Get off Interstate 5 and discover the rural beauty of Capay Valley.
Traversing fields and orchards awash in pale blossoms, California's Highway 16 winds 50 miles through bucolic Capay Valley from Interstate 5 before it crosses into Colusa County and meets Highway 20 for a detour to hot springs. Visit in February to catch the Almond Festival in Esparto (530-787-3242, espartoregionalchamber.com). Area code is 530.
- WOODLAND Explore the nicely preserved downtown, then settle in at Tazzina Bistro for a brunch of bananas Foster French toast or eggs Benedict with Kurobuta ham. 661-1700, tazzinabistro.com.
- CAPAY Grab a picnic to go at the rustic Road Trip Bar & Grill. If you skipped brunch, enjoy a turkey burger or ribs with root beer barbecue sauce. 796-3777, roadtripbg.com.
- TABER RANCH The gardens and restored barn at this 1865 ranch are booked for events all summer, but in early spring managers Jean and Kim Chevalier happily offer tastes of their fine Arbequina olive oil. By appointment. 908-2359, taberranch.com.
- CAPAY VALLEY VINEYARDS Call ahead for a tasting break in Brooks. By appointment, noon to 5 p.m. 796-4110, capayvalleyvineyards.com.
- CACHE CREEK CANYON REGIONAL PARK Don't skip three jewel-like park sites on rushing Cache Creek (406-4880, yolocounty.org/index.aspx?page=379). Find hiking trails on Rayhouse Road (yolohiker.org).
- WILBUR HOT SPRINGS This artfully revamped resort tucked among wildflower-dotted hills offers soothing soaks in sulfurous waters. Call for reservations. 473-2306, wilburhotsprings.com.
Illustration by Michael Klein
This article was first published in March 2009. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.