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Key components of the year-long celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge are the 75 Opening Day cars SMALLCars lined up on the Bridge on opening day. From the holdings of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, used with permission, www.goldengate.org Community Tributes being hosted by a diverse array of San Francisco Bay Area organizations and talents.

The complete year-long schedule of all 2012 Community Tributes—including the dozens of events over Memorial Day weekend leading up to the official Golden Gate Festival celebration on the San Francisco waterfront May 27, 2012—is updated frequently on the official Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary website at www.goldengatebridge75.org.

 

The following is a listing of programs and activities honoring the Golden Gate Bridge throughout 2012:

 

Through September 1: Marin History Museum - The Golden Gate Bridge, An Icon That Changed Marin exhibit, 1125 B Street, San Rafael, Tuesday-Saturday, 11AM-4PM, (415) 454-8538, marinhistory.org.

 

Through December 31: Antenna Theater - Golden Gate Sunset Sundial: Map of the places and times sunset can be viewed between the two Bridge towers. Various locations: sunsetsundial.org.

 

Through October 14: California Historical Society - A Wild Flight of the Imagination: The Story of the Golden Gate Bridge. Exhibit featuring artwork, photographs, and historical Bridge artifacts. 678 Mission Street, San Francisco, Tuesday-Sunday, 12-5PM, 415-357-1848, californiahistoricalsociety.org.

 

Through May 25: Port of Oakland and Oaklandish - International Trade Photo Contest: Golden Gate Bridge to Oakland call for submissions of photos representing the theme. Selected photos will be exhibited in various venues in Oakland from May 25 - September 7, 2012.

 

Through December 31: Exploratorium - Outdoor exhibits focused on bridge movement, cable suspension and related science, technology, engineering and mathematics, with technical support from the Consortium of Universities for Research in earthquake Engineering (CUREE) and funding from the National Science Foundation. Battery Lancaster, the Presidio, San Francisco, exploratorium.edu.

 

April 14: The Golden Gate Brass Band - 75th anniversary tribute performances at the Corte Madera Recreation Center, 498 Tamalpais Drive, 2-4PM. Free.  Also April 14, April 26, May 6, May 27 and August 19, goldengatebrassband.org.

 

April 14 - July 14: San Francisco Public Library - Bridging Minds: San Francisco Reads, 1933-1937: Exhibit of first editions, photographs and ephemera featuring the best sellers of the period and works of California authors. San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin St., 6th floor, sfpl.org.

 

April 18 - 30: Marin Symphony - The Bridge and Marin: Golden Gate Opus Poster Contest: contest to design a creative interpretative poster of the Golden Gate Bridge for the Golden Gate Opus on May 6 and May 8. Open to Marin students aged 10-18. Deadline for submission April 18, marinsymphony.org.

 

April 21: ArtSeed - Earth Week Art-a-thon: 10-hour art-and-music-making marathon in celebration of the Golden Gate Bridge's 75th birthday to benefit ArtSeed's Apprenticeship Program. Open to artists of all ages and experience. Art-a-thon, April 21, 10AM - 8PM, Acre Café, Thoreau Center for Sustainability, the Presidio, San Francisco. Spring Open Studios: April 28-29, 11AM-6PM, Bayview Hunters Point Shipyard, Studio 2513, Building 101, artseed.org.

 

April 23 - May 31: Jewish Community Center of San Francisco - Show Us Your Golden Gate children and teen art contest (April 23-30) and exhibit (May 2-31), 3200 California Street, San Francisco, jccsf.org.

 

April 28: Bay Area Ridge Trail Council - Ridge to Bridge: This signature Ridge Trail event provides a day of fun and raises money to complete the trail. Register at ridgetrail.org.

 

April 28: Slide Ranch - Self-guided hike from the Golden Gate Bridge to Slide Ranch as part of Slide Ranch's Annual Spring Fling Event, Muir Beach, 9AM-5PM, slideranch.org.

 

April 28: San Francisco Children's Art Center - Architectural Sculpture, Building Bridges: a free one-day workshop for children aged 5-10. 1-4PM, Fort Mason Center, Bldg. C, Rm. 170, childrensartcenter.org.

 

May 1 - October 31: YMCA - Guided bicycle trips for youth and families from the Presidio to the Golden Gate Bridge by the Presidio YMCA, plus inclusion of bridge-related curriculum in outdoor education programs for the Point Bonita YMCA. YMCA members only, ymcasf.org.

 

May 3 - June 9: George Krevsky Gallery - Artistic Visions of the Golden Gate Bridge: An exhibition of local GGB Sunrise12-15-09 07 SMALLJanuary sunrise over the Golden Gate Bridge. © Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District. Used with permission. www.goldengate.orgartists' interpretations of the Golden Gate Bridge. Opening reception: May 3, 5:30-7:30PM, Exhibit: May 3 -

June 9, Tues-Sat, 11AM-5:30PM, George Krevsky Galley, 77 Geary St. 2nd Floor, georgekrevskygallery.com.

 

May 5: Community Music Center - Crossing Bridges: A musical performance combining youth programs from San Francisco's Mission District and San Rafael singing in honor of the Golden Gate Bridge's birthday. 11:30AM-1PM, La Pena Cultural Center, Berkeley, sfcmc.org.

 

May 5: Art Deco Society of Northern California - Swinging on the Golden Gate: Art deco preservation ball themed with Bridge-era music and displays of Bridge work. 6:30PM-12AM, Bimbo's 365 Club, San Francisco, artdecosociety.org.

 

May 6: Marin History Museum - Golden Gate Bridge Garden Party:  A Bridge-era garden party with bridge building activities, a bridge trivia contest, and music of the era, Marin History Museum, 11AM-3PM, marinhistory.org.

 

May 6 & 8: Marin Symphony - Golden Gate Opus: Commissioned work by Rob Kapilow based on the sounds of the Golden Gate Bridge. May 6, 3PM, May 8, 7:30PM, Marin Veterans' Memorial Auditorium, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael, marinsymphony.org.

 

May 9, 23 & 27: Kathryn Roszak's Danse Lumiere - BridgeDance: Rehearsal and Performances: Open rehearsal with professional dancers and youth incorporating oral histories, poetry, memories, and stories about the Bridge. May 9, 4:30PM, Ashkenaz Music and Dance Community Center, Berkeley. Performances include Union Square and the Golden Gate Festival. dlkdance.com, unionsquarepark.us.

 

May 10: Bay Area Open Space Council - Open Space Conference: The annual conference of the Bay Area Open Space Council convenes land conservation leaders from around the Bay Area. This year's theme is "Bridges" in honor of the 75th anniversary. Golden Gate Club, the Presidio, San Francisco, openspacecouncil.org.

 

May 11 & May 14 - 22: San Francisco Unified School District / Young at Art - Bridging Us All: Young at Art Community Celebration: The school district's annual Young at Art will be themed "Bridging Us All," and will celebrate the 75th anniversary through a student art exhibition and performances at the de Young museum. May 11, 5PM-8PM, May 14 - 22, Tues-Sun 9:30AM-5:15PM,  de Young Museum, sfusf.edu, youngatartsf.com.

 

May 11 - 13: San Francisco Museum and Historical Society - My Vision of My Favorite Bridge: Art contest among Bay Area middle and high school students. 11AM-4PM, The Old Mint, 88 Fifth Street, San Francisco, sfhistory.org.

 

May 12: San Francisco Architectural Heritage / National Trust for Historic Preservation - Spanning Space and Time: The Golden Gate Bridge and the Transformation of the Bay Area: A symposium to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge. 10:30AM-12PM, Building 103, Montgomery Street Barrack, the Presidio, San Francisco, sfheritage.org,  preservationnation.org.

 

May 14 - August 4: San Francisco Arts Education Project - International Orange: The Bridge Re-imagined: A curated visual arts exhibition created by students from San Francisco public schools to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge. Norse Auditorium, 135 Van Ness Av., San Francisco, sfartsed.org.

 

May 16: San Francisco Public Library - On Location: The Golden Gate Bridge on the Silver Screen: Movie clips and an entertaining discussion of the Golden Gate Bridge in film, by local historian Jim Van Buskirk. 6PM-8PM, Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Public Library, sfpl.org.

 

May 18: San Francisco Giants - International Orange Friday: Baseball game at AT&T Park dedicated to celebrating the color of the Bridge and our home team. AT&T Park, sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com.

 

May 20: San Francisco Mandolin Orchestra - New Music Competition: Performance of the winning composition about the Bridge's 75th birthday written for mandolin orchestra. 4PM, All Saints Episcopal Church, 555 Waverly Street, Palo Alto. Also June 2, All Souls Episcopal, Berkeley and June 3, Mission Dolores, San Francisco, sfmandolin.org.

 

May 22: Jewish Community Center of San Francisco / SPUR / AIA of SF - Lecture by Paul Goldberger: Lecture by Paul Goldberger, the architecture critic for the New Yorker, focusing on the Golden Gate Bridge and other legacy structures. 7PM, Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, jccsf.org, spur.org.

 

May 22 - 25: Bay Area Discovery Museum - Happy Birthday Bridge: Week-long festivities, including art-based activities to create bridge crowns, bridge sculptures, and a giant Happy Birthday Bridge Card. 9AM-4PM, Bay Area Discovery Museum, baykidsmuseum.org.

 

May 23 - October 28: Presidio Trust - Before the Bridge - Sight and Sound at the Golden Gate: An immersive exhibition combining large-format images with sounds of the oceans, foghorns, birds, sailors shouting, soldiers marching and cannons firing - telling the story of life in and around the Presidio before the bridge was built. Wed-Sun, 11AM-5PM, presidio.gov.

 

May 24 - October 28: FOR-SITE Foundation - International Orange: Exhibition by a select group of artists who have created on-site installation works responding to the Golden Gate Bridge as a national icon, historical structure, and conceptual inspiration. Fort Point, for-site.org.

 

May 24: Commonwealth Club of California - The Golden Gate Bridge at 75: What Makes an Icon: A lecture and panel discussion on the history of the bridge and how it achieved iconic status. 6PM-7PM, The Commonwealth Club of California, commonwealthclub.org.

 

May 24: California Academy of Sciences - NightLife at the California Academy of Sciences: An evening themed around the Golden Gate Bridge that includes exploring various aspects of the Golden Gate Bridge such as color and scientific elements. 6PM-10PM, California Academy of Sciences, calacademy.org.

 

May 25 - September 7: Oakland International Airport / Oakland Museum of California / Port of Oakland - Trade and Tourism Art Contest, Golden Gate Bridge to Oakland: Display of selected artwork from media ranging from the digital and photo to paint and sculpture that centers on the topic of trade and tourism in the Bay Area. Oakland International Airport, flyoakland.com, museumca.org.

 

May 26 - 27: San Francisco City Guides - Interpretative Tours: Interpretative tours of the Golden Gate Bridge tent at the Golden Gate Festival. May 26: 10AM-6PM, May 27: 11AM-10PM, Golden Gate National Parks, Painter on Main Cable SMALLPainter on the main cable. © Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District. Used with permission. www.goldengate.orgsfcityguides.org.

 

May 26 - December 31: Roebling Museum - Spinning Gold: The Roebling Company and the Golden Gate Bridge: A special exhibit about the Golden Gate Bridge at Roebling Museum in New Jersey. Special birthday celebration on May 26 from 11AM-5PM, exhibition: Wed-Sat 11AM-5PM, Sun 12PM-5PM, roeblingmuseum.org.

 

May 26: Petaluma Museum - A Golden Relationship, a bridge to the agricultural bounty of Sonoma County: An exhibit on how the building of the Golden Gate Bridge opened the door to providing culinary delights between Sonoma and San Francisco. 10AM-4PM, Petaluma Museum, petalumamuseum.com.

 

May 26: Jewish Community Center of San Francisco - Building Bridges One Yoga Pose at a Time: Early morning yoga session for people of all ages. 8:00AM-9:00AM, Golden Gate Festival Waterfront, jccsf.org.

 

May 26 - 27: Fort Mason Center - "Seats" Exhibit, Bridge Cookies, and Bridge Books: Outdoor art exhibition of 35 unique seats from which to enjoy views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay and other tributes by Center organizations - Golden Gate Bridge Cookie offered by Green's restaurant - Reader's Café devoting a section of their store to Bridge books and memorabilia. Lower Fort Mason, fortmason.org.

 

May 26 - September 15: Presidio Trust / Walt Disney Family Museum - The Bridge on the Big Screen: The Presidio Trust and the Walt Disney Family Museum present a Golden Gate Bridge 75th anniversary commemorative film festival featuring seven films starring the Bay Area's iconic superstar. For details and screening times visit presidio.gov.

 

May 26 - August 31: SFMOMA - Golden Gate Desserts: An offering of bridge-themed desserts at SFMOMA's Rooftop Garden Blue Bottle Coffee Bar. Tues - Sun, 11:30AM - 5:45PM, sfmoma.org.

 

May 26 - July 31: SFMOMA - Reflections on Bridge Artwork and Writing: Reflections on artwork and writings about the Golden Gate Bridge with posts on the museum's blog: blog.sfmoma.org.

 

May 26 - June 30: SFMOMA - Local Bridge Interpretations: An exhibition of local artists' interpretations of the bridge. Lower Fort Mason, SFMOMA Artists' Gallery, sfmoma.org.

 

May 26 - 27: Fisherman's Wharf Community Benefit District - Music, History and Vintage Automobiles: Music, historic images, vintage automobiles and maritime history exhibits at Hyde Street Pier and Pier 45. visitfishermanswharf.com.

 

May 26 - 27: Ghirardelli Chocolate Company - The Bridge Story: Exhibition of panels telling the story of the Golden Gate Bridge. Sat 10AM-6PM, Sun 11AM-10PM, Ghirardelli Square, ghirardelli.com.

 

May 26 - 27: San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park - 75th Anniversary Tours: Special 75th anniversary tours at the maritime park and an exhibit at the park's visitor orientation station at Fisherman's Wharf. San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, nps.gov/safr.

 

May 27: Oakland Symphony Chorus - Family Sing-a-Long: Family sing-a-long of California and the Golden Gate songs. Golden Gate Festival Waterfront, oaklandsymphonychorus.org.

 

May 27: Community Music Center - Mission District Young Musicians: A performance of Latin music by Mission District Young Musicians. San Francisco Festival Waterfront, sfcmc.org.

 

May 27: Pier 39 - Golden Gate Bridge-era Music and Dance Festival: Music and dance festival celebrating the era in which the Golden Gate Bridge was built. Pier 39, pier39.com.

 

May 27: International Orange Chorale - A special concert featuring newly-commissioned works that pay homage to the Golden Gate Bridge including the premiere of San Francisco, Open Your Golden Gate. San Francisco Festival Waterfront, iocsf.org.

 

May 27: San Francisco Mandolin Orchestra - New Music Competition: Performance of the winner's piece of music from the San Francisco Mandolin orchestra new music competition on the San Francisco Festival Waterfront. Additional performances on June 2 and 3 in Berkeley and Palo Alto. sfmandolin.org.

 

May 27: LaborFest - LaborFest Songs and Photographs: Songs and photographs honoring the workers who built the Golden Gate Bridge. Golden Gate Festival, laborfest.net.

 

June 16: Transit and Trails and Bay Area Open Space Council - Transit and Trails Alt Ride: More than just a bike ride, riders will tackle Mt. Hamilton, Mt. Tamalpais, and Mt. Diablo in one day, using public transportation between the peaks. Riders cross the Golden Gate Bridge as part of the event. altride.transitandtrails.org.

 

June 9 & 24: Headlands Center for the Arts - In the Shadow of the Bridge: A film by artist Ned Kahn about the shadows on the Golden Gate Bridge and what they reveal. 6:30PM-10PM, Headlands Center for the Arts, headlands.org.

 

June 22: International Orange Chorale - Concert of Newly Commissioned Works: A performance of newly commissioned choral works. 5PM, Solarium Public Space, 55 2nd St., San Francisco, iocsf.org.

 

June 25 - July 6 & July 23 - August 3: Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy - Archi-Techies: Golden Gate Bridge Edition: Design summer camp program for kids in grades 3-5. Crissy Field Center, Mon-Fri, 9AM-4PM, crissyfieldcenter.org.

 

July 1 - Sept 30: San Francisco Parks Alliance - Park's View of the Golden Gate Bridge: A photo contest of images of the Golden Gate Bridge taken from San Francisco parks. sfparksalliance.org.

 

July 5 - 29: ArtSeed - 75 Reasons Why We Are the Bridge: Children, teachers and practicing artists give form to their ideas using the bridge's history and structure. Opening reception  July 5, 5PM-7PM. Exhibition July 6 - 29, Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM, Thoreau Center for Sustainability, Presidio Building #1014, San Francisco, artseed.org.

 

July 14: South End Rowing Club - Golden Gate Bridge Splash 'n' Dash: A club-sponsored swim in San Francisco Bay and a run across the Golden Gate bridge for members and sport. 9AM-1:30PM, south-end.org, splashndash.us.

 

July 29: San Francisco Marathon: Full marathon and 1 half marathon crossing the bridge and an additional half marathon, a 5k, and kids' race. thesfmarathon.com.

 

August 1 - October 1: American Institute of Architects - Postcards from the Edge: Exhibition of postcard views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco. Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM, 130 Sutter Street #600, San Francisco, aia.org.

 

August 19: Golden Gate Brass Band - Musical Bridges: Concerts featuring the top 40 hits of the period from 1930 to 1937. 2PM, Corte Madera Bandstand/Gazebo, "Old Town", goldengatebrassband.com.

 

September 1 - 30: American Institute of Architects - Architecture and the City Festival: A series of events that celebrate the Bay Area's architectural heritage, including the Golden Gate Bridge. aia.org.

 

September 9: NatureBridge - A Bridge to Nature: A family-oriented hike in the Marin Headlands with activities highlighting the cultural history of the Golden Gate. NatureBridge / Headlands Institute, naturebridge.org/headlands.

 

October 21: San Francisco State University Romberg Center: Discovery Day Bridge-building Activity: Bridge-building activity for the public at the center's annual Discovery Day. 11AM-4PM, SF State Romberg Center, Tiburon, rtc.sfsu.edu.

 

About the Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary: The 75th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge is a project of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in cooperation with the National Park Service, The Presidio Trust, and the City and County of San Francisco. The year-long celebration and visitor services improvements are funded by private contributions, with major underwriting provided by Wells Fargo, Genentech, HP, and Kaiser Permanente. Anniversary events include The Golden Gate Festival along the San Francisco waterfront on May 27, 2012; 75 Tributes to the Bridge, a year-long series of public programs presented throughout the Bay Area; renovation of the historic Round House and construction of a new visitor Pavilion; and enhancements to the Bridge Plaza and Golden Gate National Recreation Area parklands on both sides of the span. For additional information and all public inquiries, please visit www.goldengatebridge75.org.

 

(TravMedia.com contributed to this article)

 

Editor's note: Links to the websites of hundreds of San Francisco & the Bay Area lodging and dining options can be found at Taste California Travel's Resource Directory.

Historically known for the 1848 cry of "Eureka!" at John Sutter's American River Mill and the resultant gold rush of the following year, California's Gold Country is possibly the most authentic early California experience for  visitors.

Once beautiful but sleepy, it's now beautiful and sophisticated but has retained the historic charm of smallrafting hot shot imaging action SMALLRafting provides thrills. Photo by Hot Shot Imaging towns, friendly outfitters and hospitable innkeepers and vintners. California's Gold Country delivers an historic, yet polished, travel experience for visitors to San Francisco or Sacramento who want to move away from metropolitan areas and do some exploring.

First time visitors to the Gold Country are delighted to discover that a great deal of the gold rush heritage has been preserved, from resort mining towns to historic hotels and 19th century saloons. There are many places to pan for gold (and keep the nuggets, if you're very successful!), but so much more to see and do in the Gold Country to stretch a visit into an memorable experience.

 

Here are a score of options available to you in Gold Country:

 

Ride a steam train and a stagecoach

 

Take in a fishing expedition with experienced guides

 

Go rock climbing, from easy boulders to Yosemite National Park

 

Ride horseback into wilderness for overnight camping

 

Learn to snowboard on easy slopes

 

Taste wine from the barrel with the winemaker

 

Go kayaking and whitewater rafting

 

Hike with your dog in this dog-friendliest region of California

 

Walk among Giant Sequoias, the Earth's largest living things

 

Pet an Alpaca and visit a Cashmere goat farm

 

Tour a sake plant or take a self-guided barn and farm tour

 

Sleep in a cabin with no television, Wi-Fi, telephone or cell reception, or stay in historic inns with all the amenities

 

Hear your favorite artist in a vineyard concert

 

Imagine the riverboat life aboard a slow-churning paddleboat

 

Go spelunking or zip-lining

 

Harvest apples and visit a daylily farm with 1,000 varieties

 

Get the Folsom Prison blues, temporarily, with a tour

 

Learn how to mine gemstones

 

Discover farm-to-fork dining places

 

Golf, hike, spa and shop

 

The northeast/central California region known as the Gold Country attracted thousands of prospectors in 1849 and led to statehood for California soon after. It is an area made up of 12 counties and dozens of historic towns dotting Highway 49. Gold Country has been named one of the top ten U.S. travel destinations to see in 2012 by Lonely Planet. For more information call toll free (U.S.) 800-225-3764 or 916-985-2698, or visit www.calgold.org.

 

(TravMedia.com contributed to this article)

 

Editor's note: Links to the websites of wineries in Gold Country, as well as links to hundreds of lodging and dining options, can be found at Taste California Travel's Resource Directory.

.

Temecula Valley is Southern California wine country. There are vineyards, of course, but the area includes a wider variety of agriculture. This casual, picturesque valley is located 1 hour from Orange County and Palm Desert; 1½ hours from Los Angeles.

 

Orange Trees Temecula IMG 3775 SMALLOranges, other citrus fruit are important. Photo: Temecula Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau.The following ten farms and ranches are family-owned, commercial enterprises. With advance notice, every one of them can welcome groups of agribusiness professionals, academics, researchers, and just interested enthusiasts.

 

1. Cunningham Organic Farm

Tour, learn, pick, sample and taste special tree crops in-season at eclectic Cunningham Organic Farm, nestled next to the Cleveland National Forest. Citrus abounds, including 13 different varieties of tangerines, oranges, Meyer lemons and fragrant, Buddha’s Hand citron, plus cocktail grapefruit (a sweet, juicy cross between a pommelo and a mandarin). With Hass, Fuerte, Reed, and Pinkerton avocados, the “alligator pear” is in-season almost continuously throughout the year. There are three different guavas. Also growing on the farm are loquats, bananas, kumquats and cherimoya. In autumn, look for Fuyu persimmons and it's likely you can witness the drying operation. A memorable picnic area hosts hill and mountain views. Currently planted are 60 acres. Groups up to 20 people welcome by advance reservation year-round.

 

2. Crows Pass Farm

In the heart of Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country is certified-organic Crows Pass Farm. Fresh Baby Red Potatoes IMG 3899 SMALLFresh Baby Red Potatoes at Crows Pass Farm. Photo: Temecula Valley Convention and Visitors BureauSeasonal row crops are the primary focus. These include baby lettuce, greens, escarole, fennel, peas, beans, squash melons, strawberries and fresh herbs and onions . Crows Pass Farm is an excellent destination for learning how a small farm operates and, with its emphasis on a high level of flavor and quality, how it successfully markets itself chef-direct to upscale restaurants all over southern California. Currently planted are 20 acres of a total 40 acres. The remaining 20 acres is completely fallow at present, and is planted in rotation. Groups up to 25 people welcome by advance reservation year-round.

 

3. Moonrise Farm

Saturday mornings at the Old Town Temecula Calfornia-Certified Farmers Market, “certified organic and biodynamic,” are traditions of Moonrise Farm. At the rural estate, all of the seasonal heirloom vegetables have seed sources over 100 years old and no genetic modification (GMO). Heirloom pumpkins are a special feature in autumn. A 20-minute tour yields an amazing bounty of knowledge, including insight into all-natural growing practices. Currently planted are 2½ acres of the 5-acre property. Groups up to 12 people welcome by advance reservation spring, summer, and autumn.

 

4. Liberty Acres

Liberty Acres is a testament to ingenuity, self-reliance and the modern pioneer family lifestyle. Off the grid with solar for electric power and a well for water, a family of four lives on-site at this excellent example of a fully self-sustaining agricultural property. A vineyard of cabernet grapes will soon yield private-label wine. Meanwhile, a fruit orchard (stone fruit, citrus, avocados and pomegranates), row crops, and blueberries and strawberries support Liberty Acres’ Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. A lavender field is the source for sachets and soaps that are sold. Currently planted are 3 acres. Groups up to 12 people welcome by advance reservation spring, summer, and autumn.

 

5. Morning Song Farm

Morning Song Farm is a certified organic grower of subtropical fruits and nuts. They also farm vegetables, which include heirloom tomatoes, leafy greens, herbs—and even grow edible flowers. A variety of intriguing tours is offered with or without a catered lunch. The Small Farm Livestock tour includes meeting gentle dairy goats, participating in milking, and witnessing cream separation and butter churning. Learn about llama fiber processing – from llama to spinning wheel – and take a turn at spinning. Alternatively, you can gather eggs and learn why Morning Song’s chickens are so special. The Macadamia Nut tour teaches why Macadamia nuts are so expensive and features opportunities to assist in husking, shelling and sorting, and sampling. The Grove and Garden tour is about enjoying seasonal fruit right from the tree – passion fruit, kumquats, guavas, blood oranges, and mandarins; and exploring the vegetable and herb gardens, including sampling what is ready to harvest. Beginning Bee Keeping instructs on how to start your own, backyard “local honey” operation, the necessary tools and equipment, differences between queens and worker bees and the how-to of honey processing. Currently planted are 20 acres. Groups up to 50 people welcome by advance reservation year-round.

 

6. Temecula Berry Company

Handsome, highbush blueberries are the signature crop of Temecula Berry Company. Learn about conventional growing practices for this popular indigo-blue fruit. After the informative tour, linger to pick blueberries (picking buckets are provided). Carefully lift leafy branches to discover clusters of sweet and flavorful berries. Currently planted are 12½ acres. Groups up to 40 people welcome by advance reservation; tours are during harvest only, late-May through first week in July.

 

7. Temecula Olive Oil Company – Olive Ranch

Family owned and operated and committed to using only 100% California olives to make the highest quality 100% extra virgin olive oil, Temecula Olive Oil Company’s ranch is east of Old Town Temecula. Tour and learn of the sustainable agriculture practices involved in the planting, growing, and harvesting of a wide variety of olives to capture the unique qualities and distinctive flavors of each. Learn about the extraction of the oil from the olives, then participate in an olive oil tasting--there is nothing else quite like it! Olive ranch tours are available with or without a grilled lunch. The motto here truly is “May olive your dreams come true.” Currently planted are 26 acres. Groups up to 60 people welcome by advance reservation year-round.

 

8. Leoness Cellars

Leoness Cellars is located along the De Portola Wine Trail of the Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country. The family has as over 50 years combined agriculture and grape-growing experience in the Valley. Among a variety of private group tours is Touch the Vine and Taste the Wine, which includes an informative ride through the vineyards. You can sip and savor as you learn about harvest, crush, fermentation, barrel aging, and the Leoness commitment to sustainable farming practices and crafting award-winning wines. Their 20-acre vineyard adjoins the winery. Groups up to 100 people welcome by advance reservation year-round.

 

9. Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery

Garnering a reputation for exceptional quality in Temecula Valley, Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery is committed to small lot, handcrafted wines from varieties that are grown on their own sustainably farmed vineyards. Varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Sangiovese, Viognier and Syrah. Specializing in full-bodied reds, Palumbo’s offerings include both single variety bottlings as well as a few special blends like the very popular Meritage blend, Tre Fratelli. The tour of the vineyard estate and winery cellar is informative and the wine tasting that follows reflects the Palumbo passion and commitment. Adjoining the winery is the family's 13-acre vineyard. Approximate annual wine production is 2,500 cases. Groups up to 30 people are welcome by advance reservation year-round.

 Temecula Vnyd IMG 3926 SMALLVineyards cover the flats and rolling hills. Photo: Temecula Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau

10. Callaway Vineyard & Winery

Callaway Vineyard & Winery’s farming philosophy seeks to sustain the long-term viability of the land. Many nesting boxes and perches are nestled throughout the vineyards, encouraging a stable population of hawks and owls. Cover crops are planted between vineyard rows to provide habitat for beneficial insects. The time-honored Callaway winemaking tradition uses unusually cold temperatures to slow and prolong the fermentation process, allowing the wines to retain their natural fruit flavors and aromas. Private group tours of the demonstration vineyard and winery are available. These may include wine tasting, wine and cheese tasting, wine and dessert tasting, or wine tasting with box lunch or luncheon buffet. Twenty acres of vineyard enjoys the winery, which produces about 25,000 cases each year. Groups up to 100 people welcome by advance reservation year-round.

 

(TravMedia.com contributed to this article)

 

Editor's note: Links to websites of the wineries in the Temecula Valley, as well as links to hundreds of lodging and dining options in Temecula and the rest of the Inland Empire, can be found at Taste California Travel's Resource Directory.

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