Lower Lake is a town filled with history. It’s home to the Historic Schoolhouse Museum and Lake County’s first jail, still standing and available to visit. It also has the honor of hosting the first jailbreak in the county, one of my favorite stories. The builders, happy to finish their work on the jail, celebrated a bit too hard and ended up being the first incarcerated. However, the roof wasn’t secured, so, in the middle of the night, they lifted it and made their way out.
It’s also a great place to spend a holiday afternoon filled with shopping. Park your car anywhere on Main Street and spend the day wandering. Not only does it have a broad selection of unique items, but it also has some great restaurants. Here are a few recommendations of great places to grab a bite to eat and pick up the perfect gifts for your loved ones.
The Game Hub: Filled with all things gaming, The Game Hub’s one of the best places in Lake County to pick up a great gift to share with company. Step inside, and you’ll be inundated by board, card, role-playing, and video games. But don’t worry about getting overwhelmed; all the games are broken down by category, with suggestions and guides for each clearly placed.
Location: 9800 CA-53. Hours: 12-9 Seven days a week
Small Town Ceramics: If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind gift, Small Town Ceramics is the place. It’s a complete paint-your-own pottery studio. Just pick your favorite shape, from goblets to plates to tiny chihuahuas, then paint it with the perfect color or design. And, voila! You’ve got a gift you created that that’s truly original.
Location: 16189 Main St. Hours: 11 am – 5 pm Monday and Tuesday, Thursday – Saturday. Closed Sunday and Wednesday.
Aloha Bay Candles: It’s not too often that you get to pick up candles at the factory, but you get to do just that at Aloha Bay. Step in the door, and your nose fills with the aromas of essential oils and warm candle wax, all waiting to be taken home. While you’re there, be sure to peer through the window into the working factory.
Location: 16285 Main St. Hours: 9 am – 3 pm Monday through Friday
Barreda’s Lower Lake Feed Store: It’s more than just a feed store; Barreda’s has a selection of perfect gifts for the holidays. They have a selection of toys, candles, cards, and other items. It’s a great place to pick up some weed-eating gators for a loved one, a puzzle for a friend, or something special for your beloved pet.
Location: 16345 Main St. Hours: 9 am – 5:30 pm M-F, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm Saturday.
Pasquinelli’s Deli: Pasquinelli’s is the perfect place to take a break from your shopping. Step in, order a coffee and one of their quality sandwiches and relax for a few minutes, watching the people pass on the sidewalk. They also have a selection of unique gifts inside. And, if you don’t feel like cooking for the holidays, they offer catering services.
Location: 16199 Main St. Hours: 5:30 am M-F, 7:00 am – 9:30 pm Saturday.
Danny’s Wood Pit: A true hidden treasure, Danny’s barbecues the right way, with long smoking times and thoughtful preparation. But it’s got more than just ribs and pulled pork. They also offer burgers, sandwiches and vegetarian options. It also has a pleasant patio out back that serves as a great place to dig in and enjoy your meal.
Location: 9800 CA-53. Hours: 10:30 am – 7 pm Tuesday through Saturday.
La Monarca: It’s more than a fully stocked market—La Monarca also has a kitchen that serves high-quality Mexican food. I highly recommend their burritos, but it’s hard to go wrong when everything they make is handmade and full of flavor.
Location: 16200 Main St. Hours: 7 am – 7 pm Sunday through Thursday, 7 am – 8 pm Friday and Saturday.