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Northern California’s scenic Lake County is experiencing a nascent renaissance. A new generation of growers, wineries and hospitality is remodeling old tourist destinations and building new ones that are state-of-the-art. Indeed, things are changing fast in this attractive area, which is focused around the beautiful, recreation-oriented jewel of Clear Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake in California. Whether you are enjoying a romantic getaway, or balancing family fun with wine country explorations, Lake County offers everything you need to enjoy a rich, exciting change of pace.

Cultural influences from Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and beyond are coalescing around the lake. For its hospitality, Lake County offers a blend of wine country experience with a diversity of cultural opportunities that are unparalleled. And the litany of top-notch concerts of popular music at Konocti Harbor Resort, www.konoctiharbor.com/concerts/, draws thousands monthly to a unique Wine Country value-added destination!

As you explore the area, the focus is usually on Clear Lake’s periphery, a leisurely circular drive. Stellar vines and wines abound, and a plethora of water activities and nature. There are three outstanding 18-hole golf courses; you can typically walk on and play even on a Saturday! In Middletown County Park, you might explore the 2005 Lake County Sculpture Walk, a stroll blending the work of nature and world-class art. There is definitely a lot to do.

A day trip from Napa County to Lake County is an easy jaunt. If your focus is already on Up Valley Napa, Calistoga or Pope Valley, then you are on your way. Middletown, as the name implies, is less than 20 miles from downtown Calistoga and about the same distance from Clear Lake.

Most of us will want to stay longer though, perhaps to enjoy hot summer days, cool water and refreshing nights, along with the diverse entertainment the area has to offer. You can enter the circular Clear Lake Itinerary at any point around the lake. Find your entry spot along the lake, and explore from there.

A map that includes most of the wineries mentioned in this article is downloadable at the Lake County Winegrape Growers website (Visit Site), and the friendly volunteers at the Lake County Visitor Information Center, www.lakecounty.com, in Lucerne on the eastern side of the lake between Shannon Ridge and Ceago wineries are exceptionally helpful.

Visit These Related Links:

Konocti Harbor

Konocti Vista Casino

Robinson Rancheria Resort & Spa

Tulip Hill Winery

Ceago Vinegarden

Steele Wines

Shannon Ridge Vineyards