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Visit San Jacinto Valley Twitter Party – Aug. 9, 2016!

We’re having a Twitter Party and want you to join us!

San Jacinto Valley Twitter Party

San Jacinto Valley, conveniently located between Los Angeles and Palm Springs, is an outdoor lovers paradise. Bike trails, hiking trails, paragliding, fishing, and birding are just a few of the sports you’ll find in this hidden valley. In addition to all the outdoor fun one can have, there is a plethora of history and culture. San Jacinto Valley is home to California’s longest running outdoor play, Ramona, has SoCal’s only Victorian Bridal museum and is fortunate enough to have Max the Mastodon residing in its valley.

Ramona Pageant at the San Jacinto Valley

Ramona Pageant – California’s Official Outdoor Play

Deb Thompson from Just Short of Crazy, along with other bloggers, will be our hosts and each has  been able to experience all the San Jacinto Valley has to offer first hand.  They’ll be sharing everything you need to know about the area during the San Jacinto Valley Twitter Party. You won’t want to miss it! This will be a great time with incredible prizes including a 3-night stay in a cottage at Golden Village Palms RV Resort (travel not included), THE place to stay when you visit the valley! We’ll tell you why during the Twitter party.

Participating is easy. All you need is a Twitter account, RSVP and show up and tweet. This is your chance to learn more about San Jacinto Valley, ask questions and possibly win one of the prizes! So grab your favorite beverage and grab a seat behind your computer or mobile device and join the conversation.

SAN JACINTO VALLEY TWITTER PARTY DETAILS

WHEN: August 9th

TIME: 7pm-8pm EST

HASHTAG: #VisitSJV

Western Science Center San Jacinto Valley

Western Science Center

FOLLOW SPONSOR & COHOSTS

SPONSOR: @VisitSJV

CO-HOSTS: @debthompson, @traverlermom, @tatanishapw, @trailmixedmom, @dangercupcake, @TravelWell4Less, @BabyToBoomer, @pure_wander

WIN A 3-NIGHT STAY IN SAN JACINTO VALLEY

PRIZES: SJV Gift Basket, $100 Ramona Bowl Gift Certificate, $50 VISA gift card, 3-night stay at Golden Village Palms RV Resort.

Winners will be randomly selected from the RSVPs. Be sure to use the #VisitSJV hashtag and interact with us like crazy!

Snowbirds return to the San Jacinto Valley

Golden Village Palms RV Resort

RSVP FOR THE SAN JACINTO VALLEY TWITTER PARTY

ENTER YOUR TWITTER HANDLE IN THE LINKY BELOW FOR A CHANCE TO WIN ONE OF THE GREAT PRIZES!

It’s as easy as 1-2-3. Simply put your twitter name in the name field and your twitter link in the URL field and you have a chance to WIN!  See you on August 9th!

 

San Jacinto Valley hosts national bloggers

Bloggers visit San Jacinto Valley

Bloggers arrived from across the country to enjoy the San Jacinto Valley this past November.  Eight bloggers were hosted in the Valley for three days and produced over 13 million timeline deliveries while they were having fun learning all about what the area offers.

This was the first blogger press trip since the inception of Visit San Jacinto Valley (the area’s destination marketing program) three years ago.  To host a “national” blogger press trip is a little unusual for a first time venture but thanks to the Visit San Jacinto Valley tourism committee and Snowbird blogger Deb Thompson, this special trip has launched the San Jacinto Valley onto the national stage as a tourism destination in a big way.  Bloggers attending were a good mix from Michigan, Ohio, Washington, and California.

Bloggers produce results

During the press trip the entire #VisitSJV experience was documented across multiple social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The 8 bloggers are respected writers and photographers covering travel, family, food, and entertainment.  Their combined social media following at the time of the event was 433,500 people.  The bloggers created 450+ original posts over the three days.

As part of the agreement to attend, each blogger will now write 2 stories that will appear on each of their own websites/blogs, so in addition to the publicity generated while they were in the valley, there will be much more publicity over the next several months.

The itinerary for the three days the group spent in the San Jacinto Valley included visits to Ramona Bowl, Estudillo Mansion, Hemet Depot, Victorian Bridal Museum, Old Town Temecula, wine tasting, attending the Healthy Hemet reception at the Historic Hemet Theater where they met a variety of local residents, Western Science Center, Diamond Valley Lake, and meeting with members from the Soboba Tribal Council.

Golden Village Palms and Super 8 (now the new Best Western Plus) housed the bloggers. The Anchor, Downtown Deli & Coffee, Marie Callendars, Sweet Baby Jane’s, La Michoccana, and The Maze Stone restaurants all hosted meals for the group. Courtesy transportation was provided by Gosh Ford.

Initial estimated return on investment

The monetary PR value of the online coverage the San Jacinto Valley received, just during the three day trip, is worth thousands of dollars and that’s just the beginning.  The stories that each blogger will be writing and sharing will continue to keep the spotlight on the Valley for a long time ahead.

We want to thank the following bloggers for visiting with us and providing such awesome content to help us spread the word about the San Jacinto Valley:

You can find a roundup of all the blog posts that were produced from this trip here.

The blogger press trip could not have happened without the donations of the wonderful local businesses who took part in the trip as well as countless volunteers who gave up their time to help showcase our special valley.

A quote from blogger Donna Biroczky’s first story about the area sums it all up:

“…the community alone is a big reason to visit San Jacinto Valley. In all the places I’ve lived, I’ve never run into a tightly knit group of people who truly care about each other and their neighbors and cities as much as the people of the San Jacinto Valley. From the friendly smiles, the welcoming hugs and the excitement in sharing their home with us, their love for the San Jacinto Valley was readily apparent the entire time.”

 

Visit San Jacinto Valley Tourism Program Proving it’s Worth

In the beginning, back in the spring of 2013, there were plenty of critics.  “Why would anyone want to visit the San Jacinto Valley?” was asked many times by community members.

But those people asking didn’t understand tourism, didn’t understand all that the valley offers for people outside the area, and they didn’t understand the economic potential that a tourism program could bring to the valley.  A core group of roughly 30 people did understand though, and throughout that spring the Visit San Jacinto Valley tourism program was born.

Official launch of Visit San Jacinto Valley

Launch of Visit San Jacinto Valley tourism program in July 2013

Fast-forward to today and valley residents can proudly say that the Visit San Jacinto Valley tourism program is an “award winning” program having recently won 2 economic development awards ~ one regional and one statewide. At a time when more businesses were closing than opening and the country was economically stagnant, it was unheard of for new tourism programs to develop, much less a tourism program that was a public/private partnership.  That idea, coupled with data from the State of California’s Travel Impact statistics that shows strong tourism growth in the Valley over the past several months, have brought plenty attention to the program.   Visitors only need to look at www.visitsanjacintovalley.com to see that a wide variety of tourism and recreational opportunities are found here. Couple that with the current national tourism trend of “rural tourism” and Visit San Jacinto Valley has a bright future ahead of it.

Visit San Jacinto Valley nears end of second year

June 2015 marks the official end of the second year of Visit San Jacinto Valley.  This year, for the second year, Visit San Jacinto Valley took part in a co-op Inland Empire ad placed in Visit California’s Visitor Guide.  The guide is the main tourism promotional piece for California and millions of people see the ad annually.  In addition, Visit San Jacinto Valley does receive names and emails of people wishing to find out more about the valley from that ad.  This year too, an online publication, 52 Perfect Days, contacted Visit San Jacinto Valley and asked if the group could provide 52 things to do in the San Jacinto Valley.  It worked out so well that soon these 52 things will be seen around the valley as a new brochure.

Speaking of brochures…..you’ll soon see racks around both cities and in outlying areas filled with San Jacinto Valley information.  The marketing committee for Visit San Jacinto Valley is establishing a valley-wide rack card program to make it easy for visitors to pick up information about all there is to see and do.

2015 Ramona Pageant

72% of Ramona Pageant attendees are from out of the area.

Last year we hosted Snowbird blogger Deb Thompson for 5 weeks in the valley.  Her blog posts and daily updates brought much needed national attention to the area.  She left before seeing Ramona so she just came back and got to experience Ramona first hand.  Needless to say, she’ll be helping get the word out about the pageant via her audience over the next several months.

Have you connect with Visit San Jacinto Valley via Facebook and Twitter?

Visit San Jacinto Valley has a very active presence on both Facebook and Twitter.  It’s worth noting that in addition to visitors interacting on the sites, there is a robust local component too.  Community engagement is key to a strong destination marketing effort and the valley is very engaged on these social media sites.

The past two years have laid a strong foundation for the Visit San Jacinto Valley program.  It has been funded by public and private funds, but those limited funds cannot sustain the effort in the long run.  So with that in mind a new membership program is being developed with various membership levels to keep the program sustainable year after year.  Successful tourism programs are generally independent entities and that is the end goal for the program.  There are very few businesses in the valley that are not touched in some way by tourism.  It is said nationally that a tourist dollar turns over at least 7 times in a community.  Visit San Jacinto Valley’s mission is to encourage tourism in the valley and as a result bring economic prosperity to all who live and work here.

52 Reasons to Visit the San Jacinto Valley

Golf at the San Jacinto ValleyThe San Jacinto Valley has a wealth of things to see and do ~ so much so that we put together a list of 52 Reasons to Visit the San Jacinto Valley.  Feel free to send us your favorites to add to the list!

  1. The San Jacinto Valley is a tourism destination in Southern California.
  2. Perfect for family exploration, so much California history is found here.
  3. Extensive outdoor recreation possibilities, from easy to extreme, from mountain to desert terrain.
  4. Excellent location for Snowbirds in the heart of Southern California.
  5. Six, count them, six lakes in the area.
  6. A variety of seasonal and multicultural events.
  7. Mastodons were our first visitors, you can see them at the acclaimed Western Science Center.Western Science Center San Jacinto Valley
  8. Home to “California’s Official Outdoor Play” – The Ramona Pageant.
  9. We celebrate the Native American influence of our Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians which dates back 1,000 years.
  10. The natural beauty in the San Jacinto Valley takes your breath away.
  11. Idyllwild is our mountain neighbor, just a scenic drive away.
  12. San Jacinto Valley weather features over 340 days of sunshine, it never gets too hot or too cold.
  13. Enjoy the fall Harvest Festival in Hemet.
  14. Estudillo Mansion is all that remains of a 35,000 acre Mexican land grant given to Jose Antonio Estudillo in 1842.
  15. Diamond Valley Lake Visitor Center hosts hands-on exhibits regarding the building of the lake along with a small sample of ice age fossils and more.
  16. Estudillo Heritage Park Water Conservation Education Garden educates visitors about the beauty and water saving benefits of planting drought tolerant and native California plants.
  17. Play with exhibits and learn about the world at Fingerprints Youth Museum for children.
  18. Hemet Museum presents a panorama of local history in the freight house of Hemet’s Historic Santa Fe Depot.Ramona Bowl Museum in the San Jacinto Valley
  19. Since 1923 “Ramona” has delighted audiences of all ages. The Ramona Bowl Museum celebrates the history of California’s “Official Outdoor Play.”
  20. San Jacinto Valley Museum is located on the grounds of the Estudillo Mansion and filled with Southern California history and artifacts relating to the San Jacinto Valley.
  21. Enjoy a permanent collection of antique bridal gowns and accessories from the Victorian era at the Victorian Bridal Museum.
  22. Wonderful antiquing is found throughout the Valley.
  23. Visit Hemet’s Historical Maze Stone, a prehistoric petroglyph.
  24. Stop by the Soviet Transpolar Record Flight Site where in 1937 three Russian aviators completed a transpolar flight from Moscow establishing a new world’s nonstop distance record.
  25. The Soboba Casino features 2,000 slot machines and more than 20 Table Games.
  26. Valley Wide Recreation & Parks District maintains 60 miles of streetscapes, 76 parks, 9 community centers, and two aquatic centers in the San Jacinto Valley.
  27. Valley-Wide Recreation’s Aquatic Center is a heated 25-yard outdoor pool with zero depth entry, fountain sprayers and activity toys for small children, yet great for all ages.
  28. Culture thrives in the San Jacinto Valley thanks to the Diamond Valley Arts Council and their programs.
  29. Explore Simpson Park, a 483-acre wilderness park located in the Santa Rosa Hills south of the Valley and features hiking and biking trails along with a spectacular view of the entire San Jacinto Valley.
  30. Hiking in the San Jacinto and adjacent San Jacinto mountains offers beautiful wildflowers, towering pines, distant views, spectacular sunrises and sunsets.
  31. Come bike, hike, ride your horse, or simply stroll the Diamond Valley Lake Trails.
  32. Including Idyllwild, Pine Cove, Garner Valley and San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains you’ll find plenty to do in the San Jacinto – Santa Rosa Mountains Recreation Area.
  33. You’ll find 20+ wonderful hikes in the San Jacinto Ranger District in the San Bernardino National Forest.Hiking in the San Jacinto Valley Mountains
  34. The summit of Mount San Jacinto, in Mount San Jacinto State Park, stands 10,834 feet above sea level, and is the second highest mountain range in Southern California.
  35. If you love paragliding, Soboba Soaring offers one of the most consistent sites in Southern California and can be flown year-round.
  36. For golf enthusiasts, the San Jacinto Valley offers public courses that feature both 9 and 18 holes and are suitable for beginners and those who enjoy championship play.
  37. Camping, in this day and age, can be in a tent or a luxury RV. From wilderness to civilization ~ your experience can be whatever you want it to be!
  38. For fishing, boating, hiking, wildflowers and more – Diamond Valley Lake has it all.
  39. Lake Hemet is surrounded by the majestic beauty of the San Jacinto Mountains. The scenery is breathtaking no matter which direction your gaze travels.
  40. Little Lake & Reflection Lake are two more wonderful lakes in the San Jacinto Valley.
  41. Love Off Roading? The San Bernardino National Forest has had a system of designated Off-Highway Vehicle routes in place for more than 30 years.
  42. Road Cycling & Mountain Biking is extremely popular and trails are found throughout the Valley.San Jacinto Valley Mountain Biking
  43. Whether you are an experienced trail runner or a ‘couch to 5k’ in training, the San Jacinto Valley offers a multitude of running
  44. Hurkey Creek is a popular destination for camping, hiking and mountain biking enthusiasts
  45. Experience Golden Village Palms, California’s largest luxury RV Resort.
  46. San Jacinto Valley is home to a wide variety of RV Parks.
  47. 1,000’s of bats that migrate each summer – watch via Fairview Street bridge.
  48. The San Jacinto Agricultural Festival happens each September and celebrates the agricultural influences in the Valley.
  49. Birding Tours are hosted by the Eastern Municipal Water district fall through spring.
  50. The Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians hosts their Annual Soboba Inter-Tribal Pow Wow each September drawing thousands of visitors.
  51. Two outstanding Farmers’ Markets are found in the Valley year-round with an abundance of locally grown items.
  52. With strong Native American, Hispanic and Agricultural influences come unleash your spirit in the San Jacinto Valley.

10 THINGS EVERY NEW SNOWBIRD SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SAN JACINTO VALLEY

 

Snowbird banner in the San Jacinto Valley

 

Living in Michigan my entire  life I wasn’t sure what to expect about life in the San Jacinto Valley in the heart of southern California. It’s one thing to visit an area for a week, it’s a completely different story when you live there and you have to find grocery stores, favorite coffee shops, the library, and so many more of the the everyday mundane parts of life.

My teen daughter and I made the drive from Michigan to San Jacinto Valley to explore the area and discover for ourselves if San Jacinto Valley is a good snowbird destination.

San Jacinto Valley Welcomes Snowbirds

The San Jacinto Valley welcomed Deb with a special reception

We only had a few requirements for a snowbird destination. There had to be warm weather and sunshine, good food, a lively arts & culture scene and decent shopping. San Jacinto Valley not only met our requirements, but exceeded them.

After being there for six weeks I created a list of things a first time snowbird needs to know about living in the San Jacinto Valley. These are my insights into the area and how things are different in the land of the sun.

10 THINGS EVERY NEW SNOWBIRD SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SAN JACINTO VALLEY

1. Cactus and gravel instead of grass: I think this is one of the most noticeable things about coming from the midwest. In Michigan every lawn is green grass, or, if it’s winter, lots of snow. In the San Jacinto Valley the majority of yards are created from a combination of gravel and cactuses.  I like it because it seems pretty low maintenance to me and I love low maintenance.

2. Lots of stop lights: There are quite a few stop lights on the main roads. Be sure to plan extra travel time to go from point A to point B. A 10 mile trip took us about 30 minutes due, in part, to all the lights. Plan accordingly and you’ll be fine.

3. Taco shops: We tried to count the number of taco shops in the area, but it proved to be a bit challenging. There is almost one on every city block. If you love Mexican food this is a great place to live.

4. Beware of the Dips: The main roads in San JacintoValley don’t have speed bumps, but travel down any side street and where there is an intersection there is, most likely, a dip in the road, or, as we started referring to them, inverted speed bumps. Caution is advised because, at times, these sneak up on you quickly and if you don’t slow down for them you will be traveling Dukes of Hazard style across the intersection. We have been informed that these are actually flood control measures, but they will forever remain in our minds as inverted speed bumps.

5. Arts & Culture Scene: There is always something happening in the valley. Concerts, theater, plays, art shows, art classes, film festivals, galleries, and so much more. I love the variety of opportunities available. Since we’ve been here we’ve gone to a 70’s cover band concert, jazz concert, listened to dueling pianists and explored art galleries.

6. High(er) gas prices: If you are coming from the midwest be prepared to pay a bit more for gas, California is consistently one of the highest states for gas prices.  During my visit it was running about 30-40 cents more per gallon than in my hometown. By the way, it’s completely worth it to pay more to enjoy living without snow. The prices of groceries and eating out, however, is about the same as home. This has to be one of the most budget-friendly cities in southern California.

Farmer's Markets in the San Jacinto Valley7. Year round farmers markets: My favorite thing about the area is that there are two farmers markets that run year round. Hemet has more flea market type vendors in addition to fruits, veggies, and prepared foods and is open on Saturday mornings behind the Hemet Public Library. San Jacinto farmer’s market, at the corner of Menlo and San Jacinto Roads,  is certified organic and is open on Thursday morning and offers a great selection of fruits, veggies, fresh flowers, olive oil, fresh squeezed juice, mediterranean food, and more. It is a bit surreal shopping at farmer’s markets in January.

8. Easy drive to beach or mountains: If you are missing the snow San Jacinto Valley is a short drive to the mountains where you can go skiing and then drive back to the land of the sun. If you prefer spending the day at the ocean then you are in luck as that is also an easy drive. Each of them are within 90 minutes, depending on traffic.

9. Great location for day trips: The San Jacinto Valley provides a great, affordable, home base for unlimited day trip opportunities. Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park, Temecula, San Diego, Los Angelas, and Disneyland to name a few. Additionally, there are great destinations to visit within a 4 to 5 hour drive including Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Death Valley.

10 Friendly people. Everywhere we have visited during our stay we have been greeted by incredibly nice people. They are always welcoming and have a smile to share. In my opinion, the locals can make or break a destination and the locals definitely make this a place I want to stay.San Jacinto Valley's Diamond Valley Lake

Of course, there are cons to every destination and the San Jacinto Valley does have room for improvement. The commercial areas look tired and rough around the edges. Fresh coats of paint, some landscaping, and litter control would go a long ways to making the area look more welcoming.

However, as with most things in life, you get exactly what you pay for. Living in the San Jacinto Valley is very budget friendly and there are many great reasons to stay here (see list above and read my posts on JustShortofCrazy.com). However, if you are looking for a shiny, gorgeous destination like Palm Springs or Temecula you won’t find it here. My advice, stay here for the cost and visit the more expensive destinations as day trips.

Overall, I have found San Jacinto Valley a great location to snowbird. It is small town enough to make getting around easy, yet it is within easy driving distance to wonderful attractions and destination. I love that San Jacinto Valley is budget friendly and doesn’t come with the high costs that seem to infect many parts of southern California.

If you haven’t looked at the San Jacinto Valley as a snowbird destination come on out for a visit and see for yourself why this is the perfect winter location!

Deb ThompsonDeb Thompson is a lifestyle, travel, snowbird and food blogger at JustShortOfCrazy.com. She traded corporate America for living life on her terms. She is proof that you can live your dreams if you let go of the fear. She is a traveler, foodie, sun chaser, lover of fluffy dogs and sometimes cats, photo taker, baker, pr friendly influencer, brand ambassador, Michigan resident and much more. Follow her adventures at www.JustShortOfCrazy.com, www.facebook.com/JustShortOfCrazy,www.twitter.com/debthompson, or www.instagram.com/debthmpsn

For more information:
San Jacinto Chamber of Commerce (951) 654-1645
Hemet/San Jacinto (951) 658-3211
Email: [email protected]