January 30, 2012

Elsinore Cruise

 Scenes from a Sunday drive.  We drove north on surface streets, avoiding the interstate, up to the town of Lake Elsinore.  Lake Elsinore gets a bad rap.  Maybe it's not unjustified, I don't know.  Even before I moved here to Temecula, which is about 20 minutes south on the freeway, I knew about it's white-trash reputation.
I know people who call it "Lake Smell-somemore." (The lake itself doesn't smell.)  I think the town is sort of charming in a rough and rowdy kind of way. There are a couple of seedy "casinos" near the lake, a few budget motels.  The old downtown district has a few good antique shops, a few bars and eateries, and constantly resists attempts to gentrify it and make it a destination. 
Whatever others might say, folks who live up on the hills overlooking the lake have an awfully nice view of water and trees and the mountains of the Cleveland National Forest to the northwest.  Interesting fact:  Elsinore is the largest freshwater lake in all of Southern California.  Interesting, because it's a natural lake, not man-made or a reservoir, like so many other lakes in the region.   Like most of the Inland Empire  (as this region is nicknamed), it has it's share of suburban sprawl and cookie cutter tract houses.  You can get a big house here for cheap, at least by SoCal real estate standards.  But those neighborhoods are further north and east of the lake area.  Around the lake, homes and apartments still have a lot of...character.
As we were driving through town, ZZ Top's "Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers" was on the radio.  That felt pretty appropriate. Let's just say that the residents here seem a lot more laid back than us residents of prissy, uptight suburbia.  After touring Elsinore (but not around the entire lake, which is a much longer drive), we headed north again to the little farm-stand shopping area called Tom's Farms.  It was getting late. We had some mediocre Mexican food from one of it's two cafe's, then explored the Cheese & Wine shop.  Which looked just like a Cheese & Wine shop should look:
We didn't buy anything here. But the kids begged for and purchased some candy at the very well-stocked candy and nut shop across the parking lot. When we came out, the sun had slipped behind the hills, and it was getting chilly. 
Time to get back in our car and head down south for home,  another weekend in the can.

1 comment :

  1. Duh....go back to Temecula and sit in traffic..;)


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