One of the best parts about Lake County is that there’s so much to explore. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, there’s something new to discover. Around each corner of the road, there’s another hidden gem just waiting to be found.
This is part two of our road trip. If you didn’t catch up on part one, you can find it here. Today we get to enjoy some great views of Mt. Konocti and the Clearlake arm of North America’s oldest lake, then spend some time shopping in two unique towns.
PART 1: Kelseyville Riviera to Clear Lake State Park
Before you get going, grab a cup of coffee at Common Grounds, located between Pogos Pizza and the Riviera Market. Take a minute or two to enjoy the moment, then hop in your car and head down Soda Bay Road towards Buckingham. Take your time; the road winds along the edge of Mt. Konocti and offers spectacular views of the lake, across the water to Lucerne, Bartlett Mountain, and, further north, Elk Mountain. As you wind down the road, you’ll enter a place that feels primeval. The oak trees turn to firs, and the sun turns to shade. You’re entering the Black Forest, a unique part of Lake County filled with mystery. You’ll know you’re passing through when you see the sign on the left. Not too much further down the road and just past the resort community of Soda Bay lies Clear Lake State Park, 590 acres ready-made to explore. First, spend some time picnicking at the beach area—it feels like you’re in an issue of Sunset Magazine. Then take a dip in the lake, and swim over to the rocks where the sulfur-scented springs bubble all around you. If swimming’s not your thing, head to the nature center, where they regularly offer tours or take a hike on one of their many trails.
PART 2: Clear Lake State Park to Kelseyville
By now, you’re probably hungry, so it’s time to head to the happening small town of Kelseyville. From the state park, turn right on Soda Bay Road, and it will lead you into town. But before you get there, make a point to stop at Peace and Plenty’s Farm Stand. You’ll see the sign on your right just before making a sharp left turn onto Gaddy Road to head towards Kelseyville. Pick up some fresh produce and get some saffron if you have the chance. Peace and Plenty is North America’s largest saffron farm. Then hop back on the road, turn left on Gaddy, and you’ll soon enter Kelseyville. Turn left on State Street, then right on Main to get to Main Street. If you end up hitting Chacewater Winery and Olive Mill, you’ve gone too far. But no worries. It’s a perfect place to enjoy a wine tasting and test some of their handcrafted olive oils. In Kelseyville, there’s no lack of things to do. Pick up a gift at Sophie’s Day Spa, A+H General Store, or Two Sisters Antiques, grab a bite to eat at The Saw Shop Public House, and enjoy some wine at Fore Family Vineyards. It’s a perfect place to spend an afternoon.
PART 3: Kelseyville to Lakeport
Even though it’s probably late afternoon now, there’s still time to visit Lakeport. From Kelseyville, hop on Highway 29 until you reach the 11th St. exit. Turn right off the exit, then follow 11th street to Main Street, where you’ll turn right. The County seat, Lakeport’s got a lot of history. Spend an hour or two in the Courthouse Museum, then wander down through the many Main Street shops. If you have a chance, head down to Library Park, resting on the shores of Clear Lake. There you’ll be greeted by spectacular views of the Lake and Mt. Konocti, and if you visit on a Friday evening in the summer, live music in the gazebo. End the day with an artisanal pizza at Juicy’s or some homemade pasta at Park Place Restaurant. Then, provided you’re not too stuffed, finish off your day with some ice cream from Sweet Pea’s Ice Cream Parlor, and watch the sunset over the waters of Clear Lake.
That’s it for today’s adventure. Stay tuned for Part Three of our Lake County Road trip.