and art.


3-Shop Old Town Temecula

Old Town includes 60+ individually owned, specialty stores where less-busy weekdays mean more personal attention and potential assistance from shop owners themselves. A favorite destination is charming Temecula Lavender Company featuring locally grown, pure, small-batch, signature products for bath, body, and home. For locally grown-and-made lavender lotions and oils, plus lavender flea-repellent pet products, visitors seek out Old California Lavender. Women love The Farmer’s Wife for classic knits, accessories, books and journals, home décor, and garden accents. Just across the river from Old Town isGranny’s Attic with a great variety of collectibles, antiques, vintage clothing, and one-of-a-kind American furniture dating to the 1800s.


4-Marry, Elope, Renew Commitment

Old Town Temecula’s newest testament to Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country romance is the Wine Country Wedding Chapel. By advance appointment 24-7 (almost like Las Vegas-style spontaneity), the Old Town Temecula wedding cottage provides same-day marriage licenses on-site in the cozy Gretna Green Room.


5-Dine Old Town Temecula

Hip-and-historic Old Town Temecula hosts nearly two dozen, independently and family owned-and-operated restaurants, bistros, and cafés – many with alfresco/outdoor patios and dining areas. From white tablecloth to open-air casual, many are able to accommodate groups by advance arrangement.


Baily’s fine dining is recognized for elegant surroundings, California/Continental cuisine inspired by the use of local ingredients, and its expansive ala carte menu that is also customizable as prix fixe. Front Street Bar & Grill is upscale-casual with patio dining, gourmet burgers, soups, salads, and sandwiches.


Palumbo’s Ristorante features true, authentic, Italian cuisine including homemade Italian sausage, meatballs, gnocci, tiramisu, and cannoli. Soro’s Mediterranean Grill serves specialties like hummus, kabobs, gyro, dolmas, and falafel.


Texas Lil’s Mesquite Grill is Temecula Valley’s original ranch-style steakhouse with a reputation for portions and service that please. Mad Madeline’s Grill is popular for its hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and fries, and porch seating where diners can watch the hustle-and-bustle along Old Town Front Street. Sweet Lumpy’s BBQ offers ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, tri-tip, and more – all garnished with savory, signature, barbecue sauce.


The Gambling Cowboy features an elegant, late-19th-century setting, and classic steak-and-seafood menu. Nitza’s Pizza serves specialty cowboy-themed pizzas, spaghetti, hot wings, and stromboli. The Bank Mexican Restaurant touts authentic cuisine like albondigas soup and carnitas; call ahead for reservations to dine in The Vault. Uber-casual Rosa’s Cantina features flame-grilled carné asada and a fun salsa bar.


Robin’s Nest is gracious with a specialty of baking memorable, southern-style desserts from scratch. With a freshly brewed cup of coffee, guests enjoy treats like lemon bars or a slice of wonderfully rich sweet potato pie.


6-Experience The MERC and Gallery at The MERC

The historic 1891 Mercantile Building is now The MERC. The front room is Gallery at The MERC, hosting an ever-changing collection of works by talented, local artists. At the back is The MERC’s club-style performance space; its tall 19th century brick walls contribute to excellent acoustics. Sunday afternoons, classical musicians are showcased in chamber performances; Thursday evenings, jazz artists like Delfeayo Marsalis, Peter Sprague, and Gunnar Biggs take to the stage in the intimate club setting.


7-Get Country Western

Adjacent the southern Old Town Temecula Gateway Arch is the expansive country western venue Temecula Stampede. The popular dance hall features country western music with a good blend of rock-and-roll. Locals and visitors alike enjoy the music, dancing, and bull riding. Monday and Thursday are free-admission/no dance-cover nights.


8-Picnic on Temecula Town Square

First stop is family-owned-and-operated Campini’s Italian Delicatessen (just south of Old Town) for a picnic to-go. This extremely popular yet very efficient lunch spot boasts excellent sandwiches on fresh-baked rolls, a variety of fresh-made salads, and authentic Italian cookies.


Next stop is Temecula Town Square, actually part of the Mission Revival-style Temecula Civic Center located at the top of the hill above Old Town. An expanse of lawn, trees and benches adjacent the remarkable fountain inspired by the design of native Luiseño basket artistry, make for an ideal impromptu picnic destination. The view to the west is of the shopping-dining-entertainment district, the Pujol Street bridge over the river as it makes its way to the ocean, and the untouched, sage-covered hills beyond.


9-Old Town Events: Arrive Early or Extend Your Stay

Throughout the year, Old Town Temecula is host to a variety of festive, signature events. To more fully enjoy Old Town, visitors-in-the-know arrive days before and extend their stay after, plus take advantage of Temecula hotel-motel-resort special, Sunday-through-Thursday, midweek (better than weekend) room and group rates.


Saturday mornings year-round is the popular Old Town Temecula California-certified Farmers Market. Visitors and locals alike flock to enjoy the festive atmosphere and fill their shopping bags with a bounty of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, artisan foods, and fresh-baked goods.


The spring of the year (celebrated daily as Springfest), sees Old Town host the Spring Rod Run, a Bluegrass Festival, and Western Days with a Chili Cookoff. In summer (Summerfest), visitors enjoy the Street Painting Festival & Plein Air Festival, the 4th of July Parade, and Hot Summer Nights. Autumn (Autumnfest) sees Old Town hosting theOutdoor Quilt Show. Winter is Winterfest with Santa’s Electric Light ParadeWinter Wonderland with real snow, ice skating on Town Square, and productions like theNutcracker ballet and Scrooge: The Musical at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater.


New Year’s Eve is the biggest night of the year in Old Town Temecula with live music and entertainment, special dinner menus and celebrations in Old Town restaurants, and theGreat Temecula Grape Drop with East Coast (9pm) and West Coast (midnight) countdowns to welcome the new year.


10-Stay Conveniently Nearby

Downtown Old Town Temecula is Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country’s friendly dining-shopping-entertainment district. All of Temecula’s hotels-motels-and-resorts are conveniently nearby the vibrant, hip-and-historic, 12-block neighborhood.


Within walking distance or located within Old Town are Motel 6 Temecula (adjacent Sam Hicks Monument Park), the Palomar Inn Hotel (built in 1927, with considerable character, and low rates), and Rodeway Inn (an ideal outpost across the street from country-western dancehall, The Stampede). About a quarter-mile from the northern Old Town Temecula Gateway Arch, are Hampton Inn & Suites and Springhill Suites. At the crossroads between Old Town and the primary route to Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country is Embassy Suites. Within less than 5 minutes of Downtown, Old Town is Ramadato the south; to the north, in Uptown Temecula, are Best WesternHoliday Inn Express,Extended Stay AmericaFairfield Inn & SuitesLa Quinta Inn & Suites, and Quality Inn.


Temecula Parkway leads to two, far-from-the-everyday (yet within 5-to-10 minutes of Old Town Temecula) resorts. Temecula Creek Inn is secluded beside the Rainbow Gap;Pechanga Resort & Casino is due east of Pu’eska Mountain.


*Information is believed accurate but may be subject to change.


The Temecula Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau, the region’s official tourism marketing organization and resource for visitors is online at; “Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country” on Facebook; and @Visit_Temecula on Twitter. The Temecula Valley Visitors Center in Downtown Old Town Temecula (Third Steet and Mercedes, adjacent Temecula Civic Center) is open 7 days. For visitor information and assistance, call 888/363-2852 or 951/491-6085.



Maralyn D. HillThe Epicurean Explorer

International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA)

Board Member, Co-Chair Conference & Media Trip Committee, Past President

Editor-at-Large, CityRoom

Freelance Lifestyle Journalist

Blogs: Where and What in the World & Success with Writing

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