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.
Green & Organic
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.
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…
On the weekend of April 20-21, more than one billion people around the globe will participate in Earth Day 2013. Charitable events will be taking place on and around this day throughout the world, and you can be a part of it via the dozens of volunteer opportunities available throughout Northern California that only require a few hours of your time, yet do a world of good. Check out the Earth Day getaways below, then rally your friends and family and help make a difference.
Spend some time in Marin County, at the “other” end of the Golden Gate Bridge, and it doesn’t take long to figure out that the redwood-shaded, coastal hill country north of San Francisco has a ridiculous number of things to do. Miles of coastal wilderness and redwood forests to explore by foot or by bike, farm-to-table restaurants and artisan food-makers, charming towns, theaters and clubs where locals like Robin Williams, Carlos Santana, and George Lucas might be on stage or in the crowd—what’s not to love about Marin? Read full article »
Creamy chevres. Sharp cheddars. Herbaceous triple crèmes. Lucky for us Californians, more and more “swoonable” cheeses (as I like to refer to them) are made right in our own backyards, particularly in and around Petaluma. In between nibbles of fresh burrata and tantalizing sheeps milk fetas, discover some of the Wine Country’s other culinary artisans, including a honey farm, award winning bread makers, and pioneering olive oil makers. Combined with a little wine tasting, it’s all the right ingredients for a wonderful weekend getaway.
An Anderson Valley winemaker once told me, “If you see redwoods growing, Pinot Noir can’t be far away.” Thanks to the cooling influence of the fog that follows the Navarro River through much of Anderson Valley, grapes like Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer are able to flourish amongst vast groves of verdant redwoods. It’s one of the prettiest regions in California, and produces some of our finest wines. And while Anderson Valley doesn’t have the quantity or glitz of Napa Valley wineries, it does have far more intimate tasting rooms, warm and friendly locals, and enough great dining options for a very memorable—and romantic—weekend getaway.
So there you are, sitting in your office or cubical on a sunny day, wishing you were working somewhere, anywhere else right now. Like on a small family farm for instance, planting strawberries and picking pears in dirty jeans and warm sunshine. It’s not an impossible dream you know. Mavericks such as Dee Harley of Harley Farms have pursued their passion for life beyond office walls and made it work.
So beyond the obvious benefits of taking a weekend getaway to a family farm—fresh produce, scenic drives, baby goats—is the incentive of inspiration, of meeting people who, even in these troubling economic times, are happily living off the land. Read full article »
Thursday, April 22, marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, a nationwide movement designed to create awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment. With an abundance of charitable events taking place on and around this day, there are fantastic volunteer opportunities available throughout Northern California that only require a few hours of your time, yet do a world of good. Check out the Earth Day getaways below, then grab some friends and family members and help make a difference. Read full article »
At what point does a person become so passionate about honey bees that he decides to devote his life to making honey? Or baking the perfect loaf of bread? Or growing carnivorous plants? I’ve always admired people who had the guts and determination to exchange their white collars for green thumbs, move to the country, and pursue their passion of making goat cheese or growing organic mushrooms. There’s always an inspiring lesson to learn when you meet these mavericks of the “locavore” movement, and Sonoma County is ground zero for learning the difference between Safeway and the Sonoma way. Read full article »