Who’s excited that Daylight Saving is coming this weekend?? Yassss! I love having longer days and more opportunities to spend time outdoors. Walking around the Plaza and all over Old Towne Orange is so much fun and there’s a lot to see. From people watching to shopping to eating, there’s a lot of ground that can be covered right in our own backyard. But if you’re looking to rack up that step count, then we’ve got a few great suggestions for you.
1.Maple Street to Big Momma’s house
Maple Street is not only great for walking but it also has great aromas. If you start at Glassell and Maple you will be immersed in the delicious smells from the Filling Station, Aussie Bean, and Pie Hole. If you head east on Maple you’ll often see locals tending to their beautiful gardens and decorating for the upcoming holidays. If you come here on the weekends you might hear a choir singing for various events held at the Chapel of Orange. The chapel was built in 1909 and it reflects its history on the outside. It is gorgeous. Keep going to the Intersection of Maple and Shaffer and on your right, you will see Big Momma’s house. Yes, the one and only Big Momma’s House. If you’re a local, I’m sure you know what we’re talking about. This house was used as the main residence for Big Momma herself, released in 2000 with Martin Lawrence. Here are some clips to take a closer look. The house itself has beautiful architecture and the outdoor setting is wonderful.
2. Almond Street to St. John’s Church and Pitcher Park
If you start at the corner of Glassell and Almond and head east you will see Avila’s El Ranchito. This restaurant was originally a church and El Ranchito did a great job of keeping the old charm. The building is beautiful and it’s always very lively inside. Keep heading east and you will arrive at St. John’s Lutheran Church which was established in 1914. If you walk here later at night you will see the gorgeous stained glass windows that light up in the dark. So beautiful! If you keep going to the intersection of Almond and Cambridge you will arrive at Pitcher Park. Pitcher Park is small but so quaint. It’s filled with fruit trees like Oranges, Persimmons, Avocados, Figs, and others. This is the perfect place to enjoy nature or play chess at one of the tables. During the summer months, they have various outdoor events which include learning about the honey house that is located at the park and you can have a closer look at the old fire engine inside of the old fire station.
3. Start at Avila’s El Ranchito and Head South on Orange Street to Hart Park
I can’t help but smile when I think of the people who live on Orange Street, in the City of Orange, in Orange County. I am sure that the workers in the post office have a chuckle with this one. While walking down Orange Street I feel like I’m back in time, strolling by the beautiful Craftsman and Victorian homes and imagining who lived there when the houses were built in the early 1880s. These homes are so beautiful and every one of them has a personality of its own. At the end of the street, you are led down the steps into Hart Park. Hart Park is a beautiful place with a band shell, tennis courts, a public pool built in the 1930s, and many other amenities. From there you have miles and miles of walking and biking trails along the Santiago Creek.
4. Chapman to Ruby’s Dinner and Hilbert Museum
If you’re new to the Plaza and arrived by car you might be surprised that a couple of blocks west on Chapman is the Orange train depot. If you take Chapman west and take a right at Atchison street you will see the iconic Ruby’s Diner. On your way, you will pass by The Potting Shed by Carlisle, which is one of my favorite stores in OTO. The Ruby’s Diner is located at the station and reflects its Old Town charm. Right across from Ruby’s you’ll see the Hilbert museum which has free admission and is open Tuesday through Saturday.
That’s it for our FOUR fun walks in Old Towne Orange. Grab that step counter and head outside to explore the neighborhood.