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Sacramento's exotic destination at 24th and K

Travel Insider HeadersAncient Future Brings New Color to Midtown Sacramento by Barbara L. Steinberg

If you missed today's event at Ancient Future --  My Gypsy Market -- you really missed something!

The Gypsy Market Ancient FutureSomething amazing! Something delicious! Something extraordinary! Something visual! Something tactile! Something the likes of which you have never seen in Sacramento. The old church at 24th & K streets has been reclaimed and recreated as a true destination, Ancient Future Urban Sanctuary.

Today's special event featured regional artists -- textiles, crystals, jewelry, paintings, paper maiche -- and whirling gypsy dancers! Just the beginning great things to come.

At Ancient Future prepare your senses to be whisked away! The sanctuary feels like something out of the Arabian Nights. Brilliant reds, light pouring through stained glass windows, cushioned benches beckon you to recline. Today, this haven was a cacophony sights and sounds. A collection of local artists
gathered to display their wares and bring new life to 24th & K.

The Gypsy Market is just a sampling of the treasures inside. The sanctuary is the perfect gathering place for meetings or special events.

The artisan gift shop includes many locally-made items. The foyer invites you to relax, enjoy coffee or P1250742tea and possibly something sumptuous from the 24K Chocolate Café! There is so much to discover. Through the doors you’ll find an interior courtyard garden. Fountains and art – recline if the weather permits. Holistic practitioners, artists, and healers dwell within. The menu of offerings is vast and will continue to evolve.

Now, back to the 24K Chocolate Café – descend into the belly of Ancient Future to unearth this bit of gold. Bathed in light from street-level windows, tea candles, and just the right amount of overhead mood lighting you enter a foreign land of sensory overload. The perimeter is lined with interesting cabinets and tables bedecked with a variety of teas, chocolates, and accessories. You will want to explore before, during or after.  

Small plates of food are artfully presented – delicious to the eye and palate. House-made crepes, frittata, and salads – carnivore, veggie-head or vegan – all are welcome. Quench your thirst with “spa water” infused (perhaps) with fresh cantaloupe. Then finish up with something sweet. Seasonal fruits, a special poached pear tart, or maybe some chocolate pudding with bacon. How often have I said that everything’s better with bacon?

Platters of handmade truffles are conveniently placed around the room. The moniker of “chocolate café” should have given something away. The owner, Teresa Flint, is passionate about the ancient roots of chocolate. Indulge and be educated.

This insider was blown away by the depth of Ancient Future. Applaud Teresa Flint for daring to envision and execute this magic in today's economy. All comers beware -- she raised the bar.

 

PS - Check out the tables made from recycled doors salvaged from the building. Hinges still attached to hang whatever.

 

 

Ancient Future Sacramento's New Destination Slideshow: Barbara’s trip to Sacramento was created with TripAdvisor TripWow!

Saratoga Oaks Lodge comfort and tranquility


Travel Insider Headers

Towering Oaks adorn this one-time motor court now well-dressed lodge by Barbara L. Steinberg

Saratoga Oaks Lodge Credit Barbara L Steinberg9No surprise! California back roads never disappoint. While you may not consider Interstate 280 a back road, exiting at Saratoga Avenue and winding your way through the outskirts of San Jose brings you to Big Basin Way and the small town of Saratoga, California and the Saratoga Oaks Lodge.

Saratoga Oaks Lodge has shed its motor court cocoon and turned into a beautiful butterfly. From a single-queen room to two-room suites, the Saratoga Oaks Lodge has something for everyone. Newly constructed “tree house" bungalows accommodate families or groups via an interior staircase – great for wedding parties. Your bungalow-suite will provide the perfect getaway to relax after exploring the Village of Saratoga and other nearby attractions. An in-room whirlpool bathtub and steam-bath shower help you find your bliss. Balconies and garden patios shaded by towering oaks are a joy during the warmer months. Other amenities include microwave, mini-fridge, coffeemakers, free Wi-Fi, and continental breakfast.

Within walking distance: Saratoga's finest dining, day spa and hair salon, wine tasting, art galleries, fabulous retail of all kinds and a small-town flavor....a very good thing! Nearby, Montalvo Arts Center and The Moutain Winery provide world-class entertainment; historic gardens, hiking, dining, horseback riding, wineries, and breathtaking views are just a few distractions to bring you back again and again.

Innkeepers welcome you with smiles and laughter. The Lodge is evolving and more upgrades are on the way. So quiet...for a perfect night of Zs!

Retreat & Relax at Saratoga Oaks Lodge Slideshow: Barbara’s trip to Saratoga was created with TripAdvisor TripWow!

Hakone Estate & Gardens in Saratoga California

Travel Insider HeadersThis Hidden Gem is True Zen by Barbara L. Steinberg 

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Moonviewing House cica 1917 built without nails Credit Barbara L Steinberg

What a very special place! Again, we are so blessed in California. So many magical places tucked away on hillsides and down country lanes. Hakone Estate & Gardens -- on the outskirts of Saratoga, California -- is just such a place.

Come and relax. Enjoy the musical waterfalls and the joy Mother Nature at her finest. Buddhist and Zen influences are everywhere. Every season presents something new. Delicate maples show their best fall colors. Winter brings a wall of camellias. An ever-changing landscape. The oldest Japanese and Asian estate garden in the Western Hemisphere, it is also a Save America's Treasures site, part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Hakone Estate & Gardens was also the film location for Memoirs of a Geisha

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Kizuna-En the bamboo garden Credit Barbara L. Steinberg

More than 18 acres, visitors are invited to stroll in the gardens and meditate on benches overlooking the koi pond or bamboo forest. An ideal location for meetings and weddings, Hakone also orchestrates a variety of special events including tea ceremonies and Maturi (Spring Festival).

Hakone was on my radar and the ever-expanding "bucket list" of California must sees. Had I known just how magical a place this is, I would have crossed it off long ago! Move Hakone at the top of your list!  At the edge of the village of Saratoga, the approach to Hakone is an incredibly steep, paved drive. Don't be deterred.

You must sometimes climb a mountain to reach the stars.