FEBRUARY'S TOO FAST: That the shortest of months also seems to pass in a flash is no headline, and yet we get taken by surprise each and every year. Perhaps only December passes faster -- so many obligations, so many social engagements, so many to-do lists piling up you need a separate lists that encapsulates ever list containing to-dos -- but February is sneaky. If you're planning for the middle-of-the-month celebrations, Valentine's and the long Presidents Day Weekend, you've only got a fortnight to jumpstart your plans once February arrives, and before you know it, March is in like a lamb (or is it a lion, or some curious combination of both?).
THE BEST WAY... to extend that Valentine's-February fun feeling is to keep an eye out for the month-long hotel deals and Hearts Day-type happenings that fill up the second month of the year, from the 1st to the 28th. One gathering that has some of the gooey charms of Valentine's -- literally -- has landed on the last two days of February, in Temecula, and if you didn't get enough candy or Cabernet on the 14th, then Friday, Feb. 27 and Saturday, Feb. 28 should take care of those cravings. It's Chocolate Decadence and Pechanga Wine Festival, and "over 150 wine competition award-winning varietals" will be part of the two-day sip party.
PLUS 15 RESTAURANTS... will be in the house, serving "gourmet food bites" as well as a "dizzying array of chocolate desserts." The festivals are separate, but a combo ticket is available at a hundred bucks. As for the beneficiary of both events? Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley's Brush with Kindness program. As for some of the participants? Look for the best of the region: Europa Village, South Coast Winery Resort & Spa, Treasury Wine Estates, and Callaway Vineyard and Winery