Air rushes past you at 120 miles per hour while the California countryside unfolds thousands of feet below. Blue sky and empty space surround you, and the voice of your U.S. Parachute Association–rated instructor is the only sound you can hear above the wind. At 4,500 feet, the instructor pulls the parachute cord, and the two of you gently drift down to land in 32 acres of open, unobstructed grass. This is what divers experience during tandem skydives or jumps as a part of the Accelerated Freefall program at Skydive Sacramento.
Pilots at the helm of a 15-passenger King Air twin turbine, a four-passenger Cessna 182, or a five-passenger Cessna 206 take students to altitudes of up to 13,000 in as few as 15 minutes. Fitted securely with harnesses and chutes, participants can ask their diving instructor questions about the sport before plunging from the plane in a hands-on free fall and canopy flight, during which they learn steering and hot-air-balloon-avoidance tactics. Though the instructors cater to first-time divers, they also coach more experienced students toward their skydiving license. Instructors, many with 2,000 dives under their belt, also teach students to land in a main grass landing area or a high-performance area with swoop pond.
Copses of serene pines, oaks, and redwoods cluster along no fewer than 36 rye-grass fairways at Lincoln Hills Golf Club. Even after creating its first 18-hole Hills course, designed by professional golfer Billy Casper and famed course architect Greg Nash, the club decided it wanted another. Its ambition created a second par 72 layout—the Orchard course—giving golfers a choice between two courses where large greens nestle amid rolling hills and naturally occurring wetlands.
The older Hills course unfurls over 6,876 yards. Its second hole demands a tee shot over a lake and onto a tight fairway before players even begin to aim at a green guarded by a bunker on the left. The newer Orchard course also makes golfers sweat at the second fairway, its hardest, which earns a par 5 by coming in at 598 yards and offering a plethora of sand bunkers as well as a 75-foot slope from the tee box to the green.
Instead of smashing cell phones to make rudimentary compasses, golfers navigate the course in GPS-equipped golf carts. The club also entices players with an 8-acre driving range, a practice area for putting and chipping, and individual or group lessons with professionals Steven Treadway and Patty Snyder—a former LPGA Tour player.
Grapes hang heavy from the vines on trellises scattered across 20 acres of the rolling Lincoln Hills. The fruit, tended by Wise Villa Winery's oenophiles, yield awards, including a prestigious honor from the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Owner and winemaker Dr. Grover Lee draws on viticulture training while producing single-variety and blended wines or doing the crossword in the Grapes Aficionado Quarterly. Within the winery, the tasting room fills with the sound of clinking glasses as patrons sample various award winners, such as the Pinot Noir Rose. The winery also arranges frequent events, including live music on Fridays, grape-stomping parties, and reservation-only pairing dinners at its bistro.