A winemaker put it best: Lake County is a blossoming appellation. Whether that means it was once a thriving resort that is suffering from temporary economic decline or it is in its emerging growth phase is unclear. But you can tell just driving around that locals do not have a passion for keeping their homes and business updated. Another thing that holds the community back is that the toughest criminals get paroled to Clearlake (one word is the name of the town at the southern tip of Clear Lake). This explains why you see lots of loitering in fast food parking lots, strung out people hitchhiking on the highway, and middle-aged tattooed smokers hanging out in parks in the middle of the workday.
But that means Lake County has a lot of potential. Kelseyville, for example, has a few good eateries, wine tasting rooms, and antique stores all in a few strollable blocks. Lakeport and Upper Lake have the same as well as one or two beautiful hotels. Check out the Clear Lake Bed and Breakfast in Lakeport or the Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake with its festive Blue Wing Saloon restaurant hosting many community events. Take a leisurely drive around the lake to envision its potential and visit while prices are lower than most other blossoming wine regions.