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Drives and Destinations

Drives and Destinations

Frog Jumping Champ.    photo courtesy of Calaveras County It's difficult anymore to find a corner of Earth where we are separated from our electronic devices. Even at  30,000 feet, two little syllables - Wi-Fi - keeps travelers plugged in. But California's Gold Country, the state's northeast/central region connected by meandering Highway 49, offers some steller spots where visitors can disconnect from technology for a digital detox. Whether unplugging is a choice or a geographic happenstance, California's Gold Country offers everyone the chance to unplug and recharge. Here are twelve places to drop the call: Rock Climb and Hike, Amador County:…
On Christopher Street in West Hollywood. LA's trademark industries — entertainment, fashion, art, design and cuisine, among others — have been magnets for creative gay and lesbian trendsetters for more than a century. And by their sheer numbers and substantial influence, these pioneering men and women have left a permanent, positive and gay-friendly legacy on LA's culture, political climate and sense of community. LA's gay scene goes back to before Christopher Isherwood wrote about it in A Single Man (reborn as the 2009 Tom Ford movie). That story was set in the 1960s, when there was a Stonewall-style riot in…
LA may be known largely for its red carpets, velvet ropes and a lot of other activities that go deep into the night, but that doesn't take away from the fact that the City is a fantastic place to explore with the family. From its miles of wide, sandy beaches to sun-kissed baseball games at Dodger Stadium to its dozens of museums, LA lets a parent give the kids a one-of-a-kind adventure that's long on excitement and short on the typical. There Are Parks, and Then There Are Parks Make no mistake: Griffith Park is big. How big? It's the…
Steeped in seafaring history and teeming with art galleries, one-of-a-kind shops and charming restaurants, San Pedro is one of Southern California's hidden gems. This pedestrian-friendly, waterfront destination blends the charm of a small town with urban sophistication with its tapestry of historical sites, hip residential lofts, and the distant sounds of fog horns announcing the arrival of cruise ship passengers from far-flung destinations. An Unforgettable Seaside ExperienceSan Pedro Fountain. San Pedro's rich maritime history is evident at almost every turn. The Port of Los Angeles, where luxury cruise ships dock regularly amid a succession of ceremonial bon voyages, features a…
Los Angeles conjures up images of movie stars, sunny beaches, unique museums and great theme parks. It's a The Encounter Restaurant at LAX.world-class destination deserving of time, but if you just have some lag time between flights at LAX, you can step outside the airport and start your California dreamin'. Even a little bit of Los Angeles is sure to whet your appetite for a return trip. For a Two-to Three-Hour Layover Before the next leg of your journey, head over to the Encounter Restaurant outside Terminal 2. It's easy to spot. Look for the iconic, spider-shaped restaurant that is…
With the $2.5 billion L.A. LIVE entertainment complex continuing to re-establish a buzz east of the Harbor Downtown LA Skyline on Summer Night. Freeway, thousands of people moving into center city's lofts, condos and apartments each year, and even a new football stadium on the way, there's been no shortage of press about the resurgence of Downtown Los Angeles. The good thing is that, as with any dynamic urban district, there are more than a few less-than-obvious, if not downright hidden, places to check out and feel in the know about Los Angeles. It's Not Easy Being Green: Downtown's Gardens…
If the number of people visiting Death Valley National Park’s Ranch at Furnace Creek at lunchtime in July is any indication, then some people truly do like it hot. Lots of people, in fact. This arid, desolate and ruggedly beautiful park typically draws some 230,000 travelers during the summer months, when the temperatures can be as high as 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Situated in east-central California on the edge of the Mojave Desert, the park hosts as many as 900 tour bus travelers each day. Nearly all of the visitors are from European countries; most come from Germany, France and the…
Take either of two roads from Occidental to the coast. Less than an hour north of San Francisco is some of the best bicycle riding in Northern California. You can travel flower-lined country roads that pass organic farms, ride under towering redwoods or pedal down quaint lanes past vineyards and wineries. You can also try winding routes that follow the gentle Russian River to the wild Pacific coastline. The area is synonymous with good riding. With 2,250 kilometers/1,400 miles of lightly traveled secondary roads and a growing system of off-road bike trails, Sonoma County appeals to a wide variety of…
The northeast/central California region known as the Gold Country, an area made up of 12 counties and dozens of historic towns dotting Highway 49 has been named one of the top ten U.S. travel destinations to see in 2012 by Lonely Planet. Sutter Creek has old west flavor. Known for their annual travel list for international destinations and their compilation of U.S. picks for the last two years, Lonely Planet's U.S. travel editors carved out a list of what's new, interesting, and in some cases likely to be overlooked by travelers. The full list is on www.lonelyplanet.com, the company's web…
The historic Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad (YMSPRR) resumed their popular “Moonlight Specials” on May 26, celebrating 40 years of the night time rides. Located just south of the Highway 41 entrance to Yosemite National Park, the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad offers rides aboard a pair of nearly century old Shay locomotives through the Sierra National Forest. The popular tours run each day in the spring, summer and fall months. The “Moonlight Special” adds another element to the memorable rides. “In addition to the train rides, guests enjoy a delicious BBQ dinner outdoors in the cool mountain air,” said…
There's gold in Death Valley. White gold It took prospectors Aaron and Rosie Winters to discover it in the late 1800s, a San Francisco businessman to develop it, a television and radio show to market it--and today’s environmental movement to give it its due. We’re talking about sodium borate, or borax, a common laundry product used for more than 100 years. Borax is found primarily in two places on the planet – Turkey and the California desert. Visitors see evidence ofFurnace Creek Inn it throughout Death Valley National Park where there is a museum dedicated to the mineral located at…
When it comes to the arts, Los Angeles has raised the bar and has set the standard with the quality of art that it creates and presents. With more than 100 museums boasting priceless works of art, original sculptures, avant-garde objects and pop-culture icons, LA boasts the highest percentage of visitors who cross the thresholds of its many museums of any major U.S. city. "We have an extraordinary collection of art museums, performing art venues, and galleries," says Michael McDowell, senior director of Cultural Tourism & Affinity Markets for the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. "Cultural tourism ranks high…
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