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Hit the Rim of The World Scenic Byway for the San Bernardino Mountains, Big Bear, and Arrowhead Lake –plus La Canada. Sightsee in Anaheim, Buena Park, Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario, and Chino, and other southern California towns like Rialto, Riverside, and Pomona.
Rim of The World Scenic Byway, from Redlands take 38 to Big Bear Lake, 1-800-4-BIG-BEAR, an alpine lake with 24 miles of shoreline, excellent boating, fishing, biking and hiking. During winter, Bear Mountain, Snow Summit, and Snow Valley ski areas in these mountains provide the closest ski runs for local residents.
Follow 18 further west to Lake Arrowhead, a historic resort destination with restaurants, shops, and seasonal recreation activities. Take 138 through San Gabriel Mountains to junction with Highway 2, the Angeles Crest Scenic Byway, and down to La Canada. Trip is 107 miles one way.
These three cities were part of the original 50,000-acre Spanish land grant Rancho Cucamonga made in 1860. Over time, six famous roads have passed through the area. One still retains its identification today: Route 66. The Route 66 Territory Museum, Thomas Winery Plaza, 7965 Vineyard Avenue, Ste. F-5, (909) 948-9166 or (800) JOG-RT66, has maps, memorabilia and information on the historic route.
The John Rains House, 1839 Casa de Rancho Cucamonga, (909) 989-4970, is the oldest burned brick house in California and was the rancho’s headquarters. The restored 1839 house is open for tours, call for hours of operation. Besides the historic Thomas Winery, two other local wineries to visit are: J. Filippi Winery Cucamonga Tasting Room, 12467 Base Line Road, (909) 899-5755, open year-round, and Rancho de Philo Winery, 10050 Wilson Avenue, (909) 987-4208.
Ontario is due south on 83. Tour the Graber Olive House, 315 East 4th Street, (800) 996-5483, a historic 1894 olive-processing and packing plant and museum, with some scenes of early California. In the fall, you can watch the grading, curing and packaging of the olives. The gift and food shop is a great place to pick up some gourmet products.
Continue south on 83 for Chino and the Planes of Fame Air Museum at 7000 Merrill Avenue, on Chino Airport, (909) 597-3722. The first such museum in the West, this collection of WWII airplanes and jet fighters is unique in that many are kept in flyable condition and can be seen in the air during special events at the site. You can actually fly some of the “birds” for a fee. Open year-round.
Visit the Yorba-Slaughter Adobe, 17127 Pomona-Rincon Road, (909) 597-8332, a restored 1852 house on nearly two acres, with rancho-era furnishings. Call for hours. Enjoy a gourmet dinner and a first class musical production at Griswold’s Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theater, 455 West Foothill Blvd. in Claremont, (909) 626-1254.
In Anaheim, the Hobby City Doll & Toy Museum and Adventure City, 1238 South Beach Blvd, (714) 527-2323, is a hobbyist’s paradise and kids’ fantasyland. Spread over 10 acres, is a little city consisting of hobby and art shops, parks, a petting farm, children’s theater, and a theme park with rides for kids of all ages. A highlight is the antique doll and toy collection from around the world that is displayed in a half-scale model replica of the White House. The DeArmond family has owned the attraction since it began in 1955.
Hobby City is open every day year-round. Admission fee for Doll Museum and Adventure City. Take 91 east to 90 and follow it north and exit on Yorba Linda Blvd for the Richard Nixon Library, Birthplace and Burial Site, 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd, (714) 993-5075, admission fee, call for hours of operation. On display here is the 37th President’s restored birthplace and some personal items, amidst 9 acres of gardens and galleries.
Follow Yorba Linda Blvd. back to Imperial Ave, turn right (South) to Anaheim Hills to visit the Peratta Family Home & Museum. Nearby is the pioneer family Yorba Cemetery where the “Pink Lady Ghost” has been known to appear. Visit Fullerton’s historic downtown. The Chamber of Commerce, 219 East Commonwealth Ave, 92832-0529, (714) 871-3100, provides a self-guided walking tour map of the area.
Buena Park offers several attractions worth visiting: the Mott Miniatures Museum, next to Knott's Berry Farm at 7900 LaPalma, (714) 220-5200, presents the history of American life in miniature detail; Ripley’s Believe It or Not, 7758 Beach Blvd., (714) 522-7045, is the place to see and learn about the world’s most weird happenings and people; the International Printing Museum, 8469 Krass Drive, provides a living, interactive experience of how the printed word has been produced over time. Call (714) 523-2070 or (714) 523-2080 for directions and information.
Top off the day at Wild Bill’s Western Dinner Extravaganza, 7600 Beach Blvd., (800) 883-1546, a wild and woolly dinner theater catering to the whole family and based on the legend and shows produced by Buffalo Bill Cody throughout the West during the 1800s.
Rialto traces its roots to a Native American tribe occupying the area from the 1500s to their mysterious departure in the late 18th Century. Settlers who followed them were Spanish Dons in 1769, Mormon pioneers in 1851 and Methodists in 1887; the Methodists named the town, supposedly, after the Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy.
Visit Lilac Park and the 1850s adobe house, and nearby Hermosa Cemetery where Wyatt Earp’s brother, Morgan, is buried. One of the infamous Route 66 “Wigwam” style motels stands between Pepper and Meridian Avenues on Foothill Blvd. The historic “66” ran through the town.
Rialto Historical Society Museum, 205 N. Riverside Avenue, (909) 875-1750, is an interesting place to visit. Riverside (Click here for other attractions in CA Tour 16 and CA Tour 18), is considered the birthplace for the state’s citrus industry and home of the navel orange. Mission Inn, 3649 7th Street, (951) 788-9556, is the historical symbol of Riverside having been a resort since 1875 when the Miller family began taking in guests. Guided tours of the remodeled structure are available from the Mission Inn Museum, 7th & Main.
Visit the downtown historical area that includes Riverside County Courthouse, 4050 Main Street, built in 1904 and the Riverside Municipal Museum, 3720 7th Street, (909) 782-5273. It occupies the former Post Office which was built in 1912 and features an excellent collection of artifacts from the area’s different historical periods.
Heritage House, 8193 Magnolia Street, open seasonally, admission fee, (909) 597-3722, is a beautiful example of late 19th century Victorian houses that once existed throughout the area. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it was built for the widow of the president of the Riverside Fruit Company.
California Citrus State Historic Park, one mile east of 91 at Van Buren and Dufferin, (909) 352-4098, is a 400-acre park that includes a citrus grove, packing house, wind machines and smudge pots, all essential to the citrus industry. A portion of the original 1885 Gage irrigation canal that brought needed water from the Santa Anna River to the area has been preserved.
Castle Amusement Park, 3500 Polk Street, (951) 785-3000, with 45 rides, four miniature golf courses, a log ride and more, is great fun for the family. The internationally acclaimed Pomona Raceway at Fairplex seats over 100,000 people and hosts all types of racing events. Check with your Best Western host for their schedule