Hotel at a Glance: Bradford Place Inn and Gardens
Every morning, Bradford Place Inn and Gardens owner and chef Eli Shahar prepares a gourmet breakfast for guests to enjoy in the parlor or in the comfort of their room. This is just one reason this AAA 3-diamond rated B&B in California's Gold Country is such a charming place to stay. After spending the afternoon antique shopping or visiting the wineries of the Sierra Nevada foothills, you can retire to your room and snuggle up in a plush Frette bathrobe.
- Built in 1889: as a private mansion, the inn features four individually decorated guest rooms and suites with private bathrooms
- Signature breakfast: Wake up with crème brulee French toast or eggs benedict with smoked salmon
- Main Street is located one block west, featuring art galleries, antique stores, and fine-dining restaurants
- Sample Zinfandel and Syrah at award-winning wineries in the Sierra Nevada foothills, including Renner Wineries, which is offering a free wine tasting and 20% discount on all purchases for Groupon purchasers
- Home away from home: the property features quaint touches, such a white picket fence, a garden walkway, and the owner's two Irish setters, Mary Lou and Billy Ray
Sonora, California: Former Gold-Mining Town Close to Yosemite National Park
Located about two hours east of the San Francisco Bay Area is Sonora, a small town tucked along the Sierra Nevadas in California’s Gold Country. Learn about the area’s gold-rush history at the nearby Columbia State Historic Park, which contains buildings from the 1850s, a century-old stagecoach, and saloons with sarsaparilla and piano music.
Sonora is about an hour’s drive from Yosemite National Park, the third most-visited national park behind the Great Smoky Mountains and the Grand Canyon. Spring is one of the best times to see Yosemite’s famed waterfalls, thanks to the snowmelt brought on by warmer weather. Yosemite Falls—a three-tiered waterfall considered the highest in North America—transforms into a thundering cataract each spring. Serious hikers can trek to the top on the strenuous Upper Yosemite Falls trail, which gains 2,700 feet in elevation in just 3.5 miles.
Though much of the park is covered in snow through May, springtime has its perks. Stroll the 5-mile loop around Mirror Lake, which seasonally dries up and becomes a meadow. In the spring, it’s full of water reflecting one of the park’s most iconic geologic formations: the granite Half Dome.