You think you know all about Northern California? The best part about life around here is no matter how long you call this place home, there’s always more you haven’t seen just waiting to be discovered. Most of us don’t have a clue what hidden gems are just a car ride away.
So, we thought we’d show you a few places you can get to for a quick visit that you never even knew were in your neck of the woods. You’re welcome.
1. Shasta's Chocolate Emporium, Yreka
This is a great place to find any type of chocolate, ice cream, candy and drinks. They have many old fashioned items that you had as a kid and many new ones that you have never heard of. It's well worth the trip if your sweet tooth is begging to be satisfied.
2. Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary, Arcata
This 307-acre site is located along the Pacific Flyway, making it a popular destination for birders from all over the world. It is home (or rest stop) to over 300 species of birds and mammals, and over 100 species of plants. Critters that inhabit the marsh include river otters, gray foxes, bobcats, Pacific tree frogs, red-legged frogs, and rough-skinned newts.
The Arcata Marsh offers more than five miles of recreational trails for jogging, bicycling, hiking, bird-watching, and leashed dog walking.
3. Sonoma Cheese Trail, Sonoma County
Discover the actual producers of famous cheeses like Bellwether and Laura Chenel by following the Cheese Trail through Sonoma County.
Chart your course with the printed or online version of the official Cheese Trail map, for delights such as the Achadinha Cheese Company of Petaluma, where the 900 goats graze year-round on verdant pastures, supplemented by brewers’ grain from local breweries. How that for a FUN day?
4. Dunsmuir Botanical Gardens, Dunsmuir
Numerous walking trails meander through the park, allowing good viewing of the native and introduced plant material. The Dunsmuir Botanical Gardens enhance the natural setting and provide a tranquil environment for visitors. The meadow is the venue for the 'Tribute to the Trees' concert, and other events throughout the year. This park is a mixture of forest, river and fauna heaven. Fun fact: New York Yankees Babe Ruth and Bob Meusel played an exhibition baseball game in the park, against the Dunsmuir locals.
5. Hangtown's Gold Bug Park, Placerville
Great for all ages if you want to know more about gold mining in California. Especially good for kids. You get to wear a hard hat and walk through a real gold mine with an audio tour. Don't leave before you see the stamp mill. They have an exact replica in a smaller size that they can turn on so you see the thing in action - it's very loud. They also have a nice picnic area for the summer and some short hiking trails.
6. Jack London's Cabin, Oakland
Jack London was the author of The Call of the Wild. A pioneer in the then-burgeoning world of commercial magazine fiction, he was one of the first fiction writers to obtain worldwide celebrity and a large fortune from his fiction alone. London was part of the radical literary group "The Crowd" in San Francisco and a passionate advocate of unionization, socialism, and the rights of workers.
7. Indian Grinding Rock, Pine Grove
The native name for the site is "Chaw’se," the Miwok word for "grinding rock." Upon this rock they ground acorns and other seeds into meal, slowly forming the cup-shaped depressions in the stone, which can still be seen today. Along with the mortar holes, the main grinding rock within the park features a number of petroglyphs: circles, spoked wheels, animal and human tracks, wavy lines, etc. Some of these carvings are thought to be as much as two or three thousand years old and are now becoming difficult to discern. But, there are still over 1100 to check out.
Sure, we can whet your appetite for a few under-advertised spots and treats around these parts, but hey, you’re the real expert. What secret places should we check out in your town?