Taste local olive oil
A country drive around Fairfield’s bucolic hillsides in Spring leads to an enjoyable afternoon, when the destination is family-owned Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company. Here you can sample artisanal olive oil from local, certified organic groves, milled on site from 2,000 trees. The visitor’s center is open for tours, cooking classes and olive oil tastings paired with elegant small bites. 707.864.1529
Find Benicia’s Art
In addition to a list of Benicia’s outstanding public art, there’s always a gallery exhibit somewhere in town. Check out the row of three galleries downtown near the waterfront—the 621 Gallery, HQ Gallery and the Plein Air Gallery, exhibits rotate monthly. The Marilyn Citron O’Rourke Gallery at the Benicia Public Library has rotating art exhibits every 4-6 weeks and check Arts Benicia’s website for current shows or events.
Visit John Muir’s home
Explore the many facets of America’s most famous naturalist with a tour of his home in Martinez’ Alhambra Valley. Known as the Father of Our National Park System, Muir was influential in creating many national parks other than Yosemite. The John Muir National Historic Site offers tours of the Muir/Strentzel house and grounds, picnicking, hiking and lots of information about the man himself. 925.228.8860, ext. 0, Nps.gov/jomu
Learn how to ChalkPaint or MudPaint
The do it yourself, upcycling and rehabbing old furniture is a craze that’s here to stay. Get the paint and learn the techniques right here in town. MudPaint is an eco-friendly, green certified, water based, acrylic paint that does not contain chalk. It provides a smooth, matte, vintage finish. You can find MudPaint, instructions and classes at Benicia’s Glen Cove Farm, a retail store with farmhouse-style home and garden items, 129 A First Street in the Tannery Building, 707.373.0082, Glencovefarm.com. Femmage, a boutique that features local art, vintage furniture and gifts, carries Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and offers Chalk Paint classes in the Benicia Arsenal, 946 Tyler St. Suite D, 408.614.3803.
Tour the Jelly Belly Factory
Jelly Bellys and wine? Check out the updated offerings at the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield, which offers factory tours, youth camps, a candy store, a chocolate shop, interactive exhibits, a “high-definition look” at candy manufacturing, and the Jelly Belly Chocolate and Wine Experience with wines from Suisun Valley wineries. There’s even a Jelly Belly Café that cooks up pizza, burgers, sandwiches, salads and more. 707.399.2390.
Get tickets now for the St. Patrick’s Day Beer Crawl
As far as sip and shop events go, this is one of Main Street’s most popular. Stroll First Street and sample craft brews poured from a bottle at participating downtown merchants, Saturday, March 10, 1-5pm. Benicia Main Street, 90 First Street, 707.745.9791
Take a stroll in the Benicia State Recreation Area
Right in our backyard: Fresh air, exercise, picnicking, bird (or people) watching—the BSRA is one of Benicia’s two state parks (along with the Benicia Capitol State Historic Park); the only state parks in Solano county. 707.648.1911, Parks.ca.gov/?page_id=476
Learn about our oceans
The Seymour Marine Discovery Center in Santa Cruz offers a behind the scenes perspective to learn more about our oceans, and the scientific research behind its ecosystems and plant and animal life. The center includes family activities, exhibits, special events and more. 831.459.3800.
Ride a train to the train musuem
Take Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor train from Martinez to Old Sacramento for lunch and tour the California State Railroad Museum, experiencing rolling history through beautifully restored railroad cars and locomotives. 916.445.7387.
Indulge in seriously luxurious chocolates
Over 50 top chocolatiers and confectioners will gather in Golden Gate Park March 11, 10am-5:30pm, for the San Francisco International Chocolate Salon, along with wine and beverage vendors, food experts, chefs, authors and lifestyle experts. San Francisco County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, 1199 9th Avenue at Lincoln Way, San Francisco.