5 Counties Worth Visiting in Gold Country – Pt. 4 Calaveras County

Destination 4 in my Gold Country series is Calaveras County. Located a little further inland and north, this county has a whole lot to offer.

Downtown Angels Camp.

If you’re visiting the area for the first time, you may be wondering why there are so many frog-related items, signage, etc. in the area and more specifically in the city of Angels Camp. The love affair with frogs dates back to the publication of Mark Twain‘s 1865 short story called The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, which was based on a true story about a local gambler named Jim Smiley used to organize some frog jumping bets.  And since 1928, the county has been organizing an annual Jumping Frog Jubilee, which has now grown into an international frog jumping contest. It is the longest running and biggest county fair in the area with more than 50 000 attendees, farm exhibits, cake baking, free entertainment, rodeos, demolition derbys and of course, a frog jumping contest.

But frog jumping isn’t the only thing the county is renown for, the county is also home to 100 miles of hiking trails as well as one of the largest reservoirs in California. Outdoor recreation is one of the main draws of the area, with the presence of river rafting, cycling and equestrian trails in the area. The Calaveras Big Trees State Park is where the sequoias were found in 1853.

The Moaning Cavern Adventure Park is also a big draw in the area. The park offers not only a cavern tour but also the opportunity zip line. The cavern is California’s deepest cave chamber, it takes you sixteen stories underground via a spiral staircase. The cavern tour teaches you the history and geology of the cavern including how the massive stalagmites and flowstones formed and how people first explored the cave. Lengthier tours are also available for those seeking to climb, crawl and squeeze themselves through wilder areas of the cave.

The zip line is located just a few steps away from the cavern and offers a twin 1/4 mile zip line experience with incredible views of the local valley. It’s a great activity to do with the entire family.

One of the main towns of the county, Murphys is recognized as a culinary centre with a large offering of independent restaurants and shops. There are more than two dozen wine tasting rooms just on Main Street. Murphys is also the birthplace of local favourite Gold Country Roasters, which is THE place for coffee in the county and beyond.

All of the local shops and restaurant in Murphys have been preserved so well.

In addition to attracting the outdoor and culinary types, the towns of Murphys, Angels Camp and Arnold are also a very popular destination for the motorcycle community. Hundreds of motorcyclists cruise around the windy country roads of the county and populate the roads throughout the year.

Just some of the hundreds of motorcycles that roam through the area every week.

For more information on Calaveras County, go here.

Check back tomorrow for my final Gold Country destination – Tuolumne County.

5 Counties Worth Visiting in Gold Country – Pt. 1 Sacramento

Thinking of heading to California this summer? Why not check out beautiful Gold Country? It’s now just a quick 90-min direct flight from YVR to Sacramento, thanks to Air Canada‘s new daily non-stop flight. Gold Country is without a doubt one of the most underrated areas of California. It has so much to offer – from its incredible history, to diverse landscapes, excellent wine and culinary experiences, just to name a few.

It was such a privilege to be able to take Air Canada’s inaugural flight to Sacramento!

I recently had the opportunity to explore some of Gold Country‘s most unique counties thanks to Visit California. Today we explore the 1st of 5 counties – Sacramento!

Sacramento

Did you know that Sacramento is the California’s state capital? Located right on the American River, this culturally and historically rich city offers its 500 000 residents and tourists, a plentitude of activities for history buffs, foodies, recreation enthusiasts, coolness seekers and beer drinkers. With more than 2 dozen museums, including the California State Railroad Museum (the biggest railway museum in North America) and the the Crocker Art Museum (which boast most than 18 000 works of art and is a great place for families and events!), the city of Sacramento will not only entertain you but also educate you on some of America’s most important history.

This is part of Cyrus Tilton’s exhibit entitled “The Cycle”. He was awarded the Crocker Art Museum’s inaugural John S. Knudsen prize for his overall body of work last March but sadly passed away before his exhibit was put up in the museum.

In 2019, the city will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad. Sacramento used to be the western terminus of the Pony Express (which was a mail service delivering messages, newspapers, and mail before the telegraph was established in 1861!) and then Transcontinental Railroad. The city used to be the furthest west you could go before reaching San Francisco.

Old Scaramento allows visitors to go back in time and rediscover the 1800’s. Due to serious flooding issues resulting from its proximity to the American River, Old Sac is now approximately 9 feet higher than in the 1800s. As a visitor, you can see some of the city’s remains and really get a feel for what it was like to be in an area that was bustling thanks to the Gold Rush in the 1800s.

Sacramento is a great destination for runners and cyclists because there are tons of beautiful trails to explore. The Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail leaves Old Sacramento and takes you on 32-miles along the American River. There’s also the Folsom Lake Trail than spans 34 miles and the Sacramento Northern Bike Trail, just to name a few. The city is also renown for it’s great running races such as the the CIM (a Boston qualifier event) and the American River Parkway Half Marathon.

I loved discovering cool local neighbourhoods when I travel so was excited to find out about Midtown and Lowbrau, thanks to the Sac Brew Bike tour. One thing visitors will notice is that the city is decorated with an abundance of beautiful street art. Also, the region of Sacramento has more than 60 breweries and used to be the biggest area in the world for hops before prohibition. Thanks to organizations like the Sac Brew Bike, the area is trying to bring back the hops to the city.

The entire Gold Country is renown for it’s farm to fork type-dining, a movement that sources local and fresh produces for its local consumers and restaurants. Many of Sacramento’s restaurants follow this practice, notably Lucca former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s go-to restaurant.

All in all, a visit to Sacramento will not only fill your cup of history but also culture, good food and good times!

For more information on the new Air Canada direct flight between Vancouver and Sacramento, go here. Thanks to Visit California for setting up this trip.

Tomorrow’s destination: El Dorado County!

Finding your #Fitspiration in California

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California is without a doubt one of the most popular destinations for fitness and outdoor adventure enthusiasts. Whether it’s the ocean, the mountains or the desert, there are plenty of landscapes to explore and be active in. You can also find some of the best fitness studios in all of North America.

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On my latest Californian adventure, I was able to try out some of the area’s latest and greatest fitness activities thanks to Visit California. With a state that is so rich in fitness, the activities below were only a little taste of what you can actually do while traveling to the area.

1) Aerial Yoga – Looking to spice up your yoga classes? Why not try an aerial yoga session on a rooftop in beautiful La Jolla. Located just a few minutes from downtown San Diego, Trilogy Sanctuary offers a fun variety of yoga and aerial arts classes for all skill levels. Their holistic approach to the activity allows you to have the most enjoyable and relaxing experience while also savouring their beautiful beach city views. Added bonus, they also have a vegan café that is perfect for a post-workout treat.

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Mel Offner - April 25th 2017 - photo 4

2) Beach Spin – Indoor spin has got nothing on this one-of-a-kind beach fitness experience. The Del Coronado Hotel is the one responsible for creating this unique class on their luxurious waterfront property. Each spin bike is equipped with Beats by Dr. Dre® headphones that are loaded with high energy music. The hotel’s instructors will lead you through a 50-minute full-body workout that will make you burn 500+ calories. And if you’re lucky, you may even catch dolphins or marine life while pedalling away on your bike!

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Mel Offner - April 25th 2017 - photo 1
photo: codmorse.com

3) Kayaking Tour – The rad folks over at Everyday California, located in La Jolla, offer a wide variety of ocean-related adventures. Their 2hr kayak tour is not only a great workout but also a fun way to learn about the local history, environment and marine life. Their knowledgeable guides will take you out across the La Jolla ecological reserve for some fun in the sun. If you’re lucky, you may even get to see some local residents – the La Jolla sea lions and also kayak surf back in!

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4) WERQ – Located in Huntington Beach, Studio Fusion offers a handful of fun fitness and dance classes for all-ages. Their signature class WERQ, puts their own unique twist on dance fitness as we know it, by combining cardiovascular and strength endurance dance moves to the hottest Top 40 Pop, Rock and Hip Hop music. This class is was a ton of fun and also a great way to sweat!

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5) Surfing – Sure, it’s a well known fact that the entire state of California offers pristine surfing conditions but if you’re looking for a great school to learn with or to perfect your surfing chops, check out Toes on the Nose Adventure. They offer small group surf expeditions in Huntington Beach with some great local surf teachers. They’ll take you out just in front of their shop and teach you all the skills necessary to get up on a wave and have a great time while doing so!

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6) Beach Yoga – If you’re looking to unwind after a busy week of fitness activities, try make sure you give beach yoga a try. This is one of the most relaxing experiences you’ll ever have on the beach. Also organized by Toes on the Nose Adventure, this small group yoga session is tailored to your individual needs and skill level.

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photo: codmorse.com

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Watch the little recap video of my trip below! For more #fitspiration, go to Visit California‘s website here.