Sacramento Getaway to Lodi

welcome arch to Lodi

Welcome to Lodi

Make all the jokes you want about Creedence Clearwater Revival and John Fogerty’s song, Lodi, but there were some of us who used to sing along to that song when we were high school seniors in 1969 and did not know the words were Oh, Lord, stuck in Lodi again. There were some of us, and I’m not saying who, who thought he was singing stuck in Ohio. Except Ohio is probably a lot prettier with emerald grass and vertical white sign posts with the street names painted on them. Plus, you know, Fogerty isn’t the best enunciator.

We thought about doing a Sunday Sacramento getaway to Lodi after my friend Myrl Jeffcoat posted a blog about her experience in Lodi and included photos from J. Seward Johnson Sculpture Exhibit. This installation is life-size statues of people doing real-world things like sitting on a bench and reading a book, or standing up bird watching and holding binoculars. We didn’t get a chance to see every statue due to 3 reasons: a) a street festival was in the works, and b) we were busy blowing up portals in Ingress and c) we needed to get to the Ripken Vineyards and Winery before the tasting room closed at 4 PM.

Marilyn Monroe in Lodi

Elizabeth Weintraub and Marilyn in Lodi

It’s odd to admit that I’ve lived in Land Park in Sacramento now for going on 13 years and I’ve never been to Lodi. It’s about the same distance from Sacramento as Stockton, about 45 minutes. Or, in terms of my real estate world, about 10 minutes past Galt, and I do sell homes in Galt as my outer boundaries for Sacramento real estate. But Myrl’s post and photos of Lodi encouraged us to go last Sunday. Myrl often inspires me with her adventurous spirit, just hopping in the car and taking off to engage in delightful experiences.

We parked on the outside of downtown, on a dusty deserted street in front of a Chinese restaurant, walked past the railroad tracks and through the arch that welcomed us to Lodi. The arch sports a golden bear on top just in case we forgot that we’re in California and the historic buildings in the background were a reminder that we’re not out in the middle of the desert somewhere, but you could have fooled me.

dinosaur in lodi

Take 27 Restaurant in Lodi

Some guy from our Ingress team sent my husband a communication message that he appreciated our efforts at blowing up and capturing portals around the movie theater. He even offered to buy us a beer at Ollies. Go Resistance! We stopped for lunch at Take 27, a movie-themed restaurant that, for some reason, maybe Jurassic Park, sports a big ol’ dinosaur head chomping down from the ceiling, right next to Batman in a cave wearing a red Lodi shirt. There were quite a few people who were missing teeth, I noticed, downing cocktails in the middle of the afternoon.

But we had a winery to visit. It was a spinach Mediterranean salad with grilled salmon for me and some sort of BLT for my husband. Decent faire. A train continually circled overhead, and we were grateful there were no derailments during lunch.

Ripken vineyard & winery in lodi

Elizabeth Weintraub at Ripken Winery

The reason we elected to visit the Ripken Vineyards and Winery is because somebody, probably a long ago dinner guest, had given us a bottle of 2008 Petite Sirah from Ripken, which we finally consumed a few weeks ago. It featured deep cherry and plum notes, very full bodied and extremely buttery smooth, no tannin aftertaste, like a fine Belgian chocolate melting. I had emailed Ripken, but of course the 2008 was a faint memory. It seemed worth it to visit to taste the 2013 Petite Sirah.

The ability to visit tasting rooms of favorite wineries is an excellent reason to live in Sacramento. Plus, since you’ve got a car, you can easily cart the cases back home instead of trying to stuff bottles of wine into your luggage, bottles that eventually will break. I recommend the 2011 Primitivo and the 2008 Port. The 2013 Petite Sirah isn’t quite ready to consume yet. This is an unexpected great getaway from Sacramento, to visit Lodi. If I only had a dollar for every song I’ve sung . . .

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