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Today, Elke and I will be visiting an interesting destination, the Sacramento Delta.  In this area, you will find pleasing vistas, interesting historical towns, shops, restaurants, and wineries.

  1. Locke, at Walnut Grove.  This is the location of the first California town built by Chinese immigrants.  It is a small block of somewhat-preserved, actively-used buildings that somehow feels as if it might transport you to another place and time.  There is a Chinese medicine shop, a bookstore, and a little curio shop.  There’s a museum that shows an example of a gambling establishment.  There are a few restaurants.  One notable dive is Al the Wops, which is basically a saloon, complete with swinging doors.  The first time I learned about this place was from a friend who told me that they ate the best steak of their life here.  If you’ve been inside, and you should probably at least peek your head inside, you may find it hard to imagine that anything delicious can be found here.  It is pretty much all dedicated to being a bar, with bar food.  The walls are plastered with dollars and interesting things to look at.  I’ve heard that the chili is passable.
  2. Sugarmill @ Clarksburg, California.  On the drive to the Sugarmill, you will pass by several nice wineries.  A quick glance at Google Maps show no less than 12 in the immediate viscinity of Clarksburg.  The Sugarmill is a co-op that showcases the wine culture of the area.  Here, you can find great wine and and atmosphere.  Check out the website for occasional events.  We recommend that you drop in here and spend a little time.
  3. The Ryde Hotel –  This aging hotel was once a place where movie stars stayed when making films on the Delta.  Among its guests was a president, politicians, and mobsters.  Elke and I have never stayed overnight in this hotel, but we visited.  Peacocks roam the grounds.  The inside of the hotel is definitely dated.  Reviews online seem to give this hotel a solid 2 out of 5 stars.  Elke and I have it on our list to try the Sunday brunch someday.
  4. The Grand Island Mansion – This is a beautiful little mansion with an interesting history.  It specializes in weddings, but it has a wonderful Sunday brunch, that really needs to be seen to be believed.
  5. Isleton, California – This is a nice little town explore.  Here, you might also find a bed and breakfast from which to stage your Sacramento Delta adventures.  This is where Elke and I will stay tonight.  I will write more about our latest Isleton visit in a future post.
  6. Sandhill Crane Tours – Whether you pay for a tour or explore on your own, the nature of the Delta is worth a look.  In addition to the famous Sandhill Cranes, which migrate through the area, you will find many other aquatic bird species in abundance.

    The Delta is surrounded everywhere by water, which brings life.  In your exploration of the Delta, you may find yourself having to drive onto a ferry, which you need to get to the next place you want to explore.  This is a great area to visit in the hot California summer.  The marine environment is refreshing, and the area comes alive with tourism.  Elke and I highly recommend an exploration of this region, which is off the beaten path.