An easy roadtrip from the Bay Area or from flying into Sacramento, Lodi is a charming city in the northern part of California’s Central Valley. The area is known for its agriculture and wine, though there is a family focus within the community making this a great spot to vacation for a fun getaway. Summers are hot and dry, perfect for outdoor adventure and sampling local refreshments, while winters can be cooler with occasional fog. No matter what time of year you visit Lodi, you’ll know you’re in a special place for the warm community vibe, abundance of local eateries, and a great assortment of family activities.
Lodi Lake offers a large playground for water sports. During my visit, I kayaked with Headwaters Kayak, exploring the lake and Mokelumne River. During my paddle, I noticed a great variety of waterfowl and migrating birds, and the overall landscape provided a picturesque paradise for exploring nature.
To gain a greater sense of the region, I visited San Joaquin County Historical Society and Museum in Micke Grove Park. Exhibits share heritage of the Miwok and Ykuts Indians, agricultural growth, and historical rail. Also in Micke Grove Park, a beautiful Japanese Garden is worth exploring. You’ll find decorative ponds full of fish, art and architecture to peruse, and a serene spot to gather with family. While in the park, I also visited Micke Grove Zoo. This is a small, accessible zoo perfect for an hour or two of exploration. During my visit, I snapped photos of lemurs, fossa, golden tail tamarin, and a snow leopard.
Of course, no visit to Lodi is complete without recognizing the wine culture. More than one hundred varieties of wine are grown in the Lodi area with Zinfandels, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc among the most notable. One of my favorite visits in the area was the The Farm Café at Michael David Winery. Here you’ll find a bright and airy tasting room accompanied by a farm retail cafe featuring home-baked pies and breads, gourmet produce, and more. The cafe features homestyle classic entrees and wine is always on the menu. Be sure to explore the garden grounds, too, for a series of lagoons and waterfalls, grassy slopes, and gathering spaces.
For more farm to table freshness, visit Olive Drop Olive Oil Co. farm. The sprawling property is home to century old mission olive trees where owner Karen Chandler grows and bottles local oils including extra virgin olive oil as well as garlic, basil, lemon, and orange extra virgin olive oils. She produces a bright and tasty balsamic vinegar, too. The olive farm property also includes fruit trees and vineyards, including some Tokay grapes. If you can’t visit the farm itself, you’ll notice Olive Drop Olive Oil is available for purchase at several area wineries and farmers markets, too.
For a great night of sleep in the heart of wine country, Wine & Roses is a gorgeous seven-acre resort destination with luxurious accommodations and a focus on fine dining and wine culture. The on-site spa offers an extensive menu of treatments and a heated pool provides fun for the whole family. Start your day at the on-site Towne House Restaurant for a hearty breakfast featuring local ingredients, and then pop into the Lodi Wine & Visitor Center, located on the Wine & Roses property, to plan a day’s worth of activities and sightseeing.
For more travel ideas and planning your getaway to Lodi: http://www.visitlodi.com.