When traveling between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, three main routes are available: 99 to the east, 5 in the middle and 101 to the west.
There also are numerous east-west routes that will get you from one north-south route to another.
But one of our favorites is 152, between Interstate-5 and Interstate-101. As California gradually hastens the pace of re-opening, a drive along 152 and a stop at Casa de Fruta is truly welcome.
Originally nothing more than a cherry stand founded by Italian immigrants in 1908, Casa de Fruta today is a major attraction of the Pacheco Pass.
There’s hearty food — including Kobe burgers and prime rib — offered at the Casa de Restaurant. Don’t forget to have a slice of marionberry pie for dessert.
At Casa de Sweets, you can select from chocolate-covered fruit and nuts, taffy, peanut brittle, caramel apples and more. (No truth to the rumor that the local dentists’ society is a sponsor.)
The Casa de Amusement area began with a double-decker merry-go-round, crafted in a classic Venetian style, and a scale model train that takes guests on a two-mile tour of the grounds. Today, there’s also a children’s playground and a panning-for-gold attraction.
Casa de Fruta also is home to a special events park, music hall and conference center, so both the 300-space R.V. Orchard Resort and the Casa de Inn come in handy for those wishing to stay overnight. There’s also a 24-hour Chevron station on the grounds.
Of course, roaming the aisles of the Casa de Fruit Stand and the Casa de Wine and Deli should be a part of every visitor’s itinerary. Wine tasting is available, and for something completely different, try the Casa de Fruta pomegranate wine.
Casa de Fruta has come a long way since its cherry stand days. Today, you could spend an hour or the better part of a day — and even stay overnight.
No matter how you decide to experience Casa de Fruta, you’re in for a fun break away from the congestion of the 5 and 101 freeways.