If Norman Rockwell were alive today, he’d set up his easel on the corner of 6th and Crocker, or just about anywhere in this authentic Western town. With well-kept churches on every corner, carefully restored historic buildings all along Main Street, and a tree-bordered park that welcomes kids, dogs, and the best farmers market in the state every Saturday morning, Templeton is the very “picture” of Rockwell’s oft-painted Americana.
Templeton was founded in 1886 when the West Coast Land Company sent R.R. Harris to survey the 160 acres that lay along the El Camino Real between Los Angeles and San Francisco. For awhile, Templeton was the last stop for train travelers coming from the north. In its heyday, Templeton had quite a reputation for saloon brawls and “Wild West” street scenes.
A great day trip is Templeton’s Vineyard Drive as it yields gorgeous views of working horse and cattle ranches, endless rows of grapevines, wonderful spots for the perfect picnic, or a stroll along a country road. In an article that appeared in Sunset Magazine in 2010, Santa Rita Road is described as “flanked by gnarled oaks, wildflowers, and orange and avocado groves with 360° views of Paso wine country and the Pacific Ocean” at its highest point.
Fine local coffee roasters, farm-to-table deli’s, locally cultivated goat cheese, and unique wine shops are all here now, along with popular eateries. Templeton loves its annual festivals, celebrations, and events but you can always catch the bountiful weekly Farmer’s Market, where artisan breads, hand-crafted honey, locally made chai, goat cheese and lotions are sold along with the best seasonal produce from all over the county.
Templeton’s Mediterranean climate means very mild winters and hot, dry summers. While temps can reach as high as 115° F in the summer months, low humidity makes the long lazy days comfortable. Winter lows can drop to 10 or 15° F, and rainfall happens sparingly between November and March.