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.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Indian Wells, CA: A Romantic Day at Spa Esmeralda

As my wife and I sat around our home and thought about how to spend a gorgeous day together here in the Coachella Valley, one thing came to mind - The Spa Esmeralda. What better a place to share some time, some moments and the opportunity to relax in tranquility.

The Spa Esmeralda is a sanctuary entered into that was conceived to arouse our senses and separate us from the cares of everyday. Designed with smooth marble floors, gleaming glass and tile, sculpted wood, plush furnishings, textural fabrics and soft linens, floral bouquets of fresh garden scents along with the soft, tinkling music of a trickling stone fountain, this place smelled of relaxation as me and my wife entered through the doors.

One of the features listed on the extensive menu of services that we both came across was Couples Treatments. Time to take breath, lean back, close the eyes and let our bodies come alive as the California spa resort soothed away the stress of the day, or the year, amongst a blissful garden setting that was surrounded by an alluring desert landscape. The Spa Esmeralda provided us an exclusive selection of Spa Couples Treatments that was both intimate and revitalizing. We were able to choose from a menu of treatments all specifically designed to appeal to both sexes.

From stimulating massages to skin treatments to scrubs, manicures, pedicures, facials, bathing to other specialties all presented before our eyes to choose from. We sensed that our treatment time in the Spa Esmeralda was provided amongst an intimate sanctuary that allowed both her and me the opportunity to reconnect through the shared sensation of complete relaxation and wellness. As we perused the menu, the Must Love Chocolate - Couples Massage caught our eye quickly. With this we were to share a 60 minute Esmeralda Signature Massage in one of the beautiful couples suites.

After the massage, we were to enjoy a Chocolate Molten Lava cake along with either a glass of champagne or sparkling cider out in our cozy garden cabana. And this was all for only $249. As tempting as that sounded, we instead decided to start with the Couples Massage that allowed us to create our own custom couples massage experience. We selected two massages other then Stone which included Esmeralda Signature, Therapeutic Sports, Reflexology or Mellow Mama, and received them together in our luxurious private spa suite, side by side. We even held hands as other hands rubbed the daily grind away. With two therapists and two tables, we relished in the romantic experience for 60 min, but we had the option of 90 minutes also.

There is also a Couples Retreat which began with our therapist who prepared a private aromatherapy bath were we were able to play in the mud and take in an interactive facial mud mask. Our gorgeous treatment sanctuary was adorned with pink, red and purple rose pedals while we enjoyed a relaxing massage. We were also given the option of experiencing the treatment in the Spa Esmeralda's Outdoor Spa Garden and enjoy the desert sun in our very own private cabana as long as weather permits.

We wrapped up our full day at the Spa Esmeralda together with the Floral Ritual for Couples. We sat side by side and slipped our feet into a lovely foot bath that was filled with an herbal infusion. Our feet were cleansed using salt and essential oil exfoliation then they were each lightly massaged with healing botanicals. The 30 min foot bath was followed by a 60 minute body massage that completed the experience.

The Spa Esmeralda provided my wife and me with the opportunity to get close and enjoy a variety of relaxing techniques together that only assisted in the nurturing of our bodies as well as our care for one another.

Esmeralda Resort & Spa
44-400 Indian Wells Lane
Indian Wells CA 92210-8708
(760) 773-4444

For discounts and deals on hotels, restaurants, and attractions in Palm Springs, CA, visit

Sausalito, CA: 60th Annual Sausalito Art Festival, September 1-3, 2012

sausalito art festival
Nearly 300 award-winning artists exhibiting and selling more than 25,000 works of art from around the San Francisco Bay, and around the country will flock to the waterfront village of Sausalito, CA, Labor Day weekend, September 1, 2 and 3, for the 60th annual Sausalito Art Festival.

One of the oldest, most prestigious and most looked-forward-to Art Festivals in the country -- for 60 years the Sausalito Art Festival has set the standard for quality, variety, innovation and sheer scope of artists, as well as for a celebrated entertainment line-up, gourmet food and beverages and special exhibitions. The Festival’s ambiance electrifies the village of Sausalito for three days every year, transforming it into a “Camelot” of art and community.

Exhibiting artists have been selected by a rigorous jury process and will show a range of work including painting, sculpture, drawing, ceramics, glass, fiber and fashion, wood, photography, mixed media and more. The 60th annual Sausalito Art Festival will be held in Marinship Park adjacent to the Ferry landing, Friday and Saturday, September 1 and 2, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Monday, September 3, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Last year, more than 30,000 people attended the Festival, which is considered by artists, art collectors, Festival fans and the media as a must-attend event. Sausalito has long been regarded as one of the world’s great artist’s communities, and the Festival and community have co-evolved for 60 years, bringing world-wide attention, top artists, and international visitors to the area that is also known for its excellent restaurants, shopping and access to breathtaking natural beauty and outdoor activities.

sausalito art festival
The Festival is produced by the non-profit Sausalito Art Festival Foundation, and proceeds from the Festival support the local arts community in the form of student scholarships, grants to other non-profit arts organizations and community service programs. All food and beverage concessions at the Festival are operated by local non-profits that benefit from the proceeds of their sales at the Festival. Annual student scholarships are generated by the opening night gala silent auction, which raises more than $15,000 annually for education support.

Opening Night Gala and Benefit Friday, August 31

The 2012 Festival will kick-off with an opening night gala and benefit the night before the Festival opens to the public. Artists and guests will preview the art, enjoy cocktails, dinner, dancing. Funds raised from the Gala will support a new pilot program, Artists Teaching Art. Tickets for the gala benefit are priced $250 each. Table sponsorships are also available.

About the Sausalito Art Festival

Over one million visitors from throughout the world have attended the Sausalito Art Festival since its inaugural event in 1952. Sausalito has been the focal point for artists for close to 200 years. Weekend painters first arrived by sailboat from San Francisco in the early 1800's to capture scenes of tall ships and nature against the majestic backdrop of the bay.

Sausalito was a major shipbuilding site during World War II. Workers came by the thousands to build the famed Liberty Ships on Sausalito's northern waterfront. At the end of the war, the idle waterfront became a magnet for poets, writers, artists, and film makers from throughout the world.

The rustic waterfront and growing houseboat colony all helped create a popular haven for a bustling artists' community. The growing camaraderie among nativeborn and newcomer artists created the foundation for the Festival. Sausalito artists staged their first festival on Shell Beach, September 6, 1952, in conjunction with a salmon festival and regatta. Shell Beach is now the site of the world famous Spinnaker Restaurant.

The Sausalito Art Festival is one of the first juried fine art festivals in the nation and in the 1970's, cash awards were instituted.

sausalito art festival
Its current location at Marinship Park, next to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Bay Model Visitor Center, was built and paid for by the Art Festival, the Rotary Club and several other non-profits and volunteers with donated money and labor in 1988 as a permanent home for the Festival. The new site allowed for direct ferry service,a shuttle system, more artists, entertainers, and higher attendance.

Under the Chamber's stewardship, the Festival has seen its greatest growth, gained national recognition as the #1 Outdoor Fine Art Festival in America, and has earned an international standing for excellence in the arts. It is now considered one of the "best" and "most prestigious" fine art festivals in the United States by both artists and collectors worldwide.

The Festival is a nonprofit fund raising Event that has benefited every civic and nonprofit organization in Sausalito with over 1,000 volunteers and over 270 of the nation's top juried Artists. It is produced by a dedicated group of artists and community volunteers. It The Sausalito continues its long-standing mission of supporting the arts and community nonprofit organizations through grant programs, artist awards, scholarships, and the Sausalito Chamber of Commerce Community Service Programs. Through this support, the Festival makes a significant investment in the future of its community, totaling over $500,000 in recent years.

Getting to the 60th Annual Sausalito Art Festival

There are many transportation options to the Sausalito Art Festival, including the Blue & Gold Fleet, which offers a combined ferry/Festival ticket package ( and transports Festival-goers from Pier 41 in San Francisco directly to the Festival pier. Golden Gate Transit, will add extra ferries for the Festival, and sails to downtown Sausalito. Free shuttle buses will transport ferry passengers to and from the Festival. Golden Gate Transit’s bus service is also available; contact 415.455.2000 or for ferry and bus information. Additionally, free valet bicycle parking will be provided.For those traveling to the Festival by car, take Highway 101 North or South to the Sausalito/Marin City exit and follow the signs to the Sausalito Art Festival.

Tickets and information

Tickets to the Sausalito Art Festival are $25 for general admission; $15 for seniors 62+; $5 for children ages 6 – 12; free for children under 6. Tickets are available for purchase beginning in July via Please note: Pets are not allowed into the Sausalito Art Festival.

For more information about the Festival, its artists and performers, the Sausalito Art Festival Foundation and much more, visit the Sausalito Art Festival website at:

To book hotel accommodations, contact: Melissa Land at (877) 294-3918, or

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mountain View, CA: A Sweet Secret Vacation Destination

computer history museum
The quaint and lovely town of Mountain View, nestled in heart of California's Silicon Valley, is an attractive enclave teeming with numerous historical museums, excellent restaurants and unique shops. Mountain View is located 40 miles from San Francisco and only about 15 miles from the beaches of San Jose. The hotels in Mountain View California provide an excellent lodging experience. Many hotels are conveniently located within walking distance of historic downtown Castro Street, which accommodates pedestrian traffic for easy access to the many exceptional cafes, restaurants and eclectic shops.

One of the popular attractions to Mountain View is the Winchester Mystery House. The erection of the mansion began in 1884 by the widow of William Wirt Winchester, inventor of the Winchester rifle. Oddly, the construction the house continued non-stop for the next 38 years. Sarah Winchester believed that the guns her husband had invented were "terrible weapons" and that evil would befall her if she stopped building on the house. The once seven-story manor became four stories after the 1906 earthquake. Daily tours are available through what many believe is a haunted house.

The Children's Discovery Museum located in nearby San Jose is one of the attractions that makes Mountain View a family vacation destination. The museum features Lupe, the remains of a Columbian mammoth discovered in 2005 near San Jose. The museum also has the Art Loft, for interactive visual art creation, the Kid's Garden and many other assorted activities that will be sure to pique the interest of any child.

The Computer History Museum is another interesting attraction that is appropriately located in the Silicon Valley, essentially the birthplace of computer technology. The museum offers a comprehensive history, current day descriptions and exhibits that surround computer technology.

Another riveting and thoroughly interesting activity to enjoy is Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Planetarium. This museum contains the second largest collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities in the United States. From mummies to artifacts depicting daily Egyptian life, a visit to this exhibition is interesting and memorable.

Roaring Camp Railroads offers train rides from the spectacular Redwood forests to beach routes. The Redwood Forest route, which is driven by a narrow gauge, steam-powered engine, departs from the Santa Cruz mountains, and chugs its way through the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park arriving at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

Mountain View, CA is the perfect place to book lodging because of its centralized location to all the wonderful activities waiting to be experienced in the area. Silicon Valley is the hub of all that defines the charm and treasures of northern California. The hotels in Mountain View, offer many amenities that serve to enhance a fun filled vacation.

For more information about the great city of Mountain View please visit hotels Mountain View California website. This hotel is operated by Hotel Managers Group a leading hotel management company in California.

Sacramento, CA: Launch 2012, Music & Arts Festival

launch festival 2012
LAUNCH Events today announced their 2012 LAUNCH Festival, an annual celebration of music, art, fashion, design and architecture July 23rd – 28th in the heart of Sacramento.

Since its inception in 2009, LAUNCH has grown from a single day event highlighting talent from the local community to a six-day celebration of local, regional and internationally acclaimed artists, designers and creatives.

Hosted at multiple venues throughout midtown and downtown Sacramento,LAUNCH is curated by some of the brightest artists in and around Sacramento to not only showcase their peers, but also introduce the community to a new generation of talent across multiple artistic platforms.

LAUNCH 2012 kicks off Monday, July 23rd when Model Citizens NYC outfits Hot Italian restaurant for an exclusive designer showcase, and concludes Saturday, July 28th when the LAUNCH Music Festival takes over Cesar Chavez Park featuring performances by Chromeo, DJ Shadow, Grouplove , !!!, Sea of Bees and more.

Visit for a full schedule of events, artists and ticket prices.

Monday, July 23rd: Model Citizens NYC @ Hot Italian Restaurant
Pop-up artisan retail from local and national designers.
6PM – Invite only event (open to public throughout the week)

Tuesday, July 24th: Capital Indie Collective @ Bows & Arrows
Silent movies with live scores played by local musicians.
7PM - $8 pre-sale/$10 door

Tuesday, July 24th: Le Twist @ Dive Bar
DNTEL of Postal Service headlines this event featuring classy and eclectic music from local DJ’s.
9PM – No cover charge

Wednesday, July 25th: Launch Midtown Sacramento @ MARRS Building
Architects and designers create visionary installations with performances by local musicians.
5PM – No cover charge

Wednesday, July 25th: Concerts 4 Charity presents King Tuff @ Harlow’s
8PM - $8 pre-sale/$10 door

Thursday, July 26th: Cut&Paste @ Ace of Spades
Digital design battle set to live music.
7PM - $15 pre-sale/$17 door

Friday, July 26th: Envision Talks @ California Museum
Inspiring talks from Llisa Demtrios and other creatives.
1PM - $20 pre-sale/$25 door

Friday, July 27th: Fashion Showcase @ The Landmark Building
Internationally acclaimed designers take charge of the runway with captivating creations.
7PM - $50 pre-sale/$65 door

Saturday, July 28th: LAUNCH 2O12 Festival @ Cesar Chavez Park
Live performances by Chromeo, Grouplove, !!!, DJ Shadow and more.
11AM to 11PM - $35 pre-sale/$45 door

To book hotel accommodations, contact: Melissa Land at (877) 294-3918, or

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Santa Rosa, CA: Dining, Bicycling, Wine Tasting, and More

Located just 55 miles north of San Francisco is a vibrant city overflowing with the best that California has to offer – winetasting, farm-fresh dining, beautiful countryside to bicycle or drive through, family-friendly attractions and a range of places to stay for a week or a weekend.

A winetasting destination

The largest city in Sonoma County, Santa Rosa lies in the heart of Northern California Wine Country. With its abundance of wineries and unparalleled natural beauty, it's easy to understand why Sonoma County is one of the premier winetasting destinations in the world.

Tasting opportunities within the city of Santa Rosa include a new urban winery village called Vintners' Square that is home to several small boutique, but full-production wineries with tasting rooms: D'Argenzio Winery, Sheldon Wines, and Krutz Family Cellars. Also within the city proper is Paradise Ridge Winery.

Santa Rosa is a great place from which to explore any of nearly 200 wineries within Sonoma County. Visitors can begin their wine tasting journey by stopping at the California Welcome Center to pick up free tasting coupons and maps to member wineries.

Among the wineries within a short drive are: Benziger Family Winery, Chateau St. Jean Winery, Korbel Champagne Cellars, Kunde Estate Winery & Vineyards, Matanzas Creek Winery, and many others.

A haven for foodies

Santa Rosa didn't earn Sperling's "best place to live if you're a foodie" designation by accident. Delicious and inspired, Wine Country cuisine is one of Santa Rosa's biggest attractions. Local and regional chefs present the flavors of Sonoma County in eating establishments ranging from very casual taquerias to Michelin-rated restaurants.

Diners will find an amazing variety of cuisines from quaint bistros to traditional steakhouses in this foodie-friendly town. American, California cuisine, Italian, French, Indian, Mexican, Thai, comfort-food diners, hamburger joints and coffee houses are all represented.

Guy Fieri, Santa Rosa's own celebrity chef, restaurateur, and Food Network star, chose to live and open restaurants in Santa Rosa because of the vitality of the culinary community here.

Among the more well-known and beloved eating establishments in Santa Rosa are: John Ash & Co., La Gare, Equus Restaurant, Willi's Wine Bar, Ca'Bianca and many others providing an enjoyable dining experience for every taste and budget.

Arts, culture and entertainment venues

The Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, located just north of town, hosts world-class performances in music, dance, theater, and comedy, drawing entertainers that have included Tony Bennett and Willie Nelson. The renowned Santa Rosa Symphony, which has gained a national reputation for the quality and creativity of its productions, also performs frequently at the Wells Fargo Center.

Smaller venues and companies, such as the Sixth Street Playhouse, Summer Repertory Theater (SRT) at Santa Rosa Junior College, and the Imaginists Theatre Collective, stage a wide range of high-quality theatrical productions at various times of the year.

SOFA (South A Street Arts District), near downtown Santa Rosa, contains approximately six galleries and hosts a number of art exhibitions and activities during the year, including the SOFA Art Walk, Small Works, Matsuri (Japanese Arts Festival), Vine Art, and Winterblast.

Fun for families

Santa Rosa offers plenty of family-friendly adventures, from hiking and biking in local parks to ice skating at the Redwood Empire Ice Arena.

Santa Rosa boasts 57 parks within its city limits, including Annadel State Park, Spring Lake Regional Park, Howarth Memorial Park/Lake Ralphine and Hood Mountain Regional Park.

Another outdoor adventure popular among families is Safari West, just outside Santa Rosa, which provides jeep tours of a 400-acre area with more than 400 exotic mammals and birds. In addition, Santa Rosa is mere minutes away from some of nature’s greatest wonders, including the Pacific Coast, the Russian River and the redwoods.

Santa Rosa is a burgeoning area for agri-tourism sites, where families can get up-close experiences with farm and ranch-related operations from beekeeping to berry picking.

Museums, including the Charles M. Schulz Museum, Sonoma County Museum, Pacific Coast Air Museum, and Luther Burbank Home & Gardens provide educational opportunities for young visitors. For budding astronomers, there are public shows at the Santa Rosa Junior College planetarium.

A mecca for bicyclists

Sonoma County's spectacular scenery, gentle rolling hills and mild climate make it a great place for a cycling adventure – and an ideal training venue for some of the best-known bicycle racers in the world, including Levi Leipheimer, who calls Santa Rosa home.

In May 2012, Santa Rosa is slated to be the start location for the seventh edition of the Amgen Tour of California, an annual 750-mile professional cycling stage race on the UCI America Tour and USA Cycling Professional Tour.

Recreational bicyclists also flock to Santa Rosa, as evidenced by how quickly an event founded by Leipheimer in 2009 called the King Ridge GranFondo, has grown. In 2010, more than 7,500 riders took part, including movie and television star Patrick Dempsey.

A number of companies provide bike tours through the Wine Country, including Getaway Adventures/Wine Country Bike Tours. Many add to the experience by including wine tasting and gourmet picnic lunches.

Places to stay 

Lodgings in Santa Rosa include a wide range of experiences, from full-service accommodations with spa amenities to family-oriented, budget-minded comfort stays.

Visitors will find a variety of nationally known hotel brands, such as Courtyard by Marriott Santa Rosa, Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel and Spa, and Hilton Sonoma Wine Country Hotel, as well as long-time local favorites such as Fountaingrove Inn Hotel and Conference Center, and Flamingo Conference Resort and Spa.

Hotel La Rose, a landmark for over 100 years, has old-world charm and downtown convenience. Also available are B&Bs, such as the Melitta Station Inn.

Travelers planning a longer stay in Sonoma County can take advantage of Santa Rosa's two Extended Stay America hotels, vacation rental homes, or camping facilities throughout the region, from the coast to Spring Lake Park.

For more information...

Contact Santa Rosa Convention Center and Visitors Bureau at (800) 404-7673 or (707) 577-8674 or visit For hotel accommodations, visit

Camarillo, CA: Casa Pacifica Angel's Wine & Food Festival

The Yummies competition is an action-packed culinary showdown involving Ventura County’s top restaurants and chefs, and will be held at the 19th Annual Casa Pacifica Angel’s Wine & Food Festival on Sunday, June 3, 2012 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

The Yummies culinary competition showcases each chef’s entry to be judged based on flavor, presentation, innovation and quality. Entries will be tasted by a panel of celebrity judges comprised of television and print media personalities, food and wine editors, and food and wine columnists based on which chef’s dish they feel is the “Yummiest.”

The panel of celebrity judges includes Top Chef Season five and Season eight participant, Fabio Viviani, and runner-up on Season two of MasterChef, Adrien Nieto. Viviani is also a talented chef and owner of Café Firenze in Moorpark, California and Firenze Osteria in Toluca Lake, California. Nieto is also the founder of …Cruda…, a new food company that offers foods created from local, sustainable, seasonal, and organic sources.

Celebrity chefs will be complemented by Emcee Oded Fehr, television & movie celebrity, who is best known for his portrayal of the mysterious warrior, Ardeth Bay, in Universal’s “The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns” and his recurring role on USA’s “Covert Affairs.” The panel of judges also includes Angela Pettera, dining editor for 805 Living Magazine; Chef Daniel Atkin; Chef Robin M. Atkin; Lisa McKinnon—Ventura County Star’s weekly Café Society columnist; Lynne Andujar—co-founder and editor-in-chief of 805 Living Magazine’s Taste section; radio show hosts Tom Hilton and Sandy Seekin; and trained chef and writer Brittany Bassett. Yummie Co-chairs Fran Elson and Cheri Elson will be overseeing the competition and invite all guests to join them at the Yummies pavilion to watch and enjoy the judging.

All-inclusive general admission tickets to the Angels Wine & Food Festival can be purchased online at for $100 each until June 1, 2012. General Admission tickets will be $125 at the door. For access to the exclusive VIP Lounge presented by Wells Fargo, $200 VIP tickets can be purchased online. VIP tickets include early admission to the event at noon, allowing guests an extra hour to enjoy the festivities, as well as VIP valet parking which offers easier access into the event.

A shuttle service will also be available for guests to travel to and from their homes safely. Make a reservation for the Safe Ride Program today by calling (805) 389-8196. Prices start as low as $15 per person each way, or book a room at the Courtyard Marriott, Camarillo, and ride the free shuttle to and from the Festival. Room reservations can be made at the Courtyard Marriott by calling (805) 388-1020.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Temecula, CA: Temecula Balloon & Wine Festival, 2012

The Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival announced that LIVE’S Ed Kowalczyk has been added to the show and will perform on the main stage at 5:30 pm on Saturday, June 2 performing all the hits including “Lightning Crashes,” “I Alone,” “All Over You,” “Selling The Drama” and more. The weekend lineup includes Lifehouse, Phil Vassar, Chris Cagle, Gloriana, Soul Asylum and John Waite. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Tonic will not be able to perform as part of the Saturday concert lineup.

A three-day showcase of Temecula Valley Wine Country June 1-3, the event shares abundant blue skies, wine tasting from Temecula Valley wineries, mass dawn hot air balloon launches, foodie events, concerts on two stages and arts and crafts.

A new foodie event has been added giving guests tips on cooking with premium beer and how to pair beer with various cuisine. Food pairing events include four courses each paired with a beverage, plus chef demonstrations and recipes, pairing tips. Food and Beer pairing offers cuisine from The American Culinary Federation – Riverside Chapter. Recipes shared during the event are: Palm Sugar Cured Sablefish Nigiri, Citrus Unagi Sauce with Local Micro Cilantro, Shock Top Raspberry Chocolate Mousse, Spring Vegetable Sausage Soup using Beck's Beer, and New Orleans Barbeque Shrimp. Wine and Food Pairing showcases gold and silver medal wines paired with tasty treats from local executive chefs sharing Italian, California Cuisine, and Cajun items plus fine pastry desserts.

Opening night, Friday June 1, 3 p.m. is a crowd-pleaser as families pour into the Festival in anticipation of the evening balloon “Glow” at 8:30 p.m. A visual spectacle that coordinates the "flicker" of the hot air balloon flame, with a musical beat, makes the hot air balloons appear to dance. Staying tethered to the ground, the giant colorful orbs delight young and old. This is repeated Saturday evening, June 2.

temecula balloon wine festival
Country Friday at the Festival features, Phil Vassar, Chris Cagle, and Gloriana in concert. A prolific songwriter and versatile performer, Vassar has recorded six albums. His debut album, “Phil Vassar," was released in early 2000 and produced five hit singles on the U.S. "Billboard" country singles charts and was certified gold in the United States. Hits include “Carlene,” “Just Another Day in Paradise,” “Six-Pack Summer,” “American Child,” "That’s When I love You,” “In A Real Love,” “I’ll Take That as a Yes (The Hot Tub Song),” “Last Day of My Life,” and “Love is a Beautiful Thing.”

Chris Cagle hit the country charts in 2000 with the hit single “My Love Goes On and On" from his 2001 debut album "Play It Loud." The first album had two more hits "Laredo" and "I Breathe In. I Breathe Out." Since then his hits include “Chicks Dig It,” "What a Beautiful Day," "Miss Me Baby," “What Kinda Gone," and “Got My Country On”.

In 2010, Gloriana won the Academy of Country Music’s Award for Top New Vocal Group and was nominated for a Teen Choice Award for “Choice Country Group.” The best-selling debut country act of 2009, Gloriana debuted at #2 on the Billboard Country Albums chart and #3 on the Top 200 chart. The album spawned the hit single “Wild At Heart.” The group has a new album "A Thousand Miles Left Behind" due to be released this summer. The single “(Kissed You) Good Night” from the album is climbing the country charts.

Lifehouse, the L.A. based alternative rock band known most recently for their hit "All-In" will headline the Festival on Saturday, June 2 of the three-day event. The Main Stage is sponsored by Pechanga Resort and Casino.The band hit mainstream prominence in 2001 with the hit single "Hanging by a Moment" from their debut studio album, "No Name Face.” The single won a Billboard Music Award for Hot 100 Single of the Year, beating out Janet Jackson and Alicia Keys for the #1 Single of 2001.

Lifehouse released the album "Smoke & Mirrors" in 2010 which spawned the hit song "Half Way Gone,” "All In" and "Falling In." The album was #2 on the Billboard Rock Album Charts for 2010. Combined album sales are over five-million and Lifehouse singles have sold over three-million copies online including #1 hits "Hanging by a Moment" and "You and Me." Lifehouse singles "First Time,“ “Whatever It Takes," and "Broken" have also achieved major chart and sales success. The band's hits maintain chart positions on iTunes, years after their initial release and their video streams are at 70 million and counting.

The Festival's Rockin' Saturday lineup includes Soul Asylum. Formed in 1983, Soul Asylum has maintained their reputation heartfelt rock from their beginnings through their commercially successful days on A&M and Columbia Records (where they scored a Grammy for the monster hit single "Runaway Train"). The band has persevered through the good times of garnering several platinum albums and accolades including a performance for the Presidential inauguration of Bill Clinton. Soul Asylum will release their first album in six years, "Delayed Reaction" on July 17. Coffey opens the main stage acts at 4 p.m. followed by Kowalczyk and the headliners Soul Asylum and Lifehouse.

John Waite headlines the Wine Garden stage on Sunday, June 3. Waite, an English singer/songwriter first hit Billboard Charts in 1977 as the lead singer of The Babys with the hit "Everytime I Think of You." After a few hits the band broke up launching Waite into a successful solo career. On September 22, 1984, he found himself at number one on the hit parade with “Missing You.” The song topped the international charts. Twenty years on, this classic remains a radio staple around the globe.

Sunday will also feature The Metal Mulisha FMX Show featuring freestyle motocross champions, Metal Mulisha teammates, and an international cast of dare devil riders. Riders who have performed in the past include Jimmy Fitzpatrick, Todd Potter, Taka, Ox-Jeff Cargola, Wes Agee, Ryan Hagy, Australian riders Jackson Strong and Robbie Alberg and Cito Vascas from Brazil. There are always surprise guests at this show. Last year Metal Mulisha founder Brian Deegan came out to support the riders.

The Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival Gold Medal Awards were announced this week. 70 wines were presented for judging. This is the fourth year for the Festival awards coordinated by the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association and the Festival.

Winners of the 2012 Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival Gold Medal are: Sparkling: South Coast Winery Resort & Spa ~ Extra Dry (NV), White Table: Single Varietal: South Coast Winery Resort & Spa ~ "Sans Chen" Chardonnay, 2009, White Table: Blend: Maurice Car'rie Winery ~ "Heather's Mist" (NV), Red Table; Single Varietal: Wilson Creek Winery ~ "Winemaker's Select" Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009, Red Table; Blend: Lorimar Winery ~ Cabernet Sauvignon/Mourvedre, 2008, Blush: Miramonte Winery – Grenache Rose, 2009, Sweet/Dessert: Europa Village- Muscat Canelli, 2011.

The Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival is sponsored by the County of Riverside and the City of Temecula. For information and tickets visit or call (951) 676-6713. For hotel room specials visit

Sierra NF: Sierra Vista Scenic Byway Opens

sierra vista scenic byway
The Sierra Vista Scenic Byway, a 100 mile journey through an area of the Sierra National Forest often referred to as a “secret Yosemite” has opened.

The seasonal road is maintained by the National Forest Service, and opens once all the snow has melted from the upper elevations and any necessary cleanup has been completed.

“We’re very excited that the Byway opened up just in time for the Memorial Day Weekend,” said Jarrod Lyman with the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau. “The Sierra Vista Scenic Byway is an excellent play for people to get out and enjoy the great outdoors in a much more individual setting.”

While Yosemite National Park enjoys high visitation during the summer months, the Byway, which sits adjacent to Yosemite, sees far fewer visitors which affords travelers the opportunity to enjoy similar vistas with far fewer people around.

sierra vista scenic byway
“The Byway has sweeping panoramic vistas of the Sierra Nevada’s granite peaks, it boasts lush meadows with a large array of plant and animal life, unique rock formations, historical attractions, it really is an amazing journey,” said Lyman.

Popular stops include Mile High Vista, which overlooks Mammoth Pools and grants unobstructed views of the high country, Globe Rock which is a massive almost spherical boulder perched atop rock pillar as if it were a golf ball belonging to some long lost giant, the Jones Store which sells renowned hamburgers and pies for over 50 years and the Nelder Grove of Giant Sequoia.

Guests taking the byway can start in either North Fork, the exact center of California and a popular jumping off point for the Byway, or from Beasore Road in Bass Lake. Maps and other information can be picked up at the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau’s visitor center at 40637 Highway 41 in Oakhurst.

For road conditions and other information, contact the National Forest Service at 559-877-2218.

Visit Sierra Vista Scenic Byway's website at:

View Larger Map

Friday, May 25, 2012

Point Reyes, CA: Northern California's Summer Getaway

point reyes california
The long, lazy days of summer are finally here, and Point Reyes is kicking off a season of outdoor fun and events. Less than an hour from San Francisco, Point Reyes is an ideal destination for nature lovers, families and anyone looking to get out and about this summer.

Summer starts on Memorial Day weekend, May 26-28, with the Point Reyes Open Studios semi-annual event. With over 20 artists planning to display and demonstrate their works, art lovers are invited to explore local studios and workshops and meet some of the finest painters, photographers, sculptors and other artists in the area. The free, self-guided tour allows visitors to explore the natural beauty of the area while enjoying unique and wonderful art.

Next, on June 4-5, Western Weekend celebrates the ranching roots of West Marin with 4-H exhibits and homecoming queens. Western Weekend is a great way to get to know Point Reyes, highlighting the quirky and eclectic mix of the area. It combines the area’s cowboy history with great local food and artists. Those planning to come for just the day shouldn’t miss the parade at noon on Sunday at Point Reyes Station. It’s real local fun.

Another local summer staple, the Point Reyes Farmers Market, will be out in full force again this year. Beginning on Saturday, June 23rd, the market will be open from 9 AM to 1 PM on Saturdays. This is the only all local, all certified organic produce market in the wider Bay Area and features the best of what the region has to offer. In addition to fresh, delicious local produce, the market also features guest musicians, book signings and cooking demonstrations from local chefs.

And as always, don’t forget about the wide range of outdoor activities available. 150 miles of trails greet hikers, bikers and horseback riders alike. Head over to the historic lighthouse or participate in one of the Ranger led programs. And with about 80 miles of shoreline, there's no shortage of beaches to explore or coastline to kayak.

For more information on Point Reyes attractions, activities and events, please visit

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Alpine, CA: Viejas Casino Unveils New Buffet

Viejas tribal leaders, casino executives, Team Members, guests and others gathered together on May 22, 2012 for the Grand Opening of the all-new Buffet at Viejas, which takes the San Diego area’s buffet experience to an entirely new level.

Viejas Casino’s buffet has been enormously popular ever since it opened as the Harvest Buffet in 2000. But the all-new Buffet at Viejas has a new look and feel from the ground up – with a new, open and airy dining room as well as a clean, crisp serving area featuring a Sushi Station, Mexican Station, Asian Station, Southern Style Station, BBQ Station Carving Station, Seafood Station, Pasta Station and much more. Specialty food items include prime rib, crab legs, oysters, fajitas, salmon, pho, and an amazing new bakery and dessert area. The Buffet at Viejas even includes state of the art audio and visual features throughout the dining area.

Tribal elders, tribal leaders, local dignitaries, Chamber of Commerce representatives and the public all joined in the Grand Opening of the new Buffet at Viejas today. The ceremonies included a Tribal Blessing, traditional Native American Bird Songs and a ribbon cutting.

Viejas Casino General Manager Chris Kelley said, “The new Buffet at Viejas tops off a major, year-long renovation of the entire casino floor and continues the modern, clean airy look and feel that our guests enjoy.” Kelley added, “We have upgraded the quality and variety of food offerings throughout the property, adding exciting new venues like North of the Border taco shop and Far East Express. The Buffet at Viejas continues this effort and will provide our guests and all of San Diego with an exciting new culinary and visual experience.”

The Buffet at Viejas is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11am to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturday.

Located east of San Diego, Viejas Casino has thousands of slot machines, exciting table games, a poker room, an off-track betting facility and a new high-stakes bingo room. Viejas Casino features a variety of restaurants including the award-winning Grove Steakhouse, North of the Border taco shop and Far East Express. The beautiful Viejas Outlet Center, located across the street, offers visitors a unique shopping experience with more than 50 name-brand stores, numerous eateries, Viejas Bowl and Viejas Mini Golf.

Viejas Casino
5000 Willows Road
Alpine, CA 91901

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Los Angeles, CA: Hollywood Museum Presents Marilyn Monroe Exhibit

marilyn monroe hollywood museum
The Hollywood Museum celebrates Marilyn Monroe’s birthday with “MARILYN MONROE: THE EXHIBIT - An Intimate Look At The Legend,” the nation’s largest exhibit of authentic memorabilia celebrating the fabled actress’ life, open June 1 - September 2, 2012.

This year also marks the 50th anniversary milestone of Monroe’s passing. The Hollywood Museum in the Historic Max Factor Building is located at 1660 N. Highland Ave at Hollywood and Highland.

“Marilyn Monroe: The Exhibit” displays the million-dollar dress Monroe wore on her honeymoon with Joe DiMaggio, which was made famous when she entertained the troops during USO shows in Korea. Items from the Scott Fortner Marilyn Monroe Collection and the Greg Schreiner Marilyn Monroe Collection will be featured in this exclusive exhibit, including film costumes from The Prince and The Showgirl and There’s No Business Like Show Business, clothing and furs from Marilyn’s personal wardrobe, including the brilliant green Pucci blouse Marilyn was wearing in the last ever photos taken of her just a week before she died, along with Marilyn’s personal cosmetics, private documents and annotated film scripts.

On exhibit for the first time ever: Marilyn Monroe’s bedroom dresser, which was next to her bed the night she died. This exhibit also includes original works of art by famed celebrity artists Robert A. Delgado and LUDVIC, original photographs, including the legendary “red velvet” nude photographs shot by Tom Kelly, and a vast photograph collection of her childhood, family and early modeling career when she was still Norma Jeane Baker; and much more.

Highlighting the exhibit are never-before-seen photos by world-renowned photographer George Barris, who shot the last pictures of Monroe while collaborating on a book at the time of her death 50 years ago.

“The Hollywood Museum in the Historic Max Factor Building is the perfect venue for this exhibit because it’s where Max Factor gave Marilyn Monroe her famous blonde hair,” says Museum Founder and President Donelle Dadigan. “When you walk into the ‘FOR BLONDES ONLY’ Room, you feel Marilyn Monroe’s presence.”

To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death in August, The Hollywood Museum will host another special event celebrating “MARILYN MONROE: THE EXHIBIT,” spotlighting Monroe’s last photo shoot ever, with photographer George Barris.

“Fans of all ages flock to Hollywood from around the world each year to honor Marilyn’s life and memory,” says Dadigan, “The Hollywood Museum is proud to host this definitive and meaningful Marilyn retrospective.”

The Hollywood Museum, the official museum of Hollywood, has the most extensive collection of Hollywood Memorabilia in the World. The museum features four floors of breathtaking exhibits and is the home of more than 10,000 authentic showbiz treasures, one of a kind costumes, props, photographs, scripts and vintage memorabilia from favorite movies and TV shows. The museum includes costumes from Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Jean Harlow, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson; Props from ‘Gone With The Wind,’ ‘Twilight: New Moon,’ ‘Star Trek,’ ‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,’ ‘High School Musical 2,’ ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ ‘Glee,’ and more.

The Hollywood Museum is located in the Historic Max Factor Building on the corner of Hollywood & Highland, where Max Factor, the legend of movie makeup, worked his magic on motion picture stars since 1935. The Hollywood Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

The Hollywood Museum
1660 N. Highland Avenue (at Hollywood Blvd)
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 464-7776

Wednesdays – Sundays: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Oakland, CA: Waterfront Hotel

waterfront hotel oakland
Located on the resurgent Jack London Square, the Waterfront Hotel celebrates the beauty and charm of Oakland, CA, with its marina and San Francisco Bay views. The hotel's re-emergence brings class, fun and a vacation-feel to the Square.

The Waterfront has 145 spacious guestrooms, many with fireplaces and balconies and a Penthouse suite. The rooms also have plasma televisions that double as computer screens, iPod alarm clock docking stations, in-room honor bars and hotel-wide wireless internet. Guests also have access to the fitness center as well as the heated pool, which overlooks the Bay.

For visitors choosing to arrive via boat, the Waterfront Hotel is a few short steps from the Alameda/Oakland ferry. This easily-accessible ferry transports people to and from San Francisco and Angel Island and is convenient for San Franciscans interested in a calming, environmentally-friendly method to cross the bay.

Along with the guestrooms, the hotel has over 9,000 square feet of meeting and event space. Each meeting space is equipped with in-house advanced audiovisual capabilities, wireless internet and food is provided by the hotel's restaurant, Miss Pearl's Jam House. Not only is the Waterfront a great place for meetings, it is also a beautiful place for weddings. The bride and groom can choose to marry indoors or outside by the pool. For the special day, the hotel will provide brides and grooms excellent service to make wedding days memorable.

waterfront hotel oakland
Continuing Joie de Vivre's approach in designing hotels, the Waterfront's design and experience is pulled from 2 specific magazines - Island and Fast Company - and five adjectives - soulful, (business) casual, festive, stimulating and adventurous. The Waterfront Hotel's personality gives the idea of a vacation in your own backyard, a persona portrayed through its nautical décor, amenities, services and restaurant. Each JdV hotel embodies the same process, therefore making all of our properties unique in their own way.

Along with the hotel's re-launch, its adjacent restaurant also "re-launches" itself, but in a different way. Miss Pearl's Jam House, once part of the Phoenix Hotel in San Francisco in the late 80's, moved across the bay to become the restaurant of the Waterfront Hotel. Miss Pearl's celebrates New World cuisine and Island sensibility. Celebrity chef, Joey Altman (who was actually the original chef of Miss Pearl's in 1989), returns to his old stomping ground, this time introducing the East Bay to the grown-up version of the once popular San Francisco eatery.

The new Waterfront Hotel is a key milestone in the ongoing renaissance of Jack London Square which is poised to become the East Bay's newest center of gravity for culture, cuisine and commerce. The Square is undergoing a three hundred million dollar redevelopment that includes restaurants, entertainment, new parking facilities, and 100,000 square feet of class A office space. The centerpiece of the project will be the 170,000 square foot Jack London Market, scheduled to open in Spring 2009. Located within steps of the new Waterfront Hotel, the market will be the largest of its kind on the West Coast. It will house over 70 vendors selling fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, cheeses and specialty products with an emphasis on local and sustainable practices.

Waterfront Hotel
10 Washington Street
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 836-3800

San Diego, CA: Haute La Jolla Nights

haute la jolla nights
Summer nights are heating up in the Village of La Jolla with a series of festive, evening events that bring together La Jolla’s world-class arts community with live music and unique shopping experiences.

When: Saturday Nights-June 9th, July 21st, Sept. 15th
Time: 6:00 - 9:00 pm
Where: Throughout the Village of La Jolla, San Diego, CA, (Girard Ave. from Pearl to Prospect, Prospect St.,Herschel and Ivanhoe.)
Cost: Free

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association created the event series to make La Jolla an exciting night-time destination. “We are creating a series of events for La Jolla that are modeled after some other, very successful events, like “Kettner Nights” in Little Italy and “Ray of Night” in North Park,” says James Niebling, LJVMA Board Member and Partner at Esteban Interiors.

For three sizzling Saturday nights, patrons will enjoy a vibrant nightlife in La Jolla Village with 13 live music acts, art gallery receptions and special events hosted in each of the shops located throughout La Jolla.

Over 75 shops throughout La Jolla Village, from home furnishings and décor to high fashion and accessories are participating in Haute La Jolla Nights. They are keeping their doors open late and have gotten creative with deals, displays, demonstrations, and delectable treats for a nighttime shopping experience that can’t be missed. Customers will enjoy complimentary appetizers and specialty drinks at many of the retail shops. And, they will find special discounts that are available only during Haute La Jolla Nights.

Customers can sip champagne while watching a floral demonstration at Adelaide’s, enjoy fashion shows at La Donna’s Boutique, Kerut’s and Talbots. Warwick's will feature distinct San Diego craft brewers for beer tasting and book signings. Harvard Cooking Girl is cooking up samples of Paella. Geppetos is hosting an arts and crafts event for patrons who want to bring their children.

La Jolla’s many, world renowned art galleries are throwing open their doors to welcome the public to take in exciting new collections. Madison Galleries is hosting a reception for sculpturist Matt Devine and neo-pop conceptual artist, James Verbicky. Contemporary Fine Arts Gallery is hosting a reception for visionary contemporary artist, Orlando Agudelo-Botero. Africa and Beyond will serve up African music, wine and a presentation on ancient currency.

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association invites all to enjoy this new La Jolla Event. Haute La Jolla Nights - Music, shopping, art, food all in the Jewell of California - La Jolla!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Coronado, CA: The Best Beach in California

coronado beach
Coronado Beach is the number one beach in the 22th annual Top 10 Beach List, produced by coastal expert Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, a professor at Florida International University.

Coronado Beach in San Diego is a 1.5 mile long, wide sandy beach set against the backdrop of the iconic Hotel del Coronado with its peaked red roof and classic Victorian architecture. The beach is popular for swimmers, surfers, sunbathers and beachcombers. The beach is very flat, making it great for skim boarding and walking, and the sand has a silvery sheen because of the presence of mica. Families arrive in the morning, toting umbrellas, beach towels and picnic coolers for an all-day stay. A great team of lifeguards stands watch.

Coronado is a quaint small town combined with sophisticated luxury and the wonderful Mediterranean climate. The best way to get around town is by bicycling on the relatively flat, milelong city of Coronado. A scenic way to reach Coronado is by pedestrian ferry or water taxi from downtown San Diego.

Hotel del Coronado, with its iconic red roof and white construction, is a popular beachfront luxury hotel, and one of the few surviving examples of an American architectural genre: the wooden Victorian beach resort. It is one of the oldest and largest all-wooden buildings in California and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977, and is a designated California Historical Landmark. The "Del" received a Four Diamond rating from the American Automobile Association, and was once listed by USA Today as one of the "Top 10 Resorts In The World".

The most popular annual event in Coronado is the July 4 parade. Coronado Independence Day activities kick off with a 15k Run/Walk at dawn. The day includes a rough-water swim at North Beach, the famous two-hour parade along Orange Avenue, Art-in-the-Park, a concert in Spreckels Park, and culminates with spectacular fireworks over Glorietta Bay.

One of the most popular annual events in this city is the Coronado Flower Show, held usually on the third weekend in April. Since 1925, thousands of visitors have flocked here to see the largest flower show held under tents in the West. Exhibits are placed inside tents surrounding a central gazebo, which becomes the stage for continuous entertainment, announcements and trophy presentations.

Every July, the Coronado Island Sports Fiesta features a combination of competitive races, dives, rough-water swim and other events.

Also, the Superfrog Triathlon event is held each year in September.

As “Dr. Beach” (, Leatherman has selected the annual Top 10 Beaches since 1991. Fifty criteria are used to evaluate beaches, which include water and sand quality as well as safety and environmental management. Dr. Leatherman is an internationally known coastal scientist who has published 16 books with the recent release of Field Guide to the Water’s Edge (National Geographic, Washington, DC, 288 pages; and hundreds of scientific articles about storm impacts, coastal erosion and ways to improve beach health and safety. A new website ( has been developed to help you find other great American beaches.

Contact Elevation Travel for discounted hotel rates:

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Yosemite NP: Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad

yosemite sugar pine railroad
The historic Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad will be resuming their popular “Moonlight Specials” starting 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 YMSPRR owner Max Stauffer. “Popular folk band ‘Sugar Pine’ sings during dinner. Then the train heads out on the tour and stops at the picnic area, where everyone gathers around a roaring campfire for songs. It’s a lot of fun for families who enjoy some good, old-fashioned fun,” said Stauffer.

The Moonlight Specials are every Wednesday and Saturday, starting May 26 through Aug. 29 and on Saturdays through the first Saturday of October. Dinner is at 6:30 and the train leaves at 7:30.
This is the 40th year the specials have been offered, marking yet another milestone for the popular attraction. Next year the railroad’s oldest locomotive, Engine 15, turns 100.

In addition to the trains, the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad has the Thornberry Museum which highlights what life was like here around the turn of the century, a well-stocked gift store and book store, as well as gold panning, where guests get to keep what gold they find.

To book your tickets or learn more about the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad, visit or find them on Facebook at

Yosemite Mountain
Sugar Pine Railroad
56001 Hwy 41
Fish Camp, CA 93623
(559) 683-7273

Friday, May 18, 2012

Santa Ana, CA: Discovery Science Center to Host a Wild Summer

Beginning May 26, 2012, the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, CA will play host to an amazing array of Wild Summer programming beginning with the opening of the brand new Wildlife Rescue exhibit. The new special exhibition offers visitors the opportunity to experience compelling stories of animal rescue from around the world, including how seabirds are saved from environmental disasters and what happens to orphaned baby elephants. Also during DSC’s Wild Summer, visitors to the Science Center and Wildlife Rescue will each receive one complimentary ticket to the OC Zoo and the Santa Ana Zoo.

On display from May 26 through September 3, 2012, Wildlife Rescue lets visitors experience the excitement of rescuing and returning diverse creatures back to the wild as they explore the new, emerging science of “Restoration Biology” that is saving all types of animals from the brink of extinction. Through interactive exhibits, guests learn the innovative methods used to capture, raise and release endangered species, including elephants, orangutans, pandas, whooping cranes, sturgeon, Iberian lynxes, prairie dogs, American burying beetles, plus many more.

In addition to Wildlife Rescue, DSC will be hosting special wildlife themed days throughout the summer. Each themed time-period will have specific learning stations, presentations, stage shows, and kids’ activities. They are as follows:

May 26 – 28 (Memorial Day Weekend)
‘Wild about Safari’ features Thors’ Safari Extravaganza show where kids and families will be entertained by seeing real snakes, lizards, tarantulas, plus many more. Also, learning stations will include activities on eco systems and digging fossils. This coming Memorial Day Weekend is not to be missed, as DSC kicks off Wild Summer… safari style!

May 26 – June 29
‘Lizards, Toads, and Snakes, Oh My!’ features programs on reptiles, amphibians and arthropods. Guests are invited to learn about scaly snakes, leaping lizards, creepy-crawling insects, slow moving turtles and tortoises, and hissing roaches as they checkout Wildlife Rescue and participate in the “Game of Chance” stage show.

June 30 – July 8
‘Dog Days of Summer’ (Summer Festival) featuring programs on dogs, wolves, coyotes and foxes. Plus, the summer festival will include kids’ obstacle course and inflatables, learning stations, gourmet food trucks, and an exciting LIVE dog show! Rescue groups will also be on hand for pet adoption days.

July 9 – 15
‘Cats Rule, Dogs Drool’ features programs on cats, cougars, bobcats and mountain lions. Families will have the opportunity to learn about how these nocturnal creatures live, hunt, and survive throughout the world. In addition, speakers will be on hand to discuss how residents of Orange County can look for signs of wild cats in the area and what to do if you come across one.

July 16 – 29
‘Take Flight’ features programs on domestic and exotic birds. What’s it like to fly high in the sky with nothing beneath but the wind and clouds? Visitors to DSC will have the chance to find out during “Omar’s Exotic Birds” show and during special presentations on feathers and flight, plus environments and adaptation. Hands-on activities for the kids include making a bird feeder.

July 30 – September 3
‘Sea Life’ features programs on animals of the ocean! Surf is up during the last days of Wild Summer as there will be a hands-on tide pool tank for families, plus presentations on the Irvine Marsh Lands, Huntington Beach Wetlands, and Newport Harbor. Whale conservationists will be on hand to discuss what we can do as a community to help preserve these majestic creatures of the sea.

Wildlife Rescue is on view from May 26 through September 3, 2012 at Discovery Science Center. The exhibition is included with general admission to the Science Center, which is $14.95 for adults, $12.95 for children and seniors, and is free to children 3 and younger.

Wildlife Rescue is a traveling exhibit developed and produced by Science North, Ontario, Canada.

Discovery Science Center
2500 North Main Street
Santa Ana, CA 92705

San Francisco, CA: Segway Tours Through Downtown

segway san francisco
San Francisco Electric Tour Company is the first company to offer tours of the San Francisco waterfront on the world's first and only self-balancing electric transport mechanism, the Segway.

Combining the unique transport qualities of the Segway with the beauty of San Francisco, these tours provide an entirely new way to experience the city by the bay. San Francisco Electric Tour Company pioneered the tour in San Francisco and was to do so.

"A city as unique as San Francisco demands a one-of-a-kind way to tour it," explained founder Brian Huber. "Segways are an incredibly innovative way to appreciate Fisherman's Wharf and the waterfront. They're fun, they're safe, and ideal for families looking for new touring experiences."

First introduced in 2003, the Segway is an electric transport mechanism that is guided by the rider's natural motions for forward and backward maneuvering. It easily navigates most walkable areas, including paved surfaces, dirt roads, grass, and inclines.

"After a 20 to 30 minute training on how to safely operate the Segway, riders explore the San Francisco waterfront for a full two and a half hours," Huber said. "The Segway expands the amount of ground a person covers from a few blocks to six to eight miles."

Tours begin at Fisherman's Wharf and cover the Cable Car turnaround, Ghirardelli Square, National Maritime Museum and the historic sailing ships, Fort Mason (former military base, now a historic landmark), Marina Green, Palace of Fine Arts (once the site of the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition). Tours include views of Alcatraz, a WWII submarine at Pier 45 and Historic Piers. Refreshment breaks and photo stops are included.

Guided tours depart daily at 9:15 am, 1:15 pm, and 4:00 pm (4:00 pm departure available April until October only) from Fisherman’s Wharf. Fees are $65.00 per person (includes helmet and training) and reservations are required. Riders must be between 12 and 65 years of age; people under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Tours are limited to ten riders. Riders must be over 100 pounds and less than 250 pounds. Other custom tours are available for corporate and private groups. For more information, visit

San Francisco Wharf Tour Start and Training Location
757 Beach Street - Rear Parking Lot
San Francisco CA 94109-1218
(415) 474-3130

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

San Francisco, CA: Hotel Fusion & Infusion Lounge

The Hotel Fusion and Infusion Lounge have teamed up to create a '4D' experience that is unmatched anywhere else in San Francisco. Offering tempting Drinks, fine Dining, high-energy Dancing, and Dreamy accommodations, the stylish boutique hotel and adjacent award-winning restaurant and nightclub provide everything that's needed for a night of romance or revelry, all in one exciting location.

Reflecting the diverse cultures of the Pacific Rim, the Hotel Fusion is a rich blend of contemporary American and traditional Asian influences. The 124 guest rooms and suites each feature a soothing color palette with warm wood accents. Thoughtful in-room amenities include flat screen televisions, snack bar and mini fridges, in-room safes, and complimentary Wi-Fi Internet connections. With a friendly and knowledgeable staff dedicated to providing personalized service, the Hotel Fusion is a fashionable, convenient, and affordable alternative to much higher priced options in the area.

On the subterranean level of the hotel is Infusion Lounge, the dazzling Asian-inspired ultra lounge and restaurant that Condé Nast Traveler named as one of the World's Hottest New Nightclubs. Exotic signature cocktails and premium sprits are skillfully prepared by expert mixologists, and Executive Chef Evan Turner has earned rave reviews and a distinguished OpenTable Award for his mouth-watering cuisine that blends fresh local ingredients with the flavors and intrigue of Asia and the Americas.

In the club's North Lounge, glowing glass light towers illuminate an expansive dance floor where world-class DJs keep the party going with an electrifying mix of the latest dance hits. Chic fashionistas and international hipsters circle the block Tuesdays through Saturdays, but guests enjoying the 4D experience receive complimentary cover charge and avoid the wait outside.

Off-season rates at Hotel Fusion start at $129 per night and include special "summer and winter" getaway rates, available only by booking directly with the hotel. Call 415-568-2525 or toll free at 866-753-4244 for preferred rates or visit

The Infusion Lounge website includes upcoming entertainment calendars, menus, and dining reservation information:

Hotel Fusion & Infusion Lounge
140 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 568-2525

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Temecula, CA: Five Interactive, Midweek-Vacation Adventures for Mature Travelers

temecula valley wine country
Visitors to Temecula Valley can enjoy Southern California Wine Country’s award-winning wineries, premium varietals and proprietary blends, golf at vacation-worthy courses, experience Old Town Temecula’s artisan foods and wines, savor the great outdoors, and explore Promenade Temecula and Old Town’s shops. is pleased to share five, popular, interactive, midweek-vacation adventures for mature travelers, age 50 and better. The casual, picturesque valley is one hour from Orange County and Palm Desert, 1½ hours from Los Angeles; and includes Downtown, Old Town Temecula; Temecula Valley So Cal Wine Country; and Pechanga Resort & Casino.

1-Do a Dedicated Discovery of Temecula Valley So Cal Wine Country - Weekdays naturally provide greater opportunities for appreciating, approximately 40, award-winning wineries’ individual styles, and potential conversations with winery family-members or winemakers. As 5,000+ awards attest, the diverse appellation is gaining well-deserved recognition. Most wineries are family-owned and open daily for impromptu, winery-to-winery wine-tasting.

For in-depth learning, join Callaway behind-the-scenes tours or reserve-in-advance experiences like: Leoness’ 'touch-the-vine-and-taste-the-wine’; South Coast’s ‘wine-cheese-and-fruit pairing’; Wiens’ seated, reserve-andlimited-red wine tasting; Thornton’s sit-down wine-and-champagne tasting; and Palumbo’s hands-on ‘Followthe-Grape’ with Temecula Creek Inn. Consider also: local tour-and-transportation companies’ tours; wineryrestaurants pairing quality wines with fresh, seasonal foods.

2- Golf Temecula Valley So Cal Wine Country’s Vacation-Worthy Courses - Midweek can offer prime, tee-time reservation availability on seven, impressive courses. Arthur Hills-designed, Journey at Pechanga is known for its 435-yard, signature-6th hole with spectacular 175-foot drop from the tee – greatest elevation drop on a California course. With course-designs by Ted Robinson Sr. and Dick Rossen, Temecula Creek Inn features 27 holes of championship golf: Stonehouse-Nine, Creek, and Oaks courses. Arthur Hills describes Cross Creek as “…beautiful variety and challenge for golfers of all abilities. Ted Robinson-designed Legends (formerly Temeku Hills) is on a celebrated rebound as one of Southern California’s best golfing experiences.

With Southern California’s only island greens, Ron Fream-designed Red Hawk is California’s 7th-best, publiccourse. Golf purists flock to Robert Trent Jones-designed Golf Club at Rancho California (formerly SCGA). Accented with oaks, beautifully manicured Pala Mesa provides challenges at every turn.

3- Experience the Old Town Temecula Tasting Trail’s Artisan Foods and Wines - Leisurely weekdays mean more attention in nine, palate-pleasing specialty-food shops and seven, genuinely friendly wine-tasting rooms. Temecula Olive Oil Company’s tasting bar is renowned for fresh, 100% California, 100% extra-virgin, hand-blended olive oil, and knowledgeable, obliging staff. Unique and satisfying, is Temecula Valley Cheese Company. Congenial, Old Town Spice Merchants’ herbs, spices, salts, and teas are intriguing. Old Town Sweet Shop tempts with fresh fudge, caramel-apples, chocolate-dipped treats.

Discover also: Old Town Root Beer Company. Presenting local, boutique wines, many tasting rooms feature live-music weekly. Showcasing works of local artists, Lorimar is popular for structured-tasting or premium, handcrafted wines-by-the-glass. Twenty-one restaurants also serve-up flavorful sensory-experiences. Delve into Baily’s weekly prix-fixe menu; Palumbo’s excellent lasagna and gnocchi; Soro’s fresh, Mediterranean-inspired specialties.

4- Savor with Gusto Temecula Valley So Cal Wine Country’s Great Outdoors - Visitors appreciate Temecula’s natural gifts of climate and geography; midweek, you may even be able to call skies and trails your own. A hot air balloon flight over 5,000+ acres of rolling hills with a commanding wine country view is exhilarating. Launch at sunrise with A Grape Escape, California Dreamin’, D&D Ballooning, or Magical Adventures.

The 8,300-acre Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve protects unique ecosystems like rare oak savannah, riparian wetlands, coastal sage scrub, and bunchgrass prairie. Forty miles of trails (easy-to-advanced plus wheelchair-friendly) are ideal for hiking, nature study, photography. A guided, Wine Country Trails by Horseback ride through vineyards is another scenic, leisurely way to experience wine-country’s natural richness. Ride mornings, afternoons, or at sunset.

5- Explore the Shops of Promenade Temecula and Old Town Temecula - With distinctive, upscale, and unique stores, weekday exploring of Promenade Temecula and Old Town often yields unexpected surprises. Contemporary, 75-acre, 1.14 million-square-feet, Promenade Temecula is outdoor mall, entertainment plaza, plus trendy Main-Street setting. Browse some 100, specialty-shops like Apple, Express, Coldwater Creek, Walking Company, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Papyrus, Barnes & Noble and anchors like Macy’s.

The pedestrian-friendly, Old Town entertainment-dining-shopping district is home to 60+ independently-owned stores featuring art and antiques to vintage records. Discover specialties like Temecula Lavender Co.’s candles, bath and body products; and Pennypickle’s Workshop unique, educational kids’ toys. Then venture into Granny’s Attic for one-of-a-kind handcrafted furniture and vintage clothing.

For hotel accommodations and tour reservations, contact Elevation Travel at: