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.
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 »
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…
Looking for an easy, breezy romantic getaway? Well, picture this: 7.8 miles of sandy beaches, crashing waves, breath-taking views of the Pacific and sea lions, too. The artist enclave of Laguna Beach offers an eclectic fusion of sandy coves, stunning coastal bluffs, delectable treats, high fashion, coated with a surfer cool sheen. Halfway between L.A. and San Diego, Laguna Beach is the ideal choice for lazy walks, impromptu paddleboard lessons and a great opportunity to relax and enjoy one of the most resplendent spots on the California coast.
by Guest Guru Nancy Geller
If romance is your goal, Ojai is your destination. And it all starts with a sunset. It’s a fleeting occurrence, but sunset in Ojai is just about as stunning as it gets. Twelve miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, the city of Ojai lies in a small valley, north of Ventura and east of Santa Barbara. Since Ojai is aligned with an east-west mountain range, it’s one of few spots on earth that have a “Pink Moment” just as the sun is setting. The vanishing sun creates a ribbon of pink for several minutes on the bluffs at the east end of the Ojai Valley. It is a romantic, rare and resplendent moment that can only happen in Ojai.
As if making plans for a romantic Valentine’s Day isn’t hard enough, it always seems to fall on a weekday. And if you haven’t noticed already, this Valentine’s Day is on a Thursday (How rude!). So for most of us working stiffs who have to go to work on Friday, a trip to the coast is out of the question. The easy answer: A Stay-n-Play Valentine’s Getaway (patent pending) to a hotel that’s an easy drive from home and work. Here’s a great example….
So you’re going to take your lover to a fancy restaurant on Valentine’s Day, eh? How original. C’mon people, let’s spice it up a bit. Let’s plan the kind of romantic getaway that will make you look like the most thoughtful person on the planet. This year Valentine’s Day falls on Thursday, so that gives you both a weekday and weekend opportunity to woo and wow your better half with one of our special Valentine’s Day getaways that will keep you out of the doghouse for months (well, for weeks at least).
It’s still there. In your closet. That sassy Kate Spade dress or Hugo Boss suit you bought at Nordstrom last year that’s just waiting for an excuse to be worn. Well, here’s your excuse: On March 3, at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek, the California Symphony will be performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, hailed as the most admirable, singular, artistic, and complex Beethoven concerto ever. To watch San Francisco Symphony’s Donato Cabrera conduct this renown orchestra—led by award-winning pianist Haochen Zhang—is a rare opportunity. To experience this level of talent for as little as $35 is a miracle.
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.
Some of the best memories I have as a kid growing up in Sacramento include piling into the Country Squire station wagon (Seatbelts? What seatbelts?) and taking road trips to the mountains or coast. Every trip was a mini-adventure filled with discovery and danger (Don’t make me pull this car over!). Even now I still get that tingle of anticipation as I load up the car with luggage and hit the open road to anywhere but my office. So in the spirit of good times and grand adventures, I’d like to share you five of my favorite scenic drives in Northern California. Read full article »