It’s the first night back after Lotus Pub’s annual two-week holiday break, and at 5 p.m. when the doors swing open on this frigid Friday in January, a line has already formed.
Mokelumne Hill may not be the busiest tourist hub in the Amador-Calaveras Sierra Nevada foothills loop that includes Sutter Creek, Jackson, Angels Camp and Murphys. But that doesn’t mean the uniquely well-preserved 1850s Gold Rush-era settlement along the Mokelumne River, often called Moke Hill by the locals, is lacking in things to do and see.
It’s a stop for nightly commuters, a biker bar and a family-oriented historical highway landmark, hosting everything from car shows, weddings and baby showers, to taco Thursdays and Wednesday trivia nights.
Bud Milo enters the 90-year-old restaurant and bar on Main Street in Rio Vista for the first time, and his expression immediately changes after seeing 300 mounted hunting trophies and photos lining the walls. “There’s a whole lot of animals here,” says the incredulous Milo.
Wayne Bishop of Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm in Wheatland claims the farm is the largest pick-your-own pumpkin patch in the world. It remains a true family-run business, with Wayne, his wife Ann, his sons Lee and Austin, and his daughter-in-law Courtney leading the farm his parents started more than 50 years ago.
The well-preserved, semi-ghost Placer County town of Dutch Flat, an hour drive east of Sacramento in the Sierra Nevada foothills, has earned the description of being “a step back in time,” as local hotelier Leif Lowery described it.
As the crew with Yolo Ballooning Adventures prepares the aircraft for its scheduled 90-minute trip, general manager Mike Veliz looks out over the launch site dotted with half a dozen other balloons from various Northern California companies readying for takeoff. “The best part of this job,” says Veliz, a Woodland native, “is getting to watch the sunrise every day.”
Even when the tulips aren’t blooming during the April-May window, Crystal Hermitage is a destination experience that has received accolades by AAA Magazine as a top garden to visit in the West.
The story of The Workshop, the popular 600-square foot Cajun-Creole walk-up restaurant in Benicia, starts with a teen romance between Danny Glassmaker and Naomi Buskirk more than 30 years ago.
The temple and museum is usually a quiet respite for visitors, open by appointment only. But during one weekend, the serenity is replaced by bursts of firecrackers and thousands of visitors attending the Bok Kai Festival weekend, honoring Bok Eye.