California never ceases to amaze me. I’ve been writing about it for more than a decade and there always seems to be more cities, landscapes, hotels, attractions and culture to explore. This wonderful fact was quite apparent last week when I met with a group of representatives from about 50 cities across the Golden State.
From Sacramento to San Diego, the event showcased a myraid of things to do and see. I’d like to now mention a few of the places I have added to my upcoming calendar.
One of the first places I want to explore more is Santa Rosa, “where wine country meets beer city, where world-class wine meets the epicenter of American craft beer, all with a bourgeoning spirits scene.”
Located about 55 miles north of San Francisco, Santa Rosa, has an abundance of recreational activities, epicurean delights and scenic vistas for visitors to enjoy. Situated in the heart of Northern California’s world-famous Wine Country and just 30 minutes from the stunning coast, it is Sonoma County’s largest city, with a small-town feel. The city is home to superb wineries and craft breweries, some of the country’s best bicycling routes, and the Charles M. Schulz Museum – along with many other attractions. For more information, go to: www.visitsantarosa.com
While I’m up in Northern California, I also want to visit Redding. Situated at the northern end of the Sacramento River Valley, the city is the hub city in Shasta Cascade and is located about two hours north of Sacramento. Redding offers a plethora of outdoor adventure and attractions all year long, along with great wine, food, sporting and cultural events, dining, lodging, and entertainment.
Situated near several scenic lakes, rivers, state and national parks, including Shasta Lake, Whiskeytown Recreation Area and Lassen Volcanic Park, Redding is a gateway for exploration in Shasta Cascade. Some of the most magnificent walking trails in the world are found here, including the Sacramento River National Recreation Trail. Year round visitors to Redding will also find themselves in a horseshoe of mountains, claiming short distances to wilderness and adventures from rock climbing, hiking and snowboarding, to birding, fishing and lavender gathering.
A few “must-see” attractions in and around Redding include the iconic Sundial Bridge, a unique glass decked pedestrian bridge with the tallest working sundial in the world; Mt. Shasta, a 14,179-ft, snow-capped mountain that dominates the northern skies; Shasta Dam, the second largest dam in mass in the United States; and Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, replete with rugged canyons, forests, year round streams, and legendary Whiskeytown Lake. For more information, visit: www.visitredding.com
Continuing my Northern California fall tour, I’m planning on a visit to Lodi, another wine rich town located 90 miles east of San Francisco and 35 miles south of Sacramento.
With 85 wineries and more than 300 wine labels, Lodi is a premier wine country destination. But besides vino, the town boasts Lodi Lake where visitors can rent kayaks or paddleboards and cruise along the Mokelumne River. Other fun options include a stroll in historic Downtown Lodi to explore one-of-a-kind shops, galleries, restaurants and tasting rooms; a visit to Northern California’s largest Serpentarium, the Micke Grove Zoo, San Joaquin County Historical Museum, or the World of Wonders Science Museum. For more information, visit: www.VisitLodi.com
Heading back down to the Los Angeles area, I think I’ll take a luxurious getaway to Beverly Hills. Known for unparalleled glamour and sophistication and a global reputation as the home and playground of A-list movie stars and legendary personalities, the city has world-famous shopping, picturesque tree-lined streets, and landscapes filled with grand mansions.
The town also boasts five-star hotels and trend-setting restaurants with outdoor patios and private hideaways, as well as pampering spas. Though only a few miles from the San Gabriel Valley, Beverly Hills can offer a getaway that feels like a far away paradise. For more information, visit: www.lovebeverlyhills.com