USA Day 12 – New Year’s Eve in Temecula

Saturday 31 December 2022

Old Town Temecula

Old Town Temecula Map

This morning daughter no 2 has to do another run and there are no pavements on the roads round here, so we take a drive into Old Town Temecula.

Old Town Temecula

The Hotel Temecula

We park at the Old Town Garage, where parking is free and daughter no 2 sets of in her run, while we take a wander along Main Street as far as The Hotel Temecula, which was built in 1883 when the railroad arrived in town. Adjoining the hotel is the Emigrant Office. I find it ironic that this town, which came into existence because of the construction of a railroad, is now nigh on impossible to reach by public transport.

Old Town Temecula – Emigrant Office

Once daughter no 2 has finished her run, we take a walk (via refuelling stops for donuts and hot chocolate) along Old Town Front Street, lined with old style buildings housing restaurants, antique and gift stores. There are some very nice stores, but the prices are a bit too 21st century; $1.95 for a post card – what’s that all about?

Old Town Temecula

Even this garage on 4th Street has got in on the old town vibe with a forecourt full of vintage motors.

Old Town Temecula

Temecula Valley Museum

We walk as far as Temecula Valley Museum which is usually open Tuesday to Sunday, 10-4. Here, in theory, you can ‘Take a step back in time and experience the rich history of the Temecula Valley from its discovery to today. A visit to the Temecula Valley Museum promises a fun and informational day for the entire family.’ In reality it is shut today, so no fun family day for us…

Temecula Valley Musuem

Utility Box Project

I love a bit of public art. Throw in a trail and I’m off and running (well walking anyway). In Temecula, 20 utility boxes around town have been decorated with the work of local artists. A map of the boxes can be found here.

Utility Box Project

Temecula Farmers Market

In a car park on 6th Street, a weekly Farmers Market takes place. Here you can find all sorts of local produce, such as food, flowers and toiletries. It theoretically takes place every Saturday from 8 am to 12.30 pm, however when we arrive shortly before midday, many stalls are already being packed up. So we head back to the car and drive home for lunch and to check up on our menagerie.

Temecula Farmers Market

New Year’s Eve Grape Drop

It’s New Year’s Eve, so we’re off to watch it being celebrated Temecula style – with an enormous bunch of grapes being dropped from the roof of City Hall.

Temecula City Hall

According to the press release, there will be a fun zone and the grapes will dropped twice; once at midnight and once at East Coast midnight (9 pm). Ideal for old fogies like us, as we don’t have to stay up past our bedtime. Plus, we have to be home before 11 pm when the alarm is triggered.

Temecula City Hall at night

So we drive the 5 miles down from the mountains into town, find somewhere to park and set forth for the fun zone. It turns out to be two bouncy castles, a burger van, a face painter and a stand where you can make your own hat.

Temecula Grape Drop

There’s still 80 minutes to go before the big event, there’s nothing for it, we’re going to have to make hats.

Hat making

After a wander round town, we return to City Hall to watch the band in the build up to (East Coast) midnight. The weather is lousy and we get progressively colder and wetter as we wait.

Temecula City Hall

Finally a lady comes on stage to explain that it’s too windy to drop the grapes. Instead they’re going to illuminate City Hall in grape colours. TBH City Hall had been illuminated up until that point. They’ve just turned the lights off and hoped nobody noticed.

Temecula non grape drop

Then there’s a big countdown and the lights, which had been all evening, are turned back on again. Talk about an anticlimax! Happy New Year from Temecula.

Temecula New Year

Author: Jane's Midlife Journey

Stopped work, started travelling. Sometimes I run - combining the two with some parkrun tourism.

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