Downtown Woodland on a festival day


Downtown Woodland on a festival day

Woodland, on the Way North

Wakeboarding Thrills, Great Food, and Golf in Yolo County

This summer, you may find yourself driving north toward Sacramento or even Oregon. On your way you’ll pass by the very charming town of Woodland, California. Here you’ll find an updated historic downtown area with great restaurants and shopping. Very good golf and reasonable lodging are close by as well.

The Town

Woodland traces its roots all the way back to the great Gold Rush, which created so much prosperity in the Sacramento area. Unlike its hilly neighbors to the east, this town was based upon agriculture not gold. The downtown area has an Old West feel similar to the village of Arroyo Grande. There are several great restaurants to pick from and antique shopping that would easily take up several hours.

The Hotel

We chose the Best Western Shadow Inn on this visit and were pleasantly surprised. The hotel is well kept and very clean, with remodeling having been completed a few years ago. The deluxe rooms offer more space and two queen beds. There are only three hotels of quality to pick from in Woodland, and the Shadow Inn is perhaps the best. From now on when we head north to Oregon, I plan on staying here overnight to break up the trip. Visit and search Woodland for complete details.

Mojo's Kitchen 428
Click to enlarge photo


Mojo’s Kitchen 428

The Food

For fine dining, downtown’s Kitchen 428 is an excellent choice. Owner Christy Hayes has cornered the high-end market here with this upscale farm-to-fork” restaurant. This is the kind of quality you might expect in Santa Barbara, or San Francisco for that matter. We dined on rib eye steak and Skuna Bay salmon with great results on both. The service was excellent, and we learned many of the servers attend UC Davis.

Kitchen 428 is set in the historic district of downtown Woodland and features brick walls and hardwood floors. We were there on a weekday night, and they were fairly busy, which is always an indication of success in the restaurant business. Go to for further information.

A bit more casual and just a few blocks from downtown is Maria’s Cantina. This is a classic Mexican/Southwestern-themed restaurant with a wide variety of menu choices. We chose the fish and shrimp tacos, which were both as good as anything I have ever had. The homemade salsa they serve with the chips was so good I almost did not make it to the entrée. Maria’s has a very comfortable interior with plenty of booths. The atmosphere was festive with mostly locals who were no doubt regulars. Writing this down has given me the urge to return for an encore. For complete details visit

The Golf

Yolo Fliers Club is about five minutes to the west of Woodland’s downtown area. This is a 100-year-old private golf club that does allow outside play. The traditional tree-lined golf course was in excellent condition on our recent visit. Driving the ball straight is a must here for the first 13 holes. The course opens up a bit at the end.

Most of the course has no homes in sight, and the location is definitely rural. I found this to be a very peaceful place to spend a few hours. See how many different kinds of birds you can notice or hear on this visit.

This course has excellent practice facilities in case you wanted to spend a couple hours in a very inviting clubhouse as well. The golf course was founded by airplane enthusiasts, and there is an airport adjacent to the course. There is a lot of memorabilia commemorating the founders both inside the clubhouse and on the grounds. It would be worth the trip to the Woodlands area just to visit this golf course. Go to for more information.

The Wakeboard

Velocity Island Park is a state-of-the-art cable park allowing both beginners and pros to practice wakeboarding. The owners traveled all over the U.S. to get it just right at this new facility, which is the only one of its kind in Northern California. Your youngsters will know all about this, and you can send them to to make plans.

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