Take a Break to Tour, Taste & Learn by Fred Sater
Photos by Barbara L. Steinberg
Days are getting longer, temperatures are warming up and there is a hint of spring in the air. If you’re suffering from cabin fever, don’t despair, your tonic is only a few miles away in good natured Fairfield!
Conveniently located along Interstate 80 between San Francisco and Sacramento, Fairfield is the ideal destination to enjoy a springtime escape. Visitors can expect an array of lodging choices and packages, wineries to discover, delicious dining options, unique attractions, and plenty of special events and activities to chase away the wintertime blues.
So, put away your umbrella and overcoat and check out this list of ten popular things to do and see this spring.
1. Brunch with the Bunnies at Jelly Belly. Bring your children to the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield on Saturday, April 3 between 10:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. for a special brunch with Wendell & Wendy Bunnies and Mr. Jelly Belly. In addition to a delicious meal, there will be entertainment and goody bags for the kids. The brunch takes place in the Grand Bean Room on the second floor of the Jelly Belly Visitor Center. Don’t forget to take a FREE factory tour and sample some of the more than 5o flavors from Cream Soda and Root Beer to Mango and Marshmallow, and new this year, Honey Bean flavor. Price for Brunch: $21.98 per person and FREE for children 2 & under. For reservations, visit www.JellyBelly.com. Be sure to bring your camera!
2. What’s New Cupcake at Jelly Belly. Cupcake book authors Karen Tack and Alan Richardson will be teaching a hands-on cupcake decorating class at Jelly Belly celebrating their newly released book – What’s New Cupcake. The workshop takes place at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 13 in the Grand Bean Room at the Jelly Belly Center. The authors’ first cupcake book was a national hit and New York Times best seller. Cost: $29.99 per person (children 5 and up). A book signing follows at 3:00 p.m. For reservations, visit www.JellyBelly.com.
3. Scenic Limited Wildflower Excursions at the Western Railway Museum. The Western Railway Museum at Rio Vista Junction will be running special Scenic Limited trains every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday in April at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 2 p.m. to view wildflowers, such as poppies, goldfields, brass buttons, vetch, and sheep’s sorrel. The Scenic Limited takes visitors five miles down the old Sacramento Northern Railway, south from Highway 12. During the hour long train ride, passengers will have an opportunity to view impressive displays of native wildflowers that cover the hillsides and fields. Fares: $10 for Adults; $9 for Seniors (65 years and older); and $7 for Children (ages 2 – 14). First Class service is $5 extra. (707) 374-2978. www.WRM.org.
4. Taste Award-Winning Wines at Suisun Valley Wine Passport Event. Tour the Suisun Valley wine country on Sunday, April 18 and visit participating wineries – the Suisun Valley Wine Cooperative, featuring wines from five distinctively different family-owned wineries – Bask Cellars, Blacksmith Cellars, King Andrews Vineyards, Sunset Cellars, and WinterHawk Winery; Blue Victorian Vineyards; Ledgewood Creek Winery and Vineyards; Wooden Valley Winery and Vineyards; and Vezér Family Vineyard – for wine tasting and food pairing. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Ticket Price: $25 for passport or $15 for designated driver. www.SuisunValley.com.
5. Experience Rush Ranch During Their 20th Annual Open House. Enjoy a celebration of nature, art, music, dancing, and traditional crafts at Rush Ranch, a Solano Land Trust property on Grizzly Island, on Saturday, April 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Activities include guided walks to Suisun Marsh, horse drawn wagon rides by Access Adventure, live music, square dancing, weaving and spinning, wood carving, flint knapping, local Native American culture, horseshoeing, blacksmithing, bats, falconry, farm animals, raffle, and art show. New this year is a Ranch Life Children’s Interactive Art Station. Admission is FREE. (707) 422-4491 or (707) 432-0150, ext. 200. www.RushRanch.net or www.SolanoLandTrust.org.
6. Take a carriage ride with Access Adventure. Rush Ranch serves as the headquarters for Access Adventure, which offers programs of recreational carriage driving for individuals and groups of people living with mobility challenges, their caregivers, friends, family and supporters. Access Adventure can accommodate up to six wheelchair riders at a time in their Thornlea carriages that have solar powered, battery operated wheelchair lifts. The carriage is usually pulled by two black Percheron draft horses. Not limited to wheelchair users, the Access Adventure carriage rides are offered from late April through October. Michael Muir, the great-grandson of conservationist John Muir, founded Access Adventure in 2005 and serves as the program’s director today. (707) 432-0152. www.Access-Adventure.org.
7. Tee it Up at a Fairfield Golf Course. Fairfield is home to the top two 18-hole golf courses in Solano County – Paradise Valley and Rancho Solano. Paradise Valley, praised as being the number one golf course in Solano County and best value in the North Bay area, has a spectacular layout that is enhanced by oak studded fairways and meandering creeks. It’s a favorite for golfers who enjoy a walking round of golf and is playable for golfers of all abilities. Rancho Solano, known for having a beautiful country-club-like setting, has an alluring layout with hilly terrain and undulated greens that add character to the golf course. Scenic lakes, elevated tees and well placed bunkers provide interesting features that contribute to the excitement of playing this course. Several other challenging courses are an easy drive from Fairfield.
8. Go Behind the Scenes on an Anheuser-Busch Beermaster Tour. The Beermaster Tour takes a look at the brewing of Budweiser and includes a visit to the Brew House, Finishing Cellar, Lager Cellar, and packaging facility. The two-hour tour concludes in the Hospitality Room with a product flight demonstration and product sampling. Participants will receive a variety of gifts compliments of Anheuser-Busch. Cost: $25 for adults and $10 for youth ages 13 to 20. Guests 13 to 20 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. For reservations, call (707) 429-7595 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
9. Savor some Delicious Dining Options. The Hilton Garden Inn provides a 4-star experience at Ahi Seafood & Chops, featuring unforgettable delights using the freshest ingredients. Enjoy fine Italian cooking at Vintage Caffe at Mankas Corner. Relax in comfortable surroundings and enjoy homemade favorites. Fantastic artwork isn't the only enjoyment at Favela’s Fusion, a favorite for Mexican cuisine. Stocked with 43 different tequilas and noted that the margaritas use traditional agave syrup instead of Triple Sec. Chinese-Asian fusion dining and a hip bar scene provide unexpected culinary delights at the Sticky Rice Chinese Bistro & Bar. Outdoor seating is a nice option on a mild spring evening. If you’re planning a picnic, stop by Canepa’s Deli, an old-world-style Italian deli in downtown Fairfield for sandwiches, salads and pre-made foods to go. Bon Appetit!
10. Art is in the Eye of the Beholder. Now through March 27, experience more than 100 works of art at the 47th Annual Regional Juried Art Show produced by the Fairfield Visual Arts Association. Some 400 artists, nationwide, submit entries representing all medium – oil, watercolor, ceramic, fiber, textile, photography, and more. Entries are judged and displayed at the Fairfield Center Gallery at the Fairfield Center for Creative Arts at 1035 Texas Street in downtown Fairfield. The exhibit is open Thursday through Saturday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is FREE. www.FairfieldVisualArts.org.
Take your time exploring what Fairfield and the surrounding area has to offer and stay in one of the city’s 18 hotels that offer affordable and comfortable overnight accommodations. Stay and play, or tour the region – either way, Fairfield is the perfect base camp for a spring escape.
Take a Break to Tour, Taste & Learn by Fred Sater
The following article was originally published in the Sacramento News & Review, January 21, 2010. This episode in my life still has me wondering. There are still no answers. Dale would probably tell me to stop asking questions.
Sol Collective Rises Again at 21st and Broadway
Story & Photos by Barbara L. Steinberg
I remember the old Sol Collective. Urban and edgy in its Del Paso Boulevard location. I traveled there to meet one of the resident artists known as 2Hermano while researching an article about the new wave of "Urban Tattoos" popping up throughout Sacramento. Urban Tattoos was coined by a friend, Bonita, as I struggled to define this fantastic art form...and wanting to steer clear of its "graffitt" roots. To this day, I still refer to Urban Tattoos; their numbers have spread.
It was a sad day when I learned that Sol Collective had been destroyed by a "suspicious" fire. It was not just another art gallery, but a place where young artists could come and explore and learn. Some didn't see it as a positive...just a bunch of "taggers". Perhaps...in some other life. But at Sol Collective they were putting a postive spin on their incredible artistic talents. Imagine someone calling Sacramento Code Enforcement to report the image ofFrida Kahlo as "graffitti" and wanting it removed. This actually happened.
Sol Collective has risen from the ashes and re-opens tonight at a new location south of Broadyway. Again, it's not just a gallery but a place for all-ages to explore their creative selves. Come out and embrace the rebirth of the Mecca of Sacramento's Urban Tattoos...and so much more.
Sol Collective Grand Opening
February 20, 2010
2574 - 21st Street
7pm to 11pm
$5 Donation Appreciated