Hello, California! We are happy to see you!
Vacaville is a sunny small town located in the midst of orchards and fields of sunflowers. Our first stop in Vacaville was the highly recommended Premium Outlet Mall, only one of three in the country–with a Gucci store. The mall’s a big draw for visitors and locals alike. We both bought shoes–we’re girls! What did you expect? Don’t ask how we’re going to fit them in our already bulging suitcases.
Our hosts booked us for an afternoon at 36 Oaks Day Spa for the “serenity package.” We had been feeling a little ragged. Are they psychic? We drove down a country lane to a house surrounded by trees, flowers and a tidy vegetable garden on a few acres. It was comfortable and homey, not the way I imagined a spa to be, although the place turned out to be just about perfect. We had massages, exfoliation, and lovely herbal facials, all expertly delivered. After we were smooth and sooooo relaxed, we sat by the pool with a soothing waterfall to enjoy gourmet cheese, homemade chicken salad and really wonderful tiramisu with fresh raspberries. We were renewed. Are you jealous? You really should be. Thank you Vacaville!
Our next day started with museum tours. We saw the historic adobe that was the beginning of Vacaville. Then we visited the impressive Vacaville Museum’s current thought provoking exhibit on the African American experience.
We learned about ghost lights, breaking a leg, and green rooms on our tour of the local 500 seat performing arts theater.
Lunch on the European style town square featured live music. For such a small town, Vacaville has a ton of cultural offerings, many of them free. We were sad we missed the Singers / Songwriters competition…there’s so much talent here!
We stopped for a little shopping at the Nut Tree. This area has been a tourist attraction since 1921 when it was just a little fruit stand serving travelers when the train stopped in Vacaville. It’s later restaurant was a local landmark. We took a spin on the 1952 miniature train and played a very large game of chess. Determining a winner was tricky, especially when you have been in check for three moves. Ha!
Our afternoon surprise was an hour long tour in a four seater Cessna 180! We loved seeing Vacaville and the Napa Valley from high in the air. Jules even got to fly the plane for a little while.
We also toured the Jelly Belly planes, and may have eaten a few as our in-flight snack as well!
We were the guests of honor at the evening Chamber of Commerce gathering. It was fun to be local celebs for half an hour.
Vacaville has somehow managed to hang on to its small town ways and charm in spite of being very close to both San Francisco and Sacramento. We enjoyed our time here. It was a good place to end our tour of five very different small towns. What did they have in common? Warmth, community pride, strong bonds, pleasure in everyday life, and best of all for us, FUN!!!