The Roman ruins and Renaissance cathedrals are getting some competition for tourist dollars this year from something decidedly contemporary: Milan’s Expo 2015, this year’s international exposition. Having opened in May to great fanfare – as well as charges of incompetence and indictments for corruption in its construction – features acre after acre of spectacular national pavilions that focus on this year’s theme: Food production.
I really did love my stuff. I even used a lot of it. And I had a lot: My gorgeous Victorian home in downtown Sacramento held closets full of clothes, a kitchen crammed with utensils, a garage full of sporting gear, a formal dining room, a roomful of records, even a library, floor to ceiling with books. So much stuff. These days, I have a backpack and a duffel bag
As our four-seat seaplane lifts off the glassy surface of the Sacramento River, giving our tour group a bird’s-eye view of the winding levees and tracts of farmland stretching east to the Sierra Nevada and west to the Coast Range, I get a sense of Sacramento that’s hard to get on the ground.
The start of a new year seems like a good time to plan to enjoy our sweet spot of outdoor fun. Plus, you don’t want to wake up one day 20 years from now and wonder why you never hiked Yosemite, rafted a Class IV stretch of river or reeled in a king salmon, do you?
The Alexander Valley, which lies along Highway 101 and is centered on Healdsburg, population 10,000, still plays a secondary role to the world-famous Napa Valley. But the area is more familiar to outsiders than they might at first think, and for a simple reason: Like the weather, the wine is good here, too.
Angel Island looms large in the geography of the Bay Area, but it also occupies a special place in time.
It’s been revered by early residents, such as the Coast Miwok tribes, and used by various branches of the U.S. military for nearly 100 years. It was the first place many Asian immigrants touched ground upon arrival in America.
Vacation is not the time for multitasking. Especially on a classic beach vacation, days spent vegging out, dining out and splashing about are as ambitious as one need get.
Still, if you’re like many active people, a few days of nothing but relaxation can get a bit … dull. So, while you’re on vacation – even just a beach vacation – you also can learn a thing or two.
Anyone who’s spent any time in San Francisco is familiar with the city’s most famous hills: Russian Hill, Telegraph Hill, Nob Hill and Twin Peaks.
But this vertically-oriented city also has a number of lesser-known hills, topped by parks or municipal open spaces, that are well worth the time – and the physical energy – they take to explore.
The biblical phrase “to hammer swords into plowshares” has a nice, logical feel to it. And it’s a relatively simple operation: Once the hammering’s done, you hitch up a mule and start plowing.
But what if your “sword” is a 5,000-acre naval base that was in operation for nearly 150 years and built everything from Civil War sidewheelers to Cold War nuclear submarines?
Rising from the Central Valley an hour to the southwest of Sacramento, Mount Diablo is a treasure hidden in plain sight. Though the 81,000-acre natural playground draws a million visitors a year, the state and regional parklands surrounding the peak still feel wild and remote, and this is Diablo’s time of year.
When the United States entered World War II in December 1941, Ollie M. Hawkins, a young woman in Flagstaff, Ariz., watched her three brothers and a cousin march off to war. “I wanted to help bring the boys home – my boys, all the boys,” she says at her home in Oakland. “That’s why I came to California.” Now 84, Hawkins has finally seen her home-front work remembered, with the dedication last month of the new Rosie the Riveter Memorial in Richmond.
I recently spent a week traveling hopefully, never really arriving for long, in and out of eight countries and 11 airports, on 14 flights on eight airlines. What I hoped for — and am still hoping for — was the brass ring for many veteran travelers: the big frequent-flier miles score. My companion and I would travel about 13,000 miles, but we hoped to bag many times that: half a million frequent-flier miles.
You don’t have to play golf, or be retired, to have fun in Palm Springs. If you play your cards right, you can finish a week in Palm Springs in dire need of a vacation. If you’re an athletic thrill-seeker of any age, you can beat yourself up here, but good. Fortunately, you can also pamper yourself within an inch of heaven. By alternating the two – activity and passivity, the hard and the soft, the challenging and the relaxing – one can theoretically find a blissful middle ground of total physical satisfaction.