Lets Get Away From It All
By Antoinette May
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways—or at least five of them. Is anything more romantic than a get away? I don’t think so! Let it snow, rain or blow, what difference does it make when the vibes are warm, intimate and relaxed. Happily—with Valentine’s Day fast approaching—an enticing smorgasbord of choices lay within easy driving distance.
At Columbia’s City Hotel, cold weather is actually an incentive. The delightful inn with its three-star dining room has a tempting midweek offer—your room rate is the low temperature the day you arrive. Built in 1856 and restored in 1975 by a combined effort of the state of Caliornia and Columbia College, the City Hotel is an on-the-job training center for hospitality management students. The enterprise gives a whole new spin to the term “attitude.” The Kensington Park Hotel
In San Francisco, it can’t get much better than the Kensington Park, yards away from Union Square. You can walk to the theater, shops or galleries. Then return to this spiffed up1920s hostelry carrying on in traditional British style, and enjoy tea and sherry City’s staff really wants to please.
Besides being catered to, guests enjoy warm, cozy rooms filled with antiques and arguably the Gold Country’s finest restaurant.
California’s best-preserved town, located below the snow and above the fog, Columbia guests can take stagecoach rides, pan for gold and go antiquing in quaintly restored shops. On weekends, Columbia is a theater town. Upcoming offerings are ______ Looking for thrills and chills? Check out the murder mystery weekends and ghost walks.around the grand piano. The somewhat Gothic lobby—the hotel was originally a very posh Elks Club—is shared with the neighboring Post Street Theater. You needn’t leave the building for first-class entertainment. There’s an on-site restaurant as well—the utra-romantic Farallon.
Guest rooms, which start on the fifth floor, have lovely views of Nob Hill. They’re large and handsomely furnished with polished mahogany subtly accented in soft blackberry and muted green and feature marble and brass bathrooms. If you want the full treatment, book one of the “Royal” suites, which contain canopy beds, fireplaces, a Jacuzzi and wet bar.
Did the Foxes Inn get its name from being . . . foxy? Sutter Creek’s stunning gem of Victoriana certainly qualifies. The Foxes is the last word in B&Bs, full of wit, dazzle and surprise. A gorgeous, many-faceted chandelier over a claw-footed tub is an example. Actually, a canny pair of two-legged foxes—Min and Pete Fox—saw potential in a run-down building and transformed it into a showplace about twelve years ago.
Present owners, Bob Van Alstine and Jim Travnikar, carry on the tradition. Gourmet Magazine named The Foxes “the most elegant Gold Country Inn,” and America’s Best Online has designated it as not only the finest in the state but one of the ten best in the country in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006.
A wealthy miner’s manse during the 1850s Gold Rush days, the residence has been restored to its former glory. Each spacious room is a sumptuous retreat to share with someone special. Accommodations include a bountiful breakfast served on a silver tray to each room or, by reservation, in the lush gardens. Guests select a breakfast time and their menu from variety of tempting choices.
Should you care to stray from this oasis, is the Gold Country’s charm central, a Carmel-in-training. The town boasts several delightful restaurants—Susan’s Place is a favorite—but the Sutter Creek Theatre—is its singular distinction.
The theatre opened March 5, 1920 featuring D.W. Griffith’s Heart of the World, starring Lillian Gish. Every seat is a good one, unequaled anywhere in the Sierras. Something—live theater, concerts or vintage films—is always going on there.
Monterey is different from any other city in California. It’s a surprisingly “foreign” place where one can savor mystery and mystique without having to struggle with exchange rates or whip out phrase books. Internationally recognized for its stunning seascape, Monterey also contains a treasure trove of historic architecture dating back to early California.
The century-old Monterey Hotel, with its opulent façade, is an enchanting example. The hotel has been restored to its original Victorian splendor with hand-carved furnishings, polished wood floors and leaded glass chandeliers.
If you can tear yourself away from all that, you’ll appreciate the hotel’s convenient downtown location—along
the Path of History, studded with adobesdating from the 1790s when Monterey was capital of the Spanish territory of California. Among the golden oldies is the Stokes Adobe, a world-class restaurant not to be missed, housed in a grand old adobe dating to the1840s.
The Delta King
The Delta King is a real riverboat thatonce plied the waters between San Francisco and Sacramento. During the 1920s and’30s—the height of Prohibition—passengers enjoyed liquor, jazz and gambling. Today the mighty King no longer cruises but still floats and remains a lively place to spend the night.
Rooms are all inviting, but for something really special, consider booking the Captain’s Qurarters, a super suite in the boat’s bow, once the wheelhouse. The Pilothouse Restaurant has good food and pretty waterfront views. An added pluse for this getaway is the Delta King Theatre. This critically acclaimed group performs six new shows a year in an intimate 115-seat theater in the ship’s bottom deck.
Back on shore, you’re right in the middle of Old Sacramento, a National Landmark, with 53 historic buildings that include eight museums.
Take your mittens, your muffler and your boots to the Dorrington Hotel in the Sierra foothills. It’s one of those Baby, It’s Cold Outside kind of places, a snug haven from which to sortie out to build snowmen, throw snowballs or visit Big Trees National Park, a true winter wonderland, less than a mile away.
And, like the song, when the weather outside is frightful, the inside is so delightful. Built in 1852, the hotel was once a stagecoach stop. It’s been well restored with homemade quilts, brass beds and authentic antiques. An added attraction is the hotel’s excellent Northern Italian style restaurant where you can meet and mingle with the locals. Perhaps cold, frosty nights even add to the pleasure of wintertime ding—at least they do at this very unique dining spot.
For infor: City Hotel: 22768 Main St., Columbia, 1-800 532-1427; Kensington Park Hotel: 450 Post St., San Francisco,1 800 553-1900; The Foxes, 77 Main St., Sutter Creek, 1-800 987-3344; Monterey Hotel: 406 Alvarado St., Monterey, 1-800 727-0960; Delta King: 1000 Front St., Old Sacramento, 1-800 825-5464; Dorrington Hotel: 3431 Hwy. 4, Dorrington, (209) 995-5800.