Fairfield California Is All About Discovery

What You Don't Know About Fairfield California Will Surprise You

Jelly Belly Tour Credit Are You That WomanA mention of Fairfield, California brings the usual responses, “Oh! That’s where the Jelly Belly factory is!” or, “Sure, the Budweiser plant is over there, right?” Well it’s true! Fairfield is home to the very famous Jelly Belly candy factory, as well as Anheuser-Busch brewing. Proud of these iconic attractions, Fairfield is so much more. Open your eyes and embrace your explorer spirit. You’ll find that Fairfield has enough surprises to fill an overnight or long-weekend escape.

Fairfield, California includes and is surrounded by some of northern California’s most beautiful landscapes.  Well situatedFairfield Suisun Valley Blue Victorian Spring Credit Barbara Steinberg 2009, Fairfield is located within the California Coastal Range, centered directly north of Suisun Bay, northeast of San Pablo Bay, east of the Sacramento Valley, and is nearly equidistant from Sacramento and San Francisco. It is approximately 40 miles/64km from both San Francisco and Sacramento, approximately 30 miles/48km from Oakland, and less than 10 miles/16km from the Napa Valley.

Freeway close and urban in nature, many of Fairfield’s greatest attributes embrace its rural and agricultural roots. Nearby shopping, lodging, restaurants, and nightlife transcend the destination’s rural nature.  The region’s Coastal Ranges and canyons create recreational abundance: championship golf, orchards and farms, and scenic back roads. Agricultural riches in the Suisun Valley are protected to south by the Coast Range bordering the Napa Valley, the Vaca Mountains and Mt. George Range to the west, and Suisun Bay to the south.

Fairfield Big Blue Frog Prince Credit Barbara Steinberg 2009Many familiar chain hotels are located just off Interstate 80, making Fairfield a convenient overnight and weekend getaway. Fairfield’s Westfield Solano Mall is the largest indoor shopping mall in Solano County, hosting more than one million square feet of retail space including a variety of popular restaurants and clothing boutiques. Just across the way, the 140,000-square-foot Gateway Courtyard Shopping Center rounds out the local retail scene including a popular northern California micro-brewery Blue Frog Brewing Company.  Joining the local craft brew scene, Heretic Brewing is worth discovering.  Tucked away in an industrial park off Clay Bank Road -- seek and ye shall find! The North and West Texas Street business districts for a number of one-of-a-kind shops, and where special events occur annually. 

In 2004, the Fairfield Hotel Association established a Business Improvement District (BID) to increase the awareness of the area’s many attractions and diversions, and encourage visitors to stay overnight.

Read more about the history, recreation, and beauty of Fairfield California....


Are You That Woman


It's all about the bats in the Yolo Basin

Bat flyout Credit Are You That WomanMost people run screaming in terror at the site or thought of a bat. Visions of Vincent Price and Count Dracula horror films quickly come to mind. The movies and stories of old have convinced us that bats -- all bats -- are blood-sucking vermin. Nothing could be further from the truth. A recent visit to the Yolo Basin Foundation chased away any fears and squelched the myths and lore of vampire-ish behavior.

Every summer, the Yolo Basin Foundation and NorCalBats, dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of bats throughout Northern California, conduct educational seminars about local bat colonies, their ecological importance, and efforts to conserve California bats. Specifically, Mexican free-tailed bats in   the Sacramento region.

Bats are not flying rodents. The truth is, bats are more like humans then you probably realize or care to know. Bats are mammals. They are warm-blooded and have fur. Bat babies are live births and they drink milk. Most bats only have one baby at a time, though occasionally they have multiple births. Sound familiar?

The majority of bats eat bugs. Some eat fruit. And of the 1,100 species worldwide, only THREE species actually "drink" blood! Of those, two species drink the blood of birds and one actually drinks the blood of mammals -- though mostly cattle and not that of beautiful young maidens. Now don't get too nervous. Unless you're traveling to Central or South America, you aren't likely to encounter any of these three blood-hungry creatures.

Another myth eliminated on this trip: Bats are not blind! In fact, they see in black and white and use echolocation to find their prey in the dark. It's a remarkable navigation system. What I'd really like to know is how someone figured out the B/W thing!

The bat presentation was fascinating and lasted about an hour. But then the big excitement and the thing we were all waiting for: the bats! Public tours can be packed and usually sell out, but we were a small group of maybe 7 or 8 being guided by Corky Quirk who is a lover of bats and expert in the field. We piled into a van and bumped along the dirt roads into the Yolo Basin, a flood plain between Davis and Sacramento. The land is farmed during the dry months and flooded in the rainy season. Bodies of water (some natural and some manmade) attract a bevy of wildlife year-round. During drier months, you can actually drive into the basin but for most people it's viewed from Interstate 80/The Yolo Causeway which crosses the basin for almost three miles between Sacramento and Yolo counties.

Little did they know that constructing the "Causeway" created the most perfect of bat habitats in the form of expansion joints under the bridge. How perfect? Well, how about 200,000 - 250,000 bats perfect! This is actually a maternal colony. Females only! (The guys hang-out in another location. Hmmm, not such a bad idea!) When the females give birth in early July the colony will more than double. I don't know about you, but that's a lot a bats!

Bat flyout and tours kid friendly Credit Are You That WomanAlong about sundown we traveled approximately three miles into the Basin to the portion of the bridge where the bats colonize. Along the way we saw great egrets, snowy egrets, and night heron. Avocets tip-toed through shallow rice paddies and great blue heron strutted slowly, gracefully across the field. The dots of red on black bird shoulders bounced and bobbed among the tule and rushes. And the flash of one lone yellow-headed black bird elicited a gasp from me. A clutch of baby ducks skittered away as we passed and three young Canada geese ran comically down the road in search of their parents.

We arrived at our destination and waited for the big moment…the bat “fly out!” It comes just around sundown and on this particular evening, somewhere around 8:35 p.m. And just as promised and on cue tens of thousands of female bats poured – in a steady stream – out from under the bridge. Strangely there is one exit point. They fly out over one particular tree. Up into the sky and then begin to disperse into smaller groups, heading off for an evening of bug gorging. There’s one major exodus followed by several smaller groups.

It was out of this world! And just another in a long list of California ’s most amazing natural wonders.

For more information on the Bat Talk & Walk, visit the Yolo Basin Foundation website: www.YoloBasin.org and NorCalBats at www.NorCalBats.org.

NorCalBats is funded through donations and presentations. No money is received from California Department of Fish & Widllife, U.S. Department of Agriculture, any state or federal agency, or major corporation. Tours are $12 each; children 15 and under are free.


Relax Sacramento Spaaaaahs

Day spas and resorts promise to set you free to release and relax from daily hassles. In our hurried world, close your eyes, breathe, soak, massage and meditate your cares away. Here are some of Sacramento’s best, newest and trending spa escapes. An hour, afternoon, overnight - you deserve it!

My Sacramento – Cori Martinez, Owner
Asha Urban Baths
2 Cori Marinez owner Asha Urban Bath Credit Evan E DuranBathhouses are a rich part of many cultures throughout the world. A place to gather and socialize or peacefully retreat, the Greeks thought tidal waters were blessed by gods for healing. Asha Urban Baths, Sacramento’s first and only bathhouse has created a sanctuary to sooth your cares away and, yes, heal body and spirit. Therapeutic steam or sauna, cold plunge and sea salt waters are healing and invigorating. On a quiet alley off Broadway, the baths and yoga studio raised the bar on relax Sacramento. Cori Martinez, owner, had a dream 20 years in the making. Close your eyes and say, “SPaaaaah!”

After college, we moved to Hawaii and opened a yoga studio. Seven years later, my husband and I returned to Sacramento to be near family. Within a year we opened Asha Yoga. Now there are so many yoga studios, I became interested in creating inspired fresh spaces for community and so Asha Urban Baths was born. It took a lot of years of entrepreneur to build up the courage to do a project this big. It took six months to find the right space.  This building was perfect and gave me a clear indicator to make that leap of faith. My vision was to create the new happy hour. Do something that’s healthy, a place to socialize and have quality time with friends Asha Urban Bath Credit Evan E Duranand feel great the next day. This is not a spa, but another option for self-care. You can get a massage and make a whole day of it. I hope this area stays a little funky, but additional urban and cultural blends would be nice. 

We’re really happy here – the health and food scene has grown and both are things we enjoy.  However, it’s really the gigantic family and friends community that we love best.
2415 – 27th Street, Sacramento, CA

(916) 837-3290
Tuesday-Sunday 10am to 10pm

Spa at Thunder Valley
Spa at Thunder Valley Massage Courtesy of Thunder Valley Casino Resort
AAA four-diamond rated hotel and spa, no detail has been overlooked. Every spa guest is a VIP at this suburban oasis. Wrap yourself in a yummy Boca Terry robe and unwind in the Meditation Room.  Not just traditional luxury treatments, they embrace holistic practices. Aromatherapy, a wellness therapy, is added to all treatments at no charge. Wine-inspired grape seed-crush body scrub restores and leaves skin baby soft. Chocolate is trending in the spa world; ask about decadent Esthechoc – blessed by gods. Spa guests lounge at the resort pool and can reserve cabanas and cabeds. Skip Las Vegas and make Spa at Thunder Valley a weekend escape.
1200 Athens Ave, Lincoln, CA
(916) 408-7777
Open daily 10am to 7pm

Emperia Wellness & Spa
Emperia Wellness & Spa Credit Barbara L Steinberg2This intimate boutique spa provides the perfect retreat for weary travelers. Just steps from Sacramento’s AAA 4-diamond Hyatt Regency Sacramento in the heart of downtown, peace and tranquility reigns at Emperia Wellness & Spa. Don’t be deterred by the fitness center entrance. Swedish massage spoken here – 5-star on the Yelp meter! Experienced therapists tranquilize tight muscles and reduce stress.  Grapeseed oil, aromatherapy and customized massages available. Room service? In-suite massages offered, too!
1109 – 12th Street, Sacramento, CA
(916) 321-3718
By appointment only: Tuesday-Thursday 10am to 7pm
Friday-Saturday 9am to 6pm
Sunday 9am to 1pm
Monday, closed.

Spa LaLe
Spa LaLe Meditation Room  Courtesy of Spa LaLeLocated inside the Westin Sacramento, this inspired haven embraces an unwind and recharge mantra. Say “Spaaaa,” at your next corporate event! Go all out with LaLe’s Golden Tao Body Treatment, 110 minutes of bliss. Wellness and hot stone massages or customized spa experiences practiced here. Spa guests access hotel pool and saltwater Jacuzzi to create a full-day of ahhh.  A local’s member discount includes monthly and weekday wellness specials. Enjoy a little retail therapy at Spa LaLe’s boutique and dining at Scott’s Seafood Bar & Grill overlooking the Sacramento River.

4800 Riverside Blvd, Sacramento, CA

(916) 379-5980
Monday-Thursday 10am to 7pm
Friday-Saturday 10am to 8pm
Sunday 9am to 5pm

Heavenly Salt Spa
Heavenly Salt Spa Credit Even E DuranWalls lined with iridescent pink Himalayan salt bricks are relaxing and restorative. Halotherapy (halo is Greek for salt) or salt therapy, lightly disperses a breathable salt mist good for many health issues including respiratory, skin, sleep and stress and remains a top spa trend nationwide. At Sacramento’s first salt spa, you’ll drift off on a pink cloud. Mined from deep within the Himalayan Mountains, the salt is millions of years old. Protected from modern day pollution, it is the purest on Earth. Infrared Sauna and massages are also available.

3325 Folsom Boulevard, Sacramento, CA
(916) 455-1525
Tuesday – Friday 11am to 7pm
Saturday 11am to 6pm
Sunday & Monday, closed

The Spa at Arden Hills
6Arden Hills Credit Barbara L Steinberg2
A suburban retreat, there are many options to relax at award-winning Arden Hills Resort Club & Spa. Sacramento’s only full-service spa is the play-cation for lovers, friends, bachelorette parties or just some personal pampering. Unwind in the sun-drenched Serenity Room. Savor a detoxifying steam or distress in the hydrotherapy whirlpool. Indulge in signature facial and mani-pedi to make this a daylong affair or extend your stay with an overnight at The Villas.

1220 Arden Hills Lane, Sacramento, CA
(916) 480-1150
Tues – Thurs 11am to 7pm
Fri – Sun 9am to 6pm

Happy Day Spa
Foot massage
Chinese foot massage is a centuries-old tradition. Reflexology focused, massages include pressure points in your head and feet. Not a traditional massage by any means, this clothed experience leaves guests stress-free and begging for more. In a communal setting, foot massages are a price you can’t resist.  Located in Little Saigon since 2008, Happy Day Spa has three locations – Little Saigon, Natomas Crossing and Folsom – to keep your feet smiling.
6911 Stockton Boulevard, #500, Sacramento, CA
3890 Truxel Road, #100, Sacramento
1004 Riley Street, Suite 3 & 4, Folsom
10am to 10pm


Sacramento Visitors Guide Summer 2017Originally published in the Visit Sacramento Visitors Guide Summer 2017
Digital version linked above