Visiting small towns always ends up being my favorite part of vacations. One of the reasons I travel is to experience new places and new people. When I see what the people and their lives are really like, that’s when I can fall in love with a place. While you can do this in a city, it’s much easier and more likely in a smaller town. It happened in San Luis Obispo, Charlottesville, Oakland, Chini ,and Biarritz . Not when I visited San Fransisco, Richmond, Pittsburgh, Kuala Lumpur, or Paris.
On this vacation, it was Temecula. A town north of San Diego filled with family owned wineries, quaint antique shops, sprawling dessert, snow capped mountains, a variety of restaurants, and all the modern conveniences you could ever want.
It probably also helped that the day was the most perfect a day could be. Seventy degrees. Sunny. No humidity. And it started in a beautiful winery and ended in a taco shop.
More specifically it started at Hart Family Winery. This is the last winery owned by an original family in Temecula and not sold to an outsider. We confirmed that it would be staying in the family, as the owner has a son that will take over. So nice. We spent a long time at Hart chatting with Debbie, who poured our wine and hopes to own a winery herself some day. She told us about the town and made some recommendations on where to visit. It was the perfect way to start the morning. Six (or maybe more cause she liked us) tastes of wine and some good conversation. We bought a bottle of Blanc d Franc, a dry rose Cabernet Franc. Delightful.
Since we had a light breakfast and then some wine, an early lunch seemed like a good choice. In-n-Out Burger, apparently a California staple, was the next stop. We had to try it before we headed back east. Simple and delicious.
I can’t deny that I enjoy a cheeseburger!
Next up, Maurice Car’rie Winery. We think the owner may have poured for us at this stop. He was an older gentleman, a bit hard of hearing, and a hoot; he was thoroughly amused by the fact that we were from Pennsylvania and it snows there. He would not let the weather discussion rest. It was amusing. We purchased a sparkling pineapple wine for something different. Yum.
After strolling through the shops in old town we stopped at the Temecula Hills Winery shop for wine and olive oil tasting. The wine and olive oil makers wife did both tastings for us. While the wine was good, the olive oil was better. She even mixed their balsamic and white vinegars with the oil so we could taste the delicious combos. Although I’ve done olive oil and vinegar tastings, I’ve never been guided through one, given combos, and got to taste with bread. So fun!
Last stop, Aztek Tacos. There are taco shops all over San Diego and we couldn’t leave without stopping at one! I had a charred chicken burrito with guacamole, mushrooms, and house sauce. Served with beans and rice.
Plus free chips with a salsa bar while you wait. I thoroughly enjoyed the pretty green salsa verde. Good choice if I do say so myself. All in all, very flavorful!
Overall it was a lovely day full of eating and drinking! A perfect way to end a great vacation!