California, like its European counterparts France and Italy, is synonymous with wine. During A Celebration of Wine, libations from 60 regional wineries fill tasting glasses. In addition to rich reds and crisp whites, cuisines from more than 30 central-California eateries are represented. This salute to epicurean taste is organized to raise money for the enology department at Cal State University, Fresno—it's the rare chance to drink wine and support education at the same time. The event itself is even educational, as a cooper takes the stage to perform a popular demonstration of how classic oak barrels are made. Participants can cap off their afternoon with coffee and dessert while dancing to live music performed by giant saxophone-playing grapes.
Just 2 miles from the southern entrance of Yosemite National Park sits a post that passed from homesteader to cowboy to Mike and Sherry Knapp, who dubbed it Yosemite Trails Pack Station 70 years ago. Since then, three generations of Knapps have run the station, but it remains as isolated and wildlife rich as it was in 1966. Today, Larry Knapp and his team still raise cattle as well as american quarter and american paint horses in the Sierra Nevada mountains, getting them acclimated to the rocky terrain so that they can safely carry patrons on trail rides. Trails wind through Big Creek, the Vista Pass, and even venture into Yosemite’s Mariposa Grove, thick with millennia-old redwood trees. Days on horseback often culminate in cowboy cookouts with hot dogs, s’mores, and photos of ex-boyfriends roasted over the campfire. When summer fades to winter, guests can still enjoy the mountain-lined horizon on sleighs drawn by belgian draft horses.
Located next to the Sierra Meadows Country Club, Sierra Meadows RV Park sits at an elevation of 2,425 feet. From that height, it surveys a variety of national landmarks and sites, including Yosemite National Park and the Bass Lake recreation area. Nestled amidst this scenic beauty, the RV Park boasts a rustic setting with a volleyball court, laundry and shower facilities, and wireless-Internet access.
Adjacent to the RV Park is the golf course at the Sierra Meadows Country Club, which is cleaved into a mountain valley populated with mature oaks, pines, and cedars, producing a spectacular course yielding a gauntlet of obstacles. Nestled between the blanket of fog of the Central Valley below and snow higher up in the Sierra Nevadas, the 18-hole course stays open throughout the year so long as the fog and snow don't engage in water-cycle turf war. The par-3 fifth hole, the course's signature designed hole, combines mountainous scenery with the treachery of a 175-yard tee shot over a lake onto a contoured green, forcing golfers to select their club wisely or risk sending the ball into the watery abyss.
Prior to a round or after a dramatic finish, players can head to the driving range's turf hitting surfaces to smash balls at targets or take aim at an unassuming mountain peak. Large putting and chipping greens provide ample space for short-game improvement.
Course at a Glance: 18-hole, par-72 courseLength of 6,389 yards from back teesThree sets of tees per hole
Selectorized & Plate Loaded Machines, Free Weight Area, Rball Courts, Aerobics, Silver Sneakers, Cardio w/ individual audio for TVs, Locker Rooms w/ Showers, Towel Service, IHRSA Passport program, Group, Corporate and Family Discounts. Personal Training, Tanning, Supplements. Some services require additional fees.
The mounded terrain and cavernous bunkers of Riverbend Golf Club's 18-hole, 7,374-yard course recall the windswept terrain of golf's original Scottish links. The distant peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains peek over the course's sparse population of valley oak trees, adding scenic flair to an environmentally friendly layout that houses egrets, herons, hawks, and winged divot tools. Both the front and back nine play to dramatic conclusions, as the 9th and 18th holes are the first and second most difficult on the course, respectively. The course strictly enforces a dress code, so players should dress in a collared shirt and leave behind jeans and hard-spiked stilettos, or and they can peruse the fully stocked pro shop for club-appropriate garb and new gear.
The designers of Zip Yosemite, Experience Based Learning, focuses on adventure and safety in building their courses, but they also take care to look after the environment. The company uses Professional Ropes Course Association–accredited builders, who anchor single cables to trees using an environmentally-friendly system. Using this system, the company can string seven ziplines up to 1,000 feet long at heights of up to 80 feet through the aromatic canopies of incense cedars and ponderosa pine trees. Guides take visitors darting down these single-cable paths and across three suspension bridges. Then, they rappel toward the forest floor at one of two rappelling stations. As visitors glide through the forest, they can catch glimpses of wildlife as well as the Fresno Dome and other natural rock formations.