Get weird with Lake County’s wild side

November 17, 2015

Wine country has its wild side, and it’s in northern California’s Lake County. The burgeoning Lake County region, about 100 miles north of San Francisco, offers a number of unique, only-in-California attractions to highlight your visit. There’s plenty going on that’s off-the-wall in charming Lake County, the northern portion of wine country with far-out attractions, activities and unforgettable places to stay.
Whether you’re looking for curious curios, offbeat shopping, whimsical restaurants or a one-of-a-kind overnight stay, Lake County has just the right ticket for those who march to the beat of their own drum.

The best vintage and antique shopping

Lake County is well known around northern California for its unique selection of quirky antiques, as the area is something of a hotbed for antique shopping. There is Dusty’s Top Drawer in Kelseyville, which has carefully curated displays and a collection of vintage lamps that’s absolutely second to none. Zephyr Zen Art & Antiques in Clearlake packs vintage treasures into every nook and cranny with an emphasis on vintage signs and vinyl LPs. And the Bunk House gift shop in Middletown presents a charming array of Americana-themed knickknacks, curios and collectibles.

The Featherbed Railroad

Let loose in a caboose at the most distinct bed-and-breakfast you’ve ever seen! The
href=””>Featherbed Railroad offers luxurious overnight stays in vintage railroad cabooses—all restored into luxurious B&B hotel rooms. Every caboose sleeps two people in style, with its own individual themed decor, jacuzzi and other amenities. You have your choice of the Harley Davidson-themed Easy Rider Caboose, the beach-themed TropiCaboose, the Mardi Gras-themed La Loose Caboose or several others. And the Featherbed Railroad also lives up to its name, as all the beds are genuine goose-down featherbeds.
Featherbed Railroad Bed and Breakfast Resort

Funky art classes that incorporate lots of wine

What else would you expect from an art class in wine country? The Lake County Wine Studio in Upper Lake mixes fine art with fine wine in its recurring wine and art classes, featuring classes like Wine & Watercolors, Wine & Art and the Wineglass Painting Parties, where you sip fine wine while painting your own masterpiece. This unique venue serves as both a tasting room and an art gallery, so keep an eye on the Lake County Wine Studio’s calendar for upcoming events. 

Ely Stage Stop and Country Museum

On a normal day, the Ely Stage Stop and Country Museum is a former 1880s-era stagecoach shop fully restored to its original condition, a living gallery of stagecoach and Pony Express-era artifacts and home of the Lake County Historical Society. But on the first Sunday of every month, the Ely Stage Stop is home to the Fiddler’s Jam, a free family event that brings Lake County’s best fiddlers out for a celebration of live bluegrass and folk music. The Fiddler’s Jam runs from noon to 2 p.m. every first Sunday of the month, and provides a foot-stomping and immersive historical experience when combined with the ambience of a genuine stagecoach stop. The building was indeed a stagecoach stop during the gold-rush era, and a day trip there is a fascinating trip back in time for anyone interested in some US history and throwback Americana.
Ely Stage Stop and Country Museum

Rockhounding in Lake County

Lake County is the only place in the world where crystal, mineral and precious stone hunters can find moon tears, otherwise known as “Lake County diamonds.” These semi-precious stones were created by volcanoes and do look very similar to diamonds. Moon tears are not as hard as diamonds, but they too are hard enough to cut glass. Their geological profile is different from any other crystal or mineral in the world, with an exceptionally high refractive index (ability to transmit light and sparkles).
The best spots for rockhounders to hunt Lake County diamonds are Perini and Seigler Canyon roads in Lower Lake, though be sure to avoid vineyards and private property.
Wine country’s wild side is always on display in Lake County, the offbeat alternative to the erudite northern California culture. Fall is always a great time of year to get weird and take in Lake County’s uniquely independent and quirky scene. Check out all that awaits in Lake County, and plan a trip to the part of wine country that knows how to let its hair down. So come and get a little weird in the wild side of Lake County, California.
To check out a full list of curated Lake County experiences, visit