Wine tasting. Luxurious day spa treatments. Fine dining and wood-oven bakeries. Rolling hills covered in grape vines. No, this isn’t Napa – it’s the city of Lodi, which boasts many of the pleasures of Napa with less crowds, less distance to travel, and a more reasonable price tag.
Drive 40 minutes to the South of Sacramento and you will arrive in Lodi, a place famous for wineries (about 35, to be exact), and for being the original home of the A&W Root Beer and restaurant chain. Over the years, Lodi has acquired a Mediterranean ambiance of sophistication and indulgence. Today, whatever your method of relaxation, Lodi has a way of helping visitors forget the stresses of life and enjoy themselves.
If you’re planning on staying for the day, get an early start at Wine & Roses (2505 W Turner Rd), a popular combination hotel/day spa/restaurant. For breakfast at the restaurant, the chef serves up Delta Blueberry Pancakes with local honey and House-Smoked Scottish Salmon. Afterwards, walk through the immaculately groomed gardens to the Day Spa and slip into a white robe before your spa treatment. Arrive early and while waiting, meditate or read in the Tranquility Room, or choose from the sauna or hot and cold soaking pools. The spa offers a host of indulgent treatments including body wraps, facials, pedicures, and pre-natal massage treatments. For out-of-town guests or locals looked for a great “staycation”, Wine & Roses also offers hotel accommodations and romantic special packages (see website for details at http://www.winerose.com).
If the prospect of free artisan bread and wine interests you, visit the Dancing Fox Winery and Bakery (203 S. School St). You will be treated to complimentary tasting of five local wines and wood-fired bread of the day from the bakery. Stay for lunch at their delightful restaurant, featuring wood-fired pizza and sandwiches made on freshly baked bread, or try their special Sunday brunch.
Finish your trip with dinner at Pietro’s Italian Restaurant (317 E Kettleman Ln), a long-standing family-owned Italian restaurant where the homemade bread and sausage-laden meat sauce reign supreme amongst local eateries. Serving up hearty Italian fare since 1957, Pietro’s has recently begun offering patrons the chance to chat with winery owners over samples of their latest wine. Starting May 11th, Pietro’s has begun “spotlighting” individual local Lodi wineries on the first Wednesday of each month from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.
In September, the annually-held Grape Festival offers a carnival-like atmosphere with rides for children, live music at several different stages, and of course plenty of vintner vendors. This is one getaway destination that truly has something for everyone.