(BY) DONNA MCCROHAN ROSENTHAL
June will feel like something resembling a return to normal, as you will read in this month’s round-up of ideas for short hops and trips around the Golden State. But keep in mind that precautions and restrictions change, so call ahead or check websites before heading out.
Up north on Hwy 41, climb aboard a narrow-gauge steam train for an authentic Western experience. At the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad, open-air cars pulled by a vintage Shay steam engine reveal the sights and sounds of a bygone era, followed by the opportunity to pan for gold. A prospector is on-site to show you how. To step things up a notch, the Moonlight Special begins the evening with a BBQ dinner of steak, chicken, or vegetarian entrees (www.yosemite.com; 866-425-3366).
To the northwest, epicurean events celebrate the region’s top farmers, growers, winemakers, and chefs, among them annual North Coast Wine and Food Festival, Saturday, June 18 and Taste of Sonoma, Saturday, June 25. Visitors can also hone their palates at the “Beerfest – The Good One” on Saturday, June 11, that offers craft brews, ciders, and more from more than 60 regional breweries. In the skies, the Saturday-Sunday, June 4-5, 30th Annual Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic features tethered balloon rides, food, drinks, live music, and entertainment (sonomacounty.com; 707-996-1090).
Music fans kick off the season with live intimate performances at the vineyards at Gundlach Bundschu, California’s oldest family-owned winery, who will host Huichica Music Festival, Friday-Saturday, June 10-11. Northern California’s biggest Country Summer Music Festival returns to Santa Rosa, Friday-Sunday, June 17-19, and highlights more than 20 performers.
Down below, the Los Angeles Opera presents “Aida” Thursday, June 2, Saturday June 4, Thursday June 9, and Sunday, June 12 (laopera.org; 213-972-8001).
Farther south in Santa Ana through Sunday, June 19, the Bower Museum’s entirely new exhibition “All That Glitters: The Crown Jewels of the Walt Disney Archives” displays the jewelry and accessories from “Titanic,” “The Princess Diaries,” and other favorite Disney and 20th Century Studios films in a way that they have never appeared before, including the “Heart of the Ocean” necklace from James Cameron’s “Titanic” (1997). “All That Glitters” looks at crowns, tiaras, watches, rings, bracelets, and more, designed by some of the biggest names in fashion (www.bowers.org; 714-567-3600).
To the west on the coast, the Ventura County Greek Festival runs for a long weekend at Camarillo Airport, June 24-26 (vcgreekfestival.org; 805-482-1273).
Up Hwy 395 on Saturday night, June 4 from 4:30-10:30 p.m., the Lone Pine Film Museum presents the Concert in the Rocks 2022. After a welcome reception at the museum, concert goers travel by bus to Lone Ranger Canyon to hear the Sinatra Big Band with Matt Mauser. Tickets run $125-$175 (www.lpmuseum.org; 760-876-9103).