Aallinlimo Inside

One special night inside San Diego’s Aallinlimo’s sleek, black limo.

No one was more surprised than me to open the door and find a Hummer Limousine in the driveway. My son’s friend, Chris, the 8 year old birthday boy, was there to pick Josh up for the party. Chris’s parents had turned in a favor and arranged the limo rental for a gaggle of boys going to play paint ball. I heard later about how much fun the boys had in the back but otherwise Josh hardly noticed the ride. Paint ball was more his thing.

I’m a little more easily wowed. I used to associate limousines with wild wedding parties, crazed prom nights and wealthy celebrities. They were designed originally for the privileged early in the last century and later notoriously known as saloon cars. Today that latter use seems to be exploding with limos, party buses and town car rentals competing for parking space most weekends at popular destinations. A limo rental can be practical as well – shuttling young birthday boys, an efficient ride for small groups visiting multiple sites along the Las Vegas strip and as I recently discovered, they can transform work into play.

Spencer Falls, Hamilton, Ontario

Spencer Falls, Hamilton, Ontario

On a press trip in Toronto last summer, as other travel bloggers were being shuttled to their destinations by van and bus, my small group was led to a large, white Limousine. We weren’t off to go night-clubbing, but taking a trip to the country side. Off we sped, leaving downtown Toronto  behind and into the diversions of Hamilton county.

More than a few heads swiveled as we passed, probably wondering who was in that big, white limo cruising past suburban homes en route Spencer Falls. (The city of Hamilton boasts 132 waterfalls) Disembarking into the luminous morning sun, we were met by a park guide who sped through the history of the place ultimately letting us wander the lush, green site accompanied only by the sound of rushing water.

At our next destination, Weir’s Lane Lavender farm, the limo nimbly mounted a hillside driveway, muddied by a morning sprinkle that followed us from the highway. We sampled lavender lemonade and discovered the aromatherapy benefits of the herb before being whisked away to lunch at the colorful and tasty Detour Cafe in the artistic town of Dundas.

In Flight from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum

In Flight from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum

The day rolled on and one attraction after another: we took a flight at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, sipped wine at the family run Ridge Road Estate Winery and had dinner in the elegant Ancaster Mill, its stone dining rooms perched over a roaring waterway. It was long after dark when we returned to Toronto. I want to go back and explore the region in depth one day. Who would’ve known that a return trip to Hamilton would make its way onto my bucket list?

It had been a bit surreal being treated like a celebrity and made more so by the fresh juice, fruit, protein bars and the famously delicious Tim Horton donuts which had diplomatically replaced the champagne toasts traditionally made while riding in the back. We were there to work after all.

Aallinlimo outside Mission brewery

Our Aallinlimo town car with the new San Diego Library and Petco Park in the background.

Not so on my last Limo ride. This time several San Diego Travel Massive members were invited to a Brewery Tour on a warm fall evening in San Diego. True, we were there to gather inspiration about our host company, Aallinlimo.com, but as soon as our driver, James, closed the door, a bottle of complementary bubbly was popped open. Our first stop was the Mission Brewery tasting room housed in a historic warehouse with the Wonder Bread painted across the bricks across the street from Petco Park, giving a hint of it’s previous incarnation.

Heavenly Bodies Food Truck

Heavenly Bodies Food Truck Team

Mission BreweryTasting Room

Mission BreweryTasting Room

A few of my fellow foodies wandered over to the Heavenly Baja Taco truck parked at the entrance, making it easy to top off our tastings. Once inside you can’t forget you’re in a working brewery. Stacks of empty cans, waiting to be filled, tower over the tables. Fat stainless tanks gleam along the entire east side of the 3.000 sq. foot space.

The highlight of the night was crossing the sweeping Coronado Bridge as the sky turned from luminous blue to a light studded black.

The ride was smooth, so much so it was easy to imagine we weren’t moving. All the better to party but I wanted to see more from our perch high above the bay. The curving, deep upholstery and lights, the row of sparkling flutes an easy reach across from where I sat, felt luxurious and special. Aside from the great company, I would’ve enjoyed riding shotgun and trading stories with our driver, the better to observe the night rolling past.

Tasters Coronado Brewery

Tasters in the Coronado Brewery

My introvert imaginings melted when we pulled up to the Coronado Brewery. The ten of us were led to a large banquet table and away from the bustling bar. All the better to share impressions and savor the beer. A pair of hot, platter-sized, salted pretzels made the rounds. Tasting flights were shared and too soon it was time to go. Our driver guided us back into the comfy recesses of our limo. I was grateful that we had a designated driver.

Too soon we were back where we started. Those few hours together were a bonding experience and we lingered in the cool night air, sharing plans and stories. I get it now – A limo rental can make any event memorable.

These trips were organized by TBEX 2013, Tourism Hamilton in Canada and AallinLimo in San Diego.