Between Palm Springs and San Diego on I15, discover a golfer’s dream life. Temecula is the Napa Valley of Southern California. Looking for a charming hideaway? Then seek out the Temecula Creek Inn. Every room has a balcony with a golf course view spanning tee boxes and finishing greens with waterfalls in front and snow capped mountains on the horizon. When the in room robes rate a ten, wear them on the balcony morning and night. Three very versatile nines await play. The Creek course is a straight forward warm up in a park setting. The Oaks track satisfies long hitters while the Stonehouse is a course people love or hate. We really loved the layout. Holes one through five are blind drives to the fairway which must be reached or balls will be lost. The fifth hole is a par 3 uphill that plays two clubs longer without the wind and longer still with. Most afternoons entertain the wind. Each hole has a unique character with the namesake surprise off the 7th green. This Stone house served as the granite miners’ bunkhouse in the 1880s. Now it is a quaint venue for weddings and corporate outings or a necessity station for golfers passing through with a commode chain for flushing. When it comes to outings, Noel is very creative. Cinderella Pumpkin Carriages have carried brides. Drive In movies are viewed on the driving range with speaker boxes hooked up on the golf carts. At the Temet Grill, start with the tapas trio and triple tasting of wines. The halibut and tenderloin made a surf and turf treat to share. The Crème Brulee was so “Frenchly” caramelized, we went “Oui, oui, oui”, all the way home.
Our favorite red was by Leonesse Cellars so we stopped by the winery next day and were blown away by the broad sweeping view. The blue sky framed a castle in the distance like a Tuscan painting. Wilson Creek specializes in almond champagne that is light and refreshing. Mix with peach or orange for a special belllini. Their Creekside Grill dining al fresco or in the barrel room pleases the eye as well as the palette. Thornton’s winery holds jazz concerts during the summer. Here we learned the definition of winos – “women in need of sanity”. Que syrah, syrah, the petite syrah is smooth while the tempranillo tames the beast. Pickled Shitake mushrooms, tenderloin, cioppino, butterscotch pudding with caramel sauce and sea salt crème freche along with wine flights are all to die for. Where do the Thornton’s go to dine? We found them later in our trip at the Marine Room in La Jolla, where everyone deserves to dine once in their lifetime. They have the best view and food, yes in the world, set on the beach with a reinforced window to watch the incoming tide as water birds dance and dine along with patrons. Chef Bernard Guillas, coauthor of “Flying Pans” is entertaining and genius with his culinary creations.
The Journey at Pechanga is a course set upon the ancient grounds of the Pechanga Tribe of Luiseno Indians. Well named, this 18 hole award winning golf course by Arthur Hills and Steve Forrest is an exhilarating ride through the rugged terrain of canyons and ravines. Pechanga means “a place where water drips”. This pertains to the many water features or perhaps the sweat dripping from your forehead as you tee up on number 6 where the fairway far below looks impossible to reach. On the way up, the cart screen posts a
message from the clubhouse “enjoy the view as you climb 300 feet”. Don’t let the nuances on the greens become a nuisance and you chance a good score. After an adventurous round, enjoy the view and food at the impressive club house. Then chance your luck at the Pechanga Casino, one of the largest game rooms in the world, just steps from the lobby but not in your face loud like Vegas. Chef Jean-Marie Berhoun is so famed for his pastries that Homer Simpson referenced TV muffins as “bigger than Pechanga’s.” Many fine dining options await the palate. Don’t fret about calories, the workout room has everything needed to stay in shape, next to the spa where salon services and treatments pamper. The spa has a unique couple’s room with a large soaking tub and double shower. After an expert massage, couples may remain, indulging in champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Ready then for the night life, get all dolled up or stay casual. The Eagles Nest is the largest night club in Southern California for the young crowd while other live music venues cross the generations. The ball room fits up to 3,000 people where World Series Poker and boxing matches alike have been staged. Celtic Woman’s Christmas show with their first symphony back up filled the concert hall. The beautiful and tiny violinist, resembling Kelly Ripa, blond and bright eyed, dramatically arching the bow across the strings, danced like a ballerina across the stage. When day is done, retire to your spacious Pechanga suite and rest easy with the most modern appointments and quality products. For the best of golf, music, gaming and wine country – take time to check out Temecula, California.