Friday, September 30, 2016

Visit California lifts veil on Solano County’s treasures

Daily Republic - September 30, 2016 

By From page A1 | September 30, 2016
FAIRFIELD — Visit California has pulled back the curtain on Solano County and described it as one of the state’s best-kept secrets, calling it a “treasure.”

The private nonprofit organization based in Sacramento has the singular task of promoting the state.

It recently featured California’s varied wine destinations – from San Luis Obispo to the Capay Valley and even farther north – in the same publication that this month highlights Solano County.

However, Solano County was omitted from the wine country article.

That was corrected to some degree as Suisun Valley is counted among the treasures that tourists should learn about in Solano County.

“We’ve been seeing more visitors over the past several years, as people discover we’re a secret Napa,” Ron Lanza, vice president of Wooden Valley Winery, is quoted as saying in the article. “I credit part of it to technology. Cellphone navigation helps people find us, hidden on the map.”

The article, which appeared in California Dream Big and is written by Carey Sweet, highlights the usual destination points such as Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo and the Jelly Belly Candy Company in Fairfield, but also shines a light on the recreational opportunities, “from kayaking to birdwatching, from hiking to golf.”

The message may sound new to some, but it is one Anand Patel, chief executive officer for the Fairfield Conference and Visitors Bureau, has been promoting for some time.

“We have been touting that for a long time, and my colleagues at Visit Vacaville and Visit Vallejo have been trying to send that message for a long time,” said Patel, who said he was delighted to learn Visit California viewed the area as a “hidden treasure.”

“Solano County is a destination that a lot of people do not think of to go to, but I think we are getting the word out . . . and hopefully will not be a hidden treasure for much longer,” Patel said.

The article also specifically highlights the Suisun waterfront, described as “a charming waterfront village,” the family fun of Six Flags and Jelly Belly, as well as the farm-fresh delights found in Solano County.

“Acres of almonds, wheat, olive orchards, and seed-rich sunflowers dominate this region, with some 860 farms operating in Solano County. As you drive the country roads, you’ll see plenty of farm stands offering just-picked fruits, vegetables, and nuts,” the Visit California article states.

“Or go straight to the mother lode – Cal Yee Farm of Fairfield is a virtual cornucopia inside a cozy white cottage, with shelves brimming with fruits and nuts,” it adds.

The expanding olive oil presence in the county is noted with mentions of Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company and Sepay Groves.

Visit California goes on to describe Solano County as a golfer’s paradise, listing Rancho Solano with its “scenic lakes, hilly, tree-studded terrain,” the Paradise Valley golf course, and the Golf Club at Rio Vista. It also favors the Mare Island Golf Club of Vallejo, but with a warning of sorts.

“The biggest challenge might be keeping your eyes on the ball without getting distracted by stunning
views of San Pablo Bay, the Napa River, Mount Tamalpais, and even the Golden Gate Bridge,” the article states.

Visit California ends its unveiling of Solano County’s secrets by noting all the outdoor recreation opportunities.

Sandy Person, chief executive officer of Solano Economic Development Corporation, said the exposure provided by Visit California complements the business attraction, retention and expansion efforts by her organization.

“It demonstrates that Solano County has all the things people like,” Person said.

She said this is important to business owners, who can use the amenities to recruit employees. And if that business leader learns about Solano County while being a tourist enjoying the area, that’s fine with her.

“We want to bring interest (to) and get Solano on the map,” Person said.

Reach Todd R. Hansen at 427-6932 or