Northern California

Filoli Gardens, California

With the fragrance of wisteria in the air, one million daffodils in full bloom stand brightly in meadows near the Santa Cruz Mountains. At Filoli Gardens, forty-eight varieties of daffodils – including 65,000 golden dawns ...

Spring in Napa

Visiting Napa Valley in the spring brings some unexpected surprises. The off-season in Napa means fewer cars on the road, giving you more time to enjoy the scenery and the tasting rooms — crowd-free. Wine ...

Montana to Tecate: Adventures by Motorcycle

This story is dedicated to the memory of K.P. Ward, who died unexpectedly and tragically on December 22, 2010. Finally, here it is: the start of my summer vacation of 1987, and I just finished ...

Tranquil Pacifica, California

Another quick jaunt north is the scenic town of Pacifica, California. As a student at San Francisco State University, I once lived here eons ago, but it is still as quaintly scenic and tranquil a ...

Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, California: A Gourmet Ghetto

A trip to the East Bay Area and Berkeley makes for a wonderful weekend getaway. Fly to Oakland and take the Richmond BART train from the airport into Berkeley. Seven easy blocks north of the ...

Walkable San Francisco

On a recent trip to San Francisco, I rediscovered what a great town it is for walking. The weather was miserable on the day of my arrival, reminding me of Mark Twain's quote that "the ...

Side Trip

Coming back from Point Reyes, in no hurry, and decide to turn left toward the Sacramento River delta. As river meets greater San Francisco Bay at Carquinez Strait, there lies the unincorporated town of Crockett, ...

Stay There

I mentioned last week that I was on my way to Point Reyes. There’s a birding festival headquartered in Point Reyes Station, a small, unincorporated town set next to the park. Bird festivals are everywhere, ...

On the Way to Pt. Reyes

If you’re driving north on I-5 and make the left turn onto I-580 heading toward the Bay Area, you may notice, just before you climb the last slight grade into Hayward, a prosperous suburb by ...

The Winchester Mystery House, San Jose

Do you long for an excursion into a world rich with mystery and a healthy dose of the supernatural? On a nondescript street in San Jose stands one of the most fascinating homes in the ...

Avenue of the Giants, California

The bus spit me out in the small lumber town of Rio Dell. It was nearly 3 p.m., but the weather was fair and my demeanor expansive. I called my mom and ate a few ...

Biking Tahoe (and Other Activities)

For some, a visit to Lake Tahoe means time away from the frenetic scenes of everyday life. Libation in hand, it’s a time to listen to the wind waft through swaying pine trees, to enjoy ...

June Lake, CA

“We’re going to June Lake!” We tell that to friends often – we travel to the Eastern Sierras up Hwy. 395 at least four times a year. “Where’s that?” most say. By simply describing it ...

Japanese Tea Gardens, San Francisco

An oasis of serenity exists in the midst of bustling San Francisco. A feeling of peace will envelop you as you stroll through the Japanese Tea Gardens in Golden Gate Park. Meandering along quiet paths ...

Mendocino, California

If you’re feeling stressed and want to step back to a time when life was simpler and more tranquil, a trip to the small coastal town of Mendocino might be just what you need. Trying ...

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