It’s interesting how most visitors consider the Coachella Valley a small town community, however, Southern California is loaded with fascinating small town communities offering one of a kind charm and loaded with history. Case in point Ramona, California, located in the beautiful Santa Maria Valley between San Diego and the Palm Springs. I recently stayed in Ramona for a few days to film and episode of Traveling With Françoise television show and there were two things I quickly learned. 1. The Ramona Pageant does not take place in Ramona (it happens in Hemet). 2. With so much to do and see, my two day’s flew by and I didn’t even have a chance to play some golf!
History dates Ramona back to the late 1800’s when gold miners and travelers used the stunning area as a stagecoach stop between San Diego and Julian. Now known for its rich equestrian lifestyle, Ramona is also family friendly and offers tourist quite the mix of outdoor adventures, antique shopping, golf, local restaurants and a variety of lodging for all price ranges.
A big surprise for many might be the Ramona wine country, with over 30 wineries and more on the way, a day of wine tasting is quite fun and rewarding. I found some excellent award winning wines that will make great gifts for my wine connoisseur friends.
Ranches are everywhere in Ramona, so don’t be surprised to see horseback riders in the middle of town. For those looking to take lessons the International Equestrian Center is the place to start. The property is beautiful and perfect for novices and those more experienced riders.
For hikers, equestrians and outdoor enthusiasts the Ramona Grasslands County Preserve offers it all, explore this 3,521-acre preserve which also offers camping. There are several preserves only minutes from downtown Ramona, so stock up your supplies in town and then take to the outdoors.
Besides some historic and fun golf courses like Mt. Woodson Golf Club and San Vincente Golf Resort, make time off the course for another don’t miss being the Classic Rotors Helicopter Museum. As one of the only 3 dedicated rotorcraft museums in the world! It’s almost at the end of the airport…so look for the yard full of helicopters. The docents love talking to visitors and you’ll leave with a new sense of appreciation for rotorcraft.
I can go on and on about Ramona, however take a look at my television episode on the area and you make your own adventure out of it and explore Ramona!
To make your trip easy visit RamonaChamber.com and tell them Traveling With Françoise sent you!