Leticia Juarez's favorite spot: Redlands


At A La Minute, children of all ages can watch as fresh cream is transformed by liquid nitrogen into a buttery ice-cream.

A La Minute is a French culinary term that means "made to order." Owner Cassi Burk and her husband recently opened the shop, which has fast become a local favorite.

"They like that it's creamy, they like that we use local ingredients. They know the people who actually grew our products," she said.

And that's part of the charm I love about Redlands. State Street, the center of the city's historic shopping district, has plenty of local mom-and-pop businesses with a creative flair.

At Sweet Memories, I can still indulge my sweet tooth on treats from my past, plus get a laugh at the modern twist on soda pops, with names like Dog Drool.

But no visit is complete for me without stopping off at the A.K.Smiley Public Library, which was built in 1898. It was a gift to the city by Albert K. Smiley.

"The whole thing cost $60,000 that he didn't have. So he went out and borrowed money to give his gift," said Dr. Nathan Gonzales, associate archivist at A.K. Smiley Public Library.

Gonzales says the building also houses an art collection and repository of local history.

An interesting detail about the library is the carving of the devil placed right in front of the circulation desk. They don't know why it was placed there. Some believe it was put there as a warning to make sure to turn in your books on time.

A stroll outside, I am transported back in time to the city's elegant past. Redlands has strong sense of preservation, with many of its historic homes listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I've always been fascinated by old homes and the stories behind them.

"Our house was built by a widow of an orange farmer who'd had a home further out into the country, and so when she became a widow, she moved here and lived in this home," said Linda Walsh of Redlands.

From its unique shops to its sense of history, Redlands continues to earn the title "Jewel of the Inland Empire."

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