California Citrus State Historic Park

A few weeks ago on an unexpectedly sunny Sunday afternoon, (say that 3 times fast!) we decided to get outside and enjoy the day. We are not used to so many cloudy or rainy days around here.  We headed to Riverside to visit the Citrus  State Historic  Park. Having driven by this place a few times over the years, we really didn’t know much about it or what to expect.

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With only about a 30 minute drive we arrived in time for the (free) 12:00 tour. There were about 10 people in our group, consisting of all ages. Some were local and others were visiting from colder climates and enjoying the California sunshine. Bree was our volunteer docent / guide. She is a full time high school biology teacher by day. She was very knowledgeable and made the one hour walking tour very interesting.

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After giving us an empty  bag and a promise of free samples,  Bree gave us a brief history of the Citrus industry in Riverside, California. At one time this was the California Gold. Soon we headed off to the magnificent orange groves for a few citrus lessons up close and personal.

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Naturally there was one person there who just wanted to buck the system and seemed to perhaps think that because of her age the rules simply did not apply to her. Shockingly she was probably the oldest person in the group! Perhaps she felt her age entitled her to some special privileges such as picking up dropped fruit from the ground when we were specifically told not to. It is a state park after all, so we must know you are not allowed to take anything out of the park. I felt sympathy for our guide when she had to politely chastise this overzealous visitor.

Anyway, as we walked along a very smooth pathway we stopped at various trees for information about that specific type of tree. There were also many photo opportunities and since it was such a gorgeous day we took advantage of it.

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The palm trees were added to distinguish the dirt roads within the grove.

As we stopped at each tree she educated us on the type of fruit, its history, and other  citrus related information.  She  occasionally, but carefully (to not harm either the fruit or the tree), cut a piece of fruit for each of us to take home. We came home with lemons, grapefruit, navel oranges, tangelos, and blood oranges just to name a few. Who knew there was so many varieties? The grove works closely with the University of California at Riverside in the development and education  of new and existing varieties of citrus. This would include disease resistance as well as trees specifically for grafting to produce the new varieties. I did not know that a citrus tree does not generally grow from a seed but from a graft. Some trees are specifically grown just for this purpose.

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Not just dropped fruit-a tree specifically for grafting.

 We had a picturesque and easy walk  around the grove.

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Notice the smudge-pot in the lower left of the picture. These were heated with oil to keep fruit from freezing years ago. Now, water is used. Much more environmentally friendly.

All too soon we were taken back to the main building and gift shop. On the patio our education continued along with slices of the various fruits.

20170129_132221.jpgI grew up in Riverside and spent most of my life driving around orange groves. I really did not think beyond the beauty of the trees and the groves themselves. It was just the way it was. Sometimes we don’t miss something until it is gone.

There are almost 400 acres of citrus trees in the park.

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A small Museum, gift shop, and outbuildings which are available for rent to host events make up the remainder of the park. For a mere $5 entrance you are able to spend an enjoyable afternoon and actually have something to take home with you! Perfect for history buffs, the curious, or for a local outing.  With the Cara Cara oranges being our absolute favorite, we stopped at a roadside stand and purchased a bag.

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Sometimes when you take a moment to look around your own community it is  amazing what points of interest you might stumble across. I highly recommend this to Southern California locals or visitors. Although orange groves were very commonplace throughout the areas here, eventually it was decided that the real money was in the real estate and  many thousands of acres throughout Southern California were plowed over in the name of progress. Now, homes fill the landscape. I suppose this is something that happens all over as we get away from a more natural environment to a more commercial or industrial environment. I’m so grateful for state and national parks in that preserve uniqueness and beauty.

What are your favorite protected parks?

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An Early Christmas Celebration

Instead of exchanging gifts this year, a friend and I agreed to treat ourselves to a Christmas lunch. We decided to splurge a little so she made reservations at the Mission Inn. The Mission Inn has a several nice restaurants and is also a first class hotel in nearby Riverside, CA. We selected the reasonably priced buffet.  It was fabulous!

There was holiday cheer and decor at every turn…

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both inside…

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and outside.

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After the hustle of preparing for Christmas, it was nice to just relax and catch up with good food…

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…and a good friend.

She broke the no gifts rule and gave me this adorable and appropriately named bracelet.

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(Thank you I love it!)

There was no corner of the hotel that was left undecorated.

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No detail went unnoticed.

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There was something for everyone to appreciate and enjoy.

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 If you are in the area, be sure to check it out!

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http://www.missioninn.com/

This is a great place to visit any time of the year.

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Merry Christmas!

Treasures and sights

Another antique excursion! We headed to Riverside, CA to see what treasures might await us. The downtown area has really changed since I lived there.

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Although there are many old historic buildings throughout the downtown area, the famous Mission Inn Hotel is perhaps the most notable .

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It was the place to attend prom and other formal occasions during my high school and college years.  A spectacular place for a wedding is the St. Francis Chapel which boasts an altar  25 feet tall by 16 feet across, carved from cedar and completely covered in gold leaf . President Richard and Pat Nixon  were married there!

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Some famous visitors of the Mission Inn  include Elizabeth Taylor and Amelia Earhart although the list if notables is extensive..   I have enclosed a link if your would like to read more about the hotel, plan a day trip, or consider this four star hotel for your vacation or wedding. http://www.missioninn.com/about-the-hotel/history-of-hotel/

After  many years of neglect, the entire downtown  has been revitalized. The area is great place for antique shopping, one of a kind shops, and  lunch on the mall or one of the other nearby local restaurants.

We had a great afternoon.

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Thommmee found this treasure and added to his red glass collection

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We saw some very interesting items a local antique store

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Some I liked more than others……..

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and some not at all……..

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…but that is part of the fun of antique shopping! You just never know what you might see. Later we drove around to check out some of the local sights.

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(Been awhile since I was here!)

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Another great day of retirement. I know they will not always be so filled with adventure  but I am certainly enjoying them now!