Escapes: Lake Tahoe, Grass Valley and more


Parties in the snow

Fireworks, parades, a snow sculpture contest and lots of parties. Sounds like SnowFest.

The 33rd annual winter carnival opens Friday and concludes March 9. It celebrates life in the High Sierra with a jam-packed scheduled – 65 events in total. This year’s theme is “Bring Back the ’80s!” so pull out those neon track suits and matching Wayfarer sunglasses to get in the spirit. A fundraising kickoff party is 5-8 p.m. at Gar Woods Grill and Pier, North Lake Boulevard, Carnelian Bay; admission is $25.

Favorite SnowFest events include a torchlight parade, uphill and downhill dash, dog pull race and polar bear swim, where brave souls dive into Lake Tahoe’s cold waters. Cost and location of activities vary. Visit for a full list of events and more information.


Animal film festival

What: A variety of independent films, documentaries, shorts and experimental pieces will be screened at the first Animal Film Festival, presented by the Center for Animal Protection & Education. The festival, which organizers hope will be annual, will attempt to raise awareness about animal treatment and mistreatment through films about wildlife and pets, as well as animals in entertainment, farming and laboratory environments.

When: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday

Where: The Center for the Arts, 314 West Main St., Grass Valley

Cost: $5-$20



Nature walk

What: Explore the Bouverie Preserve’s mixed evergreen forest and flower-studded woodland on a guided, half-day walk. The nature sanctuary covers 535 acres and is home to more than 130 species of birds. Reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis, and while there is no charge, donations can be made to support the programs at Audubon Canyon Ranch.

When: 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Bouverie Preserve, 13935 Sonoma Highway 12, Glen Ellen

Cost: Free

Information:; (415) 868-9244


Raptor migration

What: Bring binoculars and prepare to spot birds of prey on a hike led by Larry Broderick, who has spent 25 years studying, rescuing and rehabilitating raptors and is eager to share his knowledge. All ages are welcome on this four-mile trek.

When: 10 a.m. next Sunday

Where: Lynch Canyon, 3100 Lynch Road, Vallejo

Cost: Free



Travel presentation

What: Future travelers to Italy can gain valuable knowledge from Dick Mercer and Lori Martin –the owners of Experience Italy have been to the country more than 80 times. They’ll share valuable tips during their presentation “Italy on Your Own.”

When: 7-8:30 p.m. March 11

Where: Quarry Ponds Meeting Room, 5550 Douglas Blvd., Suite 160, Granite Bay

Cost: $10


– Bee staff