Out to lunch in Lake County’s quirky wine country
October 8, 2015
Northern California has a long history of letting its hair down and walking on the wild side. From the Summer of Love hippies and yippies to the zany career of Robin Williams, northern California has always served as a cultural capital of quirkiness.
This spirit lives on in one wild and crazy wonderland area about 120 miles north of San Francisco: Lake County, California. Lake County is where the wild things still are, with an eccentric charm that mixes an offbeat style with homespun Americana magic. It is where kitsch is the new normal, a place where antique treasures of yesteryear are sold at many stores.
In Lake County, the residents go glamping instead of camping, and at a few resorts the clothing is sometimes optional. Let’s take a look at some of the wildest, weirdest, most out-of-sight Lake County attractions off the beaten path; ones that truly march to the beat of their own drum.
Lake County is sort of a mecca for antiques shoppers, with a bustling antique store scene. The Bunk House Gift Shop in Middletown is a step back in time to the vintage Americana era. Dusty’s Top Drawer in Kelseyville is a gem of a vintage and consignment shop with plenty of character to spare. Zephyr Zen Art & Antiques is a zen experience for anyone interested in antiques, collectibles and vintage furniture.
Glamping is the chic, trendy, new style of camping—but the emphasis is not on the “new.”
Vintage trailers and old-style teardrop campers are all the rage in glamping, and Shady Acres Campground is such a forefront of the glamping movement that it was a campground for the International Glamping Weekend event.
If you’re looking for a very fun campground that will send you home with a few stories to tell, Shady Acres really shines.
Spotlight: The vintage lunchbox museum
There’s one attraction in Lake County that’s always out to lunch: Clarke’s Collectibles Lunch Box Museum in Nice, an honest-to-gosh museum for vintage lunchboxes that we of a certain age carried to school when we were kids.
There are plenty of other vintage collectibles and tchotchkes in the renovated firehouse known as Clarke’s Collectibles, the “picker’s paradise of retro items for sale.” Old-time penny-arcade fans will recognize the Laughing Sal machine that is sure to bring anyone to at least a giggle.
Lake County combines the retro Americana spirit with contemporary California style to make a fun, unforgettable and affordable destination. This quirky and individualistic vacation spot offers vintage shopping and resorts as different as they are relaxing. Pack your things and head for a weekend-long Lake County jaunt—you might even find something there to pack your lunch in.