I’m always amazed at how few Californians have spent time exploring the Sonoma Coast, or even knew that Sonoma County has 76 miles of gorgeous, pristine coastline. If you’re one of those people, then it’s high time you spent a long weekend exploring one of the prettiest regions of the state, brimming with golden beaches, […]
We’ve all stayed at nice a hotel during our vacation, but when’s the last time you stayed at a hotel that was so special it was the vacation? The seven Northern California hotels listed below offer that sort of experience. Yes, they’re expensive, but you can’t put a price on a lifetime of fond memories. […]
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.
If you’re not quite ready for summer to come to an end, and you feel the need to squeeze in one last sun-filled getaway, I have a recommendation you’re going to like: a road trip to the river communities of Sonoma County. If you’ve already been to Sonoma Wine Country you probably went wine tasting or drove along the coast, but when’s the last time you set out to explore the three rivers that flow through Sonoma County? If you do, I can promise you that many of your sentences will start with “Wow, I never knew….” – Matthew
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.
The Lost Coast is proof that if you don’t build it, they won’t come. What wasn’t built along 90 miles of pristine California coastline north of Mendocino was a road: The topography of this rugged region—steep mountain ranges abutting rocky shore—wouldn’t allow it, forcing the builders of Highway 1 to make a detour far inland. The result of this absence of asphalt is the last untamed and undeveloped stretch of coastline in California, a place so devoid of urbanization that more cows repose on its beaches than people (seriously). In fact, you can spend days roaming the coastal range and without seeing a soul, making the Lost Coast the sine qua non of “get-away-from-it-all” experiences.
If you don’t have time to go to the south of France, how about a summer getaway to beautiful, relaxing Santa Barbara? It’s no mystery why Santa Barbara’s been dubbed “The American Riviera” with its white-washed buildings topped with red tile roofs tucked between lush mountains and sparkling sea. This small city exudes warmth and friendliness. The sun shines nearly 300 days a year, making Santa Barbara a mecca for every kind of outdoor pursuit – both coastal and inland – along with an array of cultural attractions ranging from theater and dance to music and visual arts. Let’s go for a tour…
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…
We always enjoy sharing a local’s perspective on California getaways. As seasoned travelers well know, a local’s insight is always the best. This one, written by our Guest Guru and longtime San Luis Obispo resident Kathleen Forster, is sure to inspire a visit to this Central Coast gem.