Valentine’s Day options in Stockton and N. California

Creative, romantic Valentine’s Day options in Stockton and N. California

Valentine’s Day fast approaches – here are suggestions for those seeking adventuresome and romantic destinations in northern California, from several friends, my spouse and me, both locally and further afield. The “day” this year falls on a Friday, so book early or be sorry!

For those seeking a fine dining option locally, here are restaurant favorites: Prime Table, Market Tavern and Papapavalos in Lincoln Center, Garlic Brothers on the San Joaquin Delta for a sunset dinner, CoCoRo or Valley Brew (yes, a brew pub can qualify) on Miracle Mile, Bella Vista in the old Hotel Stockton, downtown Stockton  and Wine and Roses, Rosewood Bar and Grill and Lodi Beer in Lodi. Fine dining, classy décor and the “vibe” are just right for romance.

Spectacular sunset over the San Joaquin Delta, from Garlic Brothers Restaurant.

For an early celebration, consider the Lodi Wine and Chocolate event, February 7-9 – with choices of 80 wineries for tasting and chocolate sampling, Lodiwineandchocolate.com.

Valentine’s Day visit to Lodi comes complete with over 80 wineries.

If seeking an overnight destination, those special destinations offer special attributes: scenic and semi-secluded, fine restaurant(s) nearby, classy lodging and, a sense of history – my own inclusion.

The Sierra foothills offer both fine dining and cute, historic gold rush towns to explore. Just an hour east on old Highway 49 you’ll find Sutter Creek with a 10 block stretch of old Main Street complete with tasting rooms, bed-and-breakfasts, shops and restaurants. The Hotel Sutter on Main Street offers historic lodging and dining; across the street Cavanas offers a fine dining choice, and marvelous pizzas can be found at Gold Dust Pizza, a block down Eureka Street.

Wells Fargo stagecoach thunders into Sutter Creek.
Historic Murphys Hotel offers lodging and fine dining.

A bit further south in Sierra foothills on Highway 4 is Murphys, with an eight block stretch of historic shops and hotels, featuring wine tasting, shopping and fine dining. Restaurants like Alchemy and the Murphys Hotel offer dependable options for fine food, while the historic hotel is an evocative choice for an overnight.

For a secluded wine tasting experience, explore the Shenandoah Valley in Amador County; composed of granite and volcanic soils, it quickly became a growing wine-producing area during the California gold rush in the 1850s and now hosts over 40 wineries. Plymouth, located on Highway 49 on the southwestern edge of the valley, is growing in stature and offers historic buildings and shops. The regionally-renowned restaurant, Taste, and recently opened boutique 16-room hotel next-door, Rest are worthy of special note.

Spouse Susan (middle) and friends Patricia and Jan at Helwig Winery in Shenandoah Valley.

Consider an overnight in the Old Sacramento district, just an hour north. Spend the night on the Delta King, the historic river boat built in Stockton in 1927 along with its sister ship, the Delta Queen. With 44 luxury riverboat cabins and dining in the old Pilothouse Restaurant, it offers a lovely destination on the Sacramento River.

Favorite museums nearby include the California Railroad Museum and the California Automobile Museum and five more. Old Sacramento features over 50 unique shops and reliable eateries, from expensive to reasonable, including Fanny Ann’s Saloon, Firehouse Restaurant (inside an historic firehouse), La Terraza Mexican Restaurant (with second floor veranda for people watching below), Rio City Café and mouth-watering baked goods for mornings at Steamer’s Bakery and Café.

Historic Delta King riverboat is both a hotel and restaurant.

South Lake Tahoe offers gambling, huge resorts and less expensive, vintage motels. On Friday, February 14, 5:00 to 8:00 PM, Zephyr Cove Resort and Marina celebrate

Valentine’s Day with a romantic cruise aboard the M.S. Dixie II.  The celebration includes champagne and romantic dinner for two and live music! The cruise will take guests around Emerald Bay offering views of Tahoe’s stunning scenery. Start at Zephyr Cove Resort and Marina & Lake Tahoe Cruises, 760 US-50, Zephyr Cove, NV 89448. Info and booking, zephyrcove.com.

Looking north at Lake Tahoe, visit lovely Tahoe City on Tahoe’s north shore. Alpine skiing options abound along the lake’s western and northern shores, and snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are popular. Sugar Pine Point State Park features historic buildings, beautiful views of the lake and was site of several cross-country events at the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics. Check out the small Olympic Museum building at Sugar Pine Park to refresh your memory of Olympic history. Tahoe City also offers a host of motel options and Airbnb choices. For the best breakfast or lunch, try Rosies, and for a beautiful, romantic dinner, Plumpjack at Squaw Valley Resort.

Snowshoers take Ranger-led tour near Sugar Pine Point State Park on Lake Tahoe.

For information: Lodi Wine and Chocolate event, lodiwineandchocolate.com; Murphys, visitmurphys.com; North Lake Tahoe, gotahoenorth.com; Old Sacramento, oldsacramento.com; Shenandoah Valley, historichwy49.com; South Lake Tahoe, tahoesouth.com; Stockton, visitstockton.org; Sutter Creek, suttercreek.org.

Contact Tim at tviall@msn.com and follow at recordnet.com/travelblogHappy travels in your world!

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