Honoring Presidents Day, what say we hit some of the California sites with presidential names for a long weekend or even just a day trip? Some aren't named after U.S. presidents, mind you; they just happen to bear the name. Still, it beats staying home all weekend watching C-Span.
1. Cleveland National Forest: In 1908, Teddy Roosevelt christened this forest that stretches from San Diego to Riverside and Orange counties in honor of President Grover Cleveland. People come from all over the world to hike portions of the Pacific Crest Trail in the forest. Check out the view from Mount Palomar, where, when it's not hazy, you can see Catalina to the west, the desert to the east. More information: www.fs.usda.gov/cleveland
2. Fillmore: Near the Los Padres National Forest, Fillmore has the requisite turn-of-the-century downtown, which has been used to stage scenes on the TV shows "Big Love" and "CSI" and the film, "Leaving Las Vegas." Downtown boasts an historic train depot and a history museum. To the north, in Los Padres, lies the Sespe Condor Sanctuary, where the endangered species has been nursed back to health. More information: www.fillmoreca.com
3. Lincoln: Freeway-close from Sacramento, but sporting a far different vibe, this growing Placer County still has a quaint historic downtown area. Beerman Plaza is usually a hub of activity, and there are numerous bike trails and open spaces to hike close by. Designated an "All-American City," Lincoln has a city brochure that crows "There are no strangers downtown, just friendly people with welcoming smiles." More information: www.ci.lincoln.ca.us
4. Madison: At first blush, you wouldn't think there was too much to see in this rural Yolo County burg, pop. 503. Just one pump of the brake pedal and keep moving, right? Well, think again. Yelpsters give La Plazita Taqueria (17780 County Road 89) raves. Try the lengua dish. And, remember, Cache Creek Casino is right down the road in Brooks. More information: www.cachecreek.com.
5. McKinleyville: This Humboldt County town, five miles north of Arcata, formerly was called Minor until that fateful day in 1901 when President William McKinley was assassinated. With the Mad River to the south and the Pacific Ocean to the west, McKinleyville also has attractions to the east forested hiking trails, the Hammond Trail in particular. More information: www. mckinleyvillechamber.com
6. State of Jefferson: Technically, no such area exists, but don't tell the people of far Northern California and Southern Oregon that. Some locals still talk of secession. But you don't need an entry visa to enjoy such quirky towns as Weed, where you can stop at the Mount Shasta Brewing Co. and down "Mountain High IPA" and "Shastafarian Porter." Dine at the retro Hi-Lo Cafe. More information: www.jeffersonstate.com
7. Taft: If your town was originally named Moron, you would rename it Taft, too. Town officials claim they did it only to honor President William Howard Taft. In any case, Taft is in far southwest Kern County, baja Bakersfield. It is prime oil country evidenced by the Oil Worker Monument in downtown. What to do in Taft? Well, there's the West Kern Oil Museum, the Tule Elk Reserve, and you can skydive at the Taft Airport. Taft tidbit: The film "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman" was partially filmed there. More information: www.westkern-oilmuseum.org
8. Washington: This remote outpost carved into a coniferous corner of Nevada County is an outdoor's adventureland, what with the Yuba River and Tahoe National Forest close by. Stay at the Washington Hotel, built in 1857 and pan for gold in the river just past the back porch. Hidden gem: the American Coffee Pot Museum, across the street from the hotel. More information: www.washingtonhotel.net