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A Little Bit of History and R&R All Rolled Into One

You needn't pack your Outback and hightail it all the way to the farthest reaches of the Lost Coast for a refuge from the hustle and bustle of San Francisco living. In fact, as little as an hour's drive east will land you in the remote and rustic Lockeford, a blink-and-you'll-miss-it kind of place encapsulated by cherry tree orchards and wide expanses of nothingness. This classic Delta town has just one of everything--one bank, one market, one antique store and one perfectly charming inn. And the inn in itself--chock full of history and quirks of its own--is enough of an excuse for a weekend jaunt to Lockeford.

You’ve never met two nicer B&B owners than Lani and Richard Eklund, who run the Locke House with their daughter Kerri. The darling duo came to town from Virginia to save the ancestral home of the Locke family, who had built a legacy in the Central Valley during the nineteenth century. After one serious renovation, the Eklunds turned the house--erected in the 1860s with nine bedrooms to accommodate Dr. Dean Jewett Locke’s 13 children and wife--into four bed-and-bath suites with remarkable clawfoot tubs, custom-made armoires, televisions, fireplaces, hair dryers, CD players and antique beds. And they managed to maintain its old-fashioned charm while still allowing guests modern comforts like wireless Internet, a DVD player VCR in the living room, board games, and washer and dryer.

On the other side of the kitchen is the Water Tower Suite, which is massive and boasts a four-poster canopy queen bed, a sitting area, satellite TV, and its own spiral staircase that leads up to a sunroom. Perfect for a honeymoon or just a romantic weekend with your honey, you can book the Water Tower Suite, which is detached from the wing housing the other four rooms, and never see another soul if that's your desire. In the downstairs of the main house, there are parlors and a dining room for guest use. Many of the house’s accoutrement—pews, lithographs, poor box, hat rack—are still in tact from the 1800s and early 1900s. Two pianos grandly occupy space downstairs, and those aspiring Chopins are invited to tickle the ivories as they please.

The inn sits on a couple acres of verdant land, perfect for sipping tea on sunny days atop one of the antique rocking chairs on the front porch. Lani cooks up one mean multi-course breakfast that will take care of your need to eat for the remainder of the day and beat out any brunch establishment within 100 miles; eggs benedict and orange French toast with toasted walnuts and seasonal berries are her specialties. After you eat, ask Lani and Richard for the full tour of the lush grounds with all original trees, which includes an introduction to Dr. Locke’s medical equipment and a visit to Richard’s barn where he works on his cars and plane parts (he’s an aeronautical engineer). And if you're the restless type, nearby Lodi has a delightful downtown area with several quality dining establishments, a wine bar and other dives, and even a cinema. For more information on the Inn at Locke House, visit the website at www.theinnatlockehouse.com or call 209-727-5715.