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Travel East Across California for Wine Country, History, and Country Fare

Travel East Across California for Wine Country, History, and Country Fare
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Take a loop around San Francisco Bay, then cross the Central Valley to explore the relaxed and friendly Gold Country and its booming boutique wine scene.

Trip length: 4 days
Total distance: 426mi/686km

Oakland. Get the hipster vibe at trendy Chop Bar , where you can sample classy café food and six wines on tap. Or try Picán in the city’s happening Uptown district, known for its California take on traditional Southern fare. INFO Visit Oakland ; 510/839-9000

Fremont (23mi/37km; 31min). Get a glimpse of 1850s rural America at Ardenwood Historic Farm . Tour the Victorian farmhouse and tour the working farm, which gives insights into farming techniques used a century ago. INFO Ardenwood Historic Farm ; 510/544-2797

San Mateo (20mi/33km; 28min). Pick up local travel tips and ideas at the California Welcome Center , where helpful travel concierges can give you great ideas for things to see and do throughout the region, including restaurant tips. INFO California Welcome Centers ; 650/578-8033

Half Moon Bay (17mi/27km; 29min). Watch the sun set over the water, and dig into a whole Maine lobster or a San Francisco-style cioppino fish stew at Sam’s Chowder House . INFO San Mateo County/Silicon Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau ; 650/348-7600

Livermore (59mi/95km; 1hr20min). Head east to Livermore Valley wine country and the Restaurant at Wente Vineyards , where ingredients fresh from the restaurant’s own garden create the ideal cuisine for the bucolic setting. INFO Tri-Valley California Convention & Visitors Bureau ; 925/846-8910

Sacramento (93mi/150km; 1hr51min). Variety abounds in increasingly food-focused downtown Sacramento, where choices include the ultra-authentic Mexican Tequila Museo Mayahuel ; seasonal, organic, and hyperlocal Thir13en ; and the Porch , which serves serving “low-country” cuisine from the coast of South Carolina. INFO Downtown Sacramento Partnership ; 916/442-8575

El Dorado Hills (27mi/44km; 35min). Find a local hike or other activity from the helpful travel concierges at the California Welcome Center  before settling into an elegant Italianate setting and much-lauded “New American” food—especially the wild mushroom bruschetta and the short rib ravioli--at Sienna Restaurant . INFO El Dorado County Visitors Authority ; 530/621-5885

Placerville (17mi/28km; 21min). Sample top vintages produced throughout the intimate wine region surrounding this historic town. Family-owned wineries—many with pretty grounds and artwork—produce ripe and spicy Zinfandels, as well as Rhône, Italian, and Spanish varietals. INFO El Dorado County Visitors Authority ; 530/621-5885

Angels Camp (60mi/96km; 1hr24min). Travel historic Highway 49 to the setting of Mark Twain’s 1865 story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” The town still hints at the Gold Rush era, historic buildings now filled with cafes, shops and galleries. INFO Calaveras Visitors Bureau ; 209/736-0049

Coarsegold (110mi/177km; 2hr40min). Duck into the 1800s at the Coarsegold Historical Museum, before sitting down to enjoy the woodsy outdoor setting and classic cuisine—from sole amandine to chicken schnitzel—at the Blue Heron . INFO Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau ; 559/683-4636

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