Active & unusual California

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Day 1:  Lake Tahoe for 2 nights
Pick up car in San Francisco
Drive to Lake Tahoe (count a good half-day drive).
We leave San Francisco by the Bay Bridge to find Oakland and then Richmond, on the other side of the bay. The road quickly joins Sacramento via an agricultural setting; we cross the city straddling the American River and Sacramento River, while gradually extricating ourselves from an area still urbanized around the city.
Head east, the forests and the relief of the Eldorado National Forest, the last stop before the legendary Californian lake.

Accommodation at the Lodge at Edgwwood Tahoe*****
Edgewood Tahoe Resort features a restaurant, outdoor swimming pool, a fitness centre and bar in Stateline. Among the various facilities are a private beach area and a ski pass sales point. The accommodation provides a 24-hour front desk, a shuttle service, room service and free WiFi throughout the property.
All units are equipped with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a fridge, a coffee machine, a shower, a hairdryer and a desk. At the resort every room is equipped with a wardrobe and a private bathroom.
Edgewood Tahoe Resort offers 5-star accommodation with a hot tub and terrace. Activities such as hiking, skiing, cycling can be enjoyed in the surroundings, and guests can relax along the beachfront.
The accommodation also provides a business centre and guests can check the newspapers or use the on-site ATM machine at Edgewood Tahoe Resort.

Day 2:
Day at leisure to explore South Lake Tahoe
Perched at 1867 m and surrounded by coniferous forests, Lake Tahoe is the largest altitude lake in North America. The aquatic area is bordered by a handful of small villages and is divided in two by the State of California on one side and Nevada on the other. Its particular blue color is due to the purity of the air combined with the water of the lake, and its clarity allows visibility up to 30 m deep.

 Half a day of transparent bottom kayaking on the lake
Accompanied by your guide you paddle along the eastern shore while contemplating the cliff landscape, to the beach of Cave Rock National Park. The small sandy cove is an opportunity for a swimming break.

Day 3:  Chester for 1 night
Drive into Nevada to Reno then drive northwest towards Chester on Lake Almanor gateway to Lassen Volcanic Park.

Private Hiking tour of Mill Creek Falls
Descends through the Red Fir forest to an overlook of the falls at 1.5 miles. Continue across Sulphur Creek to reach the top of the falls.

Accommodation at Bidwell House
Some guest rooms at this 1901 ranch house near Lake Almanor have wood-burning stoves, claw-foot or Jacuzzi tubs, and antique furnishings; a separate cottage with a kitchen sleeps six. Porch swings invite you to linger, as do the puzzles and games in the sunroom. The blueberry-walnut pancakes are the stars of the inn’s gourmet three-course breakfast. Two economical rooms, which tend to book up fast, share a bath.

Day 4: Redding for 1 night
Visit Lassen Volcanic National Park. An incredible concentration of fumaroles, sulfur, great plains and desert areas, at the crossroads of the natural beauties of Death Valley and Yellowstone Park.
Leaving the park and continuing north, take a detour through McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park to discover one of California’s best kept secrets: Burney Falls.
Isolated in an area that from far looks like a series of old ash cones and wide plains under an azure blue sky, this 39 m high waterfall draped in ferns seems to spring from nowhere.

Accommodation at Americana Modern Hotel***
Located in Redding, California region, Americana Modern Hotel is situated 8 km from Simpson University. Featuring a shared lounge, the 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom. Private parking can be arranged at an extra charge.
At the hotel, each room is fitted with a desk and a flat-screen TV. At Americana Modern Hotel rooms come with a seating area.
A continental breakfast is available daily at the accommodation.

Day 5:  Eureka for 1 night
Not to be missed in Redding and the surrounding area – The Turtle Bay Exploration Park and its remarkable « sundial » bridge. A futuristic masterpiece that soars above the Sacramento River, designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. At the end of its long glass walkway, a huge white tower climbs to the sky, from where hang cables. At the water’s edge, fishermen watch for trout, which are numerous here. McConnell’s Arboretum and its botanical gardens are teeming with native California species.
A few kilometers north of Redding, Shasta Lake is one of the state’s most popular recreational reservoirs – and also the largest, with 12,140 hectares. You live there on the water in fine weather, and you gain preserved coves where you can drop the anchor of your small fishing boat.

Cycling around Mount Shasta.
Bicycles are available to explore the area and to the various observation points of Mount Shasta, one of the highest mountains in California (4,322 meters), 120 km north of Redding.
At the end of the day, drive due west to reach the coast and the old mining town of Eureka.

Accommodation at Benbow Historic Inn****
Overlooking the river, Benbow Historic Inn features river, mountain and garden views in all rooms. The outdoor pool, restaurant and spa area is onsite. Free WiFi is included.
Bathrobes, free toiletries and and iPod docking station are provided in each room. A private balcony is featured in select rooms Benbow Historic Inn.
Daily maid service is provided and bicycles are offered to guests of Benbow Historic Inn.
Locally sourced cuisine is featured at the restaurant onsite. Outdoor terrace dining overlooking the gardens is offered in the warmer months.
Avenue of the Giants is 26 minutes’ drive away and showcases a scenic Redwoods. Benbow Valley RV Resort & Golf is 10 minutes’ walk away. Benbow River is 5 minutes’ walk away from Benbow Historic Inn.

Day 6: Mendocino for 1 night
A city that was born during the Gold Rush, Eureka has retained a brick architecture which gives it a special charm. The lively coastal city is divided between the old Victorian quarters with restored houses – don’t miss the Carsion Mansion, a superb Victorian mansion completed in 1886 and whose shapes remind you of a children’s story-telling mansion – and the port, where the fishing boats go and come daily. Craft breweries and art galleries have taken to the streets; there is a friendly atmosphere everywhere.
Do not miss – Redwood National Park, an hour’s drive north of Eureka, where you can observe the mythical eponymous trees.
In the afternoon, drive south to California State Route 1 – the famous Route One.

Accommodation at The Heritage House Resort & Spa*****
Just 14.5 km from the Navarro River Redwoods, this resort features a restaurant and bar on site. Guest rooms include a fireplace.
Free WiFi is provided in all guest rooms at The Heritage House Resort. A small fridge, microwave, and coffee-making facilities are also included.
A fitness centre is available for guest use. In-room massages are also available.
Point Cabrillo Light House is 15 minutes’ drive from the resort. Mendocino is 10 minutes’ drive away.

Day 7: Napa Valley for 2 nights
Perched on the side of a cliff, overlooking the steel-blue ocean, the small coastal village of Mendocino reveals colorful architecture that is uncommon in California – and all the houses are facing the sea.
This village exerts a certain power of attraction on artists, romantics and nature lovers. 
A few kilometers south of Mendocino, we leave the One road to enter inland, until we find refuge in Napa Valley.
A day to roam freely in the two wine regions of international renown, between stops in small towns with old-fashioned charm, visit to wine farms and nature or well-being activities according to your desires.
Things to see and do – Lunch or dinner at one of the region’s Michelin-starred tables – visit the home of writer Jack London at Glen Hellen, followed by a walk in the park that bears his name – a hike to Bald Mountain, north of Glen Hellen, for a superb view of the entire region – for amateurs, the visit of the Shulz Museum in Santa Rosa, the legendary creator of Snoopy, Charlie Brown and their band of Peanuts – treat yourself to a well-being break in Calistoga, the capital of spas and hot springs in the region.

Accommodation at Calistoga Ranch *****
Nestled on 157 acres in Napa Valley, Calistoga Ranch features an on-site pool and a restaurant that serves authentic regional dishes. An outdoor rain shower is featured in each guest room.
A fireplace is featured in each warmly decorated accommodation at Ranch Calistoga. Each luxurious bathroom includes spa quality toiletries. Select rooms feature an outdoor living area with a fireplace.
You can rejuvenate in the on-site fitness centre or explore the surroundings with a free bicycle hire. An array of activities can be enjoyed on site or in the surroundings including yoga and hiking.

Day 8:
Private Hot Air Balloon tour Napa Valley
Your morning will begin at the Vintner’s Golf Club in Yountville where you will be greeted with coffee, tea and an assortment of light bites. After a brief orientation, guests are driven to one of our launch sites where they are met by a bustle of activity, the hum of the inflation fans, lively colors and excitement as our hot air balloons gradually come to life.
From tree tops to magnificent panoramic views, enchantment, romance, and excitement fill every colorful moment of this graceful adventure.
After landing, we return you to Vintner’s Golf Club where you will join your pilot in celebrating your adventure with a sparkling wine toast!

Wine tasting and picnic lunch at Seghesio Family Vineyards for a taste of Italy
Established by Italian immigrants in 1895, Seghesio Family Vineyards produces fine, structured wines that honor the history of both the region and the family. With fruit sourced from over 300 acres throughout the Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys, the winery offers a remarkable collection of zinfandels and Italian varietals.
After your wine tasting, enjoy a picnic made of an antipasto platter that features house-cured salumi, local artisanal cheese, olives, tapenade, and crostini

Napa Valley scenic Dome train ride with gourmet lunch
Take the exclusive Napa Valley dining experience to new heights. Fresh California cuisine and a beautiful three-hour journey aboard an elegant vintage train in our two-story Vista Dome, an elevated observation-style dining car with luxuriously plush booths, Honduran mahogany paneling, and lush views from practically every angle.

Cooking class
You won’t just be attending a Napa Valley cooking class, you’ll be attending a culinary experience. This hands-on adventure lasts 3 to 4 hours and is filled with fun, amazing food, and delicious wine. You will cook with seasonal produce harvested straight from their farm the day of your class.

Private driver at disposal to go for a very special cave wine tasting at Del Dotto
This historic property was one of Napa Valley’s first wineries dating back to 1885, and is where the barrel tasting experience was born. Dave and Yolanda Del Dotto restored the winery in the late ‘90s to age red wines in their caves. These cave-aged wines proved to be more voluptuous and opulent than those aged in modern facilities, and as such, the family continues to age wines in these historic caves to this day.

Day 9:  Sausalito for 1 night
Return route to San Francisco.
What to see along the way – The Point Reyes peninsula, discovered by Spanish and English explorers in the 16th century who would have docked there on the feast of the Three Kings, and today a protected area for flora and fauna.
Going down to San Francisco, you can explore the legendary Muir Woods Forest in the footsteps of a private guide, as well as the lovely fishing village of Sausalito.

Accommodation at the Inn Above Tide*****
A boutique hotel, The Inn Above Tide is decorated in a soft palette with nautical nuances (such as porthole windows in many baths) to harmonize with the surrounding water.
Each room has a pair of binoculars for guest use to view the Bay and skyline of San Francisco. Serene colors, fresh orchids and gardenias, luxurious down comforters, and in-room CDs all help to create a restful compliment to the stunning view.
The building stands on new concrete and timber pilings driven to refusal in deep water. The courtyard is supported by a 100-year-old sea wall from the early development of Sausalito and was later reinforced with a new sea wall.
The Inn Above Tide is the only hotel ON the bay. Ideally located in the heart of the village, it is a short walk to Sausalito’s galleries, restaurants, and shops, and the ferry boat to San Francisco’s many attractions.

Day 10:
Drop off car in SFO airport



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