This is the summer that you’re going to do that road trip you’ve always wanted to do. The one to California’s north coast so you can finally see the world’s tallest trees, take a scenic drive along the Avenue of Giants, and explore The Lost Coast. I’ve been taking summer road trips to Humboldt County since I was a kid, and I haven’t even begun to experience everything this land of superlatives has to offer. It’s one of the best family road trips in the nation—a perfect combo of natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and American kitch. Keep reading and you’ll see what I mean.
Clear your calendar for the first weekend of June and get ready to spend an action-packed weekend getaway filled with non-stop music, premium wines, hand-crafted beers, and family-friendly activities at the 32nd Annual Walnut Creek Chamber Art & Wine Festival—one of the top community festivals in the nation.
On Saturday & Sunday, June 1 & 2, Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek will sizzle with the sights, sounds, and flavors of the best Bay Area artisans, musicians, winemakers, festival foods, and the zany Grape Stomp Competition, kicking off summer fun under Walnut Creek’s sunny skies. More than 90,000 attendees are expected over the weekend, and admission is FREE!
Now that winter has passed, it’s time to start planning your summer getaways to the great outdoors. But instead of sitting on your fanny in a camp chair all weekend (not that there’s anything wrong with that), consider taking a recreational getaway that gets your blood flowing and calories burning. As a serious outdoors nut I could write a book on Northern California’s recreational getaways, but for this week’s theme I’ve narrowed it down to my seven top picks for getting some healthy exercise while exploring some of my favorite outdoor adventure destinations.
They call it Death Valley for a reason. Utterly inhuman, this scorching region of tortured rock, shifting dunes and fetid lakes is one of the hottest and most inhospitable regions in the world, an unnatural phenomenon so eerie it would make Hieronymous Bosch cringe with envy.
Which, of course, is all the more reason to come and see it for yourself, simply because there is no other place like it on the planet: a haunting, primordial enigma that is both fascinating to behold and troubling to the soul—a geologic car wreck if you may. But describing the surreal beauty of a desert is like talking dirty on the phone; you get the picture, but it’s never as good as the real thing. For that, you must come.
Picture it. You, standing in the Sonoma sunshine, looking fabulous in your Ralph Lauren sundress and wide-brimmed hat, holding a glass of Le Crema Pinot Noir while chatting with the producer of Adam and Dog about how he should have won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film, not the silly cartoon about a paper airplane. And, why yes, I will have another of those savory little artichoke tartlets. This is just one of four fabulous reasons to open your day-planner and sign yourself up for a weekend getaway to Sonoma County’s Wine Country. Keep reading and you’ll see what I mean.
We’ve all been there: You’re at work on Monday morning, listening to your co-worker tell you what an awesome time she had at the Cheese Festival in Petaluma on Sunday and how you would have loved it. Okay, so now you wish you had gone, but A) you didn’t know about it or B) you forgot to add it to your calendar. Well, now there’s no excuse. Below are my four favorite events taking place this spring in Sonoma County’s Wine Country and four great excuses to hop in the car for a fun weekend road trip. So open the calendar on your smart phone and start typing.
Tuesday Report: SPECTACULAR!! ORCAS-”KILLER WHALES!!”THE MIGHTY GIANTS “BLUE WHALES!!” HUMPBACK WHALES!! BEAUTIFUL WEATHER!! That’s a “Recent Sightings Report” from the Princess Monterey Whale Watching company. Each year from May through November, whales and dolphins are routinely spotted off the California coast, and so far this is one of the best years for sighting the big blues and playful humpbacks in recent memory. The only caveat is that they tend to feed far offshore, so you’ll need to hop on a whale watching boat to see them. So here are my picks on the best humpback and blue whale watching tour companies in Northern California. Read full article »
A trip to the Northern California coast is almost always a guaranteed great getaway, but when it also includes a luxuriating Swedish massage followed by a relaxing soak in an ocean-view hot tub with a flute of bubbly in your hand, then you’re approaching nirvana. Which is why I’ve put together a short list of my favorite coastal spa retreats from Mendocino to Big Sur, and at every price range—from reasonable to oh dear. It was a tough job, but I personally reviewed all of these spa retreats to make sure you won’t be rubbed the wrong way. Read full article »
“Good-bye God, I’m going to Bodie,” wrote a little girl whose family was moving to the most infamous Gold Rush boomtown in California. And if you think that’s creepy, what until you see what’s left of Bodie, one of the most authentic ghost towns in the entire West. Located about 20 miles northeast of Yosemite National Park, a road trip to see the legendary Bodie Ghost Town is the perfect excuse for taking a weekend getaway to the Eastern Sierra, which is ablaze with fall colors right now.
I’m always amazed at how few Californians have spent time exploring the Sonoma Coast, or even knew that Sonoma County has 76 miles of gorgeous, pristine coastline. If you’re one of those people, then it’s high time you spent a long weekend exploring one of the prettiest regions of the state, brimming with golden beaches, wine tasting, romantic lodgings, hiking trails, horseback riding, and fantastic coastal cafes, crab shacks, and restaurants. I’ve been writing about this region for more than 20 years, and if I took four days explore the best of Sonoma County’s coastline, this would be my dream itinerary…