Ric Romero's one-tank getaway: Riverside


Today, Riverside still maintains a richness that makes it a wonderful getaway.

First stop has to be the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, a national historic landmark originally owned by Frank Miller. Built in 1903, the Mission Inn is home to flying buttresses, domes, courtyards and two chapels, including the St. Francis of Assisi.

The Mission Inn at 3649 Mission Inn Ave. has a special package if you mention ABC7 Eyewitness News. It includes overnight accommodations for two, a docent-led tour, valet parking and two free cupcakes from Casey's Cupcakes. The package, available Sunday through Thursday, is based on double occupancy and subject to availability.

The package typically costs $217, but ABC7 viewers pay only $159 when they mention "ABC2011" during booking.

Next stop is the Riverside International Automotive Museum. The museum is dedicated primarily to the Riverside International Raceway, which was the most heavily used track in the world for three decades and considered by many the most important road course in the United States.

The museum is home to perhaps the largest collection of Maseratis in the world. In fact, one of them was owned by the king of Spain, Juan Carlos.

The museum at 815 Marlborough Ave. is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The suggested admission donation is $5.

When you start getting hungry, Ciao Bella Ristorante at 1630 Spruce St. is the place to go.

During the week, there are $4 happy hour specials and a weekday lunch special for $6. On Fridays, the lunch special is lasagna and you also get a glass of wine.

When you're ready for the next destination, head over to the March Field Air Museum. The collection consists of 70 historic aircraft, including the once-secret spy plane SR-71A Blackbird. Plus, a new exhibit displays the colorful history of military aviation.

Mention ABC7 Eyewitness News and get half off the admission price.

Another wonderful spot in Riverside is the University of California, Riverside, Botanic Gardens. It covers 40 hilly acres with more than 3,500 plant species from around the world and more than four miles of trails, but plenty of areas to rest your weary feet.

Admission will be $4 beginning July 1.

Two other spots worth visiting are the California Citrus State Historic Park and the Riverside Metropolitan Museum. California Citrus State Historic Park "recaptures the time when 'Citrus was King' in California," when there were lush groves of oranges, lemons and grapefruit. The land still continues to produce high-quality fruits, plus there is an activity center, amphitheater, picnic area and demonstration groves.  

  Special for ABC7 viewers

The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa and Casey's Cupcakes cordially invite you to experience "ABC7's Summer Splendor at the Inn." Visitors to this National Historic Landmark experience the romance of a European castle vacation, without leaving California. Enjoy award-winning dining at Duane's Prime Steaks and Seafood Restaurant, Inland Southern California's only AAA Four Diamond restaurant. Relax and rejuvenate at the Tuscan-inspired Kelly's Spa, indulge in luscious confections at Casey's Cupcakes and learn about the rich history, unique artifacts and famous guests with a docent-led tour of the Inn. The ABC7 Summer Splendor at the Inn Package costs $159 and includes:

Deluxe Overnight Accommodations for two at the Inn
Two Casey's Cupcakes "Flavor of the Month" Sweet Treats
A group docent-led tour for two
Complimentary Valet Parking

Package is available Sunday through Thursday, is based on double occupancy and subject to availability. Docent-led tours begin at 10:30 a.m. and go until 4 p.m. daily, departing from the Mission Inn Museum. Package may not be combined with any other promotion or discount and expires 8/31/2011.

When calling to make a reservation mention "ABC2011" or enter "ABC2011" in the promo code section when booking online at missioninn.com.

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