A Taste of Cali: 5 cities!


Traveling and exploring the outdoors are definite favorites of mine (tied with music, of course); but there are so many places to go and things to see with limited time that planning can be time consuming.  It’s hard making decisions on what to see when we want to do it all.

This trip, we were lucky enough to have family living in California, who provided local insight and created this perfect “Taste of California” itinerary: visiting Sacramento, Folsom Lake, Lake Tahoe, Napa Valley and San Francisco.  Brief highlights and pictures of the places and restaurants we visited are included next, all highly recommended. Hope you find something you will enjoy when traveling!

SACRAMENTO

First Stop:  A visit to the  historic town of Old Sacramento shortly after our plan landed, we had lunch on the stationary historic riverboat located on the Sacramento River, the Delta King and drove around Old Sacramento to sightsee.OHBU4633

Capital Park    Capital Park is home to the California Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial and landscaped with numerous varieties of trees, plants and flowers native to California. Of course after the park we had to get Gelato.

We also visited the Sacramento Choral Society to hear the music of Downton Abbey, after having dinner at the nearby Esquire Grill.

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Folsom Lake

The sun rises over the lake, but unfortunately I took some wrong turns and didn’t make it there early enough. The lake level was down in March to accommodate the future snow melt, but it was gorgeous even with low lake levels.  There are bike and walking trails leading to the State Park and lake, as well as a nearby bike rental place, perfect for morning exercise and exploring!

Lake Tahoe

Definitely a highlight of the trip!  The weather turned beautiful when we visited.

Before arriving at Lake Tahoe, we stopped at this cute place with Chalets banked along the rushing water of the South Yuba River:  Rainbow Lodge; so picturesque!

Arriving at Lake Tahoe…ready for lunch…must stop at Garwoods!

Look at this lunch view!

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Garwoods at Lake Tahoe
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Garwoods at Lake Tahoe- that view!

Squaw Valley Ski Resort…next stop

Resort at Squaw Creek– the perfect place to relax and enjoy the views!  Very quiet in March if you are looking for privacy!

Empire Mine:  (Grass Valley, CA)

Learn about the Gold Rush, see the estate and visit the mine.

Napa Valley – off to the wineries

Lunch first at Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch

Sterling Vineyards : the tram ride is unique from other area wineries. Sterling Vineyards is elevated and tucked into the mountainside whereas other vineyards we passed were in the flatter valley areas.

Beringer Estates: Tour the cave and the oldest continuous running winery in Napa Valley; they didn’t even close during prohibition because they provided wine to the Catholic church for communion!

The Harvest Inn – a relaxing place to stay after visiting the wineries and excellent dinner!

From Napa to San Francisco stopping for lunch in Larkspur, CA at  “Left Bank Larkspur Braserie”

San Francisco Arrival….it was a wet one!

but cleared for us to enjoy a beautiful setting and dinner at Sutro’s at the Cliff House

The next day cleared and we took the tour by water of the San Francisco Bay area,  the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and the Oakland Bridge then had lunch at the Crab House at Pier 39, then visited China Beach, Golden Gate Park, and had diner at the Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant to watch the Sunset.

 

This itinerary worked perfectly and we didn’t feel rushed, still had time to relax and enjoy the places we visited on the “Taste of Cali” trip!

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