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Detour Road Trips – OFF and ON Route 66

Jan 30, 2019

The famous Mother Road, Route 66, is know as Foothill Boulevard in Rancho Cucamonga. The iconic road trip has been famous and well-traveled for decades. Sometimes it pays to slow down, smell the roses, and explore some of the OFF Route 66 experiences.

Heading East Bound on Route 66 one of the first locations you’ll notice once you’ve hit Rancho Cucamonga is The Magic Lamp Inn, a Rancho Cucamonga landmark steakhouse, it was founded in 1955 by John Clearman. The steakhouse came into existence after the unfortunate burn down of ‘Lucy and John’s restaurant’, a restaurant located on Route 66 from 1941 to 1955. The building was reconstructed and then transformed into the Magic Lamp, which today is one of three places in the US that have an open flame at night on the sign which is designed like Aladdin’s lamp just outside the restaurant. The Rancho Cucamonga restaurant has a Bavarian feel but an Arabian Nights name. Start your adventure with brunch and then head east to Victoria Gardens, which is located at the north east of intersection Foothill and Day Creek.  This beautiful outdoor lifestyle center is a lovely place to stroll, enjoy some window shopping, and admire the architecture designed to create a new downtown with a feeling of yesteryear. Jump on the trolley or wave good by to the kids as they ride the Choo-Choo Munga train. The main street courtyard is a gathering point for many families in the community.

Back to Route 66 – head west now to the restored 1934 Richfield Gas Stationjust west of the of Foothill and Archibald intersection. Today it is a museum with local memorabilia and the best part is the people you find here. Seems you walk in a stranger and leave as a friend with great conversation of the good old days.

As your journey continues west bound another good place to visit is California’s oldest winery, located on Foothill and Carnelian. No longer an active winery but the structure is there and if you’d like to commemorate your visit with a glass of wine, the Wine Tailor is on the north side of the building with a cozy patio to soak up the California sunshine.

It’s time to head northbound on Carnelian, a little off the beaten path but well worth the drive north is the Maloof Residence. Sam Maloof was one of the most respected furniture makers of the 20th century. His rocking chairs were highly esteemed by both Presidents Reagan and Carter. The 5 ½ acre property includes sustainable gardens, the famous artists museum, and his home which are available for tours. After your visit head back down the hill to theJohn Rains House. Heading south past Baseline look for Hemlock and turn left. This brick home dates back to 1861 and today is a museum to pay tribute to the way of life early settlers and farmers in this area. Continuing south on Carnelian, pick up your Route 66 adventure at Foothill.

Heading west you’ll soon come to the Pacific Electric Trail Head. Pull in to the parking lot and enjoy reading the history about this famous railroad.  At the very end of the trail head historical area you’ll find a patch of the original Route 66 Road. This makes a great photo with the old railroad bridge in the background decorated with a salute to Route 66. Slightly west and on the same side of the Route is the Sycamore Inn, with a unique and long history.  Early in California history, the wide boulevard that fronts the Sycamore Inn was just a dirt path called the Santa Fe Trail. In March of 1774, it was this trail that brought Spanish explorer Captain Juan Batista de Anza to this lush oasis of giant Sycamore trees, situated next to a natural creek from the mountains above. The local Indians invited the Spanish soldiers to remain in the oasis for a while. The old dirt road that fronted the Inn became the fabled Route 66, the primary route from points east to the Pacific Ocean. During those colorful years of the 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's, before freeways, the Inn hosted the rich and famous...movie stars and notables, both the famous and the infamous, en route to Las Vegas and Palm Springs. The Inn is rich with folklore. Legend has it that both Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Short (the "Black Dahlia") dined at the Sycamore in the weeks before their untimely demise. This fine dining establishment is the perfect place for dinner. 

For information on the local area visit GOcvb.org