Magazine article Sunset

What to Do in Northern California May

Magazine article Sunset

What to Do in Northern California May

Article excerpt

CAMINO

Visit an iris garden

This is the only time of the year that the general public can visit High Sierra Iris and Wedding Gardens, and it's not to be missed. Located in a community of specialty growers outside Placerville, Nancy and Mike Visman's color-saturated garden (normally open only for special events) is packed with blooming daylilies, roses, and--the star attraction--1,600 varieties of hybrid irises; 20,000 flowers in all. If you'd like to grow them yourself, Nancy's taking orders for late-summer shipments of rhizomes. She does all of the garden work herself. "It's a hobby and it's a labor of love," she says. 10-5 Tue-Sun or by appointment; peak bloom time varies; 3170 Hassler Rd.; www.weddingsnflowers.com or 530/642-1222.--JOANNA CORMAN

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LATON, STEVINSON, AND THORNTON

DISCOVER A FRIENDLIER WAY TO FIGHT In the Central Valley, the centuries-old tradition of the bullfight lives on in an updated, gentler form. The California Bullfights group's "bloodless bullfights," as they're called, include the familiar graceful duel between a lone matador or cavaleiro on horseback and a raging 800-pound bull. But, unlike matches in Spain and Mexico, these draw on a kindlier tradition from Portugal, which uses nonlethal spears that attach to the bull with Velcro fasteners. May features several festivals in the valley; when you go, don't miss the bifanas, delicious sliced pork sandwiches. May 14, 21, and 27-28; $20; www.californiabullfights.org

--RICHARD EHISEN

SACRAMENTO

CATCH A STELLAR VIEW Delta Seaplane Tours will have you wide-eyed within moments of takeoff. During the 50-minute Sacramento Basic tour you'll get watery splash-downs, narratives from pilot Jenni Martin about farming and fishing on the California Delta, and stories about the area's many small towns. Or go for the whole enchilada with the Ultimate Pilot Experience, which carries you 92 miles along the Sacramento River from Sacramento to San Francisco and includes an introductory flying lesson. From $250, reservations required; takes off from Sacramento Executive Airport, 6151 Freeport Blvd.; www.deltaseaplanetours.com or 877/378-3597.--BARBARA L. STEINBERG

SAN FRANCISCO

TRANSPORT YOURSELF TO A NEW RAILWAY MUSEUM Across from the Ferry Building Plaza, the new San Francisco Railway Museum celebrates the vehicles that have carried city dwellers from here to there--from Gold Rush--era horse carriages to present-day hybrid electric buses. …

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