Sweet spring in San Bernardino County

In April, the views from Redlands are as savory as its oranges

Laura Randall

Sweeping vistas, elegant Victorian homes, and the fragrant scent of orange blossoms: Redlands, set at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains, is what the Inland Empire used to be before the days of the SigAlert. In April, the oranges are at their sweetest, the air is cool and fresh, and the still-snowcapped San Bernardinos gleam.

GETTING THERE

Redlands is about 60 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. From I-10, exit at Orange St. south, and turn left on State St. to reach downtown. To see Victorian homes, follow Orange St. as it becomes Cajon St. and continue south to Highland Ave.

GO

A.K. Smiley Public Library A Moorish-style wonder of stone arches, carved gargoyles, and stained-glass windows. Don't miss the conservatory, which opens to a lush flower garden. INFO: 125 W. Vine St.; www.akspl.org; 909/798-7565.

Kimberly Crest House & Gardens Scented geraniums, irises, and roses bloom at this hilltop home, which was the inspiration for Hollywood's Magic Castle. INFO: $7 tour every half-hour, 1-4 Thu-Sun; 1325 Prospect Dr.; www.kimberlycrest.org; 909/792-2111.

Celebrate Citrus Redlands honors its agricultural past every spring with a big celebration timed to peak blossom time. Celebrate Citrus kicks off April 14, 2007 at Prospect Park, south of downtown, with displays of citrus-themed art and vintage farm equipment, plus a tasting of nearly 20 rare citrus varieties. Also on April 14, don't miss the Orange Muffin Fest. INFO: www.inlandorange.com; 909/794-4484.

EAT

Farm Artisan Foods The menu at this upscale bistro changes seasonally ― think morel risotto and zucchini blossoms stuffed with chèvre. For dessert, order the divine pine-nut olive-oil cake. INFO: $$$; closed Mon; 22 E. State St.; 909/792-1162.

Oscar's Mexican Restaurant Known for huevos rancheros and grilled fish tacos. INFO: $$; 19 N. Fifth St.; 909/792-8211.

The Eating Room The food at this bustling breakfast and lunch spot keeps locals coming back. Try the pulled pork sandwich with sweet potato fries. INFO: $; 107 E. Citrus Ave.; 909/792-5400.

SHOP

Redlands Galleria Four fun-to-browse floors of antique armoires, porcelain dolls, cut glass, and 1950s enamelware. INFO: 17 E. State St.; 909/793-2204.

Redlands Art Association Gallery Vases, beaded jewelry, and plein air paintings. INFO: Closed Sun; 215 E. State St.; 909/ 792-8435.

The Frugal Frigate Housed in an old carriage shop, the indie children's bookstore has costumed storytimes. INFO: 9 N. Sixth St.; 909/793-0740.

STAY OVERNIGHT

Morey Mansion Inn Stretch out your visit at the graceful Morey Mansion Inn, an exquisitely restored 1890s Victorian built by a prominent local citrus family. INFO: 3 rooms from $250, including breakfast; www.moreymansion.com; 866/990-1890.


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