The next chance you get to spend a day or two exploring a nearby hot spot, take the 40 minute drive east to the Mother Lode town of Jackson.
What began as a gold mining camp in 1848 has retained its old fashioned ambience with all the comfort of new world amenities.
This picturesque burb boasts beautiful Victorian architecture, oak-covered countryside and old gold mining sites, alongside first-rate restaurants, hotels, movie theaters and a large gaming facility.
You can spend a whole day poking around in the shops on Historic Main Street and find items not to be found anywhere else. With numerous antiques shops, gift and clothing shops, slow down and take it all in. Much can be found in this charming old-world setting.
When hunger strikes, grab a bite at Fat Freddy's, Agave Mexican Dining or the Mother Lode Deli. If you need a sugary pick-me-up, Train Depot Sweet Shop for some home made fudge.
If cooking is your passion, don't miss the enormous selection of kitchenware at the Home and Farm Biggest Little Kitchen Store. This award-winning emporium carries everything you need to create a gourmet meal, cook over an open fire, preserve your fresh produce, and the spices to keep it all fresh. In fact, you could probably spend an entire day in this one store.
Downtown Jackson also hosts a "Girls Night Out" the first Thursday of each month. Stores stay open and offer specials, refreshments, and giveaways for you and your gal pals. And if you're a music fan, every other Wednesday from noon to 3 p.m., jam with the folks at 35 Main Street. All are welcome.
If you're feeling like something a bit more historical and educational, add a tour of the Kennedy Mine to your itinerary. This mine, known as one of the deepest gold mines in the world, can also be seen from Highway 88 because of its tall head frame. Tours are available on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, March through October. Learn more on their web site www.kennedygoldmine.com.
Dining Out and About
You can't visit Jackson without at least one trip to Mel and Faye's Diner, located on Highway 88. This long-time diner serves up good diner fare as well as an enormous variety of milk shakes. Try the peanut butter. Jose's on Highway 49 serves up some authentic Mexican food to accompany your delicious Margarita. Out on Jackson Gate Road, you'll find a couple of the more popular eateries known mostly the the locals: The Bonanza Steakhouse and Teresa's Place. The Bonanza is the consummate steak house with big steaks, prime rib, potatoes, substantial salads and an equally substantial bar. Teresa's has an Italian flair with a homey atmosphere that feels like Grandma's house. There are also the quick choices of Denny's or Taco Bell. You won't go hungry.
Many people know of Jackson simply because of this gaming and entertainment destination. Offering much more than a casino experience, you can dine at Raging River Restaurant; Grab a burger at Uncle Bud's; or get your pizza fix at the Italian Deli. For a late night pick-me-up, check out Coffee Cafe.
Entertainment is also on the menu at the Rancheria. A series of parties kicks off and will continue throughout the summer in their new outdoor event area. In the line-up so far are Blues Parties, Jazz Parties and the Global Knockout Martial Arts event. Check their web site for upcoming entertainment.
With Jackson Rancheria only a short drive up Hwy. 88, Lodi residents have great entertainment, food and first class lodging, including an RV park, all in one location. According to Rich Hoffman, CEO of Jackson Rancheria "Lodi and Stockton are the heart of our market, and the key to our success. We are constantly looking at new ways to let guests from these areas know how important they are to us."
Accommodations to be found in the area ranges from bed and breakfasts along Highways 49 and 88 as well as Jackson Gatehouse Road. The Gatehouse Inn is one example: A stunning historic mansion set upon beautifully landscaped lawns and gardens in the countryside. Check out their website for more information. You'll also find the Best Western, Marriott and Holiday Inn close by.
If you're planning a day trip or weekend getaway to Jackson, you may want to consider one of the many events to plan around: Car lovers will enjoy the Mother Lode Car Show in downtown Jackson on May 21; Jazzin' in — Wine, Art and Music in Downtown Jackson on June 25; 4th of July Celebration put on by Jackson Lion's Club; Halloween Parade, Veteran's Day Parade; Christmas Celebrations — something for everyone, all year long. Finally in March, 2012, don't miss Dandelion Days, a two day street celebration and flea market that draws vendors and visitors from near and far . . . not to be missed.
Yes. The next chance you have to take a trip, remember Jackson ... you'll probably go back more than once.