TRAVEL FAR, STAY CLOSE: The Golden State absolutely blooms with bashes that are tied to distant and not-so-distant lands. If you want to celebrate Danish Days, you only need make your way to Solvang over a certain weekend in September. If you want to do Mardi Gras, with vim, whimsy, and beads, Nevada City is a pretty nifty place. And as for marking that mid-March occasion, the one with the shamrocks, parades, Irish coffees, and green beer? There are so many merry doings around California, but one of the sweetest is in Murphys. The Calaveras County burg takes time each St. Patrick's Day to "honor its Celtic heritage" with a bagpipe-filled parade down Main Street. Add to that something else Murphys is known for, beverages and delicious bites, and you have a convivial party that draws fans from well beyond the Sierra foothills.
BUT TAKE NOTE: The 2017 parade is happening the day after St. Patrick's Day, on Saturday, March 18. It's all free, and the whole shindig'll run for seven hours, starting at 10 in the morning. In addition to the beautiful, always stirring bagpipes, you'll see horses on parade, and vintage autos, and more small-town groups, the kind of participants that lend a lot of local coolness to an annual event like this one. And will you make time, while in Gold Country, to head up to Volcano to see Daffodil Hill? March 17 is the opening date for the popular, buttery-bloom'd attraction. Here's the info on that, just in case you decide to make a two-dayer of your getaway. (Why not? It's spring, or nearly, so three cheers and erin go bragh.)