Sunday, November 28, 2010
LET THE FESTIVITIES BEGIN!
Sometimes it doesn't seem as if "The Inland Empire" - a part of Southern California that is squashed in between the Pacific Ocean on the south and the Big Bear/Lake Arrowhead mountains on the north - has much going for it. But if you live anywhere near the City of Riverside, Christmas can't start until the Mission Inn decorates and invites the whole of the area to come for a look. And is it somethin' to see!
Each year seems to be bigger and better than before. The Inn lends itself to over-the-top decorations. It's not all Santa and reindeer and elves, either. It is as much as "cascading" and "draping" lights as it is anything. There is not too much to be "gauche" and not too little to be disappointing. The whole area around the Mission Inn is just perfect. For those who live anywhere in Southern California, setting an evening aside for a trip to Riverside will be well worth it.
Last night Kerry and Brian brought the two littlest granddaughters out for this annual event. We were treated to dinner first at a wonderful restaurant called Sevilla, a short four block walk from the Mission Inn. Jerry and I had never eaten there, but after ordering lots of goodies off their Tapa menu, we've decided we've been missing out on something wonderful. After dinner we walked to the center of activities for a ride in a horse-pulled carriage.
There are many different style coaches. The Cinderella pumpkin carriages are the favorites, but of course the lines are exceptionally long for them, and with the threat of rain last evening we decided to ride in whatever we could find. We had a perfectly good ride around the perimeter of the Mission Inn.
It is such a joy to watch the little ones ooh and aah over all the decorations, booths and shops, and live reindeer, even. And of course it's impossible for us older folk to not carry on a bit over the lights and the festivities, although we do admit to getting a little bit tired toward the end of the evening. We made it back to the car before the rain developed beyond a smattering of big drops. We were very lucky, because we had not thought to bring unbrellas. In California, a 20% chance of rain is NOT a call for an umbrella.
The Festivities began on the Friday evening after Thanksgiving. Normally we would have waited for a couple of weeks before we went to Riverside; the crowd thins down a bit as time goes on. But because Kerry is having surgery in a week we needed to go early. The lights were, of course, just as beautiful but there is an advantage to having a smaller crowd. Nevertheless, it was a great evening and we consider ourselves lucky to have the young ones want us old ones to go along for the fun!