Thursday, October 28, 2010

Down By the Riverside

We've been wondering whether the "golden" in our RV park name--Golden Village Palms--refers to the amount of sun this area experiences or to the age of us visitors.

For several days it had been overcast and rainy (in Hemet), so when dawn arrived, complete with the brilliant sun and one of the park's namesake palms, it was worth a photo.

By mid afternoon, the sun was still shining through the few clouds in the west, but the dark clouds in the east provided an ominous background for the same palms which were basking in the light of the sun.

In between the times of these two photos, we drove to Riverside to see the area around the Mission Inn. When we visited the city last summer, the Fox Theater (below) was nearing the end of a multi-million dollar restoration project and a pedestrian mall was being developed along a section of Main Street adjacent to Mission Inn.

Well, the 1929 theater, now re-named the Fox Performing Arts Center when it re-opened in January of this year, was magnificently restored at a cost of $30 million--at least the pictures in a booklet look magnificent.

However, we were not able to get inside either as part of a group tour or a solo walk-through. Even the Visitors' Center staff member who told us that they should be offering tours was not able to get any positive response from the theater staff after a week.

We parked on the street in this block of Main Street, one block away from the pedestrian mall. Now when we can find on-street parking for our large truck and be parked that near the main attractions of an area, there must not be any other people visiting the same area.

One of the first shops we came to on the Main Street Pedestrian Mall was Simple Simon's. This bakery and bistro was packed for lunch. Because there was also quite a line, we purchased a couple of baguettes and a loaf of rosemary bread and decided to look across the street for lunch.

The stone-scaped walkway wound around decorative landscaped areas. The greenery balanced the stone and added a freshness to the area.

It was a relaxing walk past fashionable shops and caf├ęs. Strategically-spaced speakers brought classical music into the scene. The volume was perfect; it neither detracted from the flow of conversa-tion nor did it interfere with one's personal thoughts.

Even though in some ways the small number of people made it easier to enjoy all aspects of the walkway, it was disappointing to see so few people enjoying the setting.

There was little traffic, so the sound of the fountain's effect could be enjoyed without having to strain to hear it.

Strategically-placed benches seemed to be placed in just the right places to enjoy the people-watching.

On our return to our truck, we passed the historic Mission Inn. We had toured the Inn on our visit last summer and marveled at the quality of the restoration of this hotel that had been built in 1902 with additions built on over the years.

It is late October and the Christmas decorations are already being added to the Inn.

Back at the RV that evening, we captured this jet on film as it was heading, no doubt, to some exotic site in the Pacific.

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