WINTERS CITRUS VACATION RANCH RENTAL
Tired of the cold SF fog day after day after day? Or do you need a mid winter break from the frigid climes of the far north or east?
We've got just what the doctor ordered. A vacation at our sun drenched 23 acre citrus ranch complete with Spanish rancho home, extensive exotic plant botanical garden, and full size baseball field of dreams set in the gorgeous Lake Berryessa Foothills just outside the charming town of Winters and only 20 miles east of the world famous Napa Valley Viticultural Region. This is our nursery's inland hot growing ground located just 55 miles north east of Downtown San Francisco, and just a little over an hour away by car.
We grow many of our nursery palms here as well as operate our Alta Crest Fruit Company commercial Citrus Ranch with 110 Navel orange trees, 30 Tangelo Honey Bell trees, 40 Valencia orange trees, various grapefruit, lemon and lime and a young crop of various type avocado trees. Because of its unique and blessed magical microclimate set on the backside rainshadow of the Napa Mountains, the climate is warm and dry Spring through Fall when SF is packed with refrigerator fog while winter, in Winters, is milder than most all climates anywhere near the bay.
The cutest downtown anywhere- Winters, CA The historic Train Trestle Bridge over Putah Creek
The Winters area is blessed with countless attractions. The challenge is not what to do, bat rather what not to do. There is so much fun to be had within this magical corner of the planet that you'll likely want to return several times over just to sample all that the area has to offer. Below are just some of the very cool happenings around The Gragg Citrus Ranch.
Just a quick 10 minute 7 mile country drive from the Ranch is the Crags Trail. You'll need to float or swim across the creek and hike some serious vertical but the payoff is huge with astounding views of gorgeous rock formations and the valley below. While Stebbins Cold Canyon trail can get crowded, The Crags is a secret and you'll probably won't see a soul, except maybe for a bald eagle or two. Click on the link below for more info and a printable trail map
Lake Berryessa is Huge being California's sixth largest lake. It is 15 miles long, 3 miles wide, and has 165 miles of shoreline to discover. Many scenic islands and countless tranquil coves await. Click on the link below for a comprehensive flatware paddling guide for Lake Berryessa including launch points and a high resolution printable paddling map.
Our Ranch lies on the very edge of what will likely be our country's next national monument. On April 6, 2015, Joint Resolution sponsored by Assemblyman Bill Dodd and Senator Lois Wolk passed in the State Senate and is on its way to President Obama. The resolution supports permanent protection of the Berryessa Snow Mountain region and requests that President Obama use his authority to designate the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument.
Winters offers huge opportunities to cycle on gorgeous wide open country roads. popular routes are Pleasants Valley Road, the ride to Davis, and the ride up past the dam with swimming holes along the way. Veto's Bike shop downtown is top notch and they even sponsor an annual "Winters Road Race" every August. Click the link below for cycling info for Winters including fat tire.
Located right downtown, The Rootstock features local wine and olive oil tasting, a gift shop and even live music on Friday nights from 6-8. A perfect place to grab a small treasure gift to bring to a friend back home.
This is where you go for killer take out mexican food. They even have lots of pre-prepared meat such as fajitas, carnitas, etc you can buy, take home and throw on the barbecue yourself. A limited amount of produce is for sale, but everything you need. Nice salsa and chips bar. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. Click the link below for their Yelp page with lots of pics of their food.
3 miles by car from The Ranch you can hone your rock climbing skills on some 25' high multiple skill level route black massive basalt borders. And when you get all hot and sweaty you can plunge into Putah Creek as these boulders are right at our favorite secret swimming hole. We'll tell you where it is if you rent the place, but only under oath you won't spread the word.
Just across the street from and sister restaurant to the Buckhorn, both being owned by John and Melanie Pickerel, it's hard say which is better because they are so completely different. But one thing I do know is the burgers are to die for. I consider the cafe's BCO burger the best I have ever had and that is saying a lot as I am a big burger guy with a very long and distinguished burger eating career under my belt. (Thankfully, it only shows a little) Click the link below for their website.
A half hour from The Ranch is Cache Creek Casino's Premier Golf Course, Yocha Dehe. Set in the picturesque Capay Valley, it is absolutely gorgeous and offers pristine playing conditions and more than 7,300 yards of championship golf. Reserve a tee time on their website by clicking the link below.
Thank Goodness!!!! A frozen yogurt shop finally opened downtown. And it is good. A family favorite after ANY meal downtown, The Scoop is set up as self serve with tons of yummy toppings. Click the link below to check out their Facebook page for flavor updates.
OK all you caffeine junky's and roasted bean aroma lovers, this is where you go to get your morning fix. Of course Steady Eddy's has lots more than just frappes and lates, they serve beer, wine, juice, breakfast items, sandwiches panini and more. And if you think you've got some rock star in you, then you can test your vocals and/or instrumentals at open mic night. Click on the link to their website below for a full menu and open mic night dates.
After 80% of the water from Putah Creek is diverted to farmland at Lake Solano Dam, the remainder takes a lazy winding journey across the Valley Flats to UC Davis where it forms the backbone of the Botanical Garden with picturesque pathways and romantic bridges spanning over the water you may have swam in the day before many miles upstream. I love the first sentence on their website: "The Arboretum gardens are open 24 hours a day, every day of the year, and there is no charge for admission."
The Preserve is the coolest bar setting in town with its country past meets modern chic style mojo. It features lite food and delicious gourmet sandwiches, lounge seating, shuffle board table, and outdoor dining. Hit this place up mid day to chill or after you wolf down a massive steak at the Buckhorn. Click the link below for their website and menu.
My favorite menu item at The Buckhorn is "The Tomahawk Ribeye" because not only are no utensils required having an ample bone handle of its own to grab, but it can also be used as a weapon against anyone trying to steal away a bite of your food. This place has the best steaks and red meat ever. The hamburger is colossal, and the mud pie is to die for. Make reservations as they get packed often and early.
Have a cold craft beer under the warm Winters sun at the Berryessa Brewery located just a 10 minute walk from The Ranch right down on 128 next to the walnut orchard. They feature a huge list of beers they brew on site, outdoor picnic tables, bocce ball, rotating gourmet food trucks, live music and oversized Jenga blocks. They are open noon into the evening Friday through Sunday. Before you leave, make sure to buy a 48 ounce "Growler" to take home. Click the link below for their website:
Visit the Historic Southern Pacific Railroad Bridge in downtown Winters. The bridge was built in 1906 and across it was sent billions of pounds of fruits and nuts to the hungry nation. It was abandoned as a rail line in 1976 then was later converted into a pedestrian and bicycle bridge. Gorgeous views of the creek can be had from the bridge and a nice swimming beach lies below it
Right in downtown Winters is a hidden away secret concert venue that attracts big names in an intimate setting. The Palms Playhouse has amazing acoustics and is a wonderful way to spend an evening. To check out their current lineup, click the link below.
Ski Boats and Jet skis can be rented at Lake Berryessa's Pleasure Cove just a 15 minute drive up 128 from The Ranch. Look for various turnouts along the way with paths that lead down lakeside to isolated swimming spots along the shore. Click the link below for boat and jet ski rental info.
Try your luck at the slots, watch a concert or laugh at a comedian at Cache Creek Resort Casino in Brooks just a half hour away by car from The Ranch. Check the link below for the concert and talent schedule. And if you drive out, fill your tank up there too as they encourage people coming up by selling REALLY cheap gas at their gas station.
Putah Creek Wildlife Area is a 670 acre wildlife reserve that encompasses the Putah Creek shoreline and mountainous wild terrain to the south. Wildlife viewing and hunting is allowed in the reserve so wear your bullet proof vest and don't dress like a deer. Click the link below for a river access and hiking trail map.
At the top of the Berryessa Dam is the 72' diameter overflow hole known as "The Glory Hole." The Glory hole starts out at 72' across, drops 200' straight down, and narrows to a 28' wide diameter tunnel that exits at the bottom of the dam. Although it is a spectacular site to see it in operation on wet years from the safety of shore, needless to say, please don't swim near this hole. And yes, it did suck someone through it once, and no, they did not live to to tell about it. See link below.
A magical site at the ranch often occurs early in the morning as the sun is rising from over the Sierra across the Valley. Colorful hot air balloons sweep the horizon and travel north to south often right across the ranch. They are so close you can hear the blasting of the hot air torch. Click the link below to make reservations.
Adam Morgan shows how much fun can be had with a Glory Hole when it's not spewing fluid such as in our current drought. This is the exit point where the Glory Hole empties herself at the bottom of the dam and the top of Putah Creek. Click the link to see a typical Glory Hole Skate Adventure.
Yes, just a 10 minute drive from the ranch, you can white water kayak through the rapids at Putah Creek between the dam and Lake Solano but be careful, there are lots of trees overhanging the river. I did it in a sea kayak once and its a rush. Wear a life preserver and helmut and click the link below for detailed info on Kayaking this river
For even more rapids and even organized guided white water rafting trips, try Cache Creek which is less than an hour north of the The Citrus Ranch. For reservations, call Cache Canyon River rips at 530-796-3091 or click on the link below
Above is Pomegranite and Persimmon Tasting day at Wolfskill. Wolfskill Experimental Orchards is a literal Noah's Ark of the world's fruit and nut varieties. Open by appointment and on fruit tasting days, Wolfskill is run by UC Davis and the USDA as a germplasm repository of all known Mediterranean climate type orchard and vine crops including figs, pistachios, pomegranate, grapes, walnuts, olives, peaches, almonds, mulberries, kiwis, plums, and persimmons. Over 6000 distinct plants exist here
Visit the Ranch in February and you will be bedazzled by the intricate beauty of the almond bloom. Hundreds of acres of almonds line the country roads nearby the ranch. Walk, jog or bike the 4 mile horseshoe loop to immerse yourself in these gorgeous and fragrant flowers. Go counter clockwise and end up at Berryessa Brewing Company's beer garden Friday - Sunday for a cold one, two or three under the sun while listening to live music to perfect your day.
Tucked right behind the Gragg Citrus Ranch is the 6800 acre Bobcat Ranch owned and operated by The National Autobon Society. Audubon California acquired the 6,800-acre Bobcat Ranch in 2007, as part of its ongoing effort to support and encourage the conservation and restoration of blue oak woodlands and rangelands in California. The preserve is open to the public by reservation only.
Just 3 miles by car from the Ranch is Lake Solano Park which is a 3 mile long section of flatwater at the base of Putah Creek created by an agricultural diversion dam. The park features sand volleyball, picnic tables, a large grassy area, trout pond, playground, nature center and canoe rentals.
Across the river set within the gorgeous Pleasant's Valley is the Buzzard's Roost Ranch that offers regular horse back riding and also restored antique carriage rides. What could be more fabulous on wedding day but to take some wedding pics in a gorgeous white antique carriage in the middle of a white blooming almond orchard in full bloom. Just saying'. Click the link below for more information and reservations.
5 miles up 128 and just before the dam is Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve that features a vigorous 5 mile loop hike through a wooded creek canyon with towering Madrones leading up to the rocky rim with breathtaking vistas in all directions. Reminds me of the Inca Trail. A family favorite. The place to go to see lots of gorgeous native plants. See link below for more info
Just 4 miles from the Ranch is Putah Creek's renown fishing holes with monster trout being pulled out regularly. See the next image over for information and links on the public access points along the river. Guides can be hired to take you right to the honey holes. See link below for fishing guides and more Putah Creek Fishing info.