Tunes and Trains: A Nature-Nice Father’s Day

Grass Valley hosts a long-running music festival while the Skunk Train hosts a barbecue.

Shutterstock/Skunk Train

A DRIVE WITH DAD: Sunday drives aren't just a quaint concept from a long-ago sepia-toned film, one that touted the simpler pleasures of life. Some people still engage in a pleasant hour-long outing, the better to go have an ice cream or see a view or just get out of the house and into new territory. The Sunday drive concept truly takes hold on the warmer holidays, those occasions where eating in a restaurant or making for a golf course or zoo is what people tend to do, if not in droves than in large numbers. Father's Day, falling, as it does, on the third Sunday in June, is a prime day for the Sunday drive, but if your pops is more a nature person, or a train person, or a tunes lover, rather than a brunch buff, there are choices built around his interests. Like all holidays, Father's Day does not have to be one-size-fits-all-ian, and there are prime happenings around Northern California, and Gold Country, that may make his holiday even happier. You say Dad likes the rails? Or bluegrass? Then go to...

FORT BRAGG... where the historic Skunk Train has a Father's Day train on the schedule. We're not sure if the on-board balladeer will sing songs of paternal affection and fatherly adventures -- maybe if you make a request, the warbler shall -- but there will be plenty of redwoods to see, and perhaps some animals, too, from the storied tracks. Plus? A barbecue, too, at Northspur (barbecues are pretty classic on the Father's Day scale). Let's also add that the Father's Day trains not only leave from Fort Bragg but from Willits, too. Did Dad get you a model train for Christmas, long ago? Yeah, this is his thing, then.

GRASS VALLEY: Rare is the Father's Day event that extends beyond the day itself (which is June 21 this year). But this four-day Father's Day Festival does just that, in northern Gold Country, and the theme? Sweet bluegrass and rootsy sounds. Camping out and "jamming" -- oh yeah -- are also on the woodsy docket. If your pops introduced you to banjos and fiddles early on, again, you're in the sweet spot with this one. Plus, how many true four-day festivals does Father's Day get? Jam on, big-hearted bluegrassers.

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