June 17 2010 by Amy Graff
There's something about the weather that ev'rybody loves. They call it the Indian spring of Sacramento. And when the sun is up in the sky The wind is blowing by the riverside most ev'ry day. You're in Sacramento, a wonderful town. Sing, sing, sing, din-di-din.
--"Sacramento," Middle of the Road
Why is it that you always end up leaving for a road trip several hours later than planned?
There are always those last-minute errands, that pair of swim trunks that you can't find, and the cat, who you forgot needs to be fed by someone while you're away.
It wasn't surprising that we left for our I-5 road trip later than expected and encountered traffic hell going to Sacramento. I found myself wondering why they don't set up a walking lane on Highway 80 on Friday afternoons.
Enough about traffic because we eventually make it to Sacramento. Here are three highlights from our evening.
1) The Nut Tree, Vacaville.
This is a photo of my kids sticking their heads through the legendary Nut Tree Wall. Can't see their faces?
Here's a closeup.
When we couldn't take the traffic any longer, we pulled over at this legendary road stop. The Nut Tree originally opened as a fig stand in 1921, evolving over time into a major tourist complex on Interstate 80. For decades travelers stopped for pineapple marshmallow delight in its restaurant and then rode the little red train that circled the shady grounds.
Today, a smaller version of the Nut Tree lives on. The original train chugs around a courtyard surrounded by some restaurants and shops. We also found the original carousel and of course the Nut Tree Wall.
2) Discovery Park, Sacramento.
We arrived in Sacramento at dusk. The kids were ready to run around so we pulled off the freeway to go to this 160-acre park at the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers.
3) Quan Nem Ninh Hoa, Sacramento.
We were delighted by the food at this restaurant that's the No. 1 rated Vietnamese restaurant in Sacramento on Yelp.
This photo is of the $13.99 special, which is basically "make your own spring rolls." Our waitress carried little plates of food to our table: vermicelli noodles; skewers of charbroiled pork; a pile of fresh lettuce, cilantro, basil, and mint; pickled carrots and daikon; bowls full of sweet peanut sauce; fried egg rolls; and then rice paper that you soak in water before stuffing with your choice of ingredients.
Our waitress showed us how to make the spring rolls.
Hours in car: 3
- Dinner: $33
- Hotel: $80 (Best Western Sandman)
- Entertainment: $5