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10 ways to celebrate spring in Lodi and beyond

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Posted: Friday, March 25, 2011 8:50 am

1. Pack a basket of wine and real dishware

As spring offers some dry, warm weekends before summer comes in all of its heated glory, there’s no better season to spread out a blanket and share a basket of deliciousness with your favorite person.

You can do a simple picnic and order your favorite deli salads and sandwiches, or you can get creative. Prepare ahead of time by making portable Sangria, mini apple pies or something simple like a cheese and baguette appetizer. 

Create a nice ambiance with real plates and silverware and a bottle of wine. 

Lodi Lake is great local spot for a picnic. If you are up for a drive to the foothills, New Hogan Reservoir has numerous picnic areas.

2. Lay in a field of daffodils on Daffodil Hill

Daffodil Hill explodes with thousands of blooms from mid-March through mid-April. A 4-acre farm owned by the McLaughlin family since 1887, Daffodil Hill is blanketed with more than 300 varieties of daffodils. The family plants up to 6,000 new bulbs each year, leaving about 30,000 bulbs to sprout each March and April.

What you need to know:

Daffodil Hill is located in Amador County. Take Highway 88 Volcano and follow the signs to Daffodil Hill. Turn north on Pine Grove-Volcano Road. Follow that road until it turns into Rams Horn Grade, which will lead you to Daffodil Hill.

Dogs are not allowed.

Information: visit tinyurl.com/4g88gf9 or call 296-7048.

3. Paddle where the turtles roam

Lodi is in the perfect location if you’re interested in learning how to kayak recreationally. With Lodi Lake and the Mokelumne River so accessible, there are plenty of opportunities to get out and paddle when the river is safer later in springtime.

Paddleboats and kayaks are available for rent from the Lodi Lake Boathouse. Guided trips, as well as kayak and standup paddleboard rentals, are also offered at The Headwaters Kayak Shop (847 N. Cluff Ave, Suite B-2).

If you discover a love for kayaking or just want to know more, consider joining the Lodi Paddle Club. The group paddles on the Mokelumne River and takes regular Moonlight Paddles. For more information, visit www.headwaterskayak.com

4. Dine al fresco in Lodi

Take advantage of longer days and mild evenings by going outside and enjoying fresh air and food in Lodi. Whether you want a quick lunch or nice dinner, there is always a place to enjoy your meal with a view.

Some places to dine al fresco in Lodi:

Wine & Roses, 2505 W. Turner Road.

Rosewood, 28 S. School St.

Pietro’s, 317 E. Kettleman Lane.

Lodi Beer Co., 105 S. School St.

La Fuente, 114 W. Pine St.

Bon Appetit, 1012 W. Lodi Ave.

Artist Palate Cafe, 1110 W. Kettleman Lane.

Angelos, 28 N. School St.

Avenue Grill, 506 W. Lodi Ave.

Fioris, 400 W. Lodi Ave.

Chalkboard Cafe, 322 N. California St.

Dancing Fox, 203 S. School St.

Saigon Grill, 5 W. Elm St.

5. Grab your easel and ‘Paint the Town’

Dig out your easel and paint and head to the Delta for “Paint the Town” on the first Saturday of every month (except June). Artists of all skill levels gather to paint the historical Chinese town of Locke with its famous wandering cats, tilting buildings and rickety charm. Go in the springtime to see morning dew droplets on leaves in the gardens, laundry hanging from second story balconies and people wandering in and out of the unique storefronts. 

Organized by Martha Esch, “Paint the Town” is the first Saturday of each month, from 9 a.m. to noon with a “sandwich critique” at 11:30 a.m. For information, call Esch at 916-776-1000.

6. Hit the Delta via houseboat

For a relaxing vacation close to home, consider renting a houseboat on the Delta. You can anchor and relax or cruise the waterways at your own speed. Seven Crown Resorts at Paradise Point (at the end of Eight Mile Road in Stockton) has year-round rentals with value rates starting at around $1,200. For details, call the marina at 952-1000.

7. Get adventurous, mix up veggies and fruits

• Add strawberries to your spinach salad.

• Slice apples and chicken for a tasty salad.

• Combine mango, jicama and cucumber for a fresh salad.

•  Top favorite fruits with a simple honey-lime dressing (juice from one lime and about 1⁄3 cup honey).

8. Spend a day at the Asparagus Festival

When else can you eat asparagus ice cream, sip an asparagus margarita and see a skateboarding dog in one day? One of the valley’s biggest springtime events, the Asparagus Festival, is taking over downtown Stockton on April 15-17 and offering a lineup of live music, entertainment and asparagus eats. 

Smash Mouth will perform Saturday night, and other bands like Pride and Joy and Little Texas will hit the stage throughout the weekend.

What you need to know:

Dates: April 15-17

Times: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Where: Downtown Stockton.

Tickets: $12 regular admission, $7 students, teens, seniors. Children under 12 are free with paying adults.

Information: www.asparagusfest.com.

9. Hike through Mt. Diablo’s wildflowers

This spring, hit the trails of Mt. Diablo, where wildflowers transform the mountain terrain into a landscape painting of color. Mt. Diablo, in the San Francisco Bay Area, has an extensive trail system and distinctive rock formations. If you are a little more adventurous, bike ride to its 3, 849 foot summit or explore remote trails on horseback.

What you need to know

• Dogs are not allowed on trails, but can stay in campsites.

• Gates open at 8 a.m. and close at Sunset.

• For information, call 925-838-2525.

10. Bike the American River trail

The American River Bike Trail connects Folsom Lake and Old Sacramento and is a perfect backdrop for any level of bike excursion.

The trail is roughly 33 miles long and set away from major metropolitan areas, providing a peaceful and beautiful getaway.

Portions of the trail offer access to restrooms and water fountains. There are even mile markers so you can keep track of your progress.

Stop at William Pond Park and keep an eye open for jack rabbit and deer sightings.

Contact Lodi Living editor Lauren Nelson at laurenn@lodinews.com.

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