Redding, CA: Shape Up In Shasta Cascade

The breathtaking Shasta Cascade region offers world-class rivers, lakes and trails making it the perfect location to shape up with a plethora of outdoor activities....

Long Beach CA: Hotel Maya

Paying homage to this mysterious culture stands the Hotel Maya along the harbor in Long Beach. Complete with the unique and spectacular architectural style of the stepped pyramids, Hotel Maya welcomes guests into their "village" of modern structures assembled to create this luxurious seaside resort.

Murphys, CA: Murphys Haunted Hotel

When you arrive in the authentic town of Murphys, nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, the locals will ask about where you are staying. If your response is Murphys Historic Hotel, expect the response to be, Haunted! That hotel is haunted!

San Diego, CA: The Keating Hotel

Southern California. Italian design. Ferrari. Stainless steel. Maserati. Bang and Olufsen. Rain showerheads. Just one of these by itself is damn sexy. Put them all together, add a king-sized bed, and you have the uber sexy Keating Hotel.

Arrowhead, CA: Mountain Swimming Hole

Nothing beckons the old days of hiking up the mountains to a nearby waterfall and jumping into the water feet first. Local photographer Sam Katz brings us back to those old memories with a look back.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Vacaville, Ca

In the rolling hills just west of Sacramento Valley is Vacaville. This town, nestled in the hills is off the 99 freeway, just an hour from San Francisco, and within minutes of the Napa and Sonoma wine countries.

If you want to soak in some of the local art, there are a few places you can go. The Vacaville Museum, a Center for Solano County History, has the current exhibit, Serigrafia, designs from California’s silkscreen master printmakers.  Only $3 for adults to tour the museum Tuesday through Friday. Vacaville is also becoming known for its Public Art, located throughout the community. Some of the best places to find public art in Vacaville are in the downtown, at City Hall, and at the Vacaville Cultural Center. And while you are downtown, pick up a brew at TJs Tavern.

If you are in the mood for something a little richer, visit the BackDoor Bistro. At BackDoor Bistro, they emphasize local and sustainable cuisine and offer a variety of wine selections. Balanced plates and local music create a great atmosphere for gathering after a nice ride. Join them for their Happy Hour from 5 to 7.

For more information about these places, visit their websites. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Boonville, CA- The Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Founded in 1987, the Anderson Valley Brewing Company brews some of the smoothest ales around in the small town of Boonville, CA, less than 150 miles north of San Francisco or west of Sacramento. It is a great ride either right up the 128 Anderson Valley Highway or the 101 freeway to the winding 253 Highway to get into town.

In 1996, the Anderson Valley Brewing company built their current 30-barrel facility at the corner of Highways 128 and 253, a mile from the center of Boonville. They give daily tours of the brewery and the three-story Bavarian-style brew house every afternoon. And don’t miss the Tap House open daily from 11am to 6pm (7pm on Fridays). In addition to the brewery grounds, which include picnic groves, horse pastures, and a famous disc golf course, the Tap Room is where Anderson Valley residents and friends of the brewery come to meet. The Tap Room has beers you won’t find outside of the brewery too.

If you want to stay the night, look up the Boonville Hotel. With fifteen unique rooms, from family suite to just-for-two, top floor of the hotel or set apart, there is something for everyone’s needs. Visit their family style restaurant, Table 128. They serve family style, prix fixe meals that delight and satisfy with menus inspired by whim and season. The wine bar has a number of unique and reasonable wines from abroad. The bar opens daily at 11am so stop by for a hot or cold drink, by the fire or in the garden.

For more information about Anderson Valley Brewing Company, their events and where to find their brew, visit their website. Also, to find more information a room at the Boonville Hotel, visit them online. Pictures courtesy of Anderson Valley Brewing Company. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Huntington Beach, CA- The Cruise of Lights

For those of you in the holiday spirit, take a trip down the Pacific Coast Highway to the Huntington Harbour.  On December 13 and 14 they will have the 52 annual Huntington Harbour Boat Parade, themed “Music in Paradise” this year, kicking off the annual event, The Cruise of Lights.

From December 17 to the 23, take a ride on a boat through the harbor and see the entire glory.  Hundreds of boats, decks, docks and homes decorated in thousands of lights all through the holiday season.  A 45-minute narrated boat tour through the sparkling waterways of Huntington Harbourwill take you what is called one of the most remarkable holiday light shows on water and voted Top 10 by Coastal Magazine.

And while you are there, stop into the Red Table Gastrobar, with their edgy interpretation of comfort food. The menu is comfortably priced with interesting yet approachable items intended to share and savor. Craft beers and outstanding wines have been selected to compliment the distinctive menu items and enhance the dining experience.

The tours leave from the parking lot of the Huntington Harbour Mall. For more information visit the HuntingtonHarbour Boat Parade, The Cruise of Lights and Red Table on their websites. Pictures courtesy of The Cruise of Lights. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Indio, CA - Indio International Tamale Festival

Next weekend take a trip to the 23rd annual Indio International Tamale Festival on December 6-7, 2014. Right off of Highway 111, in Old Town Indio, this festival is a favorite for many. Food Network-TV has ranked it in the top 10 "All-American Food Festivals" in the nation. No matter your taste in entertainment, this festival is sure to please. And best of all it is free to the public!

Wind through the streets of Miles, Towne, Smurr and Requa to see the entire splendor. The festival begins with the Parade at 10 am on Saturday, featuring boxing champ Randy Caballero as Grand Marshall, riding with Indio Mayor Lupe Ramos and also see Santa on an antique fire truck at the end. Also view some of the show cars that will be featured during the 2nd annual Car Show that accompanies the festival. Take a trip down Requa st to view and judge for yourself in seven different categories. Sunday afternoon, trophies will be awarded to the winners.

If you have a bottomless stomach, sign up for the annual tamale eating contest. The reigning champ since 2009, Charles G. Bill, Jr, is looking for challengers. You can sign up for that at any one of the stages that will have entertainment. Live music, dancing, singing, juggling, and other diverse performances will be held on one of the five stages available. Stay and watch the Best Tamale Contest where last year’s champion, Texifornia Tamale Co., will again be vying for the title. A carnival will be open until 10pm each night too, providing rides and games to play. Original art work, including painting, photography, sculpture, and textiles from at least 25 artists will be on display and for sale.  Guests can enjoy wine tasting in the wine lounge, and beer from Coachella Valley Brewery will also be available in an adjoining beer garden.

For more information, visit the Indio International Tamale Festival website. Pictures courtesy of

Monday, November 24, 2014

Santa Monica, CA- Santa Monica Pier

With the winter months coming in, the beach cities see a decrease in foot traffic. But places like Santa Monica have so much more to offer than just its warm sandy beaches during the summer. Home of the real “Popeye”, Olaf C. Olsen, the Santa Monica Pier is rich in history. Constructed is 1909, it was an instant success as the first ever concrete pier; it has since collapsed and been rebuilt. In 1975, when council members threatened to demolish, Santa Monica voters declared the pier safe and voted in a proposition that saved the pier forever. A reconstruction commenced in the late 1980s and completed in the early 1990s.

Now here stands this great monument in the ocean, topped with a variety of retail, dining, and entertainment attractions, as well as a police substation and the world-class amusement park, Pacific Park. Enjoy a dozen rides, midway games, ocean front specialty food outlets and seaside shopping. Underneath the pier is the Santa Monica Aquarium. They have more than 100 species of marine animals and plants that can all be found in the Santa Monica Bay. With tons of hands on exhibits and so much to see, the aquarium is a great place to go for an afternoon.

If you want to pick up ale, a small walk around the corner is The Common Ale House. Every table has a Connect Four and Jenga to encourage socializing and free popcorn for customers. It is the perfect place to enjoy the nightlife of the pier after dark.

For more information, visit all of their websites. Picture courtesy of Pacific Park. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Scotia, CA

Stop in Scotia and fall in love with the 19th century charm, the authentic architecture, the unsoiled beauty and sense of history, like a step back in time. Take a trip through the Scotia Logging Museum, open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The museum has artifacts, videos and interactive technology, offering a personal tour of forestry management and the Town of Scotia over the years.

The Avenue of the Giants, located on State Route 254, is considered to be a scenic alternate to Highway 101 and winds its way through Humboldt Redwoods State Park. This road was originally built as a stagecoach and wagon road in the 1880s. During this time the first Inn was put up in the town of Scotia. This stagecoach hub was constructed when the highway was the main road and burned down in the early 1900s. It was rebuilt in 1923. Now called the Scotia Inn, the building has 22 lovely rooms decorated with antique and modern furniture. On the main floor, enjoy a drink at the Irish Pub.

If you are looking to go out for the night, the nearby town of Fortuna has its own brewery, Eel River Brewing Company. Living by their motto, “Be Natural. Drink Naked.” they became the first certified organic brewery in the United States, and has won over 300 awards and medals. Their legendary beer is worth a taste.

For more information on Scotia, visit their website. Photos courtesy of Scotia Inn. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Morro Bay, CA

Take a ride up the Pacific Coast Highway and visit one of the nicest beach towns in central California. The seaside village of Morro Bay is a getaway for travelers seeking a gorgeous natural setting. Located along scenic Highway 1 midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Morro Bay is a beautiful ride and not far off the beaten
path. Once you experience the beauty and charm , not to mention the fun you’ll have just plain relaxing, you will have a hard time going home. Visit the beautiful Morro Bay Rock on the beach to take in the real splendor of this town.

Before you move on, be sure to stop into Fish Bonez, a new seafood restaurant in the middle of downtown Morro Bay. Fish Bonez specializes in fusion cuisine that pairs Italian, Asian and Mexican influences and merges them together with California's freshest seafood, steak, lamb, chicken as well as some of California’s best wines.

But if you are really looking for a good wine, check out the hottest new wine bar on the Central Coast, STAX Wine Bar and Bistro. Choose from over 100 local and international wines. Enjoy daily tastings, and wine by the glass, as well as panini sandwiches, gourmet meats and cheese plates. Be sure to stop in for the live entertainment that they have weekly.

For more information about Morro Bay, Fish Bonez or STAXWine Bar and Bistro, visit their websites.Picture courtesy of The City of Morro Bay.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Ramona CA-Oktoberfest

Looking for a reason to get out for the weekend? Music, food, wine and of course, beer will be on tap for Ramona's third annual Oktoberfest on October 4th. Oktoberfest means "celebration of the harvest" and this year there will be plenty to celebrate. The event will feature traditional Bavarian accordion musicians, a beer garden, stocked by Stone Brewery of Escondido and a wine garden showcasing local Ramona wines. Traditional Bavarian food, such as brats and pretzels, will also be available.

Enjoy a long ride through the mountain pass on your way. There is plenty of fun for adults with horseshoes and more contests. And don’t miss the car show and more than 70 commercial and craft vendors that will be on there.

Military and children under 10 get in fir free and $10 admission for everyone else. For more information, visit their website at the Ramona Chamber.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Folsom CA- Folsom Historic DIstrict

If you are looking for a nice ride off the beat and path, take a trip to Folsom, CA. Johnny Cash once wrote of this town in his album "At Folsom Prison" to regain popularity in his career, but there is much more than a correctional facility there now. The Folsom Historic District has more than 80 businesses, including restaurants, art galleries, live theater, museums, antique stores and specialty shops. With at least one event happening every month, Historic Folsom is the place to visit for events and festivals! The diverse event schedule includes Live Entertainment, Art Walks, Car Shows, Antique Fairs, Craft Fairs and wonderful community events throughout the year!

For example there is the Folsom History Museum. The Museum is operated by the Folsom Historical Society, located in historic downtown Folsom. It is the home to a wonderful collection of artifacts and treasures that chronicle the settlement and development of the Folsom area. You'll see fascinating and educational exhibits throughout the year along with special events highlighting the Gold Rush era and Folsom. The History Museum focuses on exhibits about Folsom's native people, the discovery of gold and the formation of mining camps, ethnic groups who contributed to the area, the formation of the town, railroad, prison, powerhouse, and later efforts at gold mining.

You might also like the stay a night at the Folsom Hotel and Saloon. This hotel, previously named the New Western Hotel, was built by Charles Zimmerman. The hotel’s Completion was marked by the installation of the back bar mirror. Samuel Levits, the maker of the mirror, accompanied it on it’s journey to California. Eager to start his new life in the silver mines of Virginia City, he persuaded Zimmerman to give him the hotel keys so that he could work through the night to install the mirror. While cutting the mirror, Levits was cut severely and he died before dawn. Although dead, he still resides in the hotel. Many nights, Levits can still be heard in the bar kicking the keys toward the locked front door in an effort to get out and get help. Levits is not alone in the Folsom Hotel either. Camille, an aloof woman who once served Zimmerman as a maid and cook in payment for her son’s education, is still present. She continues to help the present owners tidy up in the early morning hours, spending most of her time in the dining room and kitchen.

Come enjoy entertainment, history and fun in Folsom. For more information about the Folsom Historic District, Folsom History Museum or the Folsom Hotel and Saloon, visit their websites.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

San Pedro, CA- The Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival

From September 12th to the 14th, 2014, enjoy one of the world’s largest lobster festivals; The Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival, winner of four Guinness World Records and the “2013 OUTSTANDING CORPORATE CITIZEN AWARD”.  It features fresh discount Maine lobster meals flown in fresh daily and cooked on the spot, and plenty of free entertainment. After feasting on the world famous lobster meals, guests enjoy dancing, street performers, a pirate camp, tall ships, shopping for arts and crafts, and musical performances by some of today’s best up-and-coming acts. Accompanied by a music festival all weekend, “Lobsterfest” is the place for you and your taste buds to be.
A one day pass for an adult is only $10 but don’t think you can’t bring the kids. Children under 12 are free.
If you want to splurge for the $41 First Class Tickets you will get weekend admission, one guaranteed Maine lobster meal, front line privileges for Meal line and Bar all weekend and one beverage. In the VIP Dining Area you will enjoy your delicious wild-caught Maine lobster, cole slaw, potatoes, rolls, buttery dipping sauce, and a wedge of watermelon.
Lobster lovers enjoy a scenic outdoor park along LA’s historic waterfront, and shops at Ports O’ Call Village at the intersection of 6th Street and Harbor Drive. We are easy to find at the end of the 110 Harbor Freeway in San Pedro, California, only 20 minutes south of downtown Los Angeles. There is plenty of free parking and buses will be shuttling guests from the free parking areas at no charge.
Come for the feast and stay for the fun. For more information about Lobsterfest, visit their website.