Your Perfect Summer Day: 99+ Ways to Soak Up the Sun
Munnerlyn’s Ice Creamery – Photo by Jenna Torres
BY SHARON PENNY
Swimming in a crystal-clear lake, exploring local art, sipping foothill wines on a shady patio…have we described your perfect summer day yet? Keep reading, because we’ve compiled a veritable cornucopia of perfect summer day activities for foodies, art lovers, water babies and kids (or kids at heart)—an entire season’s worth of perfect summer days, in fact. Whether you’re looking to hike, paddle, explore, sip, munch or get away, we’ve got you covered (sunscreen not included).
IF YOU’RE A FOODIE: Eat your way through the region
All In A Jar
3944 Curran Road, Ione
Summer is the perfect time to master the art of preserving, when the produce is bountiful. Jams, curds, pickles, preserves, even soups—All In A Jar offers healthy, creative classes on the third Saturday of every month. Class schedule and sign-up info available online.
577 Main Street, Placerville
The smoked turkey and asparagus omelet is outstanding, the olallieberry pancakes are to die for, and the cinnamon rolls will make you cry…this is “the” place for breakfast. Bring your appetite and expect a wait to be seated, but trust us: It’s worth it.
26 Main Street, Jackson
With locally grown produce from the owner’s farm and surrounding farms, plus a mouthwatering menu that changes regularly (apple pie pancakes for the win), Rosebud’s is a must when in Jackson.
Totem Coffee Co.
312 Main Street, Suite 104, Placerville
Grab a cup of pure Placerville charm in this cozy café with the cutest courtyard in town. Try one of the best mochas around; and don’t leave without indulging in the Coconutty toast.
Boa Vista Orchards
2952 Carson Road Placerville
This Apple Hill mainstay is open year-round and that means apple donuts year-round. Feel free to move on to apple fritters, apple cider, apple turnovers and fruit pies…but come back for the donuts.
325 Main Street, Placerville
A great variety of delicious thin-crust pizzas and entrées, and colorful salads—our favorite, the Greek Salad, includes mouthwatering dolmas (swoon)!
Munnerlyn’s Ice Creamery
20145 State Highway 88, Pine Grove
Meyer Lemon Custard, Raspberry Truffle, Kit Carson Crunk…these are just a few of the rotating 130 flavors on offer at the foothill’s best-kept ice-cream secret. Tell your friends, but give them the long-way-round directions so that you get there first.
The Wine Smith
346 Main Street, Placerville 530-622-0516, facebook.com/thewinesmith
Knowledgeable staff serving up a full complement of local wines right in the heart of historic Placerville, with the added bonus of regular live music and “meet the winemaker” events.
Placerville Public House
414 Main Street, Placerville
Don’t miss their weekly Thursday night “Pint And Flight Nights” with pints and flights from a featured local brewery, as well as regular live music events. Come for the beer, stay for the excellent tacos!
When you’re living in a delicious fruit and vegetable basket like the foothills, it’s mandatory that you support your local farmers’ markets, and summer is the perfect time to reap the rewards. In Cameron Park, head to the Burke Junction Parking Lot (Coach Lane at Strolling Hills Road) on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to noon, May through September; in Placerville, the Main Street Market at the Bell Tower takes place Wednesdays from 4 p.m. until dusk, June through September; and the Ivy House Farmers’ Market at the corner of Main Street and Cedar Ravine is on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon, May through November. The El Dorado Hills Town Center Farmers’ Market at Town Center Boulevard kicks off May 21 and runs through October every Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
9402 Main Street, Plymouth
Taste is truly elevating the fine dining game out here in the foothills (bad pun, sorry) and was named one of Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s Top 100 Wine Restaurants in the country. Needless to say, it’s the perfect spot to wind down after a day of wine tasting in Amador County.
Poor Red’s Bar-B-Q
6221 Pleasant Valley Road, El Dorado
You’re free to order whatever cocktail you choose, but there’ll be a lot of side-eye if you don’t order at least one of Poor Red’s signature Golden Cadillacs. It tastes like delicious (boozy) melted ice cream, and it’s got summer written all over it.
Smith Flat House
2021 Smith Flat Road, Suite F, Placerville
Spend a warm summer’s evening out here on the spacious patio (seriously, it’s huge) and you’ll never want to leave—conversation pits, shade, plenty of seating, great food and drinks, regular live music, and laid-back charm.
5 PURVEYORS OF FROZEN GOODNESS
Whistle Stop Yogurt in Placerville, tasty fro-yo in a rainbow of flavors that regularly rotate, with a friendly staff to boot, thewhistlestopyogurt.com
Sutter Creek Ice Cream Emporium in Sutter Creek, Crystal ice cream in a cone or cup with classic parlor surrounds, 209-267-0543
Urban Yogurt in Shingle Springs, trendy environs with fun flavors and some of the kindest owners you’ll ever meet, urbanyogurtinc.com
CandyStrike Emporium in Placerville, bubble gum ice cream with fudge, plus candy and truffles candystrike.com
Hangman’s Tree Ice Cream Saloon in Placerville, choose from 20 flavors of ice cream and two flavors of sorbet in this historic brick building, hangmanstree.com
IF YOU’RE AN ARTS, CRAFTS + CULTURE LOVER: Let your creative juices flow
Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center is turning up the volume on the good times this summer. Bring the right stuff to the “Total Package Tour” on June 3 when NKOTB, Paula Abdul and Boyz II Men take the stage; get ready for that Bruno Mars “24K Magic” on July 18; Lionel Richie and special guest Mariah Carey give you all the hits on July 22; put a kiss on your list for Daryl Hall and John Oates with Tears for Fears on July 23; bow down to the king and queen of country music when royal highnesses Tim McGraw and Faith Hill hit town July 28; Ed Sheeran will be thinking out loud on August 1 with James Blunt; stock up on crunchy granola for a hot August night with Neil Diamond on August 2; and all of Sacramento’s little monsters will come out to play for Lady Gaga on August 15. golden1center.com
Don’t miss the seventh annual Sacramento Promenade of Mermaids on May 20 at Riverfront Park in Old Sacramento from noon to 4 p.m. Mermaids, mermen, pirates and sea creatures of all shapes and sizes are welcome to join, and no pre-registration is required—just show up by noon to be in the running for a costume prize (adult and child categories). Proceeds benefit the River City Food Bank, and it’s all part of Sacramento Mermaid Weekend. sacramentopromenadeofmermaids.com
ummer is shaping up to be colorful and exciting at the Crocker Art Museum. Don’t miss Turn
the Page: The First 10 Years of Hi-Fructose from June 11 through September 17. For 10 years, the quarterly art magazine Hi-Fructose has celebrated distinguished emerging and new contemporary artists; this exhibition puts 51 of these remarkable artists together in one space for an unforgettable experience. And from June 25 through October 8, Full Spectrum: Paintings by Raimonds Staprans offers a vibrant exhibition of more than 55 paintings by Staprans, a Latvian-born painter of landscapes, architectural elements, and still lifes with ties to California’s Bay Area figurative movement and pop art. Explore the power of black and white film this summer with the return of Crocker’s Summer Film Series. Things kick off with a bang (or a boom) with a screening of the 1964 classic Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love
The Bomb on May 4. The series continues with The Third Man (1949) starring Orson Welles on June 1, The Misfits (1961) starring Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe on July 6, and the ‘90s French classic La Haine (1995) starring Vincent Cassel on August 3. crockerartmuseum.org
Take a trip back to the Gold Rush for a truly Placervillian theater experience this summer with Imagination Theater’s Southfork Tales running September 15-October 8. Enjoy this musical dramedy featuring the tunes and tales of the Gold Rush days about a group of rugged spirits who spill their hidden secrets to each other. imaginationtheater.net
El Dorado Arts Council‘s 2017 exhibition season continues at the Fausel House Gallery; through May 29, Tea/Silk/Gold: The Enduring Legend of America’s First Japanese Colony includes a special collection of Japanese woodblock prints from 1931-1957, lent by Charles Downs, AIA, and never before seen by the public; from June 9 through August 27, a local photographer and noted geologist explore the ancient river channel running through El Dorado County in Deep Blue Lead, in partnership with Smith Flat House; and beginning September 1 through November 26 Take Me to the Apple Breeder is a solo exhibition of work by artist Jessica Rath, in partnership with Rainbow Orchards, featuring porcelain sculptures and large-scale photographs based on the living collection of apples at Cornell’s Planet Genetics Resource Unit. eldoradoartscouncil.org
There’s plenty of melodrama this summer at Olde Coloma Theatre. Boo or cheer as loud as you like, and you’re even encouraged to throw popcorn! Summer shows include A Pennysworth Is More Than You Think or Trains, Plots and Dirt Lots beginning May 5 and running through June 11; All the World’s a Stage or Hey? Where’s My Script!? runs June 23 through July 30; and The Whirling Dervish of Coloma or Ladies, Gentlemen and Other? from August 11 through September 17. oldecolomatheatre.org
Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort goes back to the classics for their summer concert series; hear one of the great voices of American music with Art Garfunkel on May 12; Blue Oyster Cult would like to remind you please, don’t fear the reaper this summer on June 10; and America will ride through the desert on a horse with no name to perform just for you on July 12. jacksoncasino.com
Summer provides the perfect opportunity to explore one of the foothills’ greatest historic treasures at the Wakamatsu Open Farm Date on May 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Take a self-guided walking tour of the Wakamatsu Community Farm and visit Okei-san’s 1871 gravesite, explore Charles Graner’s original 1850’s farmhouse, or take a trip around the lake on the 1.5-mile wheelchair-accessible trail. Bring a picnic to enjoy at your leisure. Seasonal produce may be available for purchase. Amenities are limited, so please plan accordingly to enjoy your own outdoor experience. firstname.lastname@example.org
Film lovers and environment lovers converge at this year’s third annual Wild and Scenic Positive Power Film Festival on May 13 at the Imagination Theater at El Dorado County Fairgrounds. Partnering with environmental groups, nature centers, museums, nonprofits, outdoor retailers, businesses, schools and colleges, the festival raises awareness to campaigns, attracts new supporters, raises funds, and brings global and regional environmental issues to the local level. wildandscenicfilmfestival.org/on-tour
Rhone lovers unite! Prepare your palate for Rocks and Rhones on May 20-21 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Celebrate Rhone varietals grown in the rocky soils of El Dorado’s Pleasant Valley with a wine and food experience hosted by five El Dorado County wineries: Auriga, Holly’s Hill, Miraflores, Narrow Gate and Sierra Vista. Delight your senses with gourmet food pairings, winemaker demonstrations and vineyard walks. This is a popular event and tickets sell fast, so get in quick! pleasantvalleywineries.com
Stroll downtown Placerville’s art galleries, restaurants and merchants at the Third Saturday Art Walk on May 20, and every third Saturday through summer from 5-9 p.m. placerville-downtown.org/events
From June through August, soak up the summer sunsets at Boeger Winery with Sunset Sippin’. Enjoy wines by the glass (or bottle), tasty snacks for sale in the tasting room and great live music every Friday from 6-9 p.m. And celebrate the dog days of summer at their Wine And Weenie extravaganza on August 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Live music, face painting, a photo booth, sausages and dogs from Ruffhaus, wine-based cocktails, as well as a dog and owner lookalike contest are all part of the day’s activities. Well-behaved, leashed pets welcome. boegerwinery.com
From June 10 through October 15, Placerville’s Historic Main Street will come alive in a burst of color during the annual Banners on Parade. This spectacular community art project features creative hand-decorated banners mounted on the light poles along Main Street. The banners will be sold at a silent auction held during the Art and Wine Festival in October. placerville-downtown.org/events
Summer’s here and we need beer! Thankfully, the Bell Tower Brewfest comes to the rescue on June 24 from 6-9 p.m. And what better reason to shut down Main Street than a celebration of the amber nectar provided by local and well-known breweries, as well as live music, great food and plenty of entertainment.
On September 16, dust off your lederhosen and practice your chicken dance for Placerville Oktoberfest from 3-8 p.m. There’ll be live German music, wiener-dog races, children’s games, Bavarian dance demonstrations and, most importantly, glorious German sausages, pretzels, strudels and more. placerville-downtown.org/events
Sign up for a summer experience like no other at Scofield’s Cowboy Campfire, a foothill institution since 1997 where Ron and Marie Scofield host an evening of old-time cow camp entertainment under the stars at the Red Mule Ranch in Fiddletown. Enjoy a chuck wagon tri-tip dinner, cowboy music, poetry and storytelling in an 1880s setting, along with special guest
performances from venerable artists like Old West Trio, Riverbend Folk Band, Sourdough Slim and Robert Armstrong, Dave Stamey and many more. Events currently available through July and August; reservations are required. scofieldscowboycampfire.com
IF YOU’RE A NIGHT OWL: Evening activities that are a hoot
LATE-NIGHT EATS FOR INSATIABLE INSOMNIACS
Wally’s Pizza Bar (wallyspizzabar.com) in Cameron Park has a late-night menu every night from 10-11:30 p.m. (which is a good thing because their pizza is the bomb). If you’ve got a late-night hankering, Poor Red’s Bar-B-Q (poorreds.com) keeps their delicious barbecue going until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings, and until 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday—come for the food, stay for the company (and the Golden Cadillac cocktails); Powell’s Steamer Co and Pub (powellssteamer.com) is open until 11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and until midnight Friday-Saturday with live music almost every night, as well as Friday night karaoke; Coloma Club (colomaclub.com) is open until 2 a.m., seven days a week, and their café is open until 9 p.m.; Koto at Red Hawk Casino (redhawkcasino.com/dining/koto) is open until 3 a.m. Sunday-Thursday, and until 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday, so if you’re craving chili cheese waffle fries, you know where to go. Knott Hole Bar and Grill (slyparkresort.com/knottholegrill.html) in Sly Park Resort is open until 11 p.m., seven days a week—the Knott Hole Burger is a must at any time of day; same goes for their garlic fries.
LATE-NIGHT MUSIC AND COOL HANGS
Bones Roadhouse (bonesroadhousehangtown.com) in Placerville has karaoke every Friday at 8 p.m. (and the self-proclaimed best burgers in the county); St. George Hotel (stgeorgevolcano.com) in Volcano keeps the nightlife alive with regular songwriter showcases, comedy nights and more; the National Hotel (nationalhoteljackson.com) in Jackson often has live music and is a great place for some classy late-night entertainment and great food; Drytown Club (facebook.com/drytown05) is open until midnight and—if you’re lucky—has live music until late, but make sure you swing by on Sundays at 4:30 p.m. to see owner Allen Frank and the Doghouse Blues perform.
LATE-NIGHT SHENANIGANS THAT DON’T INCLUDE FOOD
If your idea of late-night entertainment involves solving a series of puzzles to escape a room then Escape Sacramento (escapesacramento.com) is for you. Great for couples, families and birthday parties. Open until midnight Thursday and Friday. Never sleep again with Coin-Op Game Room (coinopsac.com), which is open until 2 a.m. seven days a week: AC/DC Pinball. Street Fighter II. Punch Out. NBA Jam, and much more. Don’t miss “Free Play Sundays” the last Sunday of every month. If you avoid comedy clubs and hate undersized cocktail furniture, the Secret Comedy Show is your new friend. No venue, just a U-Haul and a twitter handle
@movingvanshow—they’ll tweet the venue and the time, and through the magic of moving vans, comedy will appear before your eyes. Live on the edge, just like Aerosmith. Since you’re awake this late why not do some actual stargazing at the Community Observatory (communityobservatory.com) in Placerville from 8:30-10:30 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting. Entry is free and all ages are welcome.
IF YOU’RE A WATER BABY: Catch a wave and make a splash
Sacramento’s full of great riverside beaches. Relax or have a gentle paddle in the river at the popular Paradise Beach, a great downtown oasis for water lovers. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, bring along a floatie and take a float trip along a portion of the American River—it’s DIY so take safety precautions, travel with a group, hydrate, and slather up with sunscreen. Try starting from under Guy West Bridge (right by Sacramento State) and finish up at Paradise Beach, or take a longer trip past Paradise Beach to Sutter’s Landing (just past the I-80 overpass). It’s a popular spot during summer, so be sure to get there early to avoid crowds. Tip: Bring along a paddle to help steer you out of trouble or dead spots, and make sure you stash your valuables and dry clothes in a sealable waterproof bag.
Feel like seeing a little more of Sacramento’s riverways? There’s some great local boat tours to be had and summer is the perfect time to climb aboard. Hornblower Cruises in Old Sacramento offers one-hour historic river cruises, as well as a two-hour “Alive After Five” happy hour cruise; Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Memorial Day weekend cruises; Fourth of July cruises; and Gold Rush Days cruises over Labor Day weekend. facebook.com/hornblowersacramento
Give summer a proper welcome at the Cameron Park Community Center Pool‘s “Welcome to Summer” free swim day on May 27 from noon to 5 p.m. There’ll be lots of fun activities, food and vendor booths, giveaways, pool pass registeration, and information on swimming lessons, summer camps, summer programs, special events and more. You can also purchase your Summer Spectacular wristbands in advance. cameronpark.org
Cameron Park Community Center’s annual Summer Spectacular returns June 24 with a kids’ carnival, live music, swimming in the lagoon, food and craft vendors, exhibitors and fireworks to cap off the evening’s festivities. cameronpark.org
Take a trip up to Tahoe and check out the potholes at the Silver Fork of the American River near Kirkwood, a series of unique swimming holes in the granite plateau. An easy 20-minute hike from the road, bring a picnic and make a day trip out of it! (But don’t litter, and make sure you take home whatever you bring—leave no trace.) Located near Silver Lake and Carson Pass, the potholes can be accessed from the Silver Lake Campground or Highway 88 that passes by. aboutlaketahoe.com
If you’re looking for a place to hold a pool party this summer look no further than the Placerville Aquatic Center. They also have extensive swimming lessons, water aerobics, camps, and fun summer events. The center opens May 29, and the season runs through September 4. teamsideline.com/placerville
Jenkinson Lake is the perfect spot for all your on-the-water activities. On the main lake there’s plenty of room for boating, waterskiing, wakeboarding and tubing, and the narrows are ideal for calmer pursuits like kayaking, canoeing, paddling, swimming and floating. Kayak and paddleboat rentals are available during peak season. Come for a day, a weekend, a week or longer—there’s tons of camping and plenty of parking. eid.org
Enjoy a run or walk around the lake with your furry friends and then let them cool off in the lagoon at the Cameron Park Pooch Plunge and Laps at the Lake on August 12 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Cameron Park Lake. Laps at the Lake begins at 9:30 a.m., and ribbons will be awarded to all participants. And then let the fur fly with off-leash running, jumping and swimming in the Cameron Park Lake Lagoon for a dog-only swim. Food and vendors will be on site. Sign up for the both the walk and plunge in advance. cameronpark.org
IF YOU’RE A KID (OR KID AT HEART): Make it a summer to remember
Visit the Sacramento Zoo on June 17 for their 90th Birthday Party from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with games, crafts, activities and bounce houses, plus free party hats, snow cones, birthday-themed animal enrichments, face painting and more! There’s also an Ice Cream Safari on August 19, Overnight Safaris in June, July and August, and don’t miss out on their upcoming summer camps. It’s all happening! saczoo.orgLive happily ever after at Fairytale Town this summer with loads of fun events for kids and families—like their Family Campouts in June, July and August; A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Crystal Ice Cream Fantasy on June 24; puppet shows on the first weekend of each month, June through August; Grandparents’ Day on September 10, and much more! fairytaletown.org
Cool off with the kids this summer at the Crocker Art Museum—they have a whole host of kid-friendly programs, like Sunday Playday, a monthly hands-on artmaking event for kids ages 4-6; Wee Wednesdays, a gallery-based art experience for kids ages 3-5 every Wednesday; and their monthly Kids and Company Gallery Adventures, a kid-friendly tour of the museum for kids ages 5+. crockerart.org
All aboard for awesome train rides this summer at the California State Railroad Museum. Take an Excursion Train Ride along the river in closed coach cars and a first-class observation car pulled by either a Granite Rock No. 10 steam locomotive or vintage diesel locomotives from the museum’s collection. californiarailroad.museum
Keep an eye out for monthly “Hands on History” days this summer at Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park: a fun and interactive way for kids and families to connect with the past. Admission is free for kids 5 and under! suttersfort.org
Come out to the Sacramento Children’s Museum in Rancho Cordova and enjoy $5 Fridays with discounted admission all day, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Perfect for kids up to 8 years old (big kids welcome, too). sackids.org
The great outdoors awaits your kids this summer with American River Conservancy’s Nature Camps, June through July for ages 4-5, 6-8 and 9-11. They’ll enjoy fun activities, outdoor games and hands-on crafts in Coloma and nearby parks. All camps offered are day camps, except for the sleepover at the end of the 9-11-year-old session. arconservancy.org
Black Chasm Cavern isn’t just for kids, but the wow factor is key: This underground cavern of stalactites and crystal formations looks kiiiinda like Smaug’s lair from The Hobbit (minus the gold) and therefore is a must-see adventure for kids this summer. There’s a kid-friendly 50-minute walking tour, plus they can try their hand at gemstone mining and gold panning. caverntours.com
Take your budding little ghost hunters on a Ghost Trails Cemetery Hunt. This family-friendly scavenger hunt leads you through Pine Grove, Aqueduct and Volcano cemeteries—match historic headstones to the real life pioneers and learn about their journey West to settle in Amador County. Packets are $10; order by phone, and the packet will be emailed to you. 209-223-6349
If your kids are into dirt, racing and general destruction (granted, that doesn’t rule out very many kids) take them for a night out they won’t forget at the Placerville Speedway and watch the sprint cars fly! (Eye and ear protection is recommended.) placervillespeedway.com
Bring the kids and spend a night under the stars at the Cameron Park Community Campout from July 22-23 at Cameron Park Lake. Bring your own camping gear and enjoy swimming, a barbecue, crafts, campfire stories, and breakfast in the morning. cameronpark.org
IF YOU WANT TO GET AWAY WITHOUT GOING FAR AWAY: 5 summertime staycations
The first thing you’ll do at Eden Vale Inn is exhale. You’ll feel like you’re beautifully, perfectly isolated here among the rolling hills, far from all of civilization despite being only a 15-minute drive from Placerville. Set on beautiful farmland, Eden Vale is the perfect bed and breakfast for a romantic getaway, a platonic getaway, or a solo getaway…any kind of getaway you like. Between the gorgeously appointed rooms, beautiful grounds, the on-site spa (yes, spa) and the great food that’ll be served to you daily, honestly, there’s really no reason to leave. We wouldn’t blame you if you decided to quit your job and plead with the owners to let you live here. (We tried.) Here at Eden Vale, it’s just pure bliss, every day.
But if you’re one of those weird people who likes to “do” things when you’re on a mini-vacay, then definitely take the 40-minute drive over to Fair Play where you’ll find almost 20 wineries tucked away in a magical region we like to call El Dorado County’s Hobbiton; your quest is to enjoy all the fabulous award-winning wine, so do not take this trip lightly (and definitely take this quest with a designated driver). If you’re a gardening enthusiast, visit Master Gardeners of El Dorado’s pride and joy: Sherwood Demonstration Gardens, a collection of 16 immaculate demonstration gardens located behind Folsom Lake College-El Dorado in Placerville. Explore these marvels of sustainable gardening, from rose gardens and cottage gardens to Japanese, succulent, orchard and butterfly gardens and even a children’s garden—keep an eye out for educational classes and events. Make sure you stop by Allez! in Diamond Springs for a pre-tasting gourmet picnic lunch to go, or set aside an evening to dine in and savor their truly magnifique take on classic French cuisine. And then return to Eden Vale and exhale once more, because you are so incredibly relaxed. Enjoy your nama-stay.
Eden Vale Inn, 1780 Springvale Road, Placerville, 530-621-0901, edenvaleinn.com
Escape to a little piece of luxury at the Penthouse on Sutter overlooking Historic Folsom. The spacious modern loft boasts two master bedrooms with king beds, a full kitchen and front deck, as well as a rooftop patio with an outdoor fireplace and panoramic views, Wi-Fi, free parking and more. It’s perfect for entertaining a group or enjoying a quiet getaway with all the creature comforts. Located in the heart of Historic Folsom right across the street from Marly and Moo, where you can enjoy a casual brunch, lunch or dinner; whatever you do, be sure to hit them up during Happy Hour and sample their handcrafted cocktails, wine and extensive tap list. Spend the day kayaking nearby Lake Natoma (kayak rentals available at Sacramento State Aquatic Center); or ride and hike around Lake Natoma along the American River Bike Trail and see the jewel in Folsom’s crown up close. After you’ve built up an appetite and head back to Sutter Street, fine dining is less than a stone’s throw away from the Penthouse at the Sutter Street Steakhouse where the steaks will leave you saying “Ruth’s who?”
Penthouse on Sutter, 607 Sutter Street, Folsom, penthouseonsutter.com
Imagine getting away to a peaceful country farm with magnificent gardens and little chickens wandering about, and no TV…now stop imagining, because you really can do all of that at the Flower Farm Inn in Loomis. The farm itself dates back to 1905, and the Inn boasts a working citrus orchard, mature gardens and rolling lawns, plus a bed and breakfast, café, plant nursery, Casque Winery tasting room, silky chickens wandering the grounds, and all of the fresh air you can possibly breathe into your lungs. We 100-percent guarantee this isn’t a dream. The Casque tasting room is open Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., so that’s your getaway taken care of. But if for some reason you’re looking to do more than taste glorious wine and bask in your country-living retreat (why, we’re not sure, but okay), you’re only a short drive away from Auburn’s Foresthill Bridge, which offers both breathtaking views and excellent hiking; Clark’s Hole is also close by, a popular local swimming hole and worth the trek if you’re looking to cool off. All that hiking and swimming builds an appetite; for an unforgettable dining experience, make the quick trip to Source Global Tapas Restaurant in Granite Bay for truly delicious and unique cuisine sourced from local farms. When you return to the inn, make sure to set aside a little time for stargazing—yes, it’s so perfect here you can even see the stars.
Flower Farm Inn, 4150 Auburn-Folsom Road, Loomis, 916-652-4200, flowerfarminn.com
When you’re looking for a wine-based getaway, there’s only one place to stay, and that’s on a vineyard. Not the kind of stay where you sleep in your car until they quietly ask you leave, but a proper planned stay in a room like a grown-up. For your magical winery getaway, look no further than the new Grand Reserve Inn, situated on 40 acres of the Wilderotter Vineyard in picturesque Plymouth, in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley wine country. You will luxuriate at this unique Tuscany-inspired bed and breakfast in a spacious room with a private veranda where you can sip champagne and enjoy a gourmet breakfast while gazing out over the beautiful vineyards. While you’re gazing, warm up that sipping arm because the wineries are waiting. With over 20 wineries to enjoy and savor throughout the region, you’ll have your work cut out for you; so pace yourself and be sure to bring a designated driver along for the ride. Winery-wise: Make sure you start with Wilderotter Vineyard (I mean, it’s right there, how could you not?). Wilderotter is a hidden gem with a great array of high-quality wines (and delectable cheese pairings). For fine dining, look no further than Taste in Plymouth for the ultimate in Amador wine country dining…and be sure to go across the street to Amador Vintage Market and buy a bag (or five) of homemade truffle potato chips. You can thank us later. (They double as excellent currency for your designated driver).
Grand Reserve Inn, 19890 Shenandoah School Road, Plymouth, 209-245-5466, grandreserveinn.com
Your “getaway” is waiting just outside Downtown Sacramento at The Greens Hotel in the up-and-coming Boulevard District. This luxury boutique has a colorful ’60s motel vibe from the outside, but inside it’s completely updated and ultramodern, offering all the creature comforts you need for your perfect mini-vacation away from home. There’s a fab pool area with an enclosed patio, so chances are you’re not going to spend a whole lot of time in your room during this summer retreat. Bonus: The Greens Hotel is right next door to some of Sacramento’s best Southern food at Mama Kim Eats, and you do not want to miss out on their Sunday brunch (smoked pork, greens and cheddar grits…just sayin’). Since you’re minutes away from Downtown and Old Sacramento, you can just hop on nearby ligh trail and see what’s happening. Head to the brand-new Golden 1 Center for a concert, or wander across the beautiful Tower Bridge and take in a River Cats game on a balmy summer night; or, head a little further out to Old Sugar Mill in Clarksburg for a day of wine tasting from the 14 wineries housed in this picturesque location (don’t miss their Food Truck Picnics every Sunday from 1-4 p.m.).
The Greens Hotel, 1700 Del Paso Boulevard, Sacramento, 916-921-1736, thegreenshotel.com