My home town is Temecula Valley Wine Country, in sunny Southern California. Living here has obvious perks such as immediate access to several award-winning wineries, wines, and wine-themed events, along with spectacular vineyard and mountain views. However, in my 15 years of being a Temecula resident, I have come to appreciate the lesser known, unique treasures of my town: history, art, farms, festivals, theatre, and restaurants that prepare fantastic locally sourced food.

Picking Strawberries at Temecula Strawberry Farm

Picking strawberries at Temecula Strawberry Farm (c) Carmen Micheli. FWT Magazine.

The local farms and gardens near us are nothing short of spectacular. I adore trips to Temecula Berry Farm in spring with my two young children to pick blueberries. We also enjoy an occasional “Family Movie Night” projected on the side of the Berry Farm barn under the stars. Summer months mean delicious visits to the Temecula Strawberry Farm for strawberry and watermelon picking. I crave our leisurely family strolls through the Rose Haven Heritage Garden, maintained by Temecula Valley Rose Society and home to roughly 1,600 roses, hybrid teas, floribundas, climbers and succulents – not to mention the gorgeous variety of birds, butterflies, dragonflies and other critters attracted to the flora here.

In autumn, it’s a short drive to the Temecula Valley Olive Oil Company’s Olive Harvest Festival at Olive View Ranch. I love to watch the locally grown olives being harvested and pressed into the oil we buy regularly at their shop in Old Town.

Old Town Temecula is one of my favorite places. There are many historic buildings still intact, and replicas of the old wood plank roads used during the early 1900s are used as sidewalks, keeping the old western town feel alive.

Old Town Community Theatre is the place to go for theatrical, orchestral and dance performances year-round. It’s a beautiful 361-seat proscenium theatre, accessed through the historic landmark Mercantile Building from the 1890s. The Temecula Valley Museum and Pennypickle’s Children’s Museum always have intriguing events that feature notable artists, educators, worldly exhibits and galleries on Temecula’s rich local history and art.

At Old Town Spice and Tea Merchants we enjoy access to the very best teas, herbs and spices hand-selected from around the world. Temecula Valley Cheese Company provides world-class cheeses, house-made mustards and other foodie lovers’ delights to satisfy my frequent lust for the perfect cheese platter.

Old Town Temecula hosts yearly art and street-painting festivals, the famous Rod Run Car Show, Taste of Temecula, Western Days chili cook-off, New Year’s Eve Grape Drop, and 4th of July and Christmas parades.

Our restaurant vibe here is outright impressive. With all the neighboring farms and restaurants who believe in supporting local, I’m convinced we have the best food culture around. EAT Marketplace, The Goat and Vine, Crush and Brew, and 1909 are just a few that use our local farms, artisans and winemakers, creating unique and addicting culinary masterpieces that keep me happily coming back for more.

Temecula is truly a treasure, and I’m content to call it home.