Escape to the Quiet Charm of California's Small Towns
Escape to the Quiet Charm of California's Small Towns
Trade your gridlocked freeway commute and frenzied schedule for an idyllic respite from city life. Escape to a bed and breakfast inn tucked along the back roads and quiet streets of California’s small towns. These rural gems beckon with a nostalgic charm and relaxed pace that recall simpler times.
A couple miles off Highway One between San Francisco and Santa Cruz, the tiny hamlet of Pescadero is nestled among rolling hills and patchwork of agricultural fields. Once a stagecoach destination, the century-old Pescadero Creek Inn still draws travelers with its cozy rooms, claw foot tubs, and fine organic fare. A short stroll from the inn, visitors can browse the town’s one-of-a-kind art and furniture shops, savor farm-fresh olallieberries and artichokes, make your own goat cheese at Harley’s Farm, or dine at the legendary Duarte’s Tavern.
Set high among the pines of Southern California’s San Jacinto Mountains, Idyllwild combines arts and outdoor adventure with an alpine flair. Peruse the antique shops and art galleries lining the village, enjoy live jazz and classical music, hit the trail on foot or horseback, or go rock climbing on one of Idyllwild’s famous crags. The Strawberry Creek Inn is central to it all with its “rural-chic’ ambiance, gourmet breakfasts, and variety of rooms and cottages ranging from romantic to rustic.
Further south near San Diego, the small town of Jamul is a cyclists’ dream with rides for every level. The U.S. Olympic cycling team trains on the hills, while bike lanes link several of the town’s attractions. The exclusive bed and breakfast resort of Jamul Haven loans out bikes for guests’ use. The inn is a fully-renovated 1890 Victorian mansion on six acres with a long list of amenities. Along with cycling, another Jamul attraction is Simpson’s Nursery, which features both an impressive selection of plants and two old car barns: one with vintage cars from 1910-1940 and one with muscle cars of the 40s, 50s, and 60s.
The village of Lockeford, a gateway to the California gold rush, was established in the 1850s by Dr. Dean Jewett Locke. The physician’s influence in this historic village is evident in nearly every aspect of the community, including the school, mercantile, churches, cemetery, and railroad depot. Locke’s homestead would later become The Inn at Locke House, which is a California Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places. From the inn, venture out to kayak the Mokelumne River, cycle and hike past ranches, farms, orchards and vineyards, go wine tasting along the Lodi Wine Trail, or just take a drive along the country roads of Lockeford.
Cayucos is among the last of the classic California beach towns. Located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles on the Central Coast, little has changed over the years for this sleepy seaside town with a population of just 2,900. Set on a wide curving bay, you can sink your toes in the sand or take a stroll out onto the pier to watch the glorious sunsets. You can also take in the view from the Cayucos Sunset Inn, which pampers and indulges its guests from the moment they walk through the inn’s grand double doors.
Just north of Clear Lake, the one-time western stagecoach stop of Upper Lake has been revitalized in recent years with the restoration and reopening of the 1890s Tallman Hotel. The hotel is on the California Register of Historical Resources as a Point of Historical Interest and is among Lake County’s most luxurious country inns. Next door to the inn, the Blue Wing Saloon and Café has also been restored and livery stable has been transformed into an antique bathroom fixture emporium. Quality antique shops abound in Upper Lake and the old Odd Fellows Hall and 1916 library building are also worth a visit.
Nestled in the Santa Ynez Valley, the Old World village of Solvang draws travelers with its charming Danish architecture, delicious pastries, fine restaurants, quaint shops, wine tasting rooms, parks, festivals, and beautiful vineyard-draped countryside with horses, ostriches, and alpacas. Just blocks from downtown, the Solvang Gardens Lodge exudes European charm with its luxuriant English gardens, lily pond, fountains, and stone fireplace suites with marble baths.
Perched above the cliffs, the inspiring seaside hamlet of Mendocino is a magnet for artists, writers, and musicians. Browse the fine restaurants, shops, and galleries in the village or hike atop the rugged bluffs of Mendocino Headlands State Park. Within a short stroll from town and the headlands, the Joshua Grindle Inn welcomes travelers with airy rooms decorated with Early American furnishings, and stunning views of the coast.
Tiffany House B&B
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons yellow corn meal
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup plus two tablespoons buttermilk
1/2 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) corn
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives (or 1 tablespoon dried)
9 pepperoncini peppers, drained, seeded and finely chopped
3 ounces finely chopped smoked salmon (about 1/3 cup)
Sour cream, for serving
Chopped red onion, for serving
Lemon slices, for serving
In a small bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg and cream cheese. Whisk buttermilk into egg mixture.
Coarsely chop half of the corn; stir into egg mixture along with remaining corn, chives, pepperoncinis, smoked salmon, and cornmeal mixture just until combined.
Drop batter by 1/4-cupfuls onto a large, non-stick or greased griddle or skillet; spread batter slightly to form 3 1/2 -inch to 4-inch cakes. Cook cakes for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown on both sides.
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Romantic Retreat Specials for February
Let the Honor Mansion help you re-discover each other! Stay two luxurious nights at the Honor Mansion in Healdsburg, and enjoy chocolate-covered strawberries at check-in, a rose petal turndown, and a gourmet breakfast delivered to your room each morning. If you feel inclined to leave your room, let the concierge staff create a custom wine tasting itinerary for you. Book a minimum of two nights between February 11-15, 2010, in any available room. Mention the Valentine’s Day Special to receive this package for an additional $25 (a $95 value!).
Reserve any two nights in February at The Foxes Inn of Sutter Creek and receive the following absolutely free: Godiva truffles, one dozen roses in a vase, a bottle of Mumms champagne on ice, artisan cheese and fruit tray, and $50 dinner certificate at either The Palace Restaurant or Susan's Place. Must request the February Romance package special when booking your stay. Based on double occupancy. New reservations only. Expires February 28, 2010.
Treat your Valentine to a romantic weekend at the Old Yacht Club Inn and get a sweetheart of a deal: stay a third night at half price. Offer applies to all reservations made during the month of February. Summer and holiday black out dates may apply. Visit the inn online and make your Valentine’s Day reservations today.
Come celebrate the romantic month of February at the Clear Lake Bed & Breakfast in Lakeport for only $99 per night during the entire month--that's more than half off per night at the only year-round bed and breakfast on the lake. Be sure to mention this discount when you call innkeeper Diane Gill to make a reservation at (707) 263-9071 or include it in the comments section when you book online.
Villa Royale’s Cupid’s Hideaway special includes two nights’ accommodations in one of our Cozy Royale or one bedroom rooms, a welcome bottle of chilled champagne and box of chocolates, complimentary breakfast, $100 credit towards dinner in our 4-diamond restaurant and two (2) one-hour massages. Rates are from $495 on weekdays and from $575 on weekends. Valid through February 28, 2010. Package price does not include applicable taxes and is based on double occupancy.
Because The Inn on First supports romance every day, we are extending an extra-special Couple's Hide-Away Special for those traveling midweek in the month of February. Guests who schedule any in-room spa treatment will also receive a complimentary cheese plate and bottle of wine. Stay a second or third night and receive added value and discounts.