Thursday, June 12, 2014

Weekend Escape ~ Temecula Wine And Balloon Festival

As I was fighting downtown traffic on Friday afternoon, I got a call from my Honey, and, without saying hello, he said ~ Let's go somewhere!

Okaaaay... he did not mean to go out for a drink, even though that would be nice; he actually meant to get in the car and get out of town... I was not ready for that! I had plans, like taking Alex to his Taekwondo practice, dusting the house (long overdue!), going through my endless pile of papers on the desk... Getting out of town was not part of my plans, but he sounded a little desperate, so I had to agree and to reprogram myself from working mode to fun mode.

Fine, lets be spontaneous! Lets get out of town! And the next morning, we were off to explore... Temecula, California. One of the greatest things about California is that there are so many great places to explore that are no more than hour and a half away, and Temecula is one of them. Known for its rich history and beautiful mountains covered with vineyards, the city is also famous for Hot Air Balloon Tours, and we were in for a treat ~ this was the Temecula's annual Wine And Balloon Festival weekend!

Work? What work! By the time we were driving, we were in vacation mode.

First stop ~ Old Town where you can find unique shops and restaurants, and after a quick lunch (yes, I am always hungry during road trips), we checked out the shops.

Two shops that I loved were Temecula Olive Oil Co.  and Chile Hedz.

The Temecula Olive Oil Co.  are growers of olives and make delicious olive oil and hand-blended flavored oils, spreads, and deliciously flavored sea salts.

One of the best part of this shop is the tasting room. It was just like a wine tasting room where the  staff introduced the olive oils with and without flavors and let us try a sip for each flavor. I really thought it would be gross, but when I tried a few different flavors, they were all so good... so I bought some... I am such a tourist!  But I do use them at home in salads and am very happy with the purchase.
The Temecula Olive Oil Co. also makes flavored sea salt. I loved the Salish Salt the most for its smoke flavor. I mean, a little pinch on a salmon fillet, and it tastes as if it was smoked on the grill. Nice!
 Love all the olive trees outside the store.
The second store that I thought was a lot of fun was Chile Hedz ~ where you can find more than 200 different hot sauces and mixes. The Front display was no other than a wreath made of red hot peppers. How appropriate!

Finally, we were off to the wine country to check out the Wine And Balloon Festival .
Many people were already there, enjoying the beautiful day, sipping different wines, listening to live music, and waiting for the balloon lighting show. And once we got our wines and snacks, we too sat on our picnic cloth and enjoyed the music and watch merry people passing by.
As soon as sun started getting down, the trucks carrying the hot air balloons have arrived and started pulling the baskets out, unfolding the balloons, and filling them with hot air. We got a front row view!
Quite an experience!

After the show was over, we ended up crawling in traffic for almost two hours trying to get out of the wine country. But the day was so beautiful and fun, that, for once, we did not care about traffic. It felt as if we were gone out of town for a few days, relaxed, happy, and ready for the real world to begin. I am definitely going to put escaping the town for at least just a day on my must do before get too stressed out list.

Do you ever get out of your town for just a day? How often? Where do you go? Would so love to hear from you!

xo, Zuma A.
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