for Unconventional Women
for Unconventional Women
I’m kicking off a new series where we will visit the hometowns of all the Hummingbird authors—not all at once, but over the next year or so. And because it’s my blog, I’m going to pop the champagne cork and celebrate this series by starting with my own hometown of Winters, California.
Winters is a small town about sixty miles North-East of San Francisco. Our closest city is Sacramento and we have a university (UC Davis) about fifteen miles to our east. Winters has about 7000 people and I like to say it’s one of the only small agricultural towns left that’s within 100 miles of San Francisco. And make no mistake, we are an agricultural town. Walnuts, almonds, and stone fruits are big around here, but we are also a major producer of sunflower seeds and tomatoes. On our own property, we have 200 olive trees (and press our olives every year for oil) and about 400 young citrus trees.
One of the things I love about my town is that while we embrace change we also honor and preserve all those things that make our town unique. What might some of those be? Well, here are a few…
Fourth Fridays - starting in March, every fourth Friday of the month, Main Street is blocked off and we have a Fourth Friday celebration—restaurants cook out on the streets, local wineries and breweries have their beverages available, long tables are set up for people to sit at, local vendors come and sell their goods, and sometimes there is even music. It’s a very social night and it’s almost impossible to go without seeing a ton of people we know.
And then in August, we celebrate the earthquake that destroyed our town over a hundred years ago. Yes, you read that right, we celebrate an earthquake. This festival is actually one of the biggest ones we host and generally several thousand people come in to celebrate…it’s gotten so big that we ended up skipping it last year because, being from a small town, we’ve become unaccustomed to having to wait in lines for things like food and wine and beer. Yes, we’re spoiled.
Speaking of wine, we have two great wineries in town: Berryessa Gap and Turkovich Wines. Between the two of them they put on several wine festivals including one for Tempranillo and one for Alberino. Both wineries produce very good wines and Turkovich has a charming tasting room with outdoor seating whereas Berryessa has a great space right on Main Street with lots of local products also available. I have a special love for Berryessa Gap because it’s where my writers group meets every week…we’re treated very well and we love seeing all the other “regulars” each week.
Now back to festivals…about four years ago, we started a small tractor parade leading to the tree lighting ceremony the first weekend in December. Well, this year I missed it, but my husband said he thought it was bigger than the Earthquake festival and our city manager estimated about 4000 people came into town that night. It’s an overload of lights, tractors, cookies, Santa, and holiday cheer. Honestly, I love it just because not many people get to enjoy a tractor parade to celebrate the holidays.
But what else is there to do in Winters if there isn’t a festival going on, you might ask. Well, we have some fabulous restaurants including the famous Buckhorn Steakhouse and Putah Creek Café, which was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives—both are owned by the same family and both are very good. We also have Preserve, which hands down has the best cocktails in town (Buckhorn is close, but I’d still place my money on Preserve) to accompany their farm to fork menu. And two newcomers, The Greenriver Taproom and Yolo Traders Bistro. Of course, we also have a couple of great Mexican restaurants and fabulous tapas café: Chuy’s, El Pueblo, and Ficelle, which sells itself (rightfully so) as a “delightfully random place to eat”.
This blog wouldn’t be complete without mentioning two more places: The Palms Playhouse, which has live music shows every weekend, and Berryessa Brewing Company, a great microbrew with award winning beers. Both are family friendly venues as are most places and events in our town.
I know I’ve just barely scratched the surface and haven’t mentioned things like our summer Shakespeare festival or our brand new, community built park, but this blog would just go on and on if I wrote about every great thing about my town. So I’ll leave it at this and just say that if you are thinking of visiting California, and in particular the Napa Valley (which is our nearest big tourist destination), think about flying into Sacramento and stopping by Winters, the eastern gateway to Napa, on your way. We’d love to have you!
Like the diverse and unique ways hummingbirds migrate, you just can’t stereotype how women travel and we like it like that! Join us to read about new places, hear new perspectives, celebrate how and where we journey, and share some of your favorite adventures.