Every October, the quiet vegetables fields at Bastiao Farms come alive with the laughter and shrieks of the annual Halloween festival. On one side of the grounds, a motor-powered train makes its way through the haunted corn maze, a massive, growing labyrinth supplemented by three additional corn and hay-bale mazes plus a Halloween-themed pumpkin patch. In other areas of the grounds, children and adults alike can navigate historically engaging sights that include a one-room schoolhouse and a scaled-down Wild West town featuring wooden saloons, storefronts, inns, and a covered wagon that secretly dreams of becoming a hardtop.
Fright Planet Haunted Theme Park's outdoor theme park acts as a library of the world's most potent phobias. Every year, cast members reimagine its catalog of haunted environs, crafting new sets, props, and characters to prey on guests. Its dedication to genuine scares calls for only the best actors and the most grisly scenery, which is constructed with the help of a former Disneyland artist and a bulldozer possessed by the soul of a 1700s architect.
The 2013 lineup has expanded to include 10 attractions, including the ScreamMax 3-D movie theater. Though the houses all have distinct themes and decor, they share two factors: a richly painted backstory and a population of live, ghoulish denizens. Staring toys line the shelves at Höbart's Doll Factory, tight passageways put the squeeze on those brave enough to enter Jatinga: The Forbidden Temple, and cornstalks bear bloodstains on Podunk Farms. Other experiences play on claustrophobic fears—for example, Buried Alive: The Ride shuts patrons into a coffin where they endure a simulated hearse ride, burial, and the chilling sound of worms calling dibs on their body parts.
Crepes in San Francisco. Butter chicken in Toronto. The organizers behind Dishcrawl connect people with the local dining scenes of cities across the United States and Canada. They do this in two ways—first, through Dishcrawls, which are self-guided tours to an array of restaurants. Dishcrawl's second method highlights single restaurants through special dinners, giving chefs a chance to dazzle visits with their favourite dishes.
After 13 years in the culinary industry, Lisa Armstrong founded Local Roots Food Tours to teach fellow foodies, locals, and visitors about the rich cultural and culinary history of Northern California. Armstrong told Michaela Stewart of the Sacramento Press that she got the idea for the company following a food tour in Seattle. After hours of local library research, she has compiled tours whose locations range "from a farm-to-table upscale restaurant to a small and special bistro to a funky coffeehouse off the beaten path to a mom and pop deli market."
Ranked as the No. 1 tour in Sacramento by TripAdvisor, Local Roots takes guests behind the scenes to meet talented chefs, farmers, and business owners who are passionate about local and organic cuisine. Farm tours showcase the origins of fresh ingredients and wines, and food tours explore the history and architecture of Sacramento. Tours also head to destinations such as Murphys, where 19th-century Italianate brick and stone buildings house locally sourced produce, locally made wines, and the pickpocketing ghosts of Gold Rush–era settlers. The Girls on the Grid food bloggers "discovered a restaurant, deli, bakery and coffee shop" during their tour, and Blair Anthony Robertson of the Sacramento Bee liked the fact that the tours are "bringing positive energy to neighborhoods."
The foodery boasts a creative menu of reinvented comfort fare, served on weekdays to famished urbanites. Start with an order of the shrimp po' boy sliders ($8.75) or opt for a crab Louise salad ($13.50), served with hardboiled egg, avocado, and tomatoes. Entrees include more than 10 tasty hand-held meals (served with bottomless fries), such as the swiss-blanketed prime-rib dip ($12.50) and the herbivore-friendly black-bean burger ($9.50). Plated portions of updated classics promise to please even the most discerning diner; reward a hard-working copyeditor for reaching her daily quota of sentence-scrubbing by treating her to an order of Kelsey's chicken carbonara pasta ($12.50), loaded with tender green peas and bacon, or indulge carnivorous cravings with the steak tacos ($11.75) with corn salsa and cilantro rice.