SoCal Summer Guide – Inland Empire Splash Pads

June is just beginning, but the summer heat has already shown up in the Inland Empire.

A splash pad – a recreation area with no or little standing water – is a great place to cool off in the summer heat without all the stress of going to the neighborhood pool.

A splash pad is something all of the children can enjoy – from bigger kids to toddling babies. One-year-olds love to splash in a small pool of water.  Older kids love watching other kids manipulate streams of water and sticking their feet in the fountains in the ground.

Inland-Empire-Splash-Pads

Photo Credit: City of Lake Elsinore

Splash Pad Tips

  • Wear sunscreen and bring an umbrella if there is not going to be shade nearby.
  • Wear a swimsuit to play in the water and consider water shoes. Avoid flip flops that get slippery when wet or catch on rubberized ground.
  • Don’t bring the family dog to a splash pad. Not only could a child with a fear of dogs be forced to leave the pad, but even a well-trained dog could get nervous or overexcited around screaming, running kids.
  • Since there is no need for a lifeguard at a splash pad, keep a close eye on your children.
  • Wear swimsuits to a splash pad if possible, including swim diapers if needed.

 

 

Inland Empire Splash Pads

There are many splash pads all over Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino counties) – from public spaces, regional parks to water parks.

Here’s a list of some you don’t need to pay admission to get you started.

  • Citrus Park Splash Pad at Citrus Parkin Corona is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. until September 30th. The splash pad, which features water cannons, leaf-like structures and other ways to play, is near two playgrounds and grass areas for drying off in the sun.
  • Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga has a small fountain feature splash pad in the center of the shopping area, close to Bath & Body Works and Ben and Jerry’s. There is a family-friendly bathroom nearby for changing.
  • Monte Vista Park in Chino features a fenced-in splash pad with a tall geyser spray and has benches nearby.  The seven-acre park, which also features playgrounds and basketball courts, will have the splash pad running 7 days a week  Open  June 14 – September 1 from 10am-6pm.
  • The colorfully-lit interactive fountain at The Shoppes at Chino Hills is in the middle of the shopping center. There is a bathroom for changing nearby, so change out of your swimsuit and get dry before you go shopping or have lunch.
  • Veterans Park in Colton has along with the splash pad has large trees and grass nearby for moms to stay in the shade. There is two playgrounds, other activities and a library and community center.
  • The splash pad at Tom Minor Park in San Bernardino is right next to a covered area with picnic benches and a playground. However, there are no bathrooms at the park – the nearby Arco station bathroom (by Starbucks) is the closest option.
  • Lake Elsinore’s Canyon Hills Community Park has a splash pad along with its 18 acres of park activities and sport fields. The  whimsical splash pad is walled off and surrounded by umbrellas to keep parents cool.

Updated 06/20/2014. Posted 06/04/2014.

SoCal Travel Guide – Temecula Winery Getaway Tips

There are many things to do in Inland Empire, but the jewel of the valley is Temecula Wine Country.  Temecula Wine Country is a little known secret nestled between San Diego and Los Angeles and offers a variety of options for a romantic getaway or a getaway with friends.  Whether you are a foodie and music lover like me or a wine enthusiasts, there is something for everyone to enjoy.   Out of town friends that have never visited the area before, always go home feeling like the have enjoyed a little bit of paradise.

I recommend the World of Wines event in March or Barrel Tasting Celebration during the month of November.  Each event includes wine tasting at over 30 wineries with gourmet food pairings.   The WOW events are a great way to visit all the wineries and discover  new favorite places.  If you’re visiting Temecula for the first time I also recommend a stop into Old Town with a visit to EAT Marketplace for brunch and Havana Kitchen for dinner.

Temecula_Wine_Country_Getaway2

Wilson Creek Winery

Temecula Getaway Guide

If you’re planning a weekend getaway to Temecula Wine Country print this vetted list of favorite Temecula Wine Country destinations and prepare for a breath-taking weekend  of scenic views, great food and wine tasting.

Make sure to visit this page before making a trip again and again as I’ll keep adding additional tips & discounts when available.

Temecula_Wine_Country_Getaway61

Leoness Cellars Winery

 

Temecula’s Best Wineries

Europa Village Winery – Europa Village is an elegant and charming winery.   The European style reminds you of an Old World European village with some modern flair.  Some of the best things about the winery include the wine cave, ample seating spaces and views of the vineyards.    The staff is very knowledgable and friendly and make you feel like a part of the family.  The Dans de Vin Artists Series and  Moscato wine is one of the favorite wines in the region.

Leoness Cellars Winery –  Founded in 2003, The Leoness Cellars Winery also known as “The Village of Dreams” cellars is located in the rolling hills of wine country.  They also have a great restaurant and tasting options.   The White Merlot is one of the favorite Rosés in the region.

Miramonte Winery – Known as the hippest Winery in town, the Miramonte Winery is nestled on top of a hill overlooking the Temecula wine country! Some of the best features of the winery include the outdoor veranda, vintages, Live music and water misters.  The winery also serves several Mediterranean plates that pair well with your wine tasting.  The Miramonte Winery Sangria is also one of the finest Sangrias in the region. The owner is also very savvy with Social Media and you can find him online from time to time sharing his insider wine and entrepreneur tips.  Also, keep your eyes open for Mojo, the hippest dog in wine country.

Robert Renzoni Vineyards & Winery – The winery is located on an Italian Villa in Temecula Wine Country.  The history of the families wine make experience also dates back to Italy.  You will literally feel like you have been transferred into a small Italian Villa in Italy when you walk thru the winery.  The restaurant also serves an assortment of delicious salads and fries.  You can also purchase their signature olive oil, vinegar, marinara sauce and hot chili sauces.  The Moscato wine is one of the favorite.

Wilson Creek Winery – There are so many things to do at Wilson Creek, including concerts, picnics, lunch, tastings and dinner.  I recommend an early afternoon brunch at The Creekside Grill.   There are several delicious plates including the Cheese plate, Bruschetta and Gerry’s Reuben sandwich.   Make sure to get the mimosas any time of day.

 

Temecula_Wine_Country1

The Restaurant at Leoness Cellars – Pear & Gargonzola

 

 

Temecula’s Best Dining Spots

Creek Side Grill at Wilson Creek

E.A.T. Marketplace

Havana Kitchen

South Coast Winery – Vineyard Rose Restaurant

The Restaurant at Leoness Cellars

The Restaurant at Ponte Winery * reservations recommended

Broken Yolk

Temecula Wine Country Accommodations

The Inn at Churon

The Inn at Europa Villa

Temecula Wine Country Villa Chateau $399-$699 per night – sleeps 12

Temecula Wine Tasting Transportation

We recommend the all-inclusive day trip on the Grapeline Wine Tours.  The shuttle will stop at four wineries and includes a picnic lunch, behind the scene tours of vineyards and wine-tasting.

Temecula Wine Country Seasonal Events

March – Celebrate World Of Wines for 30 wineries.  The weekend events includes a self-guided wine tasting with gourmet food pairings for over 30 wineries.

September – Celebrate California Wine Month during the month of September 2014 with a SIP passport.  For $40 you get to visit 4 wineries. The SIP Temecula passport includes 4 wine-tastings at 4 separate wineries of your choice.  The discount is about 50% average cost of wine tasting prices.   Get your SIP  Temecula passport here and celebrate California Wine month.

November  – Annual Barrel Tasting Weekend.   Visit over 30 wineries for a fun-filled self-guided Food & Wine adventure in Temecula Wine Country.  Purchase tickets at the Temecula Growers Annual Barrel Tasting or an all-inclusive tickets with transportation to Grapeline Wine Tours Annual Barrel Tasting.

Temecula Wine Country Discount Tips

If you’re looking for a luxurious experience at reasonable prices also check-out Travel Zoo Temecula Wine Country offers  for huge discounts on afternoon wine tasting tours, spa treatments and more.  Travel Zoo discounts typically need to be purchased in advance so plan accordingly.

 

I hope you enjoy your stay in beautiful Temecula Wine Country.

Cheers!

Eva Smith Tech Life Magazine

 

SoCal Travel Guide – Oceanside Pier

Oceanside Beach is one of my favorite beaches to capture a sunset!  You can stroll down the pier, listen to the waves, enjoy lunch at the local diner on the pier and watch a beautiful sunset.  It is also one of the friendliest places to park your car, go fishing, enjoy the sun, a stroll on the pier, take a coastal walk and lunch or dinner at Ruby’s diner.

It is one of my favorite places to visit during the summer.  We have made a lot of memories there.

 

 

Additional details

City of Oceanside Pier

Address

Located at N Pacific St, Oceanside, CA 92054, you can

 

Celebrating 365 Days of California Strawberries Farm & Culinary Event

Did you know that  nearly 90 percent of U.S.-grown fresh strawberries come from California, with more than 1.7 BILLION pounds being harvested annually – basically, if California were a country, it would be the world’s largest producer of strawberries!

I recently attended the 365 Days of California Strawberries Farm & Culinary Event and learned about the process of growing, cooking and  celebrating life with strawberries.    We enjoyed over 30 different appetizers and entrees made with fresh California Strawberries and toured a California Strawberries farm.  All our strawberry inspired recipes can be easily made at home.

California Strawberries Beach Side

We started off the festivities with a beachside gathering with strawberry appetizers and main dishes.  We had grilled salmon with fresh strawberry mango salsa , strawberry salad with berry dressing, chocolate dipped strawberries and strawberry shortcake.  Two of my favorites dishes were the strawberry gazpacho and strawberry mango salsa.  The gazpacho was light and delightfully sweet.  I also couldn’t resist getting second and third servings of the Mango Salsa with tortilla chips.

 

 

California Strawberries Farm Tour

The following day we headed out to a California Strawberries Farm for a hands on tour of a family owned and operated Strawberry Farm.   We walked through the strawberry fields, learned how to properly pick strawberries, touched and smelled the soil with our bare hands and ate fresh strawberries. We also learned about the hard work, discipline and dedication involved in farming Strawberries.

There are more than 400 strawberry farmers in California, many from multi-generational farming families who grow both conventional and organic strawberries. California grows more organic strawberries than any other place in the world.

Terry & Will Terry (L-R) – Father & Son – Terry Berries Strawberry Farmers

Our favorite multi-generational strawberry farm is Terry Berries Farm, the farm we toured.   Edgar Terry an Oxnard native and farmer was raised by a family that has farmed in Ventura, California since 1890. A fourth generation Californian, Edgar wanted to be a farmer since he was a child.   Edgar runs his family owned business, Terry Farms, Inc., alongside his wife of 29 years, Martha, who handles HR for the company. His son, William, handles the day-to-day farming activities, while his daughter manages employee compliance, hiring and food safety. Edgar’s brother runs the machine shop.  In addition to growing strawberries on 200 acres since 2002, Edgar grows a variety of crops, including celery, peppers, cilantro and spinach on about 2,000 acres of land.

 

California Strawberries Culinary Event

After our California Strawberries Farm tour we celebrated with more Strawberry inspired recipes.  Our specially prepared menu highlights the nutritional benefits and creatively prepared recipe ideas for  cooking with strawberries:

We enjoyed fresh herbs in farms cheese with stuffed strawberries rolled in pecan bacon.  Yes! Bacon.  These yummy appetizers were very savory.  The lacinto kale salad with strawberries, red grapes, spicy candied pecan & blue cheese was my favorite entree.

After enjoying the mountain views  for a couple minutes we enjoyed our next course, grilled chicken tacos with savory strawberry serrano, fire roasted corn, red onions, avocado salsa with ancho cheese.   We also savored a peanut butter, strawberry jam and bacon Kobe slider with waffle fries and strawberry ketchup.  The strawberry ketchup was delicious!

We ended our culinary experience with a strawberry shortcake popsicle and strawberries and ice cream.   It was truly one of the most amazing culinary experiences I have ever attended.  My palette is still dancing!

California Strawberries Nutritional FUN facts

  • Superfruit: 8 strawberries contain more vitamin C than an orange. Low in sugar, with only about 50 calories, strawberries are a great source of fiber, folate and potassium.
  • Stay smart with strawberries: According to a recent study, eating strawberries more than twice a week appears to delay cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years!
  • Good for your heart: Potassium found in strawberries can help control blood pressure and fight strokes. Plus, antioxidants, fiber and phytochemicals in strawberries have been shown to reduce total cholesterol levels.

 

The next time you buy and eat strawberries, I hope you remember my California Strawberries tour and consider creating nutritional strawberry inspired recipes to celebrate life. Make sure to visit California Strawberries for strawberry recipe ideas & additional tips.

I’m very thankful to California Strawberries for the opportunity to tour a California Strawberries farm and the Terry Family for sharing their love and passion for farming strawberries.

 

 

Disclosure:  I was invited by California Strawberries to tour a California Strawberries Farm.  All opinions are 100% my own.

 

Question:  What is your favorite strawberry inspired recipe?

Wordless Wednesday: Tranquil Vacation Spaces

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday link up! This week’s topic is Tranquil Vacation Spaces.   

My favorite Tranquil space is Glen Ivy Hot Springs Spas.  It’s the perfect place to relax, detox and rejuvenate.  We travel to Glen Ivy a couple times of year for a  girls day out.  It’s a perfect getaway day trip to unwind.  I also take an annual mother, daughters and granddaughter day out where we pamper my mom.

Question:  What is your tranquil vacation space?  If you’re linking up, be sure to include the title of your photo.

 

Roadtrip to Cabrillo National Monument, Old Point Loma Lighthouse and Old Town San Diego California

We’ve started our American Latino Heritage roadtrip of the Southwest with stops in San Diego, Arizona, New Mexico & Nevada. We’re visiting historic sites protected by the National Park Service that honor the contributions of Latinos throughout American history.  As I prepared for the trip I identified a number of historical sites in my surrounding areas, especially in my home town of San Diego.   I never realized these treasures existed in my back yard.

Being raised my a single mom in Mexico and then in Calfornia didn’t give my mother many opportunities to take us on field trips, other than visiting relatives in Mexico.  As I’ve become an adult and raise children of my own, staying connected to my heritage is something that is very important.  This road trip has been a perfect opportunity to connect with my Hispanic Heritage.

On day one we encountered the beauty of historical sites in San Diego, including the Cabrillo National monument, Old Point Loma lighthouse and historic Old Town San Diego.

In 1542, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo stepped into history as the first European to set foot on what is now the West Coast of the United States. A monument was buit on a hilltop where it is believed he landed.  We watched the story of the 16th century exploration and walked towards the grounds of the monument. The monument is also home to one of the most breathtaking views of San Diego.


We also visited the lighthouse. This was my husband’s first time at the Cabrillo Monument. It was exciting to see him explore the surroundings.  The lighthouse is very small.  The people that lived in it were very resourceful with space.  Walking around the lighthouse I couldn’t help to think whether the residents were lonely on top of the hilltop.

Cabrillo National Monument features a 16th century Spanish History museum where you can learn about the Spanish explorations. The lighthouse museum also highlights life at the Lighthouse and the history of the longest standing Lighthouse keeper family, the Israels Lighthouse keepers who lived and worked at the old Point Loma lighthouse for 18 years.

 

 

 

 

We traveled to the heart of the city of San Diego to old town and also saw the very first elementary school that was opened in San Diego and La Casa de Estudillo.  I’m looking forward to sharing more photos on the epic home on my Facebook page.

For additional information about Cabrillo National Monument visit the National Parks Services Cabrillo National monument page or Old Point Loma page.

The American Latino Fund celebrates the contributions of American Latinos throughout the national park and historic places across the country.  Check www.alhf.org to learn more about the programs and Support the American Latino Heritage Fund.

Please join me and my colleagues as we go on an adventure of a lifetime.  For live tweets, please follow the conversation on Twitter by checking the #LatinoHeritage hashtag.  Please check back later for additional photos.

Question:  Have you ever gone on a roadtrip to a National Park or historical site?  What park did you visit? 

 

 

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