From rooting around in the muck to floating through a puff of clouds in an airship, here’s a look back at some of the best Sacramento has to offer, courtesy of SN&R’s 2012 Best Of issue and Summer Guide.
Best use of found objects
Real Life Dollhouse
The distinctive pieces fashioned out of reassembled materials at Sacramento jewelry design outfit Real Life Dollhouse are a lot like their creator: a clever mix of vintage and modern with a dash of rock ’n’ roll for good measure. Designer Julie Cassotta, who cultivated the nimble finger work required to create her original pieces by working at her family’s guitar shop, pacified her frustration with broken necklaces and loose baubles in her own jewelry collection by reinventing them. From scraps of wood collected at the shop to unearthed shards of ebony, soapstone and abalone, the collection is a tribute to Cassotta’s delicate touch—and her willingness to let the materials evolve naturally into their new lives as necklaces, rings and bracelets. www.etsy.com/shop/RealLifeDollhouse. L.H.
Best way to get up close and personal with the American River
Sacramento-Sierra Nevada Standup Paddleboard Club
Grab an oar and join the Sacramento-Sierra Nevada Standup Paddleboard Club to catch a kick-ass workout, if not a ripping wave, while traversing the winding waterways of Northern California. Like the big sticks the pros ride, the stand-up paddleboard, or SUP, typically measures between 12 to 18 feet long, but is twice as thick as a longboard and blanketed by a thin foam pad that covers most of the deck. Typical club excursions include trips to Lake Natoma and Folsom Lake, the American River in Sacramento, and Lake Tahoe sponsored by Sierra Standup Paddleboard, which also rents equipment. The club meets weekly during the peak summer season and in the winter as weather permits, and while its members include elite racers, all levels of paddlers are welcome. www.meetup.com/Standup-Paddleboard-Sacramento-Sierra-Nevada, www.sierrastandup.com. L.H.
Best gloppy mess
Remember the mud pies you created as a tyke out of that concoction of sludge made of water and dirt? The cool “batter” oozing through your small hands as you formed the gloppy mess into something that vaguely resembled a pie is a sensory memory many of us share. Thanks to the organizers of Mud Factor, the adult version of yourself (there’s beer at the finish line!) can go play in the mud October 6—there’s just one catch, instead of your backyard, you’ll be navigating a 5K obstacle course on the Sacramento Raceway. www.mudfactor.org. L.H.
Best place to get your Vidal Sassoon on
You want to get that “Girl, I just got my hair did” look without going to the salon and dropping most of your paycheck on your coif, right? Well, now the at-home stylist can master the art of the DIY blowout at an AJF Salon hair-drying technique class. Trained stylists school you in the fine art of contorting your body in such a way as to get that impossible-to-reach 3-inch section of the back of your mane perfectly styled. Just bring your own tools, styling products and the $25 registration fee, which is applied toward your purchase of those essential hair-styling goodies, and AJF will supply the wine, cheese and what’s sure to be a hair-raising tutorial. 3016 J Street, (916) 446-2940, www.ajfsalon.com. L.H.
Stay on a farm
If you’ve ever daydreamed about swapping your tie for a pair of overalls, mosey over to Casa de la Pradera, a bed-and-breakfast and farmstead in the serene Sierra foothills village of Fiddletown. Sitting on 15 acres of lush farmland, the family-owned homestead is a quiet retreat from city life. For $80 a night, urbanites cultivate their inner farmers by learning about organic farming through hands-on experience. While there are only two guest rooms, those looking for a more rustic experience can pitch a tent and camp under the towering oak trees.
Casa de la Pradera, Fiddletown; (209) 245-6042; www.fiddletownfarms.com.
Ride a blimp
Take sightseeing to a higher level, literally. Aboard the Eureka, Airship Ventures’ souped-up behemoth of a blimp, “flightseers” can experience spectacular city views while sailing the open skies at a lofty 1,200 feet above ground. The Eureka is not your basic blimp, it’s a thoroughbred—seating up to 12 passengers, it’s 50-feet longer than today’s largest commercial airships and was built by the Zeppelin Company in Germany. While the airship operates primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego, Sacramento residents can float above the City of Trees by scheduling a private tour. Prices range from $375 to $950 per person.
Airship Ventures, Mountain View; (650) 969-8100; www.airshipventures.com.