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SF Chronicle Discovers Winters

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This article appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on Nov. 11, 2010

Main Street and Railroad Avenue, Winters

Stephanie Wright Hession

Thursday, November 11, 2010

When discovering the hidden gem of Winters, dispense with your notions about small towns. Established in 1875 and incorporated in 1898, it is historic and endearing, a town where gracious residents make newcomers feel welcome. Its 19th century buildings on Main Street and Railroad Avenue feel like Mayberry R.F.D., but there’s a sophisticated edge, thanks to an artisan community, galleries, shops, wine-tasting rooms, wonderful restaurants and live music venues.

- Stephanie Wright Hession, 96hours@sfchronicle.com

1. The Clayground

7 E. Main St., Studio 7B: Ceramicist Shannon Moore (pictured above), who studied painting and art history, and potter Rebecca Bresnick Holmes, who introduces her students to clay by teaching hand-building and wheel-throwing techniques, partnered to create a ceramic studio where children, individuals and groups explore clay. http://www.clayground.biz/.

2. Rotary Park

East Main Street and Railroad Avenue: Pack a lunch and sit at a picnic table under a shade tree at Rotary Park. A grand white gazebo lends a vintage feel, and benches provide a spot for people watching. Behind the Winters Community Center, you’ll find the J. Robert Chapman Memorial Bridge and the Putah Creek Walk and Nature Trail.

3. J. Robert Chapman Memorial Bridge

Railroad Avenue: After refurbishing this steel railroad bridge – constructed in 1906 by the Southern Pacific Railroad – and transforming it into a pedestrian and bicycle path, the city of Winters renamed it to honor J. Robert Chapman, a former mayor and council member.

4. Cloth Carousel

9 Main St.: Contemporary, traditional and retro quilts decorate the walls of a shop for both quilters and fiber artists. On its shelves, you’ll find brightly colored fabrics depicting abstract designs, cups of coffees, jelly beans, a fish going fishing, pink monkeys and more. (530) 795-2580, http://www.clothcarousel.com/.

5. Root Stock Gifts

22 Main St.: The philosophy of this new gift shop, and future wine-tasting room, is offering locally produced wines, olive oils and other items from four neighboring regions, reflective of Winters’ Spanish, Italian, French and German cultural heritage. There are also Spanish ceramic vases, garlic keepers and oilcloths. (530) 794-6008, http://www.rootstockgifts.com/.

6. Buckhorn Steak & Roadhouse

2 Main St.: In the red brick building originally housing the DeVilbiss Hotel, this popular restaurant features Angus steaks, aged for 42 days and hand-cut on site; generous portions; attentive service; and a dining room containing roomy booths and walls adorned with animal busts. (530) 795-4503, http://www.buckhornsteakhouse.com/.

PARKING

Free, two-hour street parking, 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. daily in downtown Winters. Free parking in business and public parking lots also available.

GETTING THERE

By car from San Francisco: Take Interstate 80 east across the Bay Bridge. Exit at Interstate 505 north toward Winters/Redding. Take the Highway 128 west/Winters/Davis exit, turn left on to Highway 128 west/East Grant Avenue and turn left on to Railroad Avenue. Continue to Main Street.

GOOD TO KNOW

Located in the former Winters Opera House, the Palms Playhouse hosts concerts from rock to folk to jazz to blues to country to bluegrass. 13 Main St., Winters. (530) 795-1825, http://www.palmsplayhouse.com/.

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This article appeared on page G Р31 of the San Francisco Chronicle

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