Yolo County might just be the new Mediterranean for Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Capay Valley and California Blue Ridge Mountains Courtesy of Yocha Dehe Wintun NationMarch winds sweep across lowlands to undulating hills and valleys, where deep grasses rush like waves to an imaginary Mediterranean shore. In olive orchards, silvery white and green leaves shimmer on the zephyr and on warm autumn days, rich fruit dangles as precious jewels. Throughout Yolo County, they promise a bountiful treasure of liquid gold.

As in ancient times, the ripened fruit delivers a heavenly elixir. Among the oldest cultivated trees in the world, olives spread from Asia Minor (Turkey) to the Mediterranean thousands of years ago. The Mission varietal brought to Mexico as cuttings by Jesuit missionaries was first planted at Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá in 1769. Eventually growing as far north as San Francisco Solano de Sonoma (Sonoma Mission), these same Mission olives made their way to John Wolfskill’s ranch along Putah Creek in what is now Winters, California. Thanks in part to Wolfskill’s horticultural expertise, California’s olive industry flourished. Over time, supply exceeded demand, olive prices fell and so did the olive oil industry. Only in the past few years have producers and consumers renewed their love affair with California olive oil. Today, Yolo County olive oil is gaining a reputation as some of the best in the country. It’s time to discover it for yourself.

Why Yolo Olive Oil
Olives Courtesy of Visit YoloTerroir, a French term, literally translated means “earth” or “soil”. While most commonly associated with wine, terroir of olive oil is equally significant referring to the natural environment where olives are grown, including factors such as soil, topography and climate. The combination of warm days, cool nights and no fog create the perfect terroir for Yolo County olive orchards. Not only has California olive oil made a meteoric rise, but Yolo County might just be the new Mediterranean for Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO).

“One of the most interesting micro-climates for growing olives, Yolo County gets warm but generally cools off at night. Olives like fog in the winter when they go to sleep after harvest,” stated renowned gourmand Darrel Corti of Corti Brothers gourmet grocery in Sacramento and Chairman of the Los Angeles International Olive Oil Competition. “They like the kind of climate that humans like—where the living is easy—not too hot, and not too cold or damp. “ 

Olive trees Courtesy of Visit YoloYolo County has been proven as a top olive oil producing region because of the increasing amount of acreage, the perfect mix of sunshine, soil and water—that Mediterranean micro-climate—becoming a tidal wave of both planting and milling.  Prior to 2011, olive oil wasn’t included in the county’s Top 20 Commodities. According to the Yolo County Agricultural Crop Report, olive oil burst on the scene at #20 in 2012 and then leaped ahead to #12 in 2015.

“We are quietly becoming the nucleus of the new wave of California EVOO production, not only because of the dramatic increase in plantings and improved technology, but because UC Davis’ Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science contains the UC Davis Olive Center,” said Dan Flynn, Executive Director, UC Davis Olive Center. “Escalation of the California industry has been dramatic, growing from 500,000 gallons in 2008 to more than 4 million in 2015-2016.” UC Davis Olive Center is doing for olive oil what UC Davis did for wine by elevating it to be some of the world’s best. Established in 2008, the Center put UC Davis on the map for olives and olive oil research and education.

Boundary Bend, Australia’s largest producer of extra virgin olive oil, arrived on Yolo County’s olive oil scene in 2015 – growing, milling and producing – shining a spotlight on Woodland, California. “Climactic conditions in Yolo County are some of the best suited for EVOO production in California. While the county has not historically been a large olive oil producer, there are a number of groves in the county that are among the top producers for both yield and quality,” said Boundary Bend’s president Adam Englehardt. “We’re betting heavily on the quality of olive oils produced in the county and, so far, we have seen results that have matched our expectations. Residents should expect to see the industry grow for both large and small producers. Especially with the support of local residents and retailers.”

COOC SipSwirl, Sip, Slurp, Swallow
Olives are to olive oil what grapes are to wine. Wine is generally better when aged. Optimally, olive oil should be consumed within a year of production as it degrades over time. (When buying EVOO always look for the “harvest date”.) As with wine, EVOO tastings and pairings are encouraged through Yolo County tasting rooms. The California Olive Oil Council (COOC) also encourages learning the “4 Ss”: Swirl, Sniff, Slurp and Swallow. Aroma and flavor are subjective and, as with wine, you should drink what you like. Positive attributes of EVOO are fruity, buttery, pungent, bitterness (fresh olives), black pepper, tomato; the list of descriptors is long.  The COOC’s rule of thumb is to sip EVOO “neat,” on its own without bread or other food. Savor the oil as you would any vintage wine.

Awards and Accolades for Yolo Olive Oil
Made with the most up-to-date technology, the quality of Yolo County EVOO is improving every year. Gone is the romance of granite wheels turned by horse or mule. The best oil is made with modern technology, which is something that no other food industry can say. According to Darrel Corti, “What we have today was unthinkable even 20 years ago.” 

LA Logo Olive OilYolo County olive oils are top winners at prestigious competitions internationally and statewide. The Los Angeles International EVOO Competition, New York Olive Oil Competition, California Olive Oil Competition presented by Yolo County Fair, California Olive Oil Council and California State Fair have heaped honors upon some of Yolo’s best including Bondolio, Grumpy Goats, Hillstone, Séka Hills, Frate Sole, Bariani, Yolo Press, Cobram Estate and Buckeye Creek Farm.  Celebrating its 25th year, the COOC put California EVOO on the world stage by establishing strict standards with its Seal Certification Program. A trade association, they encourage the consumption of certified California EVOO through education, outreach and communications. The COOC Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition is open to member producers only.  Yolo County’s Grumpy Goats Farm’s (Capay) took Best of Show 2017 for their Picual (Medium Producer) along with two gold medals for their Picual and Italian Blend. Cobram Estate’s (Boundary Bend/Woodland) Sevillano also brought home gold. The California Olive Oil Competition presented by Yolo County Fair is the state’s largest competition. Established in 2005, only nine oils were submitted and judged. A huge learning curve, the competition now attracts some of California’s best – tasters and producers—and more than 100 individual oils annually. The Los Angeles County International Olive Oil Competition is the top ranking EVOO competition in the U.S.

Olive Friends – A sample of tours, tastings, and stories
Seka Hills Olive Oil Mill Tasting Room Seka Hills Tasting Room Courtesy of Yocha Dehe Wintun NationWhile some producers are only available online or through retail outlets, other Yolo County EVOO producers and tasting rooms welcome visitors.  “The number and diversity of facilities varies from very large to small mom and pop.  It’s amazing!” stated Jim Etters, the director of land management for the Yocha Dehe tribe. A magical journey up Capay Valley offers a wide array of options including Séka Hills Olive Mill. Opened in 2014, this beautiful state-of-the-art facility was thoughtfully designed by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, the owners and operators. The estate-grown Arbequina is milled at the 14,000-square-foot facility; you can try it, along with other Séka Hills products (like wine and balsamic vinegars) in the spacious tasting room. “It’s consistently wonderful,” Executive Chef Steve Toso, Biba Restaurant, remarked. “A nice fresh flavor and not too spicy. Wonderful on cooked fish and Mozzarella di Bufala.”  

Many growers are relative newcomers, but they are a dedicated and passionate lot. The couple behind Grumpy Goats, Pamela Marvel and Stuart Littell, traveled the back roads of California looking for the right weather, soil, water and community. Yolo County’s Capay Valley had it all. “This is it!” they exclaimed and relocated about 10 years go from the Bay Area. Why olives? Well, Pam and Stuart didn’t want to be completely tied down and olives are more forgiving than seasonal row crops. They require less water and love the heat. You’ll hear this again and again in a land of sometimes little water, where olives rule. The orchards are Coratina and Picual varieties whose Mediterranean roots are well-suited to the region. Grumpy Goats' Picual brought home gold from the New York 2017 competition,

Kim and Paul Consol, Star Rose Ranch, tell a similar story. Ten years ago they bought a horse. Soon after, 20 acres in Capay Valley followed. Olives planted as a hedgerow thrived with minimal irrigation and provide habitat for their heritage livestock and poultry. Probably the smallest producer in Capay, their grove contains 200 trees, mostly Italian varietals and a few California/Italian hybrids.

Bondolio Credit Barbara L. Steinberg 2017In 1986, Karen and Malcolm Bond bought a 10-acre almond orchard in Winters but it wasn’t very profitable.  Six years later, a vacation in the Italian countryside changed everything.  Some crusty bread, fresh EVOO and sea salt and the rest is Bondolio history. After additional journeys to Italy, more tastings and research, the almonds were replaced with 1,200 olive trees. Awards soon followed including California State Fair 2017 Best in Show EVVO and Best EVOO by an Artisan Producer. ““If you smell our oil it’s very fruity and grassy, sometimes herbs—the flavor profile of traditional Sicilian oils. Our very first year, we won gold at the New York show. Our phone rang off the wall,” Karen said. Bondolio offers private tours by appointment only and groups are welcome.

Originally from Italy, the Bariani’s moved to a 4-acre orchard near Sacramento. Necessity is the mother of invention. So when they couldn’t find good olive oil, they decided to produce their own, bottling their first oil in 1991. However, Californians had little interest in locally-produced EVOO. “We would go from store to store, but the response was always, ‘It’s too expensive,’” Sebastian Bariani said. Selling at farmers markets, devoted customers asked local stores to carry Bariani. A segment on Martha Stewart changed everything. By 2004, they needed more room and relocated to 200 acres in Yolo County. “We stumbled on this property and just loved it.”

Frate SoleLocated in Woodland, Frate Sole (‘brother son’ in Italian) EVOO is available at the farm, Davis Food Co-op, IKEDA’s (Davis) and Masullo Pizza (Sacramento). Additionally, the oil is used at The Press in Midtown Sacramento in preparation and as a menu item for dipping. Frate Sole’s robust Tuscan blend took Best of the Best at the California Olive Oil Competition presented by Yolo County Fair 2017.

Where to Buy Yolo County Olive Oil
Yolo County EVOO is regularly available at kitchen specialty and gourmet markets including Corti Brothers, Taylor’s Market, Bi-Rite, Market Hall Foods Oakland/Berkeley, Sprouts, Ikeda’s California Country Market/Davis, Well Stocked Kitchen & Home and Nugget Markets. Producers large and small can also be found at farmers markets in Sacramento, Davis and Palo Alto.

UC Davis Olive Center’s Estate EVOO is available at the UC Davis Bookstore and at Picnic Day.  Proceeds support the self-funded Olive Center.

Events
Bici and Bevi Yolo Wine and Olive Oil Ride – Yolo EVOO and wine is presented by Hot Italian and set to benefit the UC Davis Olive Center. Cap off Bike Month this May and join Hot Italian and Bondolio for a benefit ride to explore olive oil, wine, and pizza in Yolo County.

Olive Crush Festival – Enjoy a fun afternoon at the Séka Hills Olive Mill and Tasting Room celebrating the olive crush. The afternoon will be filled with olive oil and honey tasting, wine and sangria by the glass, mill tours, and live music, local vendors, food trucks and more.


Roots to Wine in the rolling green valleys of Yolo County California

 

Barbara Matchbook Wines Credit Janet Fullwood 2016

After too many years of little rain, California's valleys are lush with agricultural bounty thanks to plentiful rainfall. The back-roads of Western Yolo County are shaking off their winter blues for the rich greens of spring and summer. Vineyards and orchards are humming back to life and soon will be burdened with luscious fruit. Family farms will labor to produce world-class wines, olive oils, and jams and jellies -- providing eager visitors with Mother Earth's very best.

That "best" isn't just about buttery Chardonnays and deeply rich Tempranillo or grassy olive oil. It's also about a sense of place, restful views, and family-friendly farms full of smiles. Bring a map and leave GPS behind. Let a quieter pace guide you through rolling hills and along numbered county roads -- a simpler time. Allow yourself to get lost in Yolo.

Roots to Wine, a guide to Western Yolo County, is everything you'll need for this idyllic getaway either day-tripping or overnight. More is always better! Like so many before, you'll be saying, "I never knew this existed!"

Now you do!


California Wildflowers are bursting after a year of epic snow and rain

California_poppy_web_2

Wildflower Power!
Spring heralds an explosion of color as California hillsides, mountains, valleys and deserts come to life after a short winter's nap.  A variety of climates and terrain keeps California wildflowers blooming throughout the year, but at no other time is the petaled pageantry this prolific. Wet winters almost without fail mean an eye-popping wildflower season. This year's epic snowfall and rain should translate into a wildflower season like no other. In higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada and Eastern Sierra, the deep snows could mean a later than usual wildflower show. However, is should be spectacular. Keep your eyes on Mono and Inyo counties. 

Wildflower names like scarlet monkey-flower, Indian paint brush, Western cranesbill and hummingbird sage stir exotic images. These are but a few of the hundreds of wildflower species found in California. 

Everywhere the landscape is transformed into a palette of color. Fields of blue cornflowers, lupine and baby-blue eyes rival any Spring sky. Hills and dales are sun-splashed with the yellows and oranges of California Poppies, wild mustard and goldfields.  The High Desert is a Technicolor showing of desert candles, Mariposa lilies and white and pink primroses.  In the foothills, tiny "redbuds" clinging to leafless branches are some of the earliest signs of Spring.  Later, at the higher elevations, dogwood blossoms lace the trees.

Regardless of when visitors plan to take a walk on the wild(flower) side, they should keep in mind several helpful tips:

*It's against the law to pick wildflowers in California.  They are pleasures for the eye only.

* It's best to stick to specified trails so as not to damage fragile wildflowers and plants.

* Some wildflowers close up at night -- especially in the desert -- and need an hour or so of morning warmth to open up.

* Both wildflowers and cactus flowers depend on rain.  A quick call to any of the areas listed or to local visitor bureaus can confirm that the flowering has begun.

Following is a partial list of the many wildflower viewing areas in Northern and Southern California.

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WILDFLOWERS

Jepson Prairie Preserve, Solano County 
The time to visit Jepson is late February through late April.  Violas and owl's clover are among the wildflowers lending sun-color to the countryside.  The tiny blue downingia can be found here, too.  Wildflower Tours led by docents are free, but must be scheduled in advance. This year's monumental rainfalls should translate into a vibrant prairie and an overlfowing Olcott Lake. 

Feather River Canyon, Plumas County.  Cascading waterfalls and wildflowers in the spring highlight the canyon's natural beauty - especially showy from mid-March through June with a constantly changing display of wildflower color.  Early color may be seen in the yellows of the delicate waterfall buttercups and the reds of redbud shrub  followed by the delicate white dogwood blossoms. Later wildflower colors may be seen in the yellow bush monkey flower hanging from the rock walls and the blues of the shrubby silver lupine. 

Chico's Bidwell Park, Butte County 
Blossom-filled wildflower walks range from easy strolls to climbing over rougher terrain.  The Yahl Trail from Big Chico Creek to Brown's Hole, for instance, gradually stretches uphill for some two and a half miles while the round-trip on the North Rim Trail covers about nine miles of varying grades.  Spring brings out lupines, poppies, delphiniums, buttercups and Western Redbuds.

Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County 
During March, April and early May, for many people, the sea views from Chimney Rock, near the lighthouse, take second-place to the sight of Douglas iris, violets, goldfields, lupines, poppies, baby blue-eyes and more.  Each month brings a different batch of wildflower blooms.   

Wildflower Along Hwy 94 -3San Bruno Mountain State and County Parks, San Mateo County 
The Summit Loop--a three-mile walk that gains a bit in elevation--is the place to find yarrow, Wright's paintbrush, sun cups, seaside daisies, hummingbird sage, goldfields and others.  The best wildflower-viewing times are in March and April. 

South Yuba State Park, Nevada County 
The volunteer-built Independence Trail is one of the few nature trails in the U.S. to have wheelchair access.  From late March to early June, a spectacular array of wildflowers -- California Indian pink, delphinium, California pipevine, mock orange, iris, pink phlox, white fairy lantern, yellow cat's ear -- are visible here.  More good wildflower viewing -- though not wheelchair accessible -- is along the Sierra Gateway Trail.  This trail is about 15 road miles from Independence Trail, but only eight miles or so down the South Yuba River.  Wildflower bloom here begins in late February and runs into April.

Sierra National Forest, Mariposa County
From El Portal, a mile below Yosemite National Park, the Hite Cove Trail traverses the South Fork of the Merced River.  The trail -- about eight miles in all -- leads past 100 or so species of wildflowers.  In March, April and early May, the ground is carpeted with baby blue-eyes, lupines, California poppies, mariposa lilies and other wildflower blossoms.

Kern County 
If your schedule doesn't allow for hiking, Kern County offers driving views of California wildflowers.  In Kern River Canyon along Hwy. 178, lupine, blue dicks and popcorn flowers will delight you.  On Hwy. 223 at Hwy. 58, be sure to stop for the poppies and owl's clover.  In the Glennville-Woody area, you will be treated to fields of wild mustard and yellow thistle.  For more information, contact:  Kern County Board of Trade, 2101 Oak Street, Bakersfield, CA  93302

WILDFLOWER FESTIVALS & EVENTS

March:  Blossom Day Festival, Sanger 
Car show, a 10k run and two-mile walk, and a street fair, arts and crafts booths, live music, and food booths with funnel cakes and Mexican specialties in surroundings that are expected to include the annual spring flowers in bloom.

April:  Mather Vernal Pool Flower Walks, Rancho Cordova 
Two-hour tour to explore this magic carpet of flowers.  These unique wildflowers bloom only for a brief period in the spring.  Sponsored by the Sacramento Chapter of the California Native Plants Society.

April:  Bufferlands Birds & Blooms Tour, Sacramento
California poppies, lupine, owl's clover, and baby blue-eyes grow around the uplands and wetlands edges. Thousands of waterfowl and other wetland birds winter at the Fishhead Lake wetlands. Meeting location is weather dependent.

April: Wildflower Music Festival, Chico 
This is a day of fun for the whole family! Check out our kid's area with free activities, jump houses, petting zoo, crafts and more! Visit our food vendors for lunch, snacks, dinner & dessert, and don't forget to stop in for a Sierra Nevada brew all while listening and dancing to the best music Chico has to offer!

April: Western Railway Museum, Suisun City (707/374-2978)
The Scenic Limited takes visitors on a six-mile round-trip ride on the old Sacramento Northern Railway, south from Highway 12. The trip lasts about an hour and passengers catch views of the native wildflowers that cover the rolling hills and fields.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WILDFLOWERS

Wildflower Desert Blooms 13During wildflower blooming season (from March through May), visitors to southern California can take advantage of the 24-hour Theodore Payne Wildflowers Foundation hotline in Sun Valley, (818/768-3533).  The hotline offers weekly updates on wildflower status in the Antelope Valley, Santa Monica Mountains, Angeles National Forest, Joshua Tree National Monument, and Anza Borrego Desert State Park.

Figueroa Mountain Recreation Area, Santa Barbara County 
Located near the town of Los Olivos is La Jolla Spring.  March and April are the best months to see phacelias, mariposa lilies, lupine, delphiniums and a bouquet of other wildflower blooms.  

Point Mugu State Park, Ventura County
In February and March, along the Ray Miller Trail, dainty shooting stars are out in multitude together with larkspur, sage and rattleweed.  Other trails good for glimpses of spring color include La Jolla Valley Trail and Mugu Peak Trail.

Antelope Valley State Poppy Reserve, Los Angeles County
Just 15 miles west of Lancaster, visitors will be amazed by 1,700-acres of California poppies and wildflowers.  April, May and June are generally the best months; travelers are advised to confirm the flowering.

Topanga State Park, Los Angeles County
Located in the Santa Monica Mountains, this park abounds in widlflower blossoms. Canyon sunflowers, poppies, sage, lilies, Chinese houses and foxglove blooms come out early and can last well into the summer.  A good starting place is the four-mile Musch Ranch Trail.

Joshua Tree National Park, Riverside County 
Wildflowers begin to blossom in Pinto Basin.  Beavertail, chollo and pincushion cacti bloom from late April until June.  Evening primroses, desert dandelions, lupines, goldfields, desert stars, Mojave asters and various other wildflowers also dot this desert landscape. Starting near the Cottonwood Visitor Center, the four-mile Lost Palms Oasis Trail offers one of the better walks. 

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, San Diego County 
In February and March, the desert terrain is brightened by red, pink, yellow and orange cacti flowers.  Borrego Palm Canyon Trail (three palm-studded miles round-trip to Palm Canyon oasis) is a popular place to see cactus blossoms this time of year.  More than 600 species of wildflowers are on view, including fireweed, desert lavender, white forget-me-nots, indigo bush and California fuchsias.

Torrey Pines State Reserve, San Diego County 
This oceanfront terrain is covered with sand verbena, brittlebush, sun cups, wild snapdragons, California poppies, monkey flowers, shooting stars, phacelia, rockroses, golden yarrow and blue delphiniums.  A well-labeled native garden center outside the adobe visitor center provides a more formal viewing experience. 

WILDFLOWER FESTIVALS & EVENTS
April: Orange Cove Blossom Festival, Orange Cove 
Parade, vendors, and pageant to crown the Orange Blossom Queen.

April: Theodore Payne Native Garden Tour, Los Angeles
Thirty-nine Los Angeles-area home landscapes are showcased on the self-guided tour. At least 50% of the plants in each garden are California natives, and some of the region’s most creative homeowners and garden designers will be represented.

April: California Poppy Festival, Lancaster 
The California Poppy Festival kicks off spring in the Antelope Valley with a glorious array of celebrated performers, unrivaled events, and mouth-watering delicacies designed to delight, enchant, and amuse people of all ages.

May:  Wildflower Show, Julian 
Desert to high mountain flowers are on display at Town Hall, includes flowers High Mountain, Desert, Oak and Pine Forest, Chaparral, and High Desert.

Although they aren't wildflowers the earliest blossom frenzy of the season is along the Fresno County Blossom Trail.  Off Highway 99 just east of Fresno, a 67-mile-long flowering fantasy showcases the nut and stone fruit orchards of Fresno County.  In February, pale pink almond blossoms are some of the first performers in this floral extravaganza.  The breathtaking spectacle continues with the blooming of apricots, plums, peaches, nectarines and apples.  The final curtain call is April through May when citrus blossoms perfume the air.  

More Wildflower Resources: SeeCalifornia.com, Plumas County, California State Parks, National Forests, Wildflower Hotline, California Academy of Sciences, Desert Wildflower Report and BLM.


California waterfalls

After years of drought, California waterfalls give thanks to plentiful winter rains and snow 

Vernal Falls Yosemite Barbara 2011The adjectives:  awe-inspiring; breathtaking; spectacular; mesmerizing.  The verbs:  plunging; plummeting; crashing.  The metaphors:  like a thundering curtain or the roar of a hurricane; or like the sound of  bells or murmuring voices. 

Waterfalls. They are mystical and magical. Their size and strength are often times terrifying; their beauty: tranquilizing and hypnotic.  Who hasn't dreamed of showering in their chilling spray or swimming in an emerald pool; or longed to track the water's ancient origins in search of a quiet resting place?  In California, there are memorable waterfalls to match any you have imagined.

The winter rains and (eventually) melting snow pack will have California waterfalls exploding with water. Springtime is generally the best time to view these natural wonders as many of the falls dry-up in the summer heat due to decreased water flows. But during the right winters, waterfalls come crashing back to life. The Native Americans called them "laughing waters."  Though spring is still many months away, California waterfalls are giggling, chortling, screaming, and lifting their voices in tumultuous laughter.

Burney Falls, once called "the eighth wonder of the world" by Teddy Roosevelt, is fed by spring flows of  200 million gallons daily.  Much of the water from these underground streams actually spouts from the rock.  The divided falls rumble down a 129-foot cliff into an emerald pool before flowing into Lake Britton.  Trails that almost anyone can manage lead Burney Falls 3down to the pool on both sides.  For the best view, hike the 1/2-mile trail that traverses the hillside.  You can cross the top of the falls most of the year, but waters run heaviest in the Spring.  McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park is located mid-way between Lassen National Volcanic Park and Mt. Shasta.

The McCloud Falls (upper, middle and lower) are 5.9 miles east of the town of McCloud and can be reached by following the signs to Fowler's Camp.  The three falls are within two miles of each other and accessible by car.  There is fishing and a natural swimming hole on Hwy. 89.

Located near Dunsmuir are Mossbrae and Hedge Creek Falls.  Approximately 50 miles north of Redding, Mossbrae is fed by melting water from the glaciers on Mount Shasta.  Hedge Creek is well marked and has a picnic area near the base of the falls.

Approximately 41 miles east of Redding, Potem Creek Falls empties into the Pit River.  A gentle, winding trail makes the falls accessible to hikers. For additional information, contact:  Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association.

Yosemite Falls, the tallest falls in North America (and fifth tallest in the world), drops 2,425 feet to the valley floor.  The Upper Fall plunges 1,430, feet, connecting with the 320-foot  Lower Fall by a 675-foot cascade.  Follow a 3.6-mile trail, which includes a 270-foot gain in elevation, to reach the top of Yosemite Falls.  Start at Lower Yosemite Falls for a 1/2- Romance under the wintry spray of a Yosemite waterfall on the Mist Trail Credit www.YExplore.comday hike with excellent views of Half Dome.  The best views are about two thirds of the way up, so don't feel as if you're missing out if you don't make it to the top.  Impressive views of the falls are seen on the path to the base.

The Merced River flows from the snow fields in the Sierra Nevada, spills over the 594-foot Nevada Falls and then plummets another 317 feet over Vernal Falls.  Known as The Mist Trail,  the hike starts uphill through the mist sprayed by Vernal Falls.  When the light is right, hikers are rewarded with rainbows in the mist of Vernal Falls.  The climb to the top of Nevada Falls is difficult; the last 900 feet of elevation gain are up steep polished granite.  The half-day round-trip up the falls is 3.4 miles one way.

Yosemite Indians called the 620-foot  Bridalveil Fall, Pohono, or "spirit of the puffing winds."  Strong winds often lift the thundering water and blow it sideways.  Bridalveil is visible from the road, but an easy 10-minute walk will take you to its foaming base.

On a strenuous 9-1/2 mile walk from the Tuolumne Meadows area, you can view the exuberant Tuolumne Falls.  Other falls such as the spectacular Waterwheel Falls, are a short distance beyond, near Glen Aulin Camp in the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne.

Other lesser known falls include:  Cascade Falls, Chilnualna Cascades,  Wapama and Tueeulala Falls.  After the winter snow melt, Yosemite is easily accessible by Hwy. 120 and 140 from the west and Hwy. 120 from the east (Mono Lake Area).  For additional information, contact: Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau or Yosemite National Park.

Just five miles from the south entrance to Yosemite, along the 3.7-mile Lewis Creek Recreational Trail, lies a hidden treasure -- Corlieu Falls.  The trail follows the route of the historical Madera Sugar Pine lumber flume past the 80-foot waterfall, and the smaller Red Rock Falls.  With  no signs to publicize their existence, Corlieu Falls can be enjoyed in a kind of quiet solitude not possible at some of the better known falls. For additional information, contact: Yosemite Experience.

Rainbow Falls Courtesy of Visit MammothOn the eastern side of the Sierra is Rainbow Falls, located in the Inyo National Forest south of Devils Postpile National Monument.  Along a 1.3-mile trail the San Joaquin River plunges 101 feet over volcanic rock into a box canyon.  Multi-colored rainbows are clearly visible in the mist of the mighty falls.  Devils Postpile is a brief walk from parking lots and shuttle stops.  The trail to Rainbow Falls is a short 1-1/4-mile hike from Devils Postpile.

Drive around the Mammoth Lakes Basin -- Lake Mary, Twin Lakes, Mamie, George and Horseshoe (there is no Mammoth Lake).  Spilling down from Lake Mamie west of the town of Mammoth Lakes is Twin Falls, which cascades 300-feet along a granite bed into Twin Lakes.  It can be viewed from the overview at Twin Lakes.  For additional information, contact:  Visit Mammoth.

Located 25 miles east of Oroville, the Feather Falls National Recreation Trail will lead you to 640-feet high Feather Falls.  The trail, located within the 15,000-acre Feather Falls Scenic Area, winds through the foothills 3.8 miles to Feather Falls.  Water flows at Feather Falls are heaviest during the spring months.  

Indian Falls Credit Barbara L. Steinberg 2013The diminutive Indian Falls in the Plumas National Forest is just 20 feet high, but creates a dramatic affect falling on Indian Creek. Large sun-bathed rocks, swimming holes, and sandy shores beckon. The 0.5-mile round-trip hike is easy but can be icy in winter months. Well-placed interpretive panels provide insight into the lives of the Maidu tribes who inhabited the region. Ten miles west of Quincy, the falls are two miles north of the intersection of Highways 70 and 89.  For additional information, contact: Plumas County Tourism Recreation & Hospitality

The Bay Area has been blessed with a number of beautiful water falls.  At a height of 70 feet, Berry Creek Falls in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, may be the Bay Area's most impressive waterfall.  A fairly comfortable hike, take the Skyline to the Sea Trail to the falls and back for an 8-mile round-trip. For additional information, contact:  Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

Twenty-five miles from Foresthill in Placer County is Grouse Falls, one of California's most scenic waterfalls.  Cascading down several hundred feet, the falls are hidden at the head of an isolated box canyon.  The falls were largely inaccessible until 1992, when a trail constructed to a deck perched along the canyon wall allowed the falls to be seen.  The trail is an easy, 1/3-mile walk.  The best time for viewing the falls is in the spring when water flows are high. For additional information, contact:  Foresthill Ranger Station at 22830 Foresthill Road or (530) 367-2224 or Visit Placer.

Truly an oasis in the desert is Darwin Falls, with its sparkling stream and year-round 30-foot cascading waterfalls.  Just off Hwy. 190, leading into Death Valley National Park it's an easy half-mile hike to lower Darwin Falls.  Another short hike ends at the rushing waters of the upper falls. In sharp contrast to this water wonderland is Fossil Falls, located 45-minutes north of Ridgecrest.  The trail is a short 1-1/2 mile, round-trip hike and leads to a sculptured and polished 40-foot dry waterfall.  Black lava cliffs were smoothed and shaped over thousands of years by the now-dry Owens River.  The graded dirt access road to Fossil Falls is accessible with a two-wheel drive vehicle. For additional  information, contact:  Ridgecrest Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.


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Isabella Corsetry a Sacramento Maker

Isabella  Erin Bray croset designer and maker Credit Jim CoatsErin Bray, Isabella Corsetry designer and maker, was a stay-at-home mom who fell in love with period costumes and architecture. Her passion inspired a foundation collection of extraordinary modern-day and traditional corsets. You don’t have Isabella Corsetry Credit Barbara L Steinberg 2016to be a dedicated tight-lacer, but “waist cinchers” can trim up to 10 inches. Endless combination of fabrics, trims, buttons and bows, patterns are drafted by hand and cut based on real customers. All finish work is under Erin’s careful watch. The well-loved and most popular Josephine “under the bust” corset is ideal for daily wear.

Isabella Corsetry
2311 S St, Sacramento
(916) 612-4075

Open by appointment




Susan Sipe Rabinovitz a Sacramento Maker

Susan Rabinovitz Little Relics Photo by Evan E. Duran for Submerge MagazineIf less is more, the same is true at Little Relics Art & Jewelry Gallery. Susan Sipe Rabinovitz forges diminutive wearable art – bracelets, earrings, rings, pendants – using 14th-century goldsmith techniques. A bench jeweler, a hammer and torch are the tools of her trade. “My inspiration comes from Jean Miró a pre-cubist, abstract artist, Midtown Little Relics Artisan Jewelry Credit Barbara L Steinberg2architecture and my daughters.” A Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts graduate, Susan put herself through school making earrings for Nordstrom. Now, she sculpts precious metals and jewels into custom-made keepsakes and, also, does repairs.

Little Relics Art & Jewelry Gallery
908 - 21st Street, Sacramento, CA
Monday-Saturday 11am to 6pm
Sunday 11am to 4pm 

More about Little Relics: Socially Respons
ible Bling featured in Submerge magazine


21st Annual Flyway Festival celebrates return of millions of migrating birds to San Francisco Bay Area

Birdwalk-7597-1 Courtesy of SF Flyway Festival
For this year's Flyway Festival, organizers welcome a team of staff from the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Nathan Hawkaluk - Deputy Refuge Manager, Heather Bartlett - Wildlife Refuge Specialist  and Julie Mahler - Rural Resident of the Yukon Flats will give a talk at the Wildlife Expo, Building 221, 880 Walnut Ave. on Mare Island in Vallejo, CA both Saturday, February 11 and Sunday, February 12 at 1:00pmentitled:  "Alaska’s Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge: Feeding the Flyways, Sustaining the Residents". The Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge is located in the interior of Alaska at the far northern end of the Pacific Flyway.
 
The speakers note that "Each autumn, millions of migratory birds that nest and raise their young on the Flats disperse, spreading across much of the globe to be shared and enjoyed by countless others who appreciate wildlife and wild places. This is the legacy of the Yukon Flats today – and tomorrow. Come learn from Refuge staff about how these migratory birds connect Alaska with California and the San Pablo Bay. Get a glimpse of what it’s like to live, work, and be part of a community in the Far North and learn how Alaska’s public lands support conservation in your backyard."
 
Jenny Papka, Native Bird Connections (1)Native Bird Connections, a wild bird rehab and education center based in Martinez, CA will once again give its “standing-room-only” live bird shows both Saturday and Sunday at the Wildlife Expo from 11:30am-12:30:pm. Digital presentations include information about the surprising nesting of osprey in San Francisco Bay, not known to have occurred in the 20th or 21st centuries until about the year 2000; how to identify birds and use binoculars; why Ladybugs matter; backyard bird feeding tips and the history of the Mare Island Naval Hospital which will be combined with a visit to the grounds of the hospital founded more than 150 years ago, closed as a Navy hospital in 1957 and now the campus of Touro University.
 
For the second season “re:sound migration”, an experimental sound art project created by Vallejo resident and sound artist Jen Boyd, will feature a number of other sound artists with a theme of birds and nature during the Flyway Festival. Performances take place Saturday, February 11 at the Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve Building A-168 from 3:30pm-7:00pm. Visit re-sound.net for more details and a full list of all the participating artists.
 
Host and sponsoring organizations
Once again, Mare Island Heritage Trust, the nonprofit sponsor of the Festival, welcomes Vallejo Watershed AllianceVallejo Sanitation and Flood Control DistrictFriends of San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, San Francisco Bay Joint Venture, Napa Vine Trail Coalition, Vaca Valley Volks, Marin Audubon Society, and Sierra Club Solano Group. Lennar Mare Island LLC has generously contributed the headquarters building where the Flyway Festival Wildlife Expo takes place on Mare Island in Vallejo.
 
Heron Courtesy of SF Flyway FestivalRegional guided and self-guided outings scheduled in Contra Costa, Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties - The annual migration celebration offers a range of guided and self-guided outings throughout the “north shore” region of the San Francisco Bay Area including birdwatching, natural history and recreational hikes led on Mare Island. Many of the hikes and outings are oriented to beginning and intermediate birders. Hawk watching outings led by experienced hawk specialists from the Sonoma Land Trust, West County Hawkwatch, the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, Solano Land Trust and Napa Solano Audubon Society are expected to enjoy enthusiastic turnouts. Skaggs Island, the former US Navy communications facility and now a part of San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge is not normally open to the public except during escorted outings like the total of six, two each day, scheduled during the Flyway Festival.
 
One of the most popular attractions this year, will be the three guided outings which are planned by the Friends of the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge on the newly restored more than 1200 acres of tidal wetlands at Cullinan Ranch, opened to the Bay’s waters for the first time in more than 150 years in the first part of January 2015. There is also self-guided walking and even a guided kayak and canoe access outing to this new marshland, as well as to a number of other National Refuge lands for birdwatching and hiking. Self-guided hiking and birdwatching can be done on California Department of Fish and Wildlife property in southern Napa County at the Green Island Unit and a number of Units of the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties. Sunday, February 12, 10:00am-2:00pm Solano Land Trust will offer a hawk watching hike in Lynch Canyon Open Space led by hawk expert Larry Broderick, West County Hawkwatch. The Solano Land Trust also offers a hike in the Rockville Hills Preserve which does require pre-registration. Two guided hawk watching hikes will also be given by Larry Broderick, West County Hawkwatch, hosted by Sonoma Land Trust, on the Dickson Unit of the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Saturday, February 11 at 10:00am and repeated at 12noon. Visit the Sonoma Land Trust website for details and to register (not required).
 
Mare Island Nature, Birding, Historic, Cultural, Recreational and Scenic Outings - For the 9th year the Flyway Festival welcomes the Vaca Valley Volkswalkers’ American Volkswalk Association sanctioned 6k to 11k walks on a designated route throughout Mare Island.
 
Mare Island outings will include guided walks Friday, Saturday and Sundayby local Audubon Society hike leaders and Mare Island Heritage Trust field guides. Hikes and driving birding outing on the Island include access to the Navy’s first ammunition depot in the Pacific founded in 1857 located in an area of the island designated as the 215-acre Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve which will be open daily during the Festival from 9:00am-sunset with a “Very Informal” almost full moon party Saturday evening February 11 6:30pm-8:00pm for those interested in viewing the moon and sky from a telescope. Digiscoping with phones and cameras should be good in the Preserve with nesting great blue herons and possible osprey sightings. Other guided outings on Mare Island include beginning birding walks on the San Pablo Bay Wetlands Trail. Docent led history tours of the Mare Island Naval Cemetery will be offered both Saturday and Sunday from 12noon-2:00pm
 
St. Peter’s Chapel, home to the most Tiffany stained-glass windows in a single site in the West, will be open for tours Saturday, February 11, and Sunday, February 12, 11:00am-3:00pm. The Mare Island Museum will be open Friday, February 10, 10:00am-2:00pm and Saturday February 11, 10:00am-4:00pm. Both require a $4.00 admission donation.
 
Flyway Festival Art Exhibition and opening reception
Artists and photographers will show original art work that depicts local wildlife, wetlands, marshes, and native habitats from San Francisco Bay to the ridgetops of Mt. Tamalpais and Mt. Diablo. The show is open to all ages and skill levels and the deadline for art entries has been extended to Monday, February 6. Artists’ work will be available for purchase at the Art Show beginning with its opening reception Friday evening, February 10 at 5:00pmand continuing through the two-day show, Saturday and Sunday, 9am-4pm.
 
Most Festival activities are free. Some require preregistration. For more information and directions, call or text Myrna Hayes 707-249-9633 or Sarah Cain 510-579-1008 or visit sfbayflywayfestival.com.
 
Digital photos available prior to and during the event. Call or text Myrna Hayes at 707-249-9633 cell or e-mail myrnahayes@mac.com
 

World of Flavors in Sacramento

Babylon City Market 2016 Credit Are You That Woman10Babylon City Market
1745 Watt Avenue, Sacramento; (916) 486-777
Six years young, this Mediterranean specialty market, bakery and café features halal meats, dairy, produce, spices, and traditional Iraqi breads prepared right before your eyes. You’ll swoon over fresh-baked samoon stuffed with chicken shawarma, pickled onions, garlic and tomatoes. Kabobs, falafel, chicken tikka, and hummus are all available to eat-in or takeout.  
Baking Samoon Bread Babylon City Market 2016 Credit Are You That WomanAre You That Woman Tip:  Ask about the anise cookies.


Woodland a dining destination: Restaurant Week 2017 and beyond

Sunflowers WoodlandIn California, every season is splendid and bountiful along Yolo County's back roads. Part of the Central Valley, this agricultural heartland is situated between coastal foothills and the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. Rolling hills, verdant valleys and mountains overflow with a profusion of vineyards, orchards, pastured livestock and row crops. All the best, the finest and most delicious ingredients take center stage at local restaurants and cafes.

Taste of YoloVisit Yolo is way ahead of the "foodie" curve and I will cease to refer to use that descriptor here and now! They are inventing their own culinary fiefdom. Nowhere is this more evident than historic Woodland, your new gourmand destination.
Historic Woodland
’s up-and-coming restaurant scene is skyrocketing! Just remember you heard it here! Culinary stars are creating locavore magic showcasing regional meats, fish, nuts, honey, olive oil, organic produce and local wines and craft beer. Beyond the creative and tasty offerings, I was most impressed by a true sense of family throughout the Woodland community. There’s no happier way to dine than with family and friends. Are You That Woman Tip: Housed in historic buildings, Woodland pairs dining with extraordinary architecture.

Lamb Loin Chops Celery Root Gratin seasonal Veg of the day (Capay Organic) featuring Frantoio EVO from Buckeye CreekFather Paddy’s Public House
435 Main Street, Woodland, CA
(530) 668-1044
While approaches may vary, at Father Paddy’s house recipes are a true collaboration.  Owner Pat Redmond and Executive Chef Justin Severson have created a fresh, honest, common sense approach. “Comfort food with a flare!” said Pat. Less than a year on Main Street, Justin and Pat found what works between their flavors. During Restaurant Week, your taste buds will understand why! Paddy’s red carpet presentation includes local Lamb Loin Chops with Buckeye Creek Blueberry Balsamic Reduction, Celery Root Potato Gratin, and seasonal veggies. Take a deep breath, Pastry Chef Anya Redmond reinvents eat, drink and be merry. Dessert is an Irish Toddy-inspired parfait of Meyer Lemon Cake, Tullamore DEW (legendary triple distilled Irish whiskey) and Henry’s Bullfrog Bees Honey Mousse. Are You That Woman Tip: Savor Whiskey tastings and Father Paddy’s primer in the Whiskey Vault!

Maria's Cantina Chef William's Cochintia PibilMaria’s Cantina
306 – 6th Street

Woodland, California
(530) 402-1540
Kellie Morgan dipped her toe in the restaurant world. She’d never owned a restaurant. “I had a concept and wanted to bring it to life. Good food. Good ambiance – a fun place,” she says. “Hiring Executive Chef John Gamboni was the final key.” Maria’s Cantina clearly hit the mark. Feeling lucky to be in the center of fresh agriculture, Head Chef William Jeffries utilizes as much local product as possible. For Restaurant Week, a traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork dish from the Yucatán Peninsula, Cochinita Pibil with an Achiote Glaze served over Poblano Jícama slaw with Cilantro Vinaigrette, garnished pickled red onions and micro cilantro. Plenty of Cantina chips and salsa beside a “damn good” house margarita, it’s a palate fiesta! Are You That Woman Tip: The fine art of sipping tequila spoken here. A tequila menu sports more than 30!

Chef de Cuisine Benjy, Braised Boneless Beef Short Ribs with oven roasted marble potatoes with honey glazed parsnips, turnips, and rainbow baby carrotsMorgan’s on Main
614 Main Street
Woodland, California
(530) 402-1275
The dynamic duo of Morgan and Gamboni wanted to bring something different to Woodland. “It wasn’t a big jump from Mexican to Morgan’s,” Kellie remarked. So they successfully made that leap of faith and delivered a great steak house! Originally the historic Cranston Hardware, the restaurant and the new “Big Bar” are Uber chic. Chef de Cuisine Benjy Head celebrates the feast of Yolo’s Restaurant Week with SunFed Ranch Braised, Boneless Short Ribs with oven roasted Marble Potatoes, Honey (Del Rio Farms) glazed Parsnips, Turnips and Rainbow Baby Carrots (Capay Organics). “Timing is unique for the season. Root vegetables are more bountiful, so we selected what’s available,” says Benjy. 
Are You That Woman Tip:  Shared plates included Pull Apart Bread and Bowl of Bacon a combination of candied lardons and spicy chicharrón con carne. Yes, everything’s better with bacon!

Mojo CocktailMojo’s/Kitchen428
428 – 1st Street

Woodland, California
 (530) 661-0428
“People are rediscovering Woodland,” Christy Hayes says with pride. “It’s a family vibe, local vibe—easy to make a connection.” And people are connecting at Mojo’s/Kitchen428. Kismet came calling to help Christy reinvent the historic Jackson Building once home to local landmark Morrison’s Restaurant and where she once tended bar.  Casual Mojo’s Lounge and stylish Kitchen428 share the same farm-to-fork philosophy under Executive Chef Efrain Hernandez’s culinary prowess. “The art of food fascinates me,” said Efrain. “I especially love working with seafood—in my region of Mexico I grew-up with fresh fish.” Christy and Efrain combine efforts crafting changing menus.  Come restaurant week, they celebrate Yolo and Sacramento counties winter harvest featuring Sacramento Grilled Sturgeon, Capay Organic Roasted Rainbow Carrots and Sautéed Swiss Chard, and Dragon Gourmet Oyster Mushrooms Beurre Blanc. Are You That Woman Tip: Ask about monthly Cocktail for the Cause. Proceeds (50%) from in-house crafty potions are donated to local charities.

Savory Cafe Housemade FettuciniSavory Café
722 Main Street
Woodland, California
(530) 668-4009
When it comes to family and farm-fresh, Juan and Toby Barajas embrace the mantra at Savory Café.  The brothers inherited their culinary acumen from their mother and grandmother along with an appreciation for sourcing local products. After navigating the family’s Knights Landing restaurant, Las Maracas, they wanted something different and, in 2015, acquired Savory Café. In slower winter months, they break from regular dinner service Thursday-Saturday. During Restaurant Week, their triple-threat lunch specials include a 10-ounce Grilled New York Steak with Brown Butter Sauce, Riverdog Farm Frites, Del Rio Botanical Greens and Citrus Vinaigrette; a Chicken Piccata with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Riverdog Farm Bloomsdale Heirloom Spinach and roasted Nantes Carrots; and house-made Pasta with Fried Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Butternut Squash, Brown Butter and garnish of Pomegranate Seeds, Pecorino Cheese and aged Balsamic Vinegar.  A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Chef Toby proudly admits, “I’ve always loved cooking!” Clearly, it shows! Are You That Woman Tip: Not to be missed, Sunday’s Brunch spotlight Frittata with Lacinato Kale, Leeks, Chicken Apple Sausage, Potatoes and Toby’s Salsa Verde.

Are You That Woman Final Tip:  When it comes to local, Woodland’s dining establishments also feature local and regional wines and craft beers. Cheers!

 

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Mecca for Outdoor Enthusiasts Visit Redding and Shasta Cascade

Web sizeThink alfresco!  From small executive retreats to company-wide conferences, the meeting planner team at Visit Redding can help design and implement outdoor fun for any group and offers an array of complimentary services including event planning, site negotiations and familiarization tours.

 “Our team is at the ready to help with all the meeting and event details. We are focused on the needs of your group and offer rejuvenating, educational and inspirational outdoor ideas to make your meeting a memorable one,” explains Jennifer Fontana, Industry Relations /Group Coordinator at Visit Redding. Give them a call, their priorities are in order: kayaking, hiking, boating and more.

Get Wet
Is your corporate retreat all wet? It could be! Trinity River Rafting offers groups tours. Collaboration and On water Yoga Courtesty of On Water Yogacoordination is the name of the game as teams paddle together through white-water rapids.  Redding Jet Boat Tours  depart from the famous Sundial Bridge, taking groups on a scenic ride down the Sacramento River aboard a custom-built 26-foot jet boat. At Headwaters Adventure Company, experienced paddlers demonstrate all the right moves to help you enjoy your kayaking and paddleboarding experience on Whiskeytown Lake.  Shuttle Service is available for groups, nine or fewer. Ranger-led tours are offered for small groups by special request through Whiskeytown National Recreation Area.  Or just breathe with Audrey Delong’s On Water Yoga. The Zen of paddleboarding, outings are tailored for private events.

Lake Shaata Caverns Courtsey of Visit ReddingGo Back in Time
Enjoy a scenic 10-minute catamaran cruise to Lake Shasta Caverns National Natural Landmark and one-hour tour of what some geologists consider one of the most beautiful limestone caves in America. Then there’s the Lava Beds National Monument. This land of turmoil, both geological and historical, will make problem solving back at the office seem like a piece of cake. More than 700 caves, Native American rock art sites, historic battlefields and campsites, and high desert wilderness experiences await your group.

ManaBall Courtesy of Visit RedgingWild and Crazy
Redding’s newest contact sport revolutionizes team building experiences. ManaBall provides more than 30 customized and coordinated extreme bubble-ball games. An exciting twist on traditional sports, team players are wrapped in a giant, soft inflatable Bubble Ball with shoulder harnesses and handles inside! Bonding has never been more hilarious.

Sundial Bridge Courtesy of Visit ReddingBefore and After Hours
Located at Turtle Bay Exploration Park, the Sundial Bridge is an architectural and artistic marvel and one of the largest working sundials in the world. Silhouetted above the Sacramento River, the glass-decked pedestrian bridge is illuminated at night. A memorable way for groups to gather, the Bridge Amphitheater and North Plaza offer unique settings for outdoor parties, ceremonies, and receptions.

Wildcard Brewing Courtesy of Visit ReddingDowntown Redding is ready to fulfill all your after-hour needs to shop, dine, and enjoy live music and other entertainment. Savor everything from casual to fine dining, as well as wine tasting rooms, craft beer bars, and dance clubs for after-hours merriment. The Redding Civic Auditorium, convention hotels, and local vineyards also welcome groups of all sizes.

Redding Transportation
Redding Municipal Airport provides commercial airline passenger service via United, with direct flights to San Francisco, and Pen Air offers direct flights to Portland. If you prefer to charter your own plane, aviation services and aircraft hangar facilities are available to make your trip memorable. Car rentals, Amtrak and Greyhound service, buses, taxis, limousines, bicycle rentals, and even pedicabs are another way to see the sites and get around. Shuttle service and group ice breaker from Sacramento International sets an upbeat tone. 

Redding is located at the northern end of the Sacramento Valley, two hours north of Sacramento and three hours northeast of San Francisco.  With more than 300 days of sunshine, Redding is truly your year-round outdoor destination. Nearby scenic lakes, rivers, national forests, state and national parks – Shasta State Historic Park, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area and Lassen Volcanic National Park – make Redding a fantastic base-camp. Redding is conveniently located at the crossroads of Interstate-5 and California state routes 299 and 44.

Roughly the size of Ireland, the Shasta Cascade region is the perfect place to get back to nature, relax and enjoy the great outdoors. Comprised of eight rural counties, this majestic Northern California region is dotted with lakes, rivers and mountains and includes three national parks, six national forests and 12 California state parks.

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