Wildflowers + Rails: Solano County Spring

Pass by fields dotted with goldfields and sheep's sorrel, near Fairfield.

THE TRUTH IS... that you may not be able to pick out a sheep's sorrel blossom from a moving train, or a goldfield, or a clutch of brass buttons, but... Now hang on one second. Maybe you're all about brass buttons, and goldfields, and sheep's sorrel, and you wouldn't want anyone assuming that you don't know your regional wildflowers, through and through. To that we do doff our hat, because the pleasures of nature, while considerable throughout the calendar, are something truly special when the first full month of springtime arrives. That's April, of course, 'round these parts, a four-week stretch that sends a flurry of fans who happen to be wild about wildflowers out into the meadows and foothills of California. And while tromping about — delicately, of course, given the blossoming situation on the ground — is a lovely way to catch rays and view petals, there are, in certain situations, ways to soak in all things wildflower from the window of a historical train. Let's visit...

SOLANO COUNTY, and the Western Railway Museum, and those old-fashioned Scenic Limited trains, which will chugga-chugga-toot-toot by areas known to be visited by blossom-y plants come April. The train is running on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from the first day of the month through to April 30, so gather your group and hatch a happy plan. The Sacramento Northern mainline'll serve as the rails, and you should be able to spy Mt. Diablo in the distance (and the picturesque Montezuma Hills, too). But will you excitedly call out "goldfield" and "brass buttons" whenever you see them from your window? It's a burbly, warm-hearted, pretty dang excitable time of year, what with shrubs and trees and the world bursting with fresh beauty. So bring your wildflower smarts, and your love of spending an hour on a train, to Solano County in April 2017.

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