In the Loop

By DONNA MCCROHAN ROSENTHAL

You’ll find plenty to do in September, particularly with the start of a new theater season. To get a handle on planning your next adventure, consider this roundup of tips for short hops to nearby events and longer trips around the state and beyond.

To the northwest in Sacramento, Sutter’s Fort has built a unique experience around chocolate both savory and sweet for its “Feast at the Fort” that highlights a four-course-sit-down dinner prepared by Sacramento’s top chefs on Saturday, Sept. 21 (www.suttersfort.org; 916-323-7626).

Shifting from the sublime to the hilarious, Gaslight Melodrama Theatre & Music Hall in Bakersfield performs “Rosedale” (“like ‘Dallas’ but funnier”) on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Sept. 14 (www.themelodrama.com; 661 587-3377).

Down below, the Pantages in Hollywood offers Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new production “The Wizard of Oz” with all the classics plus additional songs by Webber and Tim Rice, Sept. 17-Oct 6 (hollywoodpantages.com; 800-982-2787); the L.A. Opera at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion enchants with Georges Bizet’s “Carmen” Sept. 21-Oct. 6 (laopera.com; 213-972-8001); and the L.A. County Fair in Pomona raises the bar for fun with a concert series, wine tastings and more than 600 vendors through Sunday, Sept. 29 (lacountyfair.com; 909-623-3111).

To the southwest in Fillmore on Saturday, Sept. 7, Fillmore & Western Railway combines a three-course dinner with the ’50s-themed adult murder mystery “Cirque Du Foul Play” on the only Murder Mystery Dinner Theater Train in Southern California (www.fwry.com; 805-524-2546).

In Simi Valley, the Reagan Presidential Library in collaboration with DreamWorks Studios and 25 renowned collectors hosts a special Abraham Lincoln exhibit through Monday, Sept 30. It features 250 artifacts such as Lincoln’s childhood writings, his stovepipe hat, a bloodied pillow from the night he died and costumes from the Oscar-winning DreamWorks movie (www.reaganfoundtion.org; 800-410-8354).

On the coast, Santa Barbara recently launched the “Eat This, Shoot That!” walking tour, an opportunity to explore the culinary landscape of the city’s waterfront while learning the nuances of photography from an industry professional (www.eatthisshootthat.com; 805-699-6719).

To the south, the Riverside Community Players Theater presents “Night at the Theatre” with light dinner, spirits, music, silent auction and the play “The Fox on the Fairway” to benefit Riverside Meals on Wheels on Thursday, Sept. 12 (riversidemealsonwheels.org; 951-683-7151) and San Diego Restaurant Week delivers nothing short of a gourmet’s fantasy during the week of Sept. 15-20 – “6 days, over 180 restaurants, where to start?” (sandiegorestaurantweek.com).

Going close to get far: The Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce has put together an exciting trip to Washington, D.C., and environs for April 2-8, 2014. Learn more about it at a special program, 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept 24, 120 S. Main Street in Lone Pine (RSVP by Sept 13; director@lonepinechamber.org; 760-876-4444).

Ridgecrest resident Donna McCrohan Rosenthal covers travel stories for AAA, Bakersfield Magazine and several West Coast publications. The author of 14 books, she has appeared on Oprah and A&E Biography and lectured at the Smithsonian.

Story First Published: 2013-09-04