Suisun City in Solano County
A treasure awaits about 20 miles east of Napa, in a lovely but largely “secret” area of sprawling countryside and bayfront beauty. This is Solano County, a Central Valley region thriving with residential communities and businesses—but also gorgeous landscapes. Here, you’ll discover family-friendly attractions such as Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo and the whimsical Jelly Belly Candy Company in Fairfield. Sporty recreation also abounds, from kayaking to birdwatching, from hiking to golf. And since this is Northern California, there’s farmhouse fun, beautiful lakeside campsites, and plenty of excellent wine. “We’ve been seeing more visitors over the past several years, as people discover we’re a secret Napa,” says Ron Lanza, vice president of Wooden Valley Winery in Fairfield. “I credit part of it to technology. Cell phone navigation helps people find us, hidden on the map.”
Suisun City’s Waterfront District
Just past the commercial center of Solano County on Interstate 80, you’ll suddenly find yourself in a charming waterfront village that looks like it borrowed its aesthetics from the East Coast. Established during the 1850s California gold rush, the former shipping town of Suisun City now boasts a quaint waterfront district, with rows of boats and yachts bobbing in Suisun Bay’s slate-blue water. It was home to the county’s first railroad station, and visitors can still hop aboard for interurban train rides via the Western Railway Museum.
Start your day with a homespun breakfast at Babs Delta Diner on the marina, famous for its black-and-white checkerboard floor, and for the Filipino fried rice that regulars know to order instead of home fries with their double pork chop, eggs, and toast platter. For a bit of modern luxury, taste wines at the Suisun Valley Wine Cooperative, where the winemakers themselves may be pouring for you, then head to dinner at the elegant Ironwood American Bistro, where chef Megan Smith wows with her wild shrimp and crab potpie.
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