The Best Small-Town Getaways in Northern California

The Best Small-Town Getaways in Northern California

There’s something about strolling around a small town that restores your faith in America— that, in the long run, everything’s going to be alright. It’s the kind of getaway that does your soul some good, a relaxing visit to a place where the locals nod and say hello, the shops and restaurants are locally owned, […]

A Visit To Tri-Valley

A Visit To Tri-Valley

At the top of my list of “Who knew?” weekend getaway destinations is Tri-Valley, a triangle-shaped region about 30 miles southeast from San Francisco that’s best known for its pleasant Mediterranean climate, award-winning wine region, and the historic downtown areas of Pleasanton, Livermore, and Danville. Think of it as an affordable, crowd-free, and closer alternative […]

Gold Country

Gold Country

If you’re looking to squeeze in one last family vacation before school starts, one of the best places to go is California’s Gold Country. It’s one of the most underrated and inexpensive tourist destinations in California, a winning combination of Old West ambiance, affordable B&Bs, and outdoor adventures galore. My dad used to take my […]

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Lassen Volcanic National Park

Here’s an idea: Instead of driving to Lake Tahoe again for your alpine getaway, consider a detour to one the least-visited national parks in the lower 48 states: Lassen Volcanic National Park. Okay, so maybe it doesn’t offer the same incredible scenery as Lake Tahoe (what place does?), but Lassen Volcanic National Park definitely has […]

Historical California – The Missions That Made California

Historical California – The Missions That Made California

If you consider yourself a Californian then you owe it to yourself to discover the roots of your identity, and ground zero on this journey are the historical Spanish missions of California. The original chain of 21 missions stretched from Baja California to Sonoma Valley, and all were situated a day’s travel apart on horseback […]

Secrets of Sonoma IV – Summer Adventures in Sonoma County

Secrets of Sonoma IV – Summer Adventures in Sonoma County

I get it. We need the water. But enough with the rain already. My skis are stowed in the basement, which is the official sign that I’m ready for summer—and I’m betting you are too. So for the fourth and final edition of my Secrets of Sonoma series, I’m covering all of my favorite summer […]

Spring Wildflowers

Spring Wildflowers

Now that springtime is here, it’s time to get outdoors and pay homage to Mother Nature’s handiwork. Blooming orchards, bright swaths of field mustard, and splashes of roadside poppies signal the crescendo of wildflower season, which is building to a peak now and should continue into mid- or late May on the coast and in […]

Secrets of Sonoma III – Seven Sustainable Sensations

Secrets of Sonoma III – Seven Sustainable Sensations

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, […]

SECRETS of SONOMA: Epicurean Adventures

SECRETS of SONOMA: Epicurean Adventures

When your three top talents are eating, sleeping, and criticizing, your career options are pretty limited, so it’s a good thing that I ended up being a travel writer. But it’s the eating for a living that I enjoy the most. That, and being able to share my finds with fellow food lovers. Lately I’ve […]

Kid-Friendly Museums

Kid-Friendly Museums

Some of my favorite family road trips as a kid were to places like the Exploratorium in San Francisco or Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley to play with all the hands-on science and technology exhibits. My dad was all for it because the tickets were cheap, and my sisters and I always came home […]

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