A Victorian-style tearoom housed in a 1929 firehouse doesn't seem a likely place for an April Fool's prank. But since Linde Lane Tea Room owner Kristina Wiley throws a themed special event each month, she decided to treat her guests to a surprise meal. Visitors took a drink of pineapple champagne, only to find their flutes filled with Jell-O. More prank courses followed, such as strawberry-chocolate cupcakes that were really mashed potatoes and meat topped with truffle sauce. As the diners laughed at each course, a President Obama impersonator walked in, convincing a young attendee that she was actually shaking hands with the commander-in-chief.
Wiley prides herself on making every visit to Linde Lane Tea Room a memorable one, whether through novelty events like these or seating parties in the 8-foot teacup booth, which Wiley calls "a piece of art people can sit in." Appearing on TeaMap's top 100 U.S. tearooms across the United States and ranked fourth best in California, Linde Lane Team Room evokes Victorian opulence through custom-made chandeliers, richly patterned carpets, and a dark wood bar where more than 49 fair-trade teas rest in copper canisters. The staff can also custom-blend teas for patrons, using martini shakers to blend loose leaves with spices such as raspberries, chocolate chips, and honeysuckle. An in-house pastry chef and culinary chef prepare every dish, including Linde Lane's safeguarded scone recipe, which took more than one year and 12,000 chef hours to perfect.
Each night, a familiar cast of characters descends on Dee Dee's Bar and Grill, eager to take part in what the hangout does best: delivering plates of spicy chicken wings alongside tall beers and cool mixed drinks. The family-owned establishment exudes familiarity and a neighborhood-spot vibe by doling out free shots for birthdays and driving local patrons home on Fridays and Saturdays with a complimentary shuttle service. In addition to drinks and eats, Dee Dee's also hosts weekly karaoke nights, DJs, and live bands that play whatever audience members have stuck in their heads.
Big Spoon Yogurt’s special topping bar complements hot cocoa and frozen yogurt ensembles with more than 75 novel accompaniments. Beverage construction commences at Big Spoon’s topping bar, where steaming chassis of hot cocoa ($1.25–$2.59) don marshmallow tires—in mint, german chocolate, cinnamon, and toasted coconut flavors—and warm-cookie steering wheels in a rousing race to anticipating taste buds. Patrons sweeten metric-system conversions with frozen yogurt by the ounce (price varies by location), available in chocolate, vanilla, and a rotating stock of non-dairy and sugar-free flavors. Seasonal winter flavors provide the taste of frozen eggnog without the hassle of holding company Christmas parties in a polar bear’s living room, and fall flavors scour a farmer’s windowsill for apple pie and pumpkin yogurt—all customizable with the bar’s more than 75 toppings.
Nestled in the corn fields and orchards off Highway 113, Jess Jones Vineyard invites passersby to clink glasses in a rustic setting. Vintner Jess Jones and his wife, Mel, have been growing grapes on the property since 1997. At first, they sold the fruit to outside buyers, including area winemakers. Starting in 2004, though, they began keeping some of the harvest so that Jess could produce his own varietals, drawing on skills he honed through the University of California, Davis winemaking program.
Today, the couple continues to ferment juice into wine. Visitors can fill bottles directly from barrels of zesty merlot, crisp chardonnay, and tawny port, or relax in a tasting room that one Patch.com writer described as "not pretentious, although decorated with many news articles and accolades garnered by the winery."
Out on the high seas, pirates never come upon a 1950s-style diner where they can take a break from buccaneering, but at Playland, youngsters pretend-searching for lost treasure in Pirate's Cove can. The cove and diner are two of Playland's themed play areas; at others, kids don princess regalia or shop for pretend-food at the market. Each of the whimsical settings act as a stage for littluns to play out scenes concocted in their outsized imaginations, all the while building social skills and cognitive abilities.
While children play, parents can boost their energy with a caffeinated drink from the espresso bar or relax with a magazine in the lounge. A separate laptop workstation allows adults to get some work done. Playland even houses a used clothing store that stocks gently used children's and maternity clothing.
It used to be an historic Dixon firehouse filled with burly men ready to extinguish raging fires. Today, it's an oasis of refinement thanks to Le Petite Salon and a neighboring tea room where pinkies float daintily above porcelain cups without fear of uninvited swearing. Inside the salon?which is dotted with vintage-inspired decor?distinguished wooden styling stations with large, ornate mirrors recall the sophistication of an old English estate. Amid these dignified furnishings, seasoned stylists prune and arrange tresses into flattering shapes and enhance facial features with makeup. While they get brides, prom dates, and birthday girls ready for their big events, a certified massage therapist kneads tense sinews in a private treatment room and a coffee bar keeps waiting guests caffeinated.