What's great in wine, beer, fine dining,
places to stay, & places to visit
in California State

Land ho, Matey. After a rigorous journey on the waters of San Francisco Bay, America's Cup competitors and fans are invited to America's premier wine, spa, and coastal destination for a little R&R - Sonoma County style.Bodega Bay boats PicmonkeyCommercial fishing boats at Bodega Bay.

Known for its more than 350 wineries, miles of gorgeous Pacific Ocean coastline, and some of the most fertile earth in California, Sonoma County has been welcoming sailors and landlubbers alike since, well, since Sir Francis Drake landed in Northern California in 1579, beginning a long, rich maritime history.

Bunk down for the night

Reach back into history and experience a military-style R&R at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, in Sonoma Valley. The resort's rich wellness history stretches back hundreds of years, when Native Americans discovered the natural underground hot mineral waters. Developed as a resort in the late 1800s, the property underwent many ups and downs.

During World War II the hotel fell under the control of the Navy. It became an R&R site for sailors and marines until 1945. Various incarnations followed, including the use of the Inn by famous sports teams as a training headquarters.

Why should sailors and sailing fans choose Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn today? Simple - the Inn is the only full-service resort offering Michelin-star dining, an award-winning spa, and championship golf amenities to visitors with discerning tastes.

Details: Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, 100 Boyes Blvd., Sonoma, CA 95476, 707-938-9000, 866-540-4499, www.fairmont.com/sonoma

If you aren't quite ready to leave the sea behind, visit Sonoma County's western border - more than 55 miles of dramatic coastline. Bodega Bay Escapes vacation home rentals offer ocean-front homes.

These homes have some of the best views in the Bodega Bay area, and the proximity to the beach is second to none. Get a front-row seat to the Northern California coast in a cozy beach cottage. Each of the privately owned homes is uniquely appointed and equipped for comfort and leisure. Many homes have private outdoor hot tubs and free wireless internet service. All homes are furnished with full kitchens, linens, and no added cleaning fees. Choose from casual beach cottages along the Sonoma Coast, or distinctive golf course homes at The Links at Bodega Harbour.

Details: Bodega Bay Escapes, 707-875-2600, 877-809-7819, www.bodegabayescapes.com

Yo ho ho and a bottle of . . . red

Dry Creek Vinyd Fume label PicmonkeyVisiting famed wineries in Sonoma County doesn't mean you have to give up nautical ties. Dry Creek Vineyard patriarch, Dave Stare, combines his two passions: winemaking and sailing. Started in 1972, the winery was the first to plant Sauvignon Blanc in the Dry Creek Valley wine region and is renown for its efforts with that grape, bottled in the Fumé Blanc style, as well as when labeled Sauvignon Blanc.

Dry Creek Vineyard also offers a proprietary red blend appropriately named, The Mariner. The 2008 vintage was just released and has garnered numerous awards.

Stare's passion for sailing includes sharing it with others. In fact, Sonoma State University has a sailing team that was founded by Stare.

Details: Dry Creek Vineyard, 3770 Lambert Bridge Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448, 707-433-1000, www.drycreekvineyard.com

Sailors and winemakers share a strong sense of passion to take care of the environment. Helping the ocean, as well as the land, is Iron Horse Vineyards, which runs its Healthy Ocean Project with leading ocean conservation groups.

The winery produces its vintage Blanc de Blancs Ocean Reserve, created in partnership with National Geographic to help save the ocean. Iron Horse contributes $4 from each bottle sold to National Geographic's Ocean Initiative - establishing marine protected areas and reducing overfishing around the world. For more information, visit ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/i-am-the-ocean-wine.

Details: Iron Horse Vineyards, 9786 Ross Station Road, Sebastopol, CA 95472, 707-887-1507, www.ironhorsevineyards.com

While in Sonoma County, visit the home of America's favorite Chardonnay. Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates has been anchored in Sonoma County for nearly 30 years with the understanding that the cold Pacific Ocean allows the winemaking team to make superior quality wines.

Much like sailors on the sea, Kendall-Jackson's staff treasures what the ocean provides. That means the cool, maritime breezes and coastal fog that protect the grapes and coax the most intense and complex varietal flavors. Stop by Kendall-Jackson during your shore leave and experience a unique wine and food pairing adventure that will thrill even the most able-bodied sailor.

Details: Kendall-Jackson Wine Center, 5007 Fulton Road, Fulton, CA 95439, 707-571-8100, 866-287-9818, www.kj.com

Become a landlubber for the day: All aboard the Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley. One of the Bay Area's favorite modes of transportation now roams the quaint streets and vineyards of gorgeous Sonoma Valley, offering open-air views that allow guests to experience wine country like they never have before. Built from historic blueprints, the Sonoma Wine Trolley is a motorized replica of a late 1890s San Francisco cable car, the type that still runs on San Francisco's California Street cable car line.

Visitors can now choose from two routes. The new route begins at the historic Sonoma Plaza, meanders into Glen Ellen and Kenwood area, including stops at Benziger Family Winery, Imagery Winery, Paradise Ridge in Kenwood, and Deerfield Ranch Winery. The Trolley's original route includes stops at four boutique wineries located in and around the town of Sonoma. Both tours include a gourmet lunch catered by the acclaimed the girl & the fig restaurant.

The Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley experience begins with a daily passenger pickup at 10:30 a.m. from Sonoma Plaza. Arrangements for pickup at several Sonoma hotel locations can be made prior to 10:30 a.m.

Details: Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley, 707-938-2600, www.sonomavalleywinetrolley.com

Ports of Call

Sonoma County's southern border is San Pablo Bay, which leads into the San Francisco Bay. The influence on the region from the bays, rivers, and oceans can't be overstated, whether it was the possible landing of Sir Francis Drake in Bodega Bay in 1579, the arrival of the Russians from Alaska to establish Fort Ross in 1812, or the rechristening of the Petaluma Slough to the Petaluma River in 1959, making it eligible for federal dredging, and larger ship traffic.

Here are some spots to sail to, or in, Sonoma County:Spud Point Crab Co PicmonikeyThey also make the best clam chowder.

On the Pacific Coast, Spud Point Marina, in Bodega Bay, is located on the scenic Sonoma County coast less than 50 nautical miles from the center span of the Golden Gate Bridge. The quaint town is a perfect home base for sampling all that Sonoma County has to offer, from the rugged coastline to the inland vineyards. Local fishing fleets head out for Dungeness crab and salmon, and fishing boats and pleasure boats use the protected bay as a base for exploring the waters off the Sonoma coast. Insider tip - Spud Point Crab Company, located across the street and run by a long-time fishing famiy, has some of the best chowder in Sonoma County.

Details: Spud Point Marina, 1818 Westshore Road, Bodega Bay, CA 94923, 707-875-3535, www.spudpointmarina.org

Hey, why should the ocean get all the glory? Lake Sonoma, in northern Sonoma County, is a great spot for a sail, or a leisurely day spent exploring. Nestled in the beautiful coastal foothills, Lake Sonoma is surrounded by world-famous vineyards and land that is rich in history. Created by the construction of Warm Springs Dam in 1983, the lake provides for flood control, irrigation, and recreation. When full, the lake has a surface area of more than 2,700 acres and 50 miles of shoreline, forming the perfect setting for a wealth of recreational activities. Visit to hike, swim, ride, boat, camp, fish, or hunt at this beautiful lake.

Details: Lake Sonoma Visitors Center & Fish Hatchery, 3333 Skaggs Springs Road, Geyserville, CA 95441, 707-431-4533, www.spn.usace.army.mil/lake_sonoma/index.html

The waters of the Petaluma Marina are part of the Petaluma River, a channel that runs 14 miles from the north end of Petaluma into San Pablo Bay. With 167 slips, the Petaluma Marina offers many facilities and services to boaters and kayakers on the river including private restrooms and showers, full utilities, security gates, and kayak storage. The river is enjoyed for its excellent boating, fishing, and water skiing.

Details: Harbormaster Office, 781 Baywood Dr., Petaluma, CA 94954, 707-778-4489, cityofpetaluma.net/parksnrec/marina.html.

So, how about it, Sailor, ready to give Sonoma County a try? Located 10 leagues (30 miles for landlubbers) north of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, Sonoma County is America's premier wine, spa and coastal destination, featuring more than 350 wineries, 100-plus organic farms, and 55-plus miles of stunning Pacific coast.

For a free visitors guide or information on hotels, wineries, events, spas, attractions, and dining in Sonoma County, visit www.sonomacounty.com or call 800-576-6662 (+001-707-522-5800 for those across the seas...)

Editor's note: If you're planning a trip to the San Francisco Bay Area to attend the America's Cup in 2013 or coming at any other time, you can find a lot of good information at Taste California Travel's Resource Directory. In it you will find links to the websites of hundreds of Lodging and Dining options, as well as to the wineries in Sonoma and other nearby wine regions and to craft beer purveyors.


by Dan Clarke


I drove over to Livermore yesterday. The occasion was the 10th Petite Sirah Symposium. As you might expect, all assembled had an interest in wines made from the Petite Sirah grape. There were farmers who grew the grape, wine makers, wine marketers and members of the press.

Early versions of this annual gathering were held at Foppiano Winery up in Sonoma County. I had attended some of them and the Livermore meeting was a good time to catch up with recent developments.

Getting away from the computer on this last day of July took longer than I had hoped and by the time I arrived at the Martinelli Event Center I had missed the keynote speaker, Evan Goldstein. Evan is a qualified Master Sommelier, which means he knows a hell of a lot about wines—all wines. Scholarship and unerring palate notwithstanding, his greatest skill may be his ability to communicate. Like all great teachers, he chooses to engage his audience in a way that encourages them to share his enjoyment of the subject. His topic this day was “Why Evan Believes in Petite Sirah.”

Disappointed though I was at being late, three presentations still lay ahead, as well as a nice lunch under the arbor at nearby Concannon Vineyard and a tasting of over 40 examples of current Petite Sirah releases.

Third Generation Wine Grape Growing Family Successfully Takes on Winemaking Toodavid mounts with grapes PicmonkeyDavid Mounts brought jar of vineyard soil and a grape cluster.

David Mounts' family has farmed property in Sonoma County since it was purchased by his grandfather Jack at the end of World War II. Although grapes had been grown in the area for nearly a century before that time, prunes were the big crop back in the 1940's and the Mounts family grew prunes and raised sheep in the early years. David's Dad Richard began planting Zinfandel and Petite Sirah grapes in 1967. Their winery came into being in 2005 when they made a total of 500 cases of wine, 300 of which were Petite Sirah. Since then the production has grown, but the winery is still a small operation which allows an intimate relationship with both the growing of the grapes and with their vinification.

David, who is both grower and winemaker for the family endeavor, wove a tale of “what we've learned in the last 45 years farming rocky, hillside vineyards--some of them dangerously steep.” Variables in the process include pruning styles, the use of native yeasts to start the fermentation process rather than purchased “designer yeast,” and allowing for a little dehydration of the grapes just before harvest, which leads to a wine higher in alcohol and better suited to the style David said he's looking for.

A Cult Petite that Rocks

Nils Venge's topic was “Creating a 'Cult' Petite That Rocks.” Nils is about my age and I suspect that wasn't his turn of nils venge 2 PicmonkeyNils remembered Cancannon's Petite Sirah.phrase. Nonetheless, the audience understood what was meant and you probably couldn't get a more appropriate guy to address the subject of cult wines. The Napa Valley legend has been creating great wines for more than 40 years. However, just as Yankee's pitcher Don Larsen was forever known as the man who threw a perfect game in the 1956 World Series, Nils Venge has a reputation forever framed by his own perfect effort. The 1985 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve he made for Groth was given a 100-point score by writer Robert Parker, the first time the oracle ever awarded such a score for any California wine.

Venge still makes outstanding Cabernet for his own winery, Saddleback Cellars, but he's not limited to just that niche. He makes whites and reds other than Cabs—among them Petite Sirahs. He recalled his first exposure to variety as being in the mid-1960s when, as a UC Davis student, he worked for a short time at Concannon, the first California winery to produce a varietally-labeled Petite Sirah. Sitting in front of a microphone across the room, Jim Concannon interjected that he remembered Nils from that period—though not necessarily because he'd demonstrated great skill as a fledgling winemaker. Jim recalled their playing tennis some 45-years ago. “You beat me,” said the now-75 year old Concannon, “And I was pretty good, too!”

Nils first made Petite Sirah with grapes from a warm weather vineyard near Calistoga at the northern end of the Napa Valley. Since then he has added another source of grapes. He also gets fruit from the Red Hills near Lake County's Cobb Mountain. The vineyard is at higher elevation and is cooler. Both vineyard produce good fruit, but are made into separate wines, each having its own characteristics.

jim concannon PicmonkeyJim remembered Nils' tennis game.In winemaking there are few absolutes. Factors contributing to the final product include what the French call terroir. The phrase means the land, but it's more than that. The soils, the weather and a hard to define “sense of place” all contribute to it. Add all the variations in viticultural practices (the growing of the grapes) and the enological practices (the making of the wine from crushed grapes onward), and you have a long and complex process. Presentations such as those made by David Mount and Nils Venge were given to an audience of wine professionals, but briefer and less technical delivery of similar information can be of help to the consumer. Restaurants offering “Winemaker Dinners” can be a great way to learn more about wine, especially when a principal of the winery or, better yet, the winemaker himself is in attendance. A sommelier or knowledgeable waiter can help you learn—and help you enjoy wine more, as can a wine merchant who really knows his/her stuff.

Food and Wine Pairings

Joyce Goldstein prepared her audience for the lunch to follow by addressing “Food and Wine Pairings for Petite Sirah.” Goldstein was once chef at the Café at Chez Panisse. Later she owned and operated the San Francisco restaurant Square One, which celebrated food from many Mediterranean cuisines. A prolific cookbook author, she's currently working on a history of California cuisine for the University of California Press.Joyce Goldstein at Livermoe PS Symposium PicmonkeyJoyce Goldstein suggested innovations.

In a state where Cabernet and Chardonnay are kings (or King & Queen?), a lesser known variety like Petite Sirah has to work harder to get the attention of restaurant wine buyers. Beyond the broad category of “American food” are identifiable cuisines—or at least American interpretations of them—that might be candidates for matching to the flavors of Petite Sirah.

Italian food, especially the northern Italy dishes now popular in California, would have affinity for this grape variety,” said Goldstein, “but Italian restaurants tend to favor offering Italian wines on their lists.” Some French dishes would also be well served by the accompaniment of Petite Sirah—Steak au Poivre, for instance, “would be a slam-dunk.”

While acknowledging that the variety could pair well with many familiar cuisines, Goldstein suggested taking the road less traveled might be more productive, especially in the sophisticated and hyper competitive restaurant atmosphere of the nearby San Francisco Bay Area. “Go to new restaurants in San Francisco,” she urged. “They'll be much more open to you.”

Referencing a Turkish dinner she once made, she recalled “the lamb was prepared with a little tomato sauce and some smoky eggplant and the Petite Sirah brought it all together.”

Acknowledging that there aren't too many potential wine customers owning Turkish restaurants, she said there are dishes from many other cuisines that would have potential. She suggested a Spanish beef stew in a preparation including “clove, cinnamon, wine and a little bitter chocolate.” North African cuisines would have many possibilities, including the tagines from Morocco. “Instead of making my normal fried chicken this Fourth of July, I put in a ton of Morrocan spices,” she recalled of an experiment that apparently was a hit. Kebabs and meatballs served with cumin would likely be good pairings. Greek moussaka would work, as would a Greek stew called stifado, “which includes cinnamon, cloves, red wine and currants--ingredients that contain your flavor profile.” A Persian recipe for duck with pomegranate and walnuts is another inspiration in this vein.

Further from the Mediterranean are other food cultures ripe for matching with the wine. Mexican moles, for instance, “include nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, anise—those flavors are in your wine,” Goldstein said, “so it's a natural.

Meats of all kinds are likely to show affinity for this Petite Sirah grape. The variety of grilled meats served in Brazilian churrasco-style restaurants would be appropriate. Texas beef brisket is in that direction, even beefy chile “if you play down the heat,” she said. “Korean short ribs, rubbed with sesame, garlic, pepper and ginger,” is offered. Even Germany's sauerbraten, prepared with ginger snaps and raisins, is also a candidate. At this point Joyce Goldstein's audience really is looking forward to the barbecue lunch soon to be served over at Concannon. Referring to pages of notes and recipes she's brought with her, the chef tantalizes listeners who enjoy cooking with names of several other dishes and a few ingredients each includes. Rattling off idea after idea, she challenged her audience to “look further afield. The trend is going to be melting pot cookery. Some people (who'll be cooking it) won't have a clue, but others will be good.” Urging marketers of Petite Sirah to find newer restaurants and actually work with the chefs to create a wine and food synergy, she advised, “Don't ignore the little guys. You'll find some magic pairings out there.”

Tasting the Current Releases

Rusty Eddy pours at Concannon PS PicmonkeyRusty Eddy pours Clayhouse.Following lunch was a tasting for members of the wine trade. In the Eric Cohen Shoeshine PS at Concannon PicmonkeyEric Cohen makes Shoe Shine.Concannon barrel room purveyors of more than 40 of the state's best Petite Sirah poured their offerings. A few rosé wines made from this grape variety were in evidence and tasted especially good on the warm afternoon. Most of the wines were substantial reds that are the more traditional product of this grape. Styles differed. Alcohol levels varied. Retail pricing of these wines covered a broad swath, varying from about $8 to $50. Comprehensive tasting notes weren't taken on this occasion. Better than reading my opinions—or anybody else's, for that matter—is to explore this variety for yourself. Any good retailer would have some examples and many restaurant wine lists would include at least a couple of options. To learn more about this variety a good resource is www.psiloveyou.org. Included in this site is a great recipe section,.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012 18:19

Mountain Vines, Mountain Wines

Mountain Vines, Mountain WinesWritten by Casey Young Photographs by Ken Dawes

Published by Mountain Vines Publishing, 2003


115 pages, soft cover. $24.95


The Santa Cruz Mountain appellation produces some of California’s best wine, yet it remains relatively anonymous. “Mountain Vines, Mountain Wines” may go a long way toward remedying that situation.

Casey Young’s text provides a clear picture of the region’s geography and its long history of wine grape cultivation, dating back to the efforts of Franciscan missionaries 200 years ago. This was the land of French-born pioneers of the California industy Charles LeFranc and Paul Masson in the latter part of the 19th Century. For much of the middle of the 20th Century it was iconoclast Martin Ray who upheld the banner of Santa Cruz Mountain-grown wines. By the 1960’s Dr. David Bruce was making wine under his own name and Ridge Vineyards was established with Paul Draper assuming winemaking chores at the end of that decade. Both Bruce and Draper remain very significant players today, but they’ve been joined by many others now making wine here.

Roughly fifty wineries are currently operating in the Santa Cruz Mountains and Young has profiled all of them. Most are small and some may be as much hobby as business for their operators. There are no Gallos or Beringer-Blasses in the Santa Cruz Mountains, but some of its wineries are larger than most wine fans might suspect (Ridge has an annual production of 70,000 cases and Bonny Doon does about a quarter of a million cases each year).

“Mountain Vines, Mountain Wines” provides essential information on each winery—location, varieties made, days of operation, etc. Also included is the web address of nearly every one of the 50. Artisan winemakers seldom lack for personality and the author has done an admirable job in bringing those personalities to the reader. It’s not easy to avoid repetition in doing so many one and two-page profiles, but Young accomplishes the task.

Ken Dawes gives a window on those personalities with his shots of the winery principals. His outdoor photography illustrates the natural beauty of the area. Grape clusters, gnarled old vines, morning mist over steep hillsides—the vineyards of the Santa Cruz Mountains may not be that many miles from the urban sprawl of the San Francisco Bay Area, but they’re a world away.


--reviewed by Dan Clarke

Wednesday, 23 May 2012 12:01

It's Time to Rediscover the Exploratorium

Exploratorium Piers 15 300dpi SMALL

The Exploratorium is the prototype for participatory museums. A few facts: At the 4th Science Centre World Congress in Rio in 2005, science centers from five continents ranked the Exploratorium as the number one science center in the world. In 2011, the Exploratorium received the U.S. National Science Board 2011 Public Service Science Award for its contributions to public understanding of science, one of the most prestigious national honors in science given to an organization. And it was named one of the 12 most impactful non-profits in the U.S. (and the only museum), by the book Forces for Good.

The Exploratorium is regarded as the world's foremost interactive museum, designed to make natural phenomena and the world around us understandable. A pioneer in exhibit design and how the world learns, it is like a mad scientist's penny arcade, a scientific funhouse and an experimental laboratory all rolled into one. With hundreds of hands-on exhibits, all a visitor - of any age - needs is curiosity. You can experience the illusions of your senses—how your own perception, not the exhibit, tricks you when you so that metal coils at first feel too hot to touch but when you touch them differently, feel cold. You can listen as a deer does when you try on alternate ears, or listen as a snake - with your jawbone. Or swear that an object is white, only to discover that it is practically black. At the Exploratorium you can see a roundworm glow with the inserted luminescence of a jellyfish gene (an exhibit developed by the 2008 Nobel Prize Winner in chemistry), or harvest your own cheek cells and compare them to the cells of a tomato or potato. While wandering through the museum, you can touch a tornado and shape a glowing electrical current, as well as take a sensory journey in total darkness in the Tactile Dome. If any of these exhibits seem familiar, know that they originated at the Exploratorium. In fact 80% of science centers around the world host exhibits developed by the Exploratorium.

For the past 44 years, since its founding in 1969, the Exploratorium has been housed in San Francisco's romantic Palace of Fine Arts, located in San Francisco's Marina district.

What it will become

In Spring, 2013, the Exploratorium will be moving to a new home on the re-vitalized Embarcadero, at Pier 15 (which is located between Pier 39 and San Francisco's iconic Ferry Building). The new location will enable the Exploratorium to extend into the outdoors for the first time, with exhibits inside and out, for investigations of water, fog, wind, rain, the daily cycles of the sun, and more. It includes a new Bay Observatory, an all-glass building — a lens for viewing both the waterfront and the city — that presents the science of the bay, the landscape and the human impacts that have shaped the Bay Area.

In addition, four distinct galleries in the main building include the West Gallery, which provides a provocative space to play with perception, explore memory, emotion, and judgment, and experiment with the way you cooperate, compete, and share with others, making the psychology and sociology of human behavior a new focus. In the East Gallery, expect to find much more life sciences where the public can see, feel, and explore life at different scales, from tiny glowing microbes to sensitive plants to ecosystems of the Bay, given the museum's new waterfront location. A Tinkering Studio, part of the Learning Studio, is where visitors "make" their own experiments and investigations, essentially making by learning, is also among the new features. In the Central Gallery, sight, sounds and experiences of perception, including the famous familiar core of the Exploratorium as well as many new exhibits, will be on hand.

New Gem on San Francisco's Waterfront

The museum's relocation places the Exploratorium at the heart of the waterfront, at the gateway to the city and at the nexus of public transit. It provides visitors spectacular views of the city and the bay and new access to the waterfront for the first time in over 50 years. A new civic space - a gathering place—on the waterfront, Pier 15 will open up 330,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor enjoyment of the Exploratorium, including the new Outdoor Exploratorium. In addition, over 1.5 acres of free, public open space, will also feature interactive exhibits with direct visitor experience of the surrounding bay and city.

A view bay-side café, a plaza-side café, and the innovative Exploratorium Store round out the site. Proceeds from the store benefit the museum's educational programs.


(TravMedia.com contributed to this article)


Editor's note: Links to the websites of hundreds of lodging and dining options in San Franciscio & the Bay Area can be found at Taste California Travel's Resource Directory.


planetarium Market St 1906 AcademyMarket Street dawn morning of earthquake.

Prepare to be moved! Earthquake, a major new exhibit and planetarium show, opened at the California Academy of Sciences on May 26, 2012, taking visitors on a kinetic journey toward understanding these super seismic phenomena and how they fit into the larger story of our ever-changing Earth. Occupying the entire west hall of the Academy, the exhibit will feature a number of large-scale installations, including a walk-through model of the Earth, an enclosure for live baby ostriches (yes, there are surprising connections between earthquakes and ostriches!), an earthquake simulator resembling an old Victorian home, and an interactive space designed to teach earthquake preparedness. Concurrently, a new planetarium show will launch audiences on a breathtaking tour through space and time—flying over the San Andreas fault before diving into the planet's interior, traveling back in time to witness both the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the break-up of Pangaea 200 million years ago, and much more.

"San Francisco—and California too—are no strangers to the awesome power of earthquakes," said Dr. Greg Farrington, Executive Director of the Academy. "By showing visitors the science that underlies these natural events, we want to encourage preparedness and help visitors understand how the great movements of the continents have produced the landscape we call home today and the life around us."

The 8,000-square-foot Earthquake exhibit is located next to the Rainforest dome and will continue the new Academy's tradition of light-filled, airy exhibit spaces integrated with live animals and public programs. The exhibit will run for several years.

Walk-through Earth

Entry into the Earthquake exhibit is through a dramatic, 25-foot-diameter model of the Earth. Venturing through an oversized crack in the planet's crust, visitors will find touchable geology specimens and interactive stations explaining the basics of plate tectonics. Activity deep inside the planet drives the motion of tectonic plates on the Earth's surface, resulting in the earthquakes we feel and the continental movements that happen more slowly—over millions of years.

How Land Shapes Life

The break-up of the supercontinent Pangaea roughly 200 million years ago resulted in two large landmasses: Laurasia (present-day northern continents) and Gondwana (present-day southern continents).  The second section of the Earthquake exhibit will focus on the diverse life forms that evolved and spread out across Gondwana, showing visitors that the same earth processes that cause destructive earthquakes in the human timescale can also provide constructive conditions for life in the geological timescale.

Live ostriches, ancient fossils, plants, and mounted marsupials (mammals with pouches) will illustrate the shared legacy of India, Antarctica, Australia, South America, and Africa, which were once joined together. For example, the iconic ostriches of Africa are large flightless birds in the ratite lineage, whose closest relatives live in South America and Australia. Like many African animals, these birds may never have evolved if Africa hadn't broken off from Gondwana and drifted away. To tell this story, the Academy will be hatching out live ostrich chicks, which will be on display in the exhibit until late 2012.

Earthquake Simulator

Following a brief pre-show, visitors will enter an earthquake simulator designed to look like an old Victorian home in San Francisco. Inside, simulated views of the downtown skyline and sounds of the World Series baseball game will transport guests back to 5:04 pm on October 17, 1989—the date and time of the infamous Loma Prieta earthquake. A sudden sustained tremor, followed by a brief aftershock, will give visitors a sense of what this ground-jolting event felt like.

But the experience doesn't end there—the views of downtown will darken and change, and the sounds of the radio will give way to a rooster crow and the clip-clop of a horse-drawn carriage. For a second simulation, guests will travel farther back in time, to 5:12 am on April 18, 1906, the date of the most devastating earthquake in San Francisco's history. About 32 times stronger than Loma Prieta, this event brought the "Paris of America" to its knees, and the ensuing fire destroyed thousands of buildings, including the original Academy home on Market Street.

Earthquake Preparedness

What should you do before, during, and after an earthquake? The final section of the exhibit will address these questions through hands-on activities. Visitors can identify crucial items for home preparedness kits, such as food, water, and hand-crank radios, participate in an impromptu earthquake drill, and learn what to do after an earthquake (for example, checking for hazards and turning off the gas meter). This section will also include a resource station offering additional preparedness advice from partner organizations.


Planatarium Show


Following its first two award-winning productions, Fragile Planet and Life: A Cosmic Story, Morrison Planetarium premiered an earthquake-themed planetarium show on May 26 in conjunction with the exhibit.

"Our all-digital planetarium has the ability to present complex topics—such as earth processes and the slow march of geological time—within a very visual, immersive environment," said Ryan Wyatt, Director of Morrison Planetarium and Science Visualization. "The new show harnesses the latest techniques in data-driven visualization to help visitors understand earth processes and think differently about living on our dynamic planet."

Starting at Point Reyes in Northern California, the show flies south along the San Andreas Fault until it reaches San Francisco. The Golden Gate Bridge fades away as the clock rewinds to 1906. The audience experiences an all-digital recreation of the 7.9-magnitude earthquake, followed by a scientific dissection of the event—including views of the underground fault plane and the propagation of seismic energy waves based on supercomputer simulations. Guests then embark on a high-speed tour of the past 200 million years, witnessing the formation of the Atlantic Ocean, flying over the cradle of humanity in Africa's Great Rift Valley, and visiting sites of historic earthquakes in India, China, and Japan—including the 9.0-magnitude Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. A planetarium presenter will bring audiences even more up-to-date during a live portion showing the latest seismic events happening around the planet—earthquakes big and small occur almost constantly. The show ends with a look at the modern building strategies used by scientists and engineers for a safer and better prepared future.

Scientific advisers and partners on the show include Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Geo Hazards International, San Francisco State University, Stanford University, University of California at Berkeley, and the U.S. Geological Survey. The show plays several times daily. For further information visit www.calacademy.org.


(TravMedia.com contributed to this article)


Editor's note: Links to the websites of hundreds of lodging and dining options in San Francisco & the Bay Area can be found at Taste California Travel's Resource Directory.


GG  Bridge and cruise ship from Marin side SMALLCruise ships about to pass under bridge and out to Pacific.

Originally completed on May 27, 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge, named for the strait leading from the Pacific Ocean to the San Francisco Bay, is one of the city's most popular and most photographed landmarks.

Spanning 6,450 feet, the single-span suspension bridge will mark its 75th anniversary this year with a public celebration to be held May 27, 2012 along the waterfront between Pier 39 to the foot of the bridge at Fort Point.

Visitors and locals can enjoy dramatic views of the bridge from several points throughout the city. Viewing spots listed below are all free and open to the public. Note for out-of-towners: San Francisco can be very windy, particularly in the summer. Remember to wear layers, sunglasses and sunscreen.

Crissy Field

Crissy Field, a former military airfield located south of the Golden Gate Bridge in the Presidio, was restored to its natural state in 2001 and offers wide, fully-accessible walking and cycling trails between the Marina Green and Fort Point. Offering stunning views of the bridge, Crissy Field offers picnic areas and a small beachfront popular among families. Along Crissy Field, visitors can stop for lunch at the Warming Hut near Fort Point, the Beach Hut Cafe near the Marina Green, or check out the House of Air, a trampoline center in one of the repurposed buildings.

Distance from Golden Gate Bridge: 2.4 miles from the Marina Green

Fort Point

For an up-close view of the bridge, visit Fort Point, a Civil War-era brick fort accessible via the Marine Drive lot at Crissy Field. Although Fort Point never had any military action, the Golden Gate Bridge's chief engineer Joseph Strauss redesigned the bridge to preserve the fortress as a "fine example of the mason’s art."

Distance from Golden Gate Bridge: 1.2 miles

Baker Beach

Stretching a half mile below the rugged cliffs along the Presidio's western shoreline, Baker Beach offers spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Accessible by public transportation (Muni 29-line), the beach offers a picnic area with tables and grills, lots of parking and restroom facilities. Note: the northernmost end of Baker Beach is frequented by clothing-optional sunbathers.

Distance from Golden Gate Bridge: 1.2 miles

China Beach

Located in the Seacliff neighborhood, China Beach is a tiny, sheltered pocket of sand with a picnic area, a sunbathing deck, restrooms, cold showers and unobstructed views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Note: the beach is only accessible by a steep, paved drive or natural stairway of approximately 100 steps. Distance from Golden Gate Bridge: 2.0 miles

Lands End

The Eagle's Point trailhead of Lands End near Lincoln Park offers jaw-dropping views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Near the popular hiking trail, which is also a short walking distance to the Legion of Honor, visitors can walk along a paved sidewalk near the 17th hole of the Lincoln Park Municipal Golf Course. Here, there are several benches and photo opportunities to reflect and capture the beauty of the bridge.

Distance from Golden Gate Bridge: 3.0 miles

Glimpses of the Golden Gate Bridge

For slightly obstructed, but nonetheless dramatic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, visitors can enjoy views from several, unexpected vantage points.

Lover's Lane, the Presidio

As the oldest foot trail in the Presidio, Lover's Lane, a half-mile, pedestrian friendly, paved trail, begins at the Presidio Gate at the corner of Presidio and Pacific Avenues in Presidio Heights. As you stroll down the trail, protected by majestic eucalyptus groves, you'll get a Hollywood-esque glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge which will eventually disappear as you continue down the trail toward the Presidio's Main Post.

Distance from the Golden Gate Bridge: 2.2 miles

De Young Museum, Golden Gate ParkGG Bridge Tower in Fog 2BRDGE18 SMALLNorth tower shrouded in fog.

Located in the east end of Golden Gate Park, the Hamon Education Tower Observation Deck at the de Young Museum offers dramatic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as spectacular panoramic views of the city and Pacific Ocean. Touring the museum requires admission, but visiting the observation deck, open daily until 4:30 p.m., is free and open to the public.

Distance from Golden Gate Bridge: 2.9 miles

Library at the University California, San Francisco – Inner Sunset

Keep quiet here. Located at 530 Parnassus Avenue in the Inner Sunset, the library at the University of California, San Francisco, offers stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge from its main reading room.

Distance from Golden Gate Bridge: 4.1 miles

Coit Tower

Coit Tower, a slender white concrete column rising from the top of Telegraph Hill, provides 360-degree views of the city and bay, including the Golden Gate Bridge. The most-spectacular views can be seen from the observation deck, which is reached by elevator and requires tickets ($7).

Distance from Golden Gate Bridge: 4.9 miles

Golden Gate Bridge through the Waldo Tunnel

M drivers going through the Waldo tunnel, the unofficial name of the tunnel on U.S. Route 101 between the Golden Gate Bridge and Sausalito, can enjoy the first view of the city and the bridge upon exiting the tunnel's southbound bore. This view may be one of the most dramatic views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Distance from Golden Gate Bridge: 3.1 miles

Suite Tributes to the Golden Gate Bridge

To celebrate the Golden Gate Bridge's history with San Francisco, hotels throughout the city have created specialty suites for visitors to immerse themselves in the Bridge's history.

To honor the Golden Gate Bridge's 75th anniversary, Kimpton's Hotel Palomar San Francisco has created a "Golden Gate Suite," which includes several tributes to the orange icon, including furniture made out of reclaimed steel from the bridge. Located on the fifth floor of the hotel, the  festive suite features blown-up photos of the Golden Gate Bridge's tollboth covering the doors and walls outside the suite; a printed opaque decal of the Golden Gate Bridge that expands across the five bay windows inside the suite; a headboard painted in a street-art style to capture the grandeur of the bridge; a lampshade made with historic photos from 1937, the year the bridge was being built; decorative pillows created with vintage photographs of the bridge from the 1930s; and nightstands and a coffee table created with reclaimed Golden Gate Bridge steel. Guests staying in the Golden Gate Suite will also be treated to a complimentary Golden Gate cocktail from Fifth Floor Restaurant, the restaurant at Hotel Palomar San Francisco. The cocktail, called Vermillion M.E.S., gets its name from the Orange Vermillion color painted over the steel, chosen by architect Irving Morrow. The suite will be available through the end of 2012.

Located atop Nob Hill, the Fairmont San Francisco, one of a handful of hotels that offers rooms with Golden Gate Bridge Views, is celebrating one of its most iconic guests, Grammy-award winning singer Tony Bennett, with a special suite dedicated to him and his unique place in the hotel’s storied history. Located in the hotel's Tower Building, the "Tony Bennett Suite at The Fairmont San Francisco" is set to open May 24, 2012 to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge. The two-bedroom suite pays homage to Bennett, who in December 1961 took the stage of the Fairmont San Francisco’s Venetian Room and performed "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" for the first time. Guests of the suite will be treated with personal photos and memorabilia from Bennett, as well as an original painting of the Golden Gate Bridge, which he created specifically for the suite. In addition to his musical career, Bennett is also a noted visual artist. For Bennett fans, the hotel will also have a limited number of giclée prints of the Bennett painting of the Golden Gate Bridge for purchase. And as a special perk, guests of the suite will receive a copy of Bennett’s "Duets II" CD, which they may enjoy along with a bottle of champagne and heart-shaped dessert amenity.

Party like it’s 1937 at the Clift hotel for a 1930’s inspired weekend, May 25-27. Celebrations will include live music, DJ’s, 1930’s themed cocktails, and projection screens featuring films from the 1930’s. Guests are encouraged to come dressed in era-inspired clothing.

Across the Bay in Sausalito, Cavallo Point Lodge will be honoring the Golden Gate Bridge with weekend festivities to celebrate the bridge's 75th anniversary, as well as an art exhibit that will run through the end of June 2012.

To kickoff the weekend celebration, the luxury resort-spa will host a Golden Gate gala dinner on Saturday, May 26, 2012. Prepared by two award-winning chefs, Chef Justin Everett of Murray Circle and Chef Craig von Foerster of Sierra Mar, the dinner will feature a champagne reception followed by a six-course menu with wine pairings. On Sunday, May 27, 2012, the lodge will host a Terrace Party from 6-10 p.m. that will include a gourmet barbecue buffet, live music and stunning views of the fireworks display over the Bay. (Tickets are $75 per adult and $25 per child). Through June 30, 2012 the lodge will be hosting "Visions of the Golden Gate at 75," an exhibit linking the iconic span's past and present. The show will feature rare, black-and-white photographs of the bridge during the construction era taken by land surveyor and photographer W. Gordon Voorhies as well as contemporary interpretations by Bay Area photographers Robert Campbell, Emil Flock and Chris Honeysett.

Rooms with a (Bridge) ViewGG Bridge from Ft Point2BRDGE48 SMALLView from Ft Point is often spectacular.

For those in search of a room with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge, a handful of San Francisco hotels offers rooms with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Presidio: The newly-opened Inn at the Presidio offers several rooms with bridge views. Located in historic Pershing Hall, previously the post’s bachelor officers' quarters, the inn offers 22 rooms, 17 of which are one-bedroom suites.

Union Square: The historic Westin St. Francis offers rooms with gorgeous views of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Tower Building; request guest rooms starting on floor 26, or book one of its two suites, the Pacific and the Bridge View.

Nob Hill: The Intercontinental Mark Hopkins, perched atop Nob Hill, offers several guest rooms with partial views of the bridge, as well as its California suite. Visitors can also drop by Top of the Mark, the hotel's popular roof-top bar, for an exquisite view of the bridge from the northwest corner of the room.

Across the street from the Mark Hopkins, the Fairmont San Franciscoalso offers multiple views from its Tower Building.

Fisherman's Wharf: The Argonaut Hotel, in easy walking distance to all of the shops and restaurants on Fisherman's Wharf, offers waterfront views of the Golden Gate Bridge from several of its rooms.



Golden Gate Bridge: By the Numbers


Span: 6,450 feet

Total length: 8,981 feet

Completion date: May 28, 1937

Cost: $35 million

Date paid in full: July 1971

Engineer: Joseph B. Strauss

Road height: 260 feet

Tower height: 746 feet

Swing span: 27 feet

Deepest foundation: 110 feet under water

Cable thickness: 37 inches

Cable length: 7,650 feet

Steel used: 83,000 pounds

Concrete used: 389,000 cubic yards

Miles of wire cable: 80,000

Gallons of paint annually: 10,000

Color: International orange

Rise, in cold weather: 5 feet

Drop, in hot weather: 10 feet

Traffic: 3 million vehicles per month

CashToll: $6 (southbound only)

FasTrak Toll: $5


(TravMedia.com contributed to this article)


Editor's note: Links to the websites of hundreds of lodging and dining options in San Francisco & the Bay Area can be found at Taste California Travel's Resource Directory.


Sunday, 29 April 2012 14:11

75 Tributes to the Golden Gate Bridge

Key components of the year-long celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge are the 75 Opening Day cars SMALLCars lined up on the Bridge on opening day. From the holdings of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, used with permission, www.goldengate.org Community Tributes being hosted by a diverse array of San Francisco Bay Area organizations and talents.

The complete year-long schedule of all 2012 Community Tributes—including the dozens of events over Memorial Day weekend leading up to the official Golden Gate Festival celebration on the San Francisco waterfront May 27, 2012—is updated frequently on the official Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary website at www.goldengatebridge75.org.


The following is a listing of programs and activities honoring the Golden Gate Bridge throughout 2012:


Through September 1: Marin History Museum - The Golden Gate Bridge, An Icon That Changed Marin exhibit, 1125 B Street, San Rafael, Tuesday-Saturday, 11AM-4PM, (415) 454-8538, marinhistory.org.


Through December 31: Antenna Theater - Golden Gate Sunset Sundial: Map of the places and times sunset can be viewed between the two Bridge towers. Various locations: sunsetsundial.org.


Through October 14: California Historical Society - A Wild Flight of the Imagination: The Story of the Golden Gate Bridge. Exhibit featuring artwork, photographs, and historical Bridge artifacts. 678 Mission Street, San Francisco, Tuesday-Sunday, 12-5PM, 415-357-1848, californiahistoricalsociety.org.


Through May 25: Port of Oakland and Oaklandish - International Trade Photo Contest: Golden Gate Bridge to Oakland call for submissions of photos representing the theme. Selected photos will be exhibited in various venues in Oakland from May 25 - September 7, 2012.


Through December 31: Exploratorium - Outdoor exhibits focused on bridge movement, cable suspension and related science, technology, engineering and mathematics, with technical support from the Consortium of Universities for Research in earthquake Engineering (CUREE) and funding from the National Science Foundation. Battery Lancaster, the Presidio, San Francisco, exploratorium.edu.


April 14: The Golden Gate Brass Band - 75th anniversary tribute performances at the Corte Madera Recreation Center, 498 Tamalpais Drive, 2-4PM. Free.  Also April 14, April 26, May 6, May 27 and August 19, goldengatebrassband.org.


April 14 - July 14: San Francisco Public Library - Bridging Minds: San Francisco Reads, 1933-1937: Exhibit of first editions, photographs and ephemera featuring the best sellers of the period and works of California authors. San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin St., 6th floor, sfpl.org.


April 18 - 30: Marin Symphony - The Bridge and Marin: Golden Gate Opus Poster Contest: contest to design a creative interpretative poster of the Golden Gate Bridge for the Golden Gate Opus on May 6 and May 8. Open to Marin students aged 10-18. Deadline for submission April 18, marinsymphony.org.


April 21: ArtSeed - Earth Week Art-a-thon: 10-hour art-and-music-making marathon in celebration of the Golden Gate Bridge's 75th birthday to benefit ArtSeed's Apprenticeship Program. Open to artists of all ages and experience. Art-a-thon, April 21, 10AM - 8PM, Acre Café, Thoreau Center for Sustainability, the Presidio, San Francisco. Spring Open Studios: April 28-29, 11AM-6PM, Bayview Hunters Point Shipyard, Studio 2513, Building 101, artseed.org.


April 23 - May 31: Jewish Community Center of San Francisco - Show Us Your Golden Gate children and teen art contest (April 23-30) and exhibit (May 2-31), 3200 California Street, San Francisco, jccsf.org.


April 28: Bay Area Ridge Trail Council - Ridge to Bridge: This signature Ridge Trail event provides a day of fun and raises money to complete the trail. Register at ridgetrail.org.


April 28: Slide Ranch - Self-guided hike from the Golden Gate Bridge to Slide Ranch as part of Slide Ranch's Annual Spring Fling Event, Muir Beach, 9AM-5PM, slideranch.org.


April 28: San Francisco Children's Art Center - Architectural Sculpture, Building Bridges: a free one-day workshop for children aged 5-10. 1-4PM, Fort Mason Center, Bldg. C, Rm. 170, childrensartcenter.org.


May 1 - October 31: YMCA - Guided bicycle trips for youth and families from the Presidio to the Golden Gate Bridge by the Presidio YMCA, plus inclusion of bridge-related curriculum in outdoor education programs for the Point Bonita YMCA. YMCA members only, ymcasf.org.


May 3 - June 9: George Krevsky Gallery - Artistic Visions of the Golden Gate Bridge: An exhibition of local GGB Sunrise12-15-09 07 SMALLJanuary sunrise over the Golden Gate Bridge. © Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District. Used with permission. www.goldengate.orgartists' interpretations of the Golden Gate Bridge. Opening reception: May 3, 5:30-7:30PM, Exhibit: May 3 -

June 9, Tues-Sat, 11AM-5:30PM, George Krevsky Galley, 77 Geary St. 2nd Floor, georgekrevskygallery.com.


May 5: Community Music Center - Crossing Bridges: A musical performance combining youth programs from San Francisco's Mission District and San Rafael singing in honor of the Golden Gate Bridge's birthday. 11:30AM-1PM, La Pena Cultural Center, Berkeley, sfcmc.org.


May 5: Art Deco Society of Northern California - Swinging on the Golden Gate: Art deco preservation ball themed with Bridge-era music and displays of Bridge work. 6:30PM-12AM, Bimbo's 365 Club, San Francisco, artdecosociety.org.


May 6: Marin History Museum - Golden Gate Bridge Garden Party:  A Bridge-era garden party with bridge building activities, a bridge trivia contest, and music of the era, Marin History Museum, 11AM-3PM, marinhistory.org.


May 6 & 8: Marin Symphony - Golden Gate Opus: Commissioned work by Rob Kapilow based on the sounds of the Golden Gate Bridge. May 6, 3PM, May 8, 7:30PM, Marin Veterans' Memorial Auditorium, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael, marinsymphony.org.


May 9, 23 & 27: Kathryn Roszak's Danse Lumiere - BridgeDance: Rehearsal and Performances: Open rehearsal with professional dancers and youth incorporating oral histories, poetry, memories, and stories about the Bridge. May 9, 4:30PM, Ashkenaz Music and Dance Community Center, Berkeley. Performances include Union Square and the Golden Gate Festival. dlkdance.com, unionsquarepark.us.


May 10: Bay Area Open Space Council - Open Space Conference: The annual conference of the Bay Area Open Space Council convenes land conservation leaders from around the Bay Area. This year's theme is "Bridges" in honor of the 75th anniversary. Golden Gate Club, the Presidio, San Francisco, openspacecouncil.org.


May 11 & May 14 - 22: San Francisco Unified School District / Young at Art - Bridging Us All: Young at Art Community Celebration: The school district's annual Young at Art will be themed "Bridging Us All," and will celebrate the 75th anniversary through a student art exhibition and performances at the de Young museum. May 11, 5PM-8PM, May 14 - 22, Tues-Sun 9:30AM-5:15PM,  de Young Museum, sfusf.edu, youngatartsf.com.


May 11 - 13: San Francisco Museum and Historical Society - My Vision of My Favorite Bridge: Art contest among Bay Area middle and high school students. 11AM-4PM, The Old Mint, 88 Fifth Street, San Francisco, sfhistory.org.


May 12: San Francisco Architectural Heritage / National Trust for Historic Preservation - Spanning Space and Time: The Golden Gate Bridge and the Transformation of the Bay Area: A symposium to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge. 10:30AM-12PM, Building 103, Montgomery Street Barrack, the Presidio, San Francisco, sfheritage.org,  preservationnation.org.


May 14 - August 4: San Francisco Arts Education Project - International Orange: The Bridge Re-imagined: A curated visual arts exhibition created by students from San Francisco public schools to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge. Norse Auditorium, 135 Van Ness Av., San Francisco, sfartsed.org.


May 16: San Francisco Public Library - On Location: The Golden Gate Bridge on the Silver Screen: Movie clips and an entertaining discussion of the Golden Gate Bridge in film, by local historian Jim Van Buskirk. 6PM-8PM, Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Public Library, sfpl.org.


May 18: San Francisco Giants - International Orange Friday: Baseball game at AT&T Park dedicated to celebrating the color of the Bridge and our home team. AT&T Park, sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com.


May 20: San Francisco Mandolin Orchestra - New Music Competition: Performance of the winning composition about the Bridge's 75th birthday written for mandolin orchestra. 4PM, All Saints Episcopal Church, 555 Waverly Street, Palo Alto. Also June 2, All Souls Episcopal, Berkeley and June 3, Mission Dolores, San Francisco, sfmandolin.org.


May 22: Jewish Community Center of San Francisco / SPUR / AIA of SF - Lecture by Paul Goldberger: Lecture by Paul Goldberger, the architecture critic for the New Yorker, focusing on the Golden Gate Bridge and other legacy structures. 7PM, Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, jccsf.org, spur.org.


May 22 - 25: Bay Area Discovery Museum - Happy Birthday Bridge: Week-long festivities, including art-based activities to create bridge crowns, bridge sculptures, and a giant Happy Birthday Bridge Card. 9AM-4PM, Bay Area Discovery Museum, baykidsmuseum.org.


May 23 - October 28: Presidio Trust - Before the Bridge - Sight and Sound at the Golden Gate: An immersive exhibition combining large-format images with sounds of the oceans, foghorns, birds, sailors shouting, soldiers marching and cannons firing - telling the story of life in and around the Presidio before the bridge was built. Wed-Sun, 11AM-5PM, presidio.gov.


May 24 - October 28: FOR-SITE Foundation - International Orange: Exhibition by a select group of artists who have created on-site installation works responding to the Golden Gate Bridge as a national icon, historical structure, and conceptual inspiration. Fort Point, for-site.org.


May 24: Commonwealth Club of California - The Golden Gate Bridge at 75: What Makes an Icon: A lecture and panel discussion on the history of the bridge and how it achieved iconic status. 6PM-7PM, The Commonwealth Club of California, commonwealthclub.org.


May 24: California Academy of Sciences - NightLife at the California Academy of Sciences: An evening themed around the Golden Gate Bridge that includes exploring various aspects of the Golden Gate Bridge such as color and scientific elements. 6PM-10PM, California Academy of Sciences, calacademy.org.


May 25 - September 7: Oakland International Airport / Oakland Museum of California / Port of Oakland - Trade and Tourism Art Contest, Golden Gate Bridge to Oakland: Display of selected artwork from media ranging from the digital and photo to paint and sculpture that centers on the topic of trade and tourism in the Bay Area. Oakland International Airport, flyoakland.com, museumca.org.


May 26 - 27: San Francisco City Guides - Interpretative Tours: Interpretative tours of the Golden Gate Bridge tent at the Golden Gate Festival. May 26: 10AM-6PM, May 27: 11AM-10PM, Golden Gate National Parks, Painter on Main Cable SMALLPainter on the main cable. © Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District. Used with permission. www.goldengate.orgsfcityguides.org.


May 26 - December 31: Roebling Museum - Spinning Gold: The Roebling Company and the Golden Gate Bridge: A special exhibit about the Golden Gate Bridge at Roebling Museum in New Jersey. Special birthday celebration on May 26 from 11AM-5PM, exhibition: Wed-Sat 11AM-5PM, Sun 12PM-5PM, roeblingmuseum.org.


May 26: Petaluma Museum - A Golden Relationship, a bridge to the agricultural bounty of Sonoma County: An exhibit on how the building of the Golden Gate Bridge opened the door to providing culinary delights between Sonoma and San Francisco. 10AM-4PM, Petaluma Museum, petalumamuseum.com.


May 26: Jewish Community Center of San Francisco - Building Bridges One Yoga Pose at a Time: Early morning yoga session for people of all ages. 8:00AM-9:00AM, Golden Gate Festival Waterfront, jccsf.org.


May 26 - 27: Fort Mason Center - "Seats" Exhibit, Bridge Cookies, and Bridge Books: Outdoor art exhibition of 35 unique seats from which to enjoy views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay and other tributes by Center organizations - Golden Gate Bridge Cookie offered by Green's restaurant - Reader's Café devoting a section of their store to Bridge books and memorabilia. Lower Fort Mason, fortmason.org.


May 26 - September 15: Presidio Trust / Walt Disney Family Museum - The Bridge on the Big Screen: The Presidio Trust and the Walt Disney Family Museum present a Golden Gate Bridge 75th anniversary commemorative film festival featuring seven films starring the Bay Area's iconic superstar. For details and screening times visit presidio.gov.


May 26 - August 31: SFMOMA - Golden Gate Desserts: An offering of bridge-themed desserts at SFMOMA's Rooftop Garden Blue Bottle Coffee Bar. Tues - Sun, 11:30AM - 5:45PM, sfmoma.org.


May 26 - July 31: SFMOMA - Reflections on Bridge Artwork and Writing: Reflections on artwork and writings about the Golden Gate Bridge with posts on the museum's blog: blog.sfmoma.org.


May 26 - June 30: SFMOMA - Local Bridge Interpretations: An exhibition of local artists' interpretations of the bridge. Lower Fort Mason, SFMOMA Artists' Gallery, sfmoma.org.


May 26 - 27: Fisherman's Wharf Community Benefit District - Music, History and Vintage Automobiles: Music, historic images, vintage automobiles and maritime history exhibits at Hyde Street Pier and Pier 45. visitfishermanswharf.com.


May 26 - 27: Ghirardelli Chocolate Company - The Bridge Story: Exhibition of panels telling the story of the Golden Gate Bridge. Sat 10AM-6PM, Sun 11AM-10PM, Ghirardelli Square, ghirardelli.com.


May 26 - 27: San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park - 75th Anniversary Tours: Special 75th anniversary tours at the maritime park and an exhibit at the park's visitor orientation station at Fisherman's Wharf. San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, nps.gov/safr.


May 27: Oakland Symphony Chorus - Family Sing-a-Long: Family sing-a-long of California and the Golden Gate songs. Golden Gate Festival Waterfront, oaklandsymphonychorus.org.


May 27: Community Music Center - Mission District Young Musicians: A performance of Latin music by Mission District Young Musicians. San Francisco Festival Waterfront, sfcmc.org.


May 27: Pier 39 - Golden Gate Bridge-era Music and Dance Festival: Music and dance festival celebrating the era in which the Golden Gate Bridge was built. Pier 39, pier39.com.


May 27: International Orange Chorale - A special concert featuring newly-commissioned works that pay homage to the Golden Gate Bridge including the premiere of San Francisco, Open Your Golden Gate. San Francisco Festival Waterfront, iocsf.org.


May 27: San Francisco Mandolin Orchestra - New Music Competition: Performance of the winner's piece of music from the San Francisco Mandolin orchestra new music competition on the San Francisco Festival Waterfront. Additional performances on June 2 and 3 in Berkeley and Palo Alto. sfmandolin.org.


May 27: LaborFest - LaborFest Songs and Photographs: Songs and photographs honoring the workers who built the Golden Gate Bridge. Golden Gate Festival, laborfest.net.


June 16: Transit and Trails and Bay Area Open Space Council - Transit and Trails Alt Ride: More than just a bike ride, riders will tackle Mt. Hamilton, Mt. Tamalpais, and Mt. Diablo in one day, using public transportation between the peaks. Riders cross the Golden Gate Bridge as part of the event. altride.transitandtrails.org.


June 9 & 24: Headlands Center for the Arts - In the Shadow of the Bridge: A film by artist Ned Kahn about the shadows on the Golden Gate Bridge and what they reveal. 6:30PM-10PM, Headlands Center for the Arts, headlands.org.


June 22: International Orange Chorale - Concert of Newly Commissioned Works: A performance of newly commissioned choral works. 5PM, Solarium Public Space, 55 2nd St., San Francisco, iocsf.org.


June 25 - July 6 & July 23 - August 3: Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy - Archi-Techies: Golden Gate Bridge Edition: Design summer camp program for kids in grades 3-5. Crissy Field Center, Mon-Fri, 9AM-4PM, crissyfieldcenter.org.


July 1 - Sept 30: San Francisco Parks Alliance - Park's View of the Golden Gate Bridge: A photo contest of images of the Golden Gate Bridge taken from San Francisco parks. sfparksalliance.org.


July 5 - 29: ArtSeed - 75 Reasons Why We Are the Bridge: Children, teachers and practicing artists give form to their ideas using the bridge's history and structure. Opening reception  July 5, 5PM-7PM. Exhibition July 6 - 29, Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM, Thoreau Center for Sustainability, Presidio Building #1014, San Francisco, artseed.org.


July 14: South End Rowing Club - Golden Gate Bridge Splash 'n' Dash: A club-sponsored swim in San Francisco Bay and a run across the Golden Gate bridge for members and sport. 9AM-1:30PM, south-end.org, splashndash.us.


July 29: San Francisco Marathon: Full marathon and 1 half marathon crossing the bridge and an additional half marathon, a 5k, and kids' race. thesfmarathon.com.


August 1 - October 1: American Institute of Architects - Postcards from the Edge: Exhibition of postcard views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco. Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM, 130 Sutter Street #600, San Francisco, aia.org.


August 19: Golden Gate Brass Band - Musical Bridges: Concerts featuring the top 40 hits of the period from 1930 to 1937. 2PM, Corte Madera Bandstand/Gazebo, "Old Town", goldengatebrassband.com.


September 1 - 30: American Institute of Architects - Architecture and the City Festival: A series of events that celebrate the Bay Area's architectural heritage, including the Golden Gate Bridge. aia.org.


September 9: NatureBridge - A Bridge to Nature: A family-oriented hike in the Marin Headlands with activities highlighting the cultural history of the Golden Gate. NatureBridge / Headlands Institute, naturebridge.org/headlands.


October 21: San Francisco State University Romberg Center: Discovery Day Bridge-building Activity: Bridge-building activity for the public at the center's annual Discovery Day. 11AM-4PM, SF State Romberg Center, Tiburon, rtc.sfsu.edu.


About the Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary: The 75th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge is a project of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in cooperation with the National Park Service, The Presidio Trust, and the City and County of San Francisco. The year-long celebration and visitor services improvements are funded by private contributions, with major underwriting provided by Wells Fargo, Genentech, HP, and Kaiser Permanente. Anniversary events include The Golden Gate Festival along the San Francisco waterfront on May 27, 2012; 75 Tributes to the Bridge, a year-long series of public programs presented throughout the Bay Area; renovation of the historic Round House and construction of a new visitor Pavilion; and enhancements to the Bridge Plaza and Golden Gate National Recreation Area parklands on both sides of the span. For additional information and all public inquiries, please visit www.goldengatebridge75.org.


(TravMedia.com contributed to this article)


Editor's note: Links to the websites of hundreds of San Francisco & the Bay Area lodging and dining options can be found at Taste California Travel's Resource Directory.

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