In my early 20s I took the requisite college student’s pilgrimage to Europe, exploring its finer train stations and sleeping on the premier park benches from London to Istanbul. I was relatively anonymous—just another tanned and skinny, blond and blue-eyed American with a backpack. That is, until I crossed into the former Eastern Bloc. The […]
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. – Matthew
We may be the most powerful and influential nation in the world, but when it comes to the art of relaxing, America lags far behind. Most of us have yet to discover what the Native Americans, Japanese, and many other cultures have known for centuries—that immersing one’s body in a natural hot spring is incredibly rejuvenating to the body and spirit.
In the past, most hot spring resorts were havens for hippies and New Age types, but these days more and more mainstreamers are discovering the calming effects of a good mineral soak. In Northern California there’s a hot spring resort for every type of person—luxury spas, New Age retreats, pro-nudity spas, Japanese bathhouses, and even inexpensive mom-and-pop enterprises.
Hot Springs are one of the rare benefits of living in an earthquake zone. Along California’s fault line, a mere 4 miles below the earth’s crust, lies an enormous magma core that superheats the mineral-rich ground water and brings it gushing to the surface. This isn’t just tepid tap water, mind you, but mineral-enriched, spring-fed, naturally heated nectar that seeps into your pores, erases your worries, and turns your skin baby-soft. Give it a try—your body will love you for it.
It always amazes me to meet people who’ve lived in California for years and have never been to Yosemite National Park. But trying to explain the majesty of Yosemite Valley in words is impossible; you simply must experience it firsthand, and early spring—when the wildflowers are going nuts—is the best time to visit. Here’s what you need to know…
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 […]
Palm Springs in the summer? It certainly isn’t the place to go for ocean breezes and kite-surfing, but if you’re looking for a smokin’ hot deal to match the sizzling temperatures, summer is the time to go. As a kid I loved spending my July 4th birthday in Palm Springs with no crowds, hours of […]
On the weekend of April 20-21, more than one billion people around the globe will participate in Earth Day 2013. Charitable events will taking place on and around this day throughout the world, and you can be a part of it via the dozens of volunteer opportunities available throughout Northern California that only require a few hours of your time, yet do a world of good. Check out the Earth Day getaways below, then rally your friends and family and help make a difference.
Wine country weekends and romance go hand in hand. Whether you’re significant other is trying to score points or get out of the doghouse, you really can’t go wrong. But there comes a time when you try shaking things up a bit! Leave the husband or boyfriend at home (you can blame the idea on […]
Now that winter is upon us (and how), it’s time to plan some indoor (and warm) getaways to get you out of the house. So this week’s travel topic is about my favorite museums in Northern California. As the author of the Frommer’s California guidebook for the past 15 years, I’ve been to just about […]
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.