Autumn in the Gold Country means clear blue skies, fiery red grapevines, and an invigorating snap in the air. It’s apple season too, with more than 30 orchards and farms dotting the area east of Placerville, about a 2-hour drive east of San Francisco. Visit u-pick farms and roadside stands centered around the tiny hamlet of Camino to sample tart Granny Smiths, thin-skinned Galas, and other varieties, many grown by a new generation of farmers. Other local finds include Jack Russell Farm Brewery (try the Farmhouse Ale), a handful of wineries such as Fenton and Lava Cap, and Time Out Spa, where (by advance reservation) you can get a bliss-out treatment. Or simply spread out a picnic blanket at High Hill Ranch, and nibble on oven-warm apple fritters or spread fresh apple butter on crackers—does autumn get much better than this?