wine country ballooning california

Gift-Buying Getaways to Sonoma Wine Country

I’ve already done your holiday shopping for you. You’re welcome. All you need to do is book one of Sonoma Wine Country’s weekend getaway deals, stop by a few places I recommend while wine tasting (hey, you’re a giver), and you will be everyone’s favorite gifter this Christmas. I promise. So why not add some wine tasting and spa treatments to your holiday shopping schedule? There are worse ways to spend a weekend.

Le Parc Suite Hotel's Skydeck Pool & Cabanas

West Hollywood & The Sunset Strip

Donald Fagan had it right when he sang, “Drive west on Sunset to the sea…” in the famous Steely Dan tune Babylon Sisters. But only if a stay in West Hollywood is part of the journey. Officially founded in 1984 as the 84th city in Los Angeles County, West Hollywood is a young, vibrant community with a colorful and entertaining past. In WeHo, as the locals call it, you’ll find art, shopping, museums, music, dining and people watching at its absolute best.

Catalina Island, Avalon Harbor

Your 3-Day Dream Getaway to Catalina Island

Mention to any Californian that you’re heading over to Catalina Island, and invariably you’ll get this response: “Ooh, I’ve always wanted to go to Catalina! It looks amazing!” Well, if you never been to Catalina (or it’s been ages since your last visit), now is definitely the best time to visit. There’s so much to see and do, in such a beautiful and idyllic setting, that you’ll find yourself wondering what kept you away so long. Here’s everything you need to know for your 3-Day Dream Getaway to Catalina Island.

Bodie California

Bodie: California’s Most Authentic Ghost Town

“Good-bye God, I’m going to Bodie,” wrote a little girl whose family was moving to the most infamous Gold Rush boomtown in California. And if you think that’s creepy, what until you see what’s left of Bodie, one of the most authentic ghost towns in the entire West. Located about 20 miles northeast of Yosemite […]

Connolly Ranch Napa Valley Northern California

Wine Country With Kids

A weekend getaway to Napa or Sonoma County used to mean leaving the kids with Grandma. But times have changed and California’s Wine Country isn’t just for grown-ups anymore. Kids may not want anything to do with those funny looking grapes, but that doesn’t mean they won’t savor their vacation just as much as you. An area whose claim to fame is first class wine can also claim fabulous food, unforgettable parks, and quite simply some great outdoor spaces where kids can run around and be… kids.

Anderson Valley Northern California

Anderson Valley: The Perfect 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 […]

Houseboating on Shasta Lake

Your Summer Getaway to Lake Shasta

Now that summer has officially started, I figured I’d write about one of my favorite family road trips we’d go on every summer when I was a kid: Lake Shasta. As usual we’d pile up the Country Squire station wagon with camping gear and comic books, then head up I-5 in the blistering heat until […]

Muir Woods

FREE National Parks Week

If you’re already reeling from the taxes you have to pay on April 15, here’s a chance to at least recoup a little of your hard-earned money. On April 19th and 20th the entrance fees to all the national parks in the U.S. will be waived, including Pinnacles, Yosemite, Lassen, and Muir Woods. And because National Park Week (April 19-27) coincides with Earth Day (April 22nd) and National Junior Ranger Day (April 26), several parks are offering free family-oriented programs such as special ranger-led hikes and volunteer clean-up projects. Think of it as an affordable opportunity for you to be a rock-star parent, aunt, or uncle while enjoying America’s Best Idea—our national parks.

Monterey Plaza Spa Sundeck California

Seaside Spa Retreats in California

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.


Humboldt County Spring Bird Festival

More accurate than Punxsutawney Phil’s shadow, when you see bird enthusiasts unite in droves in Humboldt County you know spring has arrived. Two million birds will flock this year to Humboldt Bay, California’s largest bay north of San Francisco. During the peak of the spring bird migration, you can join them along with birding enthusiasts […]

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