Erin Smith is an avid traveler who has been to many places throughout the United States. One of her favorite places that she has visited is Madera, California. Often referred to as “The Heart of California,” Madera is located in the San Joaquin Valley, near the center of the state. Madera is one of Erin’s favorite vacation destinations because of its wide variety of activities that provide fun and learning opportunities for all ages. Whether you enjoy exploring the outdoors, a relaxing round of golf, a good glass of wine, or a thriving art scene, there is something for everyone in Madera. Erin Smith shares some of her favorite things to do and hopes that others will see what is to love in Madera.
Erin Smith enjoys viewing art wherever she travels and especially likes learning about local artists whenever possible. Since 1982, the Madera County Arts Council has been a key player in fostering the arts in Madera Country. The arts council has a complete schedule of classes for both adults and kids, including classes in folk ballet, painting for adults, painting, sculpting, and art history for kids, summer art camps for kids, and guitar. The Celebrate Agriculture with the Arts Exhibition, which takes place at the Circle Gallery every year from September through October, is their main yearly event. The Circle Gallery serves as a venue for local artists to display their creations the remainder of the year.
2. Ficklin Vineyards
“Who doesn’t love a good glass of wine?” asked Erin Smith.
America’s oldest Port winery, Ficklin Vineyards, was established in 1946 and has won numerous accolades along the way, including the “Wine Lifetime Achievement Award” from the California State Fair. There are various excursions you may take to explore the magnificent winery, which has been producing top Ports for more than 70 years. While the Barrel Tasting Tour allows you to sample your way through five distinctive ports straight from the Barrel Room, the Historical Tour provides you an in-depth look at the actual winery where the Ficklin family has lived and worked since it was founded. One of the most well-liked tours they offer is their wine-making tour, which is adjusted to the seasons so you can see what they are working on at the time.
3. Nelder Grove
Nelder Grove, a 1,540-acre grove of giant sequoias, is found in the Sierra National Forest. Over 100 mature Giant Sequoia trees, as well as a number of other flora and rocks, can be found there. The stumps you could encounter are an interesting feature; they are the last remaining sequoia trees in the grove that were cut down before being preserved by the US Forest Service. All ages of visitors will enjoy strolling around the lovely grove and taking pictures next to these majestic trees. Erin Smith recommends spending the night at their camping areas where you’re likely to encounter a variety of flora and fauna.
4.The Madera County Museum
The Madera County Museum is home to a sizable collection of images, records, and artifacts that preserve the past of Madera. The historic Madera County Courthouse, constructed in the 1900s, serves as its home. It will undoubtedly bring the history of the valley to life thanks to its enormous collection. The exhibits on the main floor are organized according to the principal themes, which include Native Americans, agriculture, pioneers, logging, and the turn of the century. An altar cloth from a temple in Madera’s Chinatown, a full-size replica of a logging flume, and a superb collection of Native American basketry are some of the most well-known artifacts you’ll see.
Whether you’re single or a married couple out on a date night, Erin Smith says to check out ApCal, where you can have a party in a rural area surrounded by vineyards and beautiful scenery. The famous 75-foot-long bar at the outdoor venue, which is well-known for being lovely, cozy, and safe, serves you a variety of regional wines and beers as you enjoy great music that you may dance to. You can choose from more than 50 wines and beers while having a fantastic time with friends and family. Bring a blanket and relax on the lush, rolling countryside while admiring the incredible ambience if dancing isn’t your thing. For each occasion, the menu is different, ensuring you have a wonderful time complete with delicious food and drink.
6.The Vineyard Restaurant & Bar, Madera, CA
The Vineyard Restaurant & Bar is a cozy and welcoming restaurant where you can have a delicious dinner and a drink of local wine. It serves delectable Italian-American cuisine. It is the ideal location for a celebratory supper with your family, a romantic date, or a night out with friends because of the classy ambiance and stunning surroundings. Generations of Madera locals and tourists frequent the eatery to indulge in meals like their Shrimp Remoulade, their Sriracha Maple Fried Chicken, and their lamb sliders with feta cheese. Try their homemade pasta, which is used in dishes like the beef ravioli and the Vineyard’s Signature Lasagna, two customer favorites.
The Flag Barn is especially dear to Erin Smith and her family, who started a charity called “Project We Care,” which focuses on helping veterans in their hometown of Weston, Florida. The Flag Barn, which is situated on the corner of the R41, the route leading to Yosemite National Park, has been drawing curious tourists for more than 15 years. The McCaffrey family, who founded McCaffrey Homes, has owned the land where the barn is located for many years. The owners of the barn decided to paint it red, white, and blue with stars and stripes in 2001, immediately following the horrific 9/11 attack on America. This modest act of patriotism quickly gained popularity, and today people go from all over the world to the barn to pay their respects.
The Dragonfly Golf Club in Madera, which was created by the renowned Gary Roger Baird, provides players of all skill levels with an entertaining game against the picturesque Sierra Nevada Mountains. The course’s lush, rolling fairways are broken up by eight water hazards and no less than 80 sand and waste bunkers that will test your accuracy. Spend some time on the fully-grassed and shaded Driving Range if you need to practice before your game. The Clubhouse, which also houses the Wings Bar and Grill, has a fully equipped Pro Shop where you can get anything you need for your game.
Erin Smith hopes that she has given some helpful advice on what to do if you are ever in Madera and encourages anyone visiting California to make sure to check out Madera because it has so many great things to do and sights to see.