Mountain Valley Golf Center's demanding nine-hole golf course challenges club-wielders alongside an ample 75-tee driving range for practice. Verdant par 3 fairways range from 94 to 203 yards, allowing players to hone their short game and competitive-dashing skills across a pair of nine-hole jaunts. The first hole forces golfers to send dimpled projectiles over a horseshoe pond, leaving little room for error. Before finishing the round, duffers must conquer the imposing ninth hole, a long straightaway that rewards risky shots and sends errant projectiles swimming in the pond protecting the backside of the green.
Today’s Groupon also includes a jumbo bucket of range balls for pre- or postgame practice shots on Mountain Valley's capacious driving range, as well as a frosty beer or soda for irrigating parched palates and arid tee-growing plots. Guests can also sharpen orb-nudges on a chipping green or browse the center's pro shop for supplemental golfing gear.
Completed in 1911, the Woodland Branch is a 16-mile stretch of railway that connects West Sacramento with Woodland, California. At the branch's peak, passenger trains were running eight times a day, nine times on leap-days, but it all came to an end in 1940 with the start of World War II. The tracks were still used for freight, but it would be more than 60 years before passengers began using the railway again with any frequency. When the scenic stretch of rail was absorbed by the Sierra Railroad Company in 2003, it wasn't long before it took the name Sacramento RiverTrain and began running luxury coaches complete with rattan furniture, wood paneling, and state-of-the-art sound systems. Today, passengers board these trains to savor Sunday brunch, murder-mystery dinners, and other events while train tracks softly clack in the background.
The nonprofit Heidrick Ag History Center harvests the rich history of agricultural machinery and transportation through an extensive collection of vintage tractors and trucks. The 130,000-square-foot space houses both the Hays Antique Truck Museum—home to such artifacts as a one-of-a-kind Breeding steam-powered truck and broccoli steamer from 1916—and the Fred C. Heidrick Antique Ag Collection, an assemblage of olden-day iron horses and golden cows collected over a period of 60 years.
Using skills acquired from his childhood days building his own planes and combines from scraps of wire and wood, Mr. Heidrick himself restored most of the equipment—some of which was formerly little more than heaps of rust—to its original condition. Palettes of green, red, and yellow pop from John Deere tractors from the 1930s to the 1950s, a Deering reaper machine from 1891, and a 120-horsepower Holt built in 1917 to tow artillery during World War I.
A piece of wood hangs outside Linc Raahauge's pro shop, its rugged surface featuring a painted bird and an inscription stating "Pheasant hunting at its finest." It's a business sign, but it could just as easily be a family crest. The hunting club's namesake went into the pheasant-hunting business more than a half century ago, and the same grounds—2,400 acres of Northern California's countryside—now belong to Linc's son, Terry.
Mr. Raahauge chose an ideal setting. Rolling fields stretch in each direction, with not much else around save the occasional building, winding road, or shooting station. Here, pheasants and chukar partridges fly across the blue skies, as hunters below raise their shotguns under the gaze of expert instructors. For a bit of help, the family trains labradors to be fun and useful additions to hunting parties. Nearby, sporting clay stations launch rounds of 25 clay targets from trap houses, helping guests practice their hand-eye coordination.
After she was born, Alana Henley basically rode a horse out of the hospital. Hyperbole aside, Alana did, in fact, begin riding at the age of 2. She also began competing at the age of 6, and did so for years with great success. Eventually, though, Alana realized she had another talent: dealing with problem horses.
In 2006, she formally opened SunFire Equestrian Training at Fresh Start Stables in Davis. That same year, she crossed paths with a rebellious young thoroughbred named Derby. Not only did Alana transform Derby’s behavior and instill in him the importance of flossing, the two triumphantly completed events across the West Coast. Today, Alana remains a teacher—both to challenging young horses and to students learning how to ride. She pulls double duty at SunFire’s new facility, a sprawling, 40-acre estate in Woodland.
Sprawling across 82 acres, Wild Wings Golf Club invites players to bring their games to a rustic course cut from the bucolic Yolo County countryside. Abutted by a peaceful neighborhood on one side and distant rolling hills on the other, the course may seem peaceful at first. However, the generous fairway landings belie unassuming challenges plucked from the mind of course architect Todd Eckenrode. Whether it’s the extraquick putting surfaces or the siren song emanating from the course’s 13 small lakes, Wild Wings’ nine holes require the perfect balance of careful strategy and devil-may-care bravado. In addition to open-play sessions, the course is home to golfing lessons taught by PGA professional Randy Thomas and frequently hosts private tournaments.