Riverside and Citrus State Historic Park

29 Feb

The County Park at Riverside attracted us because of its reasonable rates, we are now in California where everything cost more except perhaps the sunshine!

We were ignorant of the surrounding area and when we began to explore discovered how interesting its history was. This was the home of the first commercial citrus plantations in California. A visit to Citrus Historic park seemed a must.P1240960

Saturday we were visited by fellow British RV travellers Patrick and Lorna who had made contact through the blog. They were staying on the coast at Newport Beach and travelled over to meet us. We spent a fair amount of time discussing RV’s, travel and visa issues before heading out for some lunch then on to Citrus Park. Unfortunately we arrived 10 minutes before the visitor centre closed so only got a brief look inside. We were able to walk around the park area for a while and the ranger advised next day from 2pm there would be a citrus tasting event taking place for which Robert and I would be able to re visit.

Both Lorna and Patrick are very good photographers, not wishing to compete with their pictures I decided the best thing to do was observe their technique!


After a morning of domestics it was nice to get out in the sunshine and we drove back over to the Historic Park to find the car park half full, people were already gathering to taste the various fruits. Tables laid with colourful cloths held bowls of various citrus fruit varieties. Starting with lemons through limes and grapefruit to oranges tangerines and kumquats!




Notice the flesh of this lime, not only is it pink, it is round, almost like small fish eggs! There were not enough available for tastings so we are not sure of its flavour



This one called a Buddha’s hand looks like no fruit I have ever seen before but definitely grows on trees







After our tasting session we went into the visitor centre again and learned a little of the history of the citrus growing industry. How the fruits came originally from China, distributed along the silk road. The first plants in California were grown within the missions but in the late 1800’s two samples of a new variety were  sent to Eliza Tibbett, a friend of an employee of the US Department of Agriculture. These were the first Naval Oranges which became the basis of the commercial industry in California – the second gold rush and it all began in Riverside.





After our history lesson we walked through the terraces and groves of the park, many of the trees have fruit still on them while they are also full of buds and some already in flower. The smell was wonderful!








Citrus are not the only plants in the park, tall palms rise high above the fruit trees. We walked to the Sunkist Centre where a gazebo leads to the modern event building. In and around the gazebo were old roses some of which were in bloom.
















We had a lovely afternoon wandering the fruit groves, maybe the scent of the blossom made us more relaxed – who knows!

We stopped off for a short while in the historic town centre to take a look at the Mission Inn, a local landmark.




Now a sophisticated hotel and spa complex the building started life as a humble b&b where the guests I am sure would have not paid the princely sums being asked for accommodation today.




A pedestrian precinct running alongside the hotel forms a tranquil area for strolling and browsing the boutiques and antique stores. Investigating a statue within this area we discovered it to be in tribute to Ghandi.

It would have been nice to have explored a little further around Riverside but once again time had beaten  us and we headed back to haRVey.






The initial reason for looking for a camp ground in this vicinity was to enable us to visit the Fender guitar factory in Corona. We had reservations for the 10am tour on Monday morning and set off from Rancho Jurupa park just before 9 to make sure we arrived in good time. 45 minutes later we parked up outside Fender.

After checking in we had time to browse the visitor centre while listening to the soundtrack on the video playing in the big screen area. They must have known we were coming, they were playing a concert featuring Sting and the Police! (Sting was born in Wallsend, Newcastle upon Tyne – our adopted home).

The factory tour took a little over an hour, our guide Dave had so much information to share with us about many aspects of the manufacture and history of the company, we were guided through the various process from the shaping of the chassis (body) and neck to the manufacture of the pick ups – we were able to walk through the custom build area and visit with one of the longest serving employees Abigail Ybarra who has been making pickups for 50years and worked alongside the founders of the company.

I am just a listener and not a player but still found lots to interest me in the tour. Robert as a player got so much more from the visit. He has written a special post for his blog www.roadvoyagers.wordpress.com which I would direct you to for extra details and pictures. Suffice it to say he had a great time!




This was his favourite guitar…. several thousand dollars worth.













And these were mine – pretty!

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