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Take a day trip to one of El Dorado Countys outdoor wonders

By July 20, 2010

Arts and entertainment columnist

El Dorado Hills is uniquely situated to give its residents the best of all worlds. LetÕs face it: Elegant, sophisticated living with great amenities É and in one of the most beautiful counties in California.

El Dorado County is where the Gold Rush got its start, after all. The communities that grew here brought cultures from all over the globe. The diversity of professions is huge too. There are ranchers, farmers, wineries, artists, gold panners, hikers, engineers, public servants, celebrities Ñ the list goes on and on.

The largest industry in California is agriculture, and this is also true of El Dorado County. There are many family-owned farms and ranches here. What is unique about our community is that there is a Farm Trails organization that allows Òcity folksÓ to experience the beauty, produce and culture of El Dorado County farm life.

Farms galore

The Farm Trails and Visitor Guide (available online at can help you to plan a wonderful day trip into ÒGodÕs Country.Ó Many of us are familiar with taking day trips to Apple Hill in the fall Ñ but did you know that you can go up there year-round? With a little planning from the Farm Trails guide, some web surfing and perhaps a phone call or two, you can plan an enjoyable day trip.

Whether you plan an organized trip or a crazy ÒletÕs just see what we find on this roadÓ adventure, you are bound to discover new favorites.

IÕm a huge fan of Hooverville Orchards, located at 1100 Wallace Road in Placerville (Ranch No. 206). I found them one year on an El Dorado County agriculture tour. Hooverville is open year Õround, and has wonderful picnic grounds. Not only was I able to purchase produce grown right at the farm, I got to enjoy a great lunch in their gardens, right next to the orchards.

When on a daytrip, the focus is on those little moments you experience along the way. My favorite moment ever at Hooverville was watching a cluster of four hummingbirds at a feeder Ñ just two feet away from me. Their iridescent feathers and elegant, calm demeanor charmed me. It was an Òeternal moment.Ó Trip to Hooverville: Part of a tank of gas. Hummingbirds at eye level: Priceless.

Whitewater adventures

Folks in Sacramento can peacefully tube down the American River. But in El Dorado County, you can still experience wild, free whitewater. Whitewater Connection organizes rafting trips that is on a private, 40-acre whitewater rafting base camp on the banks of the South Fork of the American River.

The good folks at Whitewater Connection offer whitewater rafting adventures on a daily basis during the summer. This is the kind of adventure where memories are made Ñ thereÕs nothing like the bonding that goes on aboard a raft that is going down a river Ñ really fast. Having an experienced guide is a must. Check out prices and important information by visiting their website at or calling (800) 336-7238. Special discounts are available to those who plan ahead.

Foodie features

Check the Farm Guide for unique foodie adventures, such as a trip to Mad Dog Mesa (in Coloma) for olive oil, or to enjoy an afternoon of wine tasting at David Girard Vineyards (in Placerville). If wine tasting is your gig, check out Fair Play, which is fast becoming one of the most talked about wine regions. The soil in Fair Play is unique, and the wines that come from there are distinctive. If there is one thing I especially enjoy about taking a jaunt through El Dorado County wine country, it is that I am likely to talk about wine with the winemaker. Try that in Napa County nowadays.

There are numerous day trips to be had in our beautiful El Dorado County. You are only limited by your imagination. Contact the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce VisitorÕs Authority at or call (800) 457-6279 to plan your next adventure. You know you want to.

Share your Arts and Entertainment event with Susan at [email protected]

Susan Laird

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