Sacramento is a cornucopia of possibilities for visitors. Outdoor options, museums, arboretums, gardens and historical sites are all within easy reach of the capital city. Not only is the city of trees simply a great place to wander about, the people are friendly and the weather in autumn is generally very nice. Get out the map and get going. Happy Thanksgiving!
Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park
1526 H St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
This mansion, built in 1877, was purchased by the State of California in 1903 for use as a home for the state’s governors. George Pardee and his family were the first residents. The mansion has been lovingly restored and is now part of the state park system. For a genteel walk through the past, this is a must see. Touch California political history with a tour through its Victorian splendor.
Nimbus Fish Hatchery
2001 Nimbus Road, Suite F
Gold River, CA 95670
The hatchery is located on the American River, just a bit downstream from Nimbus Dam. Each autumn, the legendary and powerful Chinook salmon swim up the river and work their way up the fish ladder here. The Hatchery Visitors Center is open all year. Inside you’ll find the story of the dam and the reason for the hatchery. Walk the path and feed young salmon. Each year, four million Chinook salmon and 430,000 steelhead trout are spawned here. It is quite a sight.
Boa Vista Orchards
2925 Carson Road
Placerville, CA 95667
Head to the beautiful foothills for a little autumn magic in Apple Hill. Start at Boa Vista Orchards, run by the Visman family. Enjoy hot apple cider and one of the many tasty pastries that are hand made in the shop. Pick up a map and start your tour through the back roads of Apple Hill, stopping at other orchards. Cut your own Christmas tree at one of the tree farms that dot the area. It can be a bit on the chilly side up here, so bring your autumn coats and hats and enjoy a bit of Thanksgiving magic in the great outdoors.
Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park
2701 L St.
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 445-4422445-4422 445-4422
This is where Sacramento began. John Sutter established the fort in 1839. Originally named New Helvitia, Sutter built his agricultural enterprise around the fort, establishing the first non-Indian settlement in the valley. The fort is restored and open to the public. A visit here is a trip to the very beginnings of Sacramento, surrounded by the boom-and-bust story and history of John Sutter.
705 Gold Lake Drive, Suite 320
Folsom, CA 95630
The Thanksgiving meal was bountiful, delicious and everyone had more than enough pumpkin pie for dessert. Now it’s time to get out and put some of those excess calories to work. Rent a bicycle at Bicycles Plus and head for the adjacent American River Bike Trail. Pedal your way around beautiful Lake Natoma. Take your time and enjoy the riparian habitat in this urban wild land. Noted for its beauty, this is where you can ride your way into wonderful Thanksgiving memories.
Charles Ferris is a freelance writer who has lived in the Sierra, halfway between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, for the last 37 years. In 2010 he retired from teaching after 36 years . He and his wife hike, kayak, cross country ski, snow shoe, ride mountain bikes and road bikes, year round. His work can be found at Examiner.com.