Your Upper Lake and Northshore Holiday Shopping Guide

Lake County is known for some spectacular views, and there are few better than the one from Highway 20 between Clearlake Oaks and Upper Lake. There, the road, etched from the mountainside, winds along the shores of Clear Lake, past the narrows, and along the broad lake basin before heading into the towns of Nice and Upper Lake. Mt. Konocti towers over the lake and, depending on the season and time of day, may be covered in snow or glowing deep purple with the sunset. It’s a drive meant to savor, enjoy, and remember with several photos. And on this stretch of the highway, you’ll be sure to find some incredible holiday gifts that you won’t be able to get anywhere else. Here are a few great suggestions. 

  1. Lakeside Art and Gifts in Lucerne’s Harbor Village boasts spectacular views of Mt. Konocti. Run by a collective of nine different artists, the shop is filled with handmade, original pieces, all reasonably priced. Everything in the shop is unique and one-of-a-kind. You’ll certainly find something perfect here for your special someone.
  2. A visit to the Lunchbox Museum in Nice is like getting a chance to watch all your favorite childhood television shows again. Owner Deb Clarke’s collection of lunchboxes spans from The Man from U. N. C. L. E. to Star Wars to Korg. But there’s more than just lunchboxes at the museum. Inside is a full collection of retro Americana, and almost everything is for sale. Looking for a nostalgic gift? Look no further than here. 
  3. Speaking of nostalgia, one place you have to stop is at Vintage Antiques in Upper Lake. With 10,000 square feet of unique items, rarities, and the unusual, it’s a perfect place to pick up a gift. Plus, on the first Saturday of each month, Country Barn Auctions next door holds their First Saturday Sale, and the parking lot fills with antiques and sundry items, all waiting to be wrapped in paper and put under the tree. 
  4. If you’ve got a Dungeons and Dragons fan in your life, you have to stop by The Dragon’s Den in Upper Lake. It’s filled with lots of themed gifts, plus a large selection of Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and lots of other imagination-based games to enjoy. The one thing you won’t find here are video games. But trust me; you won’t miss them once you enter the Dragon’s Den.
  5. Just down the road from The Dragon’s Den, you’ll find Upper Lake Hobby Toys. Here you’ll find a great selection of RC vehicles, from rock crawlers to airplanes. If smaller toys are more your thing, you’ll find a plethora of Hot Wheels, Legos, science STEM projects, models, and Nerf guns. 

Of course, doing so much shopping is guaranteed to make a person hungry. Here are a few great restaurants on the Northshore you can enjoy. 

  1. Mad Mac’s in Clearlake Oaks serves unique, hearty, and decidedly tasty food. Plus, you’ll find mac and cheese in some of the better items. For example, try the Biggin Mac burger, a hand-ground patty layered with house-made mac and cheese, double cheddar, and Boar’s Breath’s homemade BBQ sauce, all on a perfectly toasted bun.
  2. If you’re looking for something smoky, head to Romi’s Brew and BBQ in Nice. Their ribs are delightful, falling off the bone. And you have to try the Whole Family Burger. It’s got beef, a thick slice of ham, a fried egg, onion rings, tomatoes, pickles, lettuce and cheese. This burger requires multiple napkins and is definitely not what you would want to choose for a first date. 

If you end your shopping in Upper Lake, you can always swing by The Blue Wing Saloon, located just a few steps away from The Dragon’s Den. The Blue Wing serves quality California cuisine and is a perfect place to kick back and relax. They have live music five nights a week and often fill up, so be sure to call ahead.

Jonah Wakefield

Jonah David Wakefield is a writer for The Bloom.

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