Central California stories & travel reviews

The Bay Area's Best Kept Secret: Capitola-by-the-Sea

What? Never heard of Capitola? If you haven’t yet ventured that far north, you’re missing one of the Bay Area’s well-kept secrets. A quaint, colorful village, Capitola-by-the-Sea, ten minutes south of Santa Cruz, is slightly ...

Phil's Fish Market, Moss Landing, California

Catch this! If you’re on a constant search like I am for tasty cioppino, head to Phil’s Fish Market in Moss Landing, Monterey County, for delicious seafood using old-world family recipes. Phil’s Fish Market, in ...

Highway 1: San Simeon through Big Sur to Carmel

Fill up the car with gas and travel up the coast through Big Sur on Highway 1 to Carmel, one of the most scenic drives in the country. Starting at San Simeon, site of the ...

Bloodless Bullfights in Gustine, California

Gustine, in California’s San Joaquin Valley, can transport you to Old World Portugal. Matadors, cavaleiros and forcados donned in colorful old-fashioned garb along with the fiesta atmosphere preserve the culture of this distant land. Keeping ...

Highway 1: San Francisco to L.A.

After visiting family, my daughter and I decided to take the Old Highway 1 that runs along the coast from the Bay Area south to L.A. It takes you along the edges of cliffs, twisting ...

Forestiere Underground Gardens, Fresno

If I’d been living in Fresno in the early 1900s, I’d have visited Baldasare Forestiere often, especially in August. To beat the scorching heat, this Sicilan immigrant spent nearly forty years creating an underground dwelling. ...

Pit Stop in Avenal, California

On a quest for a better alternative to fast food and gas station cafes, and armed with a curiosity for old California towns, I came across the small city of Avenal during a recent road ...

The Garden Song in Elkhorn, California

Visiting the Garden Song in Elkhorn, California, halfway between Monterey and Santa Cruz, is like meandering through a five-acre hidden treasure. Dahlias in every imaginable color burst forth like the grand finale of a Fourth ...

Central Texan BBQ, Castroville, California

I’ve heard Central Texan BBQ restaurant, 10500 Merritt Street, Castroville, referred to as a “vegetarian’s nightmare.” If you do have any carnivorous tendencies, they serve the best smoked turkey and brisket I’ve ever had. Meats ...

Mission San Juan Bautista, California

Strolling through the historic town of San Juan Bautista, nestled at the foot of the Gabilan Mountains, I feel like I’m walking through the pages of a history book. Adobe structures dating to the 1700s ...

The Butterfly House, Pacific Grove

The first time I wandered past 309 9th Street in Pacific Grove, I felt like a child who had stumbled onto a magical enchanted wonderland in an otherwise typical residential neighborhood. A kaleidoscope of vivid ...

Santa Cruz Surfing Museum

Even if you can’t surf, you can catch a wave at the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, 701 West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, 467 miles north of San Diego. The museum overlooks famed surfing hotspot Steamer ...

17-Mile Drive: Carmel–Pacific Grove

This stretch of coastal highway – the 17-Mile Drive, as it’s called – is a beautiful, winding scenic route that traverses Pacific Grove and Carmel. Driving non-stop will take at least 25 minutes, but if ...

The Museum of Medical History

After visiting the Museum of Medical History, you’ll be glad you live in this century. A window to our healthcare past, these unique displays show the evolution of medical equipment and practices. Surgeries were often ...

Hilmar Cheese, California

We all know that real California is about the cheese – you know, those happy cows and all. But do you know how all that cheese is made? At Hilmar Cheese Company, the largest single-site ...

Get off the Grid in Jalama Beach

Welcome to the feeling of camping in the 1970s: Advance registration for single sites is not available at Jalama Beach Park, located west of Lompoc in Santa Barbara County. From Highway 1, the 14-mile Jalama ...

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