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Posted: Friday, March 20, 2009 10:00 pm

From Delta to Gold Country: Experience spring

Daffodil Hill and Amador Flower Farm

Each spring, from mid-March through mid-April, Daffodil Hill explodes with thousands of blooms, attracting visitors from around the world.

Among the most well-known of Amador County's many attractions, Daffodil Hill is a 4-acre farm owned by the McLaughlin family since 1887.

The farm began as a 36-acre ranch and toll road for travelers and teamsters hauling timber. In the 1930's, the first visitors stopped to admire the family's garden. Responding to public interest, the family began expanding the flower bed.

Today, much of the landscape around the old homestead is covered with more than 300 named varieties of daffodils. For the last 20 years, the McLaughlins have continued to plant up to 6,000 new bulbs each year. According to the Amador County Chamber of Commerce, It is estimated that today, Daffodil Hill is carpeted with over 300,000 bulbs.

Daffodil Hill is in a beautiful alpine setting at an elevation of over 3,000 feet. With pine trees, an old barn, wagon wheels and rusting mining equipment and farming tools, it appeals to anyone with a love of nature. Flowers are everywhere, with pea-fowl, chickens, pigeons and lambs making themselves at home.

The best time to visit Daffodil Hill is the spring, usually from the end of March through the first three weeks of April. It is open only at this time of year, after that it goes back to a working ranch.

Daffodil Hill is open Monday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. However, in some years, inclement weather closes the farm. Admission and parking are free. Call 296-7048 for information.

Sleepy Delta towns infused with spring

From Locke to Walnut Grove and Isleton, the Delta's small river towns offer the perfect environment for enjoying a picturesque spring day. In Locke, explore the historic Main Street. But afterward, venture down one of the narrow alleyways, where you will find overgrown community gardens decorated with art pieces and weathered lawn furniture. It's great for exploring. Walk even deeper, past an open field and you will find a slough and walkway that goes for miles. The walkway, a levee, is mostly covered with green grass and pebbles and provides an amazing view of farmlands, forests and birds floating on the river.

Down the road from Locke is Walnut Grove, where you can visit a few gift shops filled with local art and merchandise and enjoy lunch outside. In Isleton, enjoy lunch at an old-time restaurant and check out the latest exhibit at the Summerwind Gallery.

Finding perfect weather, Gold Rush history in Murphys

Nestled between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite, Murphys is a great place to enjoy the perfect weather, blue skies and colorful fields that come with spring. Rich in Gold Rush history, Murphys is a known as a vibrant, thriving community with art galleries, live theater, eclectic shops and fine restaurants.


(Courtesy photo)

Quiz: How well do you know spring?

This season, what are college sports fans getting excited about and do you know how long this beautiful season will last?

1. Which playoff series do college sports fans get excited about in spring? a. NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship b. NCAA Women's Division I Water Polo Tournament c. NCAA Men's Division I Fantasy Football Super Bowl

2. What is the name of the Pagan goddess of spring and renewal? a. Oestar b. Hecate c. Orosius

3. When is the last day of spring? a. July 4 b. May 5 c. June 20

4. Which colorful northern Indian Hindu festival celebrates the arrival of Spring? a. Holi b. Ganesh Chaturathi c. Dussehra

5. Which of these events marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere? a. Groundhog day b. Vernal equinox c. Easter Sunday

6. What was once a popular May Day gift in the 20th century? a. Doing a neighbor's housework after they leave home for the day. b. Leaving a basket of flowers anonymously on a neighbor's doorstep. c. A prayer of good fortune and renewal.

Answers: 1) a. 2) a. 3) c. 4) a. 5) b. 6) b.

Source: News-Sentinel staff, http://www.encarta.msn.com">http://www.encarta.msn.com.

Where are you college students sneaking off to this spring break?

The top party spring break destinations that don't hold back when it comes to boozin' it up, wet T-shirt contests and all-night shenanigans.


Thousands of U.S. students come to Cancun to enjoy spring break in the warm resort town. (Courtesy photo)

1. Cancun, Mexico

2. Acapulco, Mexico

3. Ibiza, Balearic Islands

4. Key West, Fla.

5. Myrtle Beach, Fla.

6. South Padre Island, Texas

7. Panama City Beach, Fla.

8. Nassau, New Providence Island

9. South Beach, Miami Beach, Fla.

10. Jamaica, Caribbean

Source: http://www.tripadvisor.com">http://www.tripadvisor.com.

Mark your calendars

Art Festival. Local football. Wine Shows. Oh my!

Lodi's favorite springtime events will keep you entertained

49th Spring Art Show

Over 250 local and regional fine artists and photographers will show their works at the 49th Spring Art Show at Woodbridge Winery. Art includes oil, acrylics, watercolors, graphic art, colored pencil, charcoal, etchings, monoprints, pastels, mixed media and 3-D works. In addition to viewing unique, locally made pieces, the free show will include wine tasting, music, refreshments and a raffle.

All pre-juried art work will be for sale. Art by scholarship winners and scholarship candidates, who are high school seniors from the Lodi School District, will also be displayed. The award show and raffle will be at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

When: Today and Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m. Raffle and awards show is at 4 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Woodbridge Winery, 5950 E. Woodbridge Road in Acampo.

Information: 333-3855.

Spring Wine Show

At the 29th Lodi Spring Wine Show, you can taste wine from over 50 wineries. More than 3,000 people attend the event that also features hors d'oevres, music, wine-related vendors and beer tasting from local and national breweries.

Admission is $25 in advance and $30 at the door each day of the show.

When: March 27 and 28

Where: Lodi Grape Festival and Harvest Fair, 413 E. Lockeford St.

Information: 369-2771, http://www.grapefestival.com">http://www.grapefestival.com.

Watch semi-pro football in Lodi

Lodi and the Grape Bowl are now home to the Central Valley Rams of the California Football League. The Rams, formerly of Stockton, have already begun the 10-game season. The Rams have games scheduled through May 16. Season passes are $20, children under 5 are free.

When: Through May 16.

Where: Various locations.

Information: http://www.grapefestival.com">http://www.grapefestival.com.

School Street Stroll

At School Street Stroll in April, guests get a wine glass and walk from one Downtown Lodi store to the next, where 25 local wineries await to pour wine. Merchants serve hors d'oeuvres and offer special sales during this event. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 the day of the event.

When: April 17 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Where: Downtown Lodi.

Information: 367-7840, ext. 100.

Lodi Street Faire

One of Lodi's most popular springtime events is the Lodi Street Faire, which takes place in Downtown Lodi the first Sunday of each May and the first Sunday in October. About 700 vendors selling antiques, home goods, crafts and food line the streets from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.

When: Sunday, May 3.

Where: Downtown Lodi.

Information: 333-5511, http://www.lodiarts.org">http://www.lodiarts.org.

Lodi Zinfest

Head to Lodi Lake May 15 through May 17 for the 5th Lodi Zinfest, the wine festival that celebrates local wines and food.

Zinfest Vintner's Grille is a casual evening of fine wines under the stars at Lodi Lake. Saturday is the main event and the weekend will wrap up Sunday with Winery Open Houses throughout the region.

When: May 15 through May 17.

Where: Lodi Lake Park, 1101 W. Turner Road.

Information: 367-4727, http://www.zinfest.com">http://www.zinfest.com.

Avenue of the Vines Half Marathon and 5K

If you'd prefer to run rather than attend Zinfest, you can participate in the annual Kaiser Permanente Avenue of the Vines Half Marathon and 5K run that starts at Woodbridge Winery on May 17. Last year's event drew over 1,300 participants, with $20,000 in proceeds being donated to the Lodi Boys and Girl's Club and the American Heart Association. This year's event begins with an earlier start time of 7 a.m. for the half marathon and 7:15 a.m. for the 5k.

When: May 17

Where: Woodbridge Winery, 2545 W. Turner Road.

Information: 952-1446, http://www.fleetfeetstockton.com">http://www.fleetfeetstockton.com.

Springtime on the Farm

Gather the kids and head out to Micke Grove Park on May 17 for a day of history and crafts. Children and adults can take a wagon ride and enjoy many crafts, including the art of medal work. Regular admission to the museum applies.

When: May 17

Where: Micke Grove Park, 11793 Micke Grove Road.

Information: 331-2055

Art on the Square

Local artists set up booths on the lawn of Hutchins Street Square. It's a great place to meet locals, listen to music and let the kids work on crafts.

When: June 26 through June 28.

Where: Hutchins Street Square, 125 S. Hutchins St.

Information: 333-5511, http://www.lodiarts.org">http://www.lodiarts.org.

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