How We Roll
We stayed at a campground near our daughter, son-in-law, and two granddaughters in Vacaville (population 100,000) this spring. The weather varied from the low-to-mid 70s to the mid-to-high 90s. Fortunately, our campground had a swimming pool, so we spent a lot of time there on the hot days!
There are some quaint little towns in the area too. I had lunch with a friend in Winters, just a short distance away from Vacaville. It is an old-fashioned town surrounded by nut tree farms. There are many bike paths in the area and one of them connects Winters with Davis, home to the University of California Davis campus.
Gina (daughter) and I spent a day in Davis, walking around the downtown area and visiting local shops. Since this is a college town, there is a lot to do and see. We also brought everybody back for the farmers market which is held on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. We found the world’s best freshly-picked avocados and blueberries!
And of course there’s Napa. Did I mention that Vacaville is on the edge of California wine country? We didn’t do much in wine country this trip, but we did drive through Napa Valley. Our plan was to park in Napa and ride bikes to some of the wineries in the area, but we never seemed to find the time to go back. We figure that since we will be back to the area on a regular basis, we will do that another time.
Vacaville has a lot going on from May through October and we visited the downtown area for Friday night music (live bands) and the Memorial Day Fiesta Days celebration, which included an antique car show, carnival rides, and live music. There is a pretty walking path along the creek called (you guessed it) the Creek Walk.
I even got to help Gina and Shawn (son-in-law) landscape their backyard with low-maintenance plants. I used to do a lot of yard work when we lived in houses, and although I enjoy not being tied down to it, I do miss getting my hands dirty! We had fun shopping for plants, hauling in topsoil, digging holes, planting, pruning shrubs and trees, and laying sod.
One day, I drove to Pleasanton to see my sister. That is another quaint town with a great downtown area. It’s southwest of Vacaville so it’s closer to the coast. I’m sure there are hundreds of other interesting small towns all over northern California. And they are all accessible from Vacaville.
Our son, daughter-in-law, and their 3 kids as well as another daughter and grandson came to Vacaville a few days early to attend Mikkayla’s (granddaughter) high school graduation so we had some pool time, barbecues, and a fun day at the state beach in Santa Cruz (a 2-hour drive from Vacaville). It is called Natural Bridges State Park, but in reality, there is only one natural bridge left, so Boo thinks they need to change the name to Natural Bridge State Park. (We’ll keep you posted.) But it has some great beaches, both sandy and rocky with lots of tidepools.
Zoe (granddaughter) and I baked Mikkayla’s graduation cake and Boo decorated it by writing on it with frosting. Zoe put up all the other decorations for the party and it looked pretty festive. Mikkayla is our first grandchild to graduate from high school, so it was kind of a big deal. We decided to ignore the fact that it makes us seem really, really old (but then again, what doesn’t?).
I would definitely recommend visiting Vacaville. It’s a great place to start from if you want to experience all that northern California has to offer. That includes ocean beaches, mountains with snow, redwood forests, and beautiful lakes (think Tahoe). And it’s almost always sunny.
Every time I tell someone that I just visited Vacaville, California, they look at me quizzically and say, “Where?” So I say it’s a great place, just about midway between San Francisco and Sacramento in northern California.
They nod sagely. Everyone knows San Francisco and Sacramento. What Vacaville has to offer is access to both of those cities and many other cool destinations, while retaining its “small town” and family-friendly feel.