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iPhone Apps

Here's a guest article from the popular Mom Maps app-er and online Kids Play Guide author, Jill Seman about iPhone apps.

Continue reading "iPhone Apps"

Your Beach Safety

Beaches can be very dangerous places. Learn some simple rules for beach safety for you and your family.

Continue reading "Your Beach Safety"

Napa CA Attractions

What will you do when you visit Napa California? Tour wineries? Wine taste? That's all well and good, but don't miss these additional Napa CA attractions!

Continue reading "Napa CA Attractions"

Lake Tahoe Ski California

Lake Tahoe Ski California - get the lowdown on ski resorts in California's Lake Tahoe area!

Continue reading "Lake Tahoe Ski California"

Overland by Covered Wagon

There were two ways to reach the goldfields during the California Gold Rush-one was to travel overland by covered wagon (prairie schooner) to Northern California.

Continue reading "Overland by Covered Wagon"

San Francisco Chinatown

Did you know there are actually two versions of San Francisco Chinatown - the Tourist version, and the Locals' version. Just how different are they?

Continue reading "San Francisco Chinatown"

Union Street

Union Street is San Francisco's OTHER shopping area, not to be confused with Union Square. If you're a shopper, you won't want to miss this Cow Hollow treasure!

Continue reading "Union Street"

Big Sur Free

Looking for free things to do in Big Sur? We can help you with that!

Continue reading "Big Sur Free"

Whale Watching Tips

Looking for some Whale Watching Tips to enhance your experience and make your whale watching trip more enjoyable? This is the place for you!

Continue reading "Whale Watching Tips"

California Whale Watching

Why are we so fascinated with whales? Maybe it's because they seem as curious about us as we are about them. It's California whale watching season all year, so come along...

Continue reading "California Whale Watching"

Whale Watching Tips When You're Aloft

Whale Watching Tips When You're Aloft provides a Jonathan Livingston Seagull perspective!

Continue reading "Whale Watching Tips When You're Aloft"

March Events: Northern California

St. Paddy's Day Comes Early to NorCal!

St. Paddy's Day Parade, CC David Yu
St. Paddy's Day Parade, CC David Yu

Don a bit o' the green this weekend, grab your shamrocks and your pot o' gold, and celebrate with Irish music and dance, Irish food and drink, and an Irish parade at these Northern California locations:

Dublin seems a natural place to start - Dublin, California, that is! And you'd be right - they're putting on a whole festival, Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15 with three stages of music and dance, an international food court, shopping, rides...

Across The Bay, San Francisco's long-standing Parade and Festival attracts over 100,000 people each year for parade fun, kilted bagpipers, dancing girls, Irish bands, food and drink, a kids area...

Then there's the O'Sacramento St. Patrick's Parade that presents hundreds of colorful marchers, historic re-enactors, Irish and Highland dancers, military regiments, police and fire people, live entertainment, river cruises...

Both of those are on Saturday only, March 14, 2015.

Put an O' before Rosenberg, and I'll be Irish for a day too!

To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

March Event: Mariposa & Yosemite

Some Mighty Tall Tales are Coming to Mariposa this Weekend!

Storytelling Girls, CC Boobelle
Storytelling Girls, CC Boobelle

The art of storytelling is much more than reading a story from a book. It involves the storyteller's ability to convey the full emotional range of the story to the audience through words, tone, and body language alone - no costumes, no props (except possibly a guitar), no backdrops. And it's interactive. The audience is as much a part of the story as the storyteller is.

Don't miss the 28th annual Mariposa Storytelling Festival this weekend. Storytellers include Beth Horner, Tim Lowry, Michael Parent, Antonio Rocha, Anne Rutherford, and Sarah Saulter, all of whom will regale you with original and vintage stories that cover the full range of the human experience.

Mariposa Storytelling Festival
March 13 - 15, 2015
Mariposa, CA

What better place for tall tales storytelling than in an old Gold Rush town!

To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

Continue reading "March Event: Mariposa & Yosemite"

March Event: Little River Whale Fest

Little River Whale Fest Serves up the
Best Kept Secrets of the Mendocino Coastline!

California Gray Whales; CC Andrea Schleber
California Gray Whales; CC Andrea Schleber

Take the opportunity to discover one of Mendo's Insider Secrets at the sixth annual Little River Whale Festival this weekend. Little River is a destination hamlet along the Mendocino Coast for those-in-the-know, and this weekend you can discover their special brand of hospitality and save money too!

Hotels, lodges, inns, and B&Bs are offering special prices and packages during the Whale Fest, so it's the perfect time to see and do all that Little River has to offer.

Festival events include:

  • Taste of Little River (local wines and appetizers)
  • Kayake Mendocino Sea Cave Tours (meet harbor seals, sea stars, & shorebirds up close)
  • Whale Watch Walk (a two-hour guided walk)
  • Adventure Passport (a chance to win lodging, food, & adventure prizes)

Little River Whale Festival
March 14 - 15, 2015
Little River, CA

This festival is a fundraiser to help save the Spring Ranch barns.

For more about the North Coast, visit Discover Mendocino, Discover Del Norte, and Discover Humboldt. To see photos of the Little River area, check out Facebook albums.

To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

Continue reading "March Event: Little River Whale Fest"

March Event: Carmel

Celebrating Relais & Châteaux this Weekend!

Welcome Party Dish; © Relais & Chateaux GouretFest
Welcome Party Dish; © Relais & Chateaux GouretFest

This weekend brings the second annual Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest to the elegant-yet-kitchy village of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Relais & Châteaux establishments from all over the world will be represented by grand chefs and winemakers presenting their best offerings during 18 fabulous events for gourmet palates to sample and enjoy.

Start with the Welcome Party at La Playa Carmel on Thursday and work your way through vineyard tours and lunches, lunches and cooking demonstrations, world cuisine and wine dinners, a wild mushroom hunt and lunch at the Santa Lucia Preserve, and more. This year's event promises to surpass whatever your expectations might have been!

Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest
March 5 - 8, 2015
Carmel-by-the-Sea

Wondering what Relais & Châteaux is? So was I - here's what I found out. Relais & Châteaux is a 60 year-old association of individual luxury hotels and restaurants from around the world that are recognized for the exceptional quality of their wares.

You'll be in foodie heaven,
begging for some wine with your cheese!

For more about the area, visit Discover Monterey County, and Discover Big Sur.

To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

Continue reading "March Event: Carmel"

Things To Do in Northern California

4 Fun Things To Do This Weekend in Northern California!

Giant Tortoise at Chaffee Zoo; CC Boyce Duprey
Giant Tortoise at Chaffee Zoo; CC Boyce Duprey

  1. Follow in the footsteps of the (Hayes) Valley Girls and take a Gourmet Walks food tour of Hayes Valley in San Francisco.
  2. Visit Fresno's Chaffee Zoo in Roeding Park for the Winged Wonders Bird Show, Sunda Forest, Small Wonders Animal Encounters, and lots more.
  3. Go wine tasting at California's oldest premium winery, Buena Vista Carneros, an historic landmark just minutes from Sonoma Plaza.
  4. Visit the California State Capitol Museum in Sacramento for the special exhibit, California Invites the World: 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition on Saturday, 2/28/2015 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Take a tour of the Capitol while you're there.
  5. So Go! See! Do! And Discover Northern California

    To find more adventures around NorCal, check out Activity Village, NorCal Gold Rush Sites, and NorCal Weekend Trips.

    For more about what there is to see and do throughout Northern California, visit: DiscoverNorthernCalifornia.com

    To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

February Event: North Lake Tahoe

It's Snow-Much Fun at North Lake Tahoe SnowFest!

Attack of the Snow Dragon; CC RobVSF
Attack of the Snow Dragon; CC RobVSF

Come snow or come shine, North Lake Tahoe SnowFest is ten "Snow-Much Fun" (that's the theme this year) days filled with crazy events (the Naughty Dawg Pull, Whacky Human Bowling), concerts, races and bar games, parades and parade parties, the annual Bridgetender Rib Fest, snow sculpturing, and way too much more to mention it all here!

Events take place on the mountain and off the mountain at North Lake Tahoe's resorts and neighborhoods, starting with the Kick-off to SnowFest Party tonight, February 26 at Gar Woods Grill & Pier.

North Lake Tahoe SnowFest
February 26 - March 8, 2015
North Tahoe

Snowpack may not be the best it's ever been,
but that won't put a damper on SnowFest fun!

For more about Tahoe, visit Discover Lake Tahoe.

To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

Continue reading "February Event: North Lake Tahoe"

Fun Food Festivals

I absolutely love festivals, especially food festivals! That's why I've gathered the fun food festivals of Northern California together in one place. Find the one(s) that you love best!

Continue reading "Fun Food Festivals"

February Event: Santa Clara

Don't Wait for the Next Olympics to See Fabulous Gymnasts!

Artistic Gymnast; CC Jessica Lehrman
Artistic Gymnast; CC Jessica Lehrman

Why wait when you can attend a premier gymnastics event this weekend in Santa Clara. With Men's and Women's Artistic Gymnastic competitions for levels 3-Elite, multiple competition floors, top gymnast teams from around the world (1,000 athletes), national judges, special events and prizes, you'll enjoy a high energy, exciting competition at The Spirit of the Flame!

The Spirit of the Flame
February 27 - March 1, 2015
Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA

The Spirit of the Flame is a great opportunity to
watch talented athletes shine!

For more about the area, visit Discover Santa Clara County.

To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

Continue reading "February Event: Santa Clara"

February Event: Bay Area

Last Chance for the Bay Area's Jewish Music Festival starts this weekend!

Jewish Music Fest Poster; Courtesy of JewishMusicFestival.org
Jewish Music Fest Poster; Courtesy of JewishMusicFestival.org

This year marks - not only the 30th year - of Berkeley's much celebrated Jewish Music Festival, but also the last year according to Ellie Shapiro. Ms Shapiro is stepping down as long-time director of the festival and has announced that it will be the final year for the festival-as-we've-known-it as well.

In the meantime, we can still enjoy almost a month of lively, exciting, and culturally historical Jewish music at venues throughout the Bay Area. From Yiddish theater musicals to Klezmer to Yiddish dancing workshops, Jewish music today mixes Jewish culture and progressive Judaism in the best possible way.

Jewish Music Festival
February 26 - March 22, 2015
Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco

"The inner history of a people is contained in its songs."
~ Rabbi Adolph Jellinek

To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

Continue reading "February Event: Bay Area"

Guest Articles

The idea for Guest Articles at Discover Northern California was conceived as a way of sharing great articles by other people with my readers. Please enjoy!

Continue reading "Guest Articles"

February Event: San Jose

Cinequest Film Festival 25 begins Tomorrow!

Cinequest 2015; Courtesy of Cinequest.org
Cinequest 201; Courtesy of Cinequest.org

It runs for 13 days (through March 8th) and features "the finest discovery bastion of international film premieres, breakthrough technology, artists and innovatiors."

Highlighting the works of new filmmakers as well as established artists, this premier film festival has helped to discover over 2500 films and artists from over 100 countries throughout the world.

This year's event includes 229 films, features and shorts from 51 countries in 35 languages, in genres ranging from Action to Thriller - each project chosen for its contributions to the creative and technological innovation of the industry.

Cinequest Film Festival 25
February 24 - March 8, 2015
San Jose, CA

If you want to be in the know about the vanguard of filmmaking,
you need to attend Cinequest!

For more about the area, visit Discover Santa Clara County.

To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

Continue reading "February Event: San Jose"

Things To Do in Northern California

5 Fun Things To Do This Weekend in Northern California!

Tony Labat's Peace Sign in Oakland; CC W. Tipton
Tony Labat's Peace Sign in Oakland; CC W. Tipton

  1. Make Love/Make Peace in Oakland - share a kiss under the giant peace sign that overlooks Lake Merrit at the Oakland Museum of California - a very romantic spot
  2. Tour and Taste at the Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company in Vacaville - open daily from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. for tastings of different extra virgin olive oils and the VERY different citrus and jalapeno olive oils
  3. Attend the June Lake Winter Festival at Gull Lake Park on Saturday, February 21 - fresh snow for winter triathlon, snow sculpture contests and more
  4. Circumnavigate Sutter Buttes by car on a Day Trip from Chico - it makes a great Sunday Drive in the country, with lots to see along the way
  5. Pay a visit to Sutherland Distilling Company's tasting room in Livermore, where they produce grain-to-glass-style craft spirits - rum, vodka, and whiskey

So get out and have some NorCal fun this weekend!

To find more adventures around NorCal, check out Activity Village, NorCal Gold Rush Sites, and NorCal Weekend Trips.

For more about what there is to see and do throughout Northern California, visit: DiscoverNorthernCalifornia.com

To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

February Event: Santa Cruz

Get Your Clam Chowder Spoons Ready!

Santa Cruz Beach & Boardwalk; CC Richard Johnstone
Santa Cruz Beach & Boardwalk, CC Richard Johnstone

It's time for the 34th Annual Santa Cruz Clam Chowder Cook-Off & Festival this Saturday, February 21, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. - come rain or come shine!

Join the fun and excitement as talented chefs from throughout Northern California compete for the glory of the BEST CLAM CHOWDER! It's more than just a foodie clash though, as everyone gets into the spirit with fun costumes representing King Neptune's domain - think scuba divers, mermaids, and Clam Fairies!

Now in its 34th year, the Santa Cruz Clam Chowder Cook-Off is a popular rain-or-shine event, but there are no worries about rain this weekend.

There are four divisions of competition - Amateur Boston/Amateur Manhattan and Professional Boston/Professional Manhattan - with plaques, cash prizes, round-trip tickets, and bragging rights up for grabs.

Admission is free to the Boardwalk; For chowder tasting, visitors may purchase Tasting Kits ($9) to sample five different chowders and vote for People's Choice!

For more about Santa Cruz, visit Things To Do in Santa Cruz. To see photos of the beach and boardwalk, check out our Facebook album, Santa Cruz.

To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

Continue reading "February Event: Santa Cruz"

RV Destinations in Northern California

This Guest Article by Creztor Tessel takes you on a tour of some of Northern California's best RV destinations.

Continue reading "RV Destinations in Northern California"

February Event: San Francisco

Tulipmania Hits Pier 39 in San Francisco!

Tulips and Merry-go-round at Pier 39;
Photo courtesy of pier39.com
Tulips and Merry-go-round at Pier 39; Photo courtesy of pier39.com

You still have time to experience and participate in PIER 39's annual Tulipmania celebration! It started last weekend and continues through February 22, 2015.

Enjoy over 39,000 tulips in bloom along with many other seasonal favorites like the pretty little Johnny Jump-ups!

You're sure to be WOWed by the vivid colors and exotic arrangements spilling over throughout both levels of the pier!

Participate in guided landscape tours to learn how the displays are created, and bring your fanciest camera gear for optimal photo ops to enter in the #tulipmania contest on Instagram!

After the free tour, enjoy complimentary refreshments at Pier Market Seafood Restaurant.

You know Spring is in the air when the tulips are blooming!

For more about San Francisco, visit San Francisco Attractions. To see photos of Pier 39's sea lions, check out our Facebook album, Pier 39 Sea Lions Harbor.

To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

Continue reading "February Event: San Francisco"

Big Sur Camping

Ever thought about camping in Big Sur, California? You're not alone - Big Sur camping offers some of the most spectacular scenery on the California coastline!

Continue reading "Big Sur Camping"

Day Trips from Chico

Thinking you'll probably have to postpone any big vacations this year? But you still get the travel itch, right? Have you given Day Trips a thought? Here are some of our favorites starting from Chico.

Continue reading "Day Trips from Chico"

February Event: Ripon

Believe it or Not:
February is Almond Blossom Time in Northern California!

Almonds in Bloom; Photo by Wolf Rosenberg
Almonds in Bloom, by Wolf Rosenberg

And it's time once again for the Ripon Almond Blossom Festival this weekend, February 19-22, 2015 - marking 53 years of festival celebrations!

With arts, crafts, and food booths, a fun-filled carnival, popular events like the parade and the fun run (listed in Running in the USA), it's the event of the year in Ripon!

Almonds are King in Ripon, California -
Celebrate the beginning of the Season!

For more about the Great Central Valley, visit Discover the Central Valley.

To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

Continue reading "February Event: Ripon"

San Francisco California

What's San Francisco California mean to you? Theater? GG Bridge? Dining? Alcatraz? Shopping? It's all that, but what about neighborhoods? Not your usual image? Come and see what you might have missed.

Continue reading "San Francisco California"

February Event: Cloverdale

It's Come Rain or Shine this weekend in Cloverdale...
Looks like Shine to me!

Cloverdale Citrus Fair Masthead; Courtesy of CloverdaleCitrusFair.org
Cloverdale Citrus Fair Masthead; Courtesy CloverdaleCitrusFair.org

The sun is out, temps are rising, Springtime is in the air, and it's time for the annual Cloverdale Citrus Fair, February 13-16. The theme this year: Up, Up & Away with the Legends of Music - highlighted by the Cabaret in the Auditorium at 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Citrus activities include Lily Lemon and Oran Orange, the Citrus Fair Queen program, Orange Surprise, Orange Juicing, and Lemon Delight contests.

Of course, there are all the other things you would expect from a great fair: Gourmet Chef Shows, poultry and animal judging, carnival rides, a Family Fun Zone, food tastings, wine tastings, musical entertainment, and carnival food booths.

Don't miss the 11 a.m. parade downtown on Saturday!

Cloverdale Citrus Parade and Fair
Friday, 2/13 - Sunday, 2/15/2015
Cloverdale Citrus Fairgrounds & Downtown Cloverdale CA

For more about Sonoma County, visit Discover Sonoma County. To see photos of cute little Cloverdale, check out our Facebook album, Sonoma County: Cloverdale.

To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

Continue reading "February Event: Cloverdale"

February Event: Madera

Discover Madera's Wine and Chocolate Weekend for Valentine's Day!

Madera Wine Trail Bruchures; CC Amy
Madera Wine Trail Brochures; CC Amy

Celebrate Valentine's Weekend with a special two-day wine tasting event in Madera: it's the 2015 Wine and Chocolate Weekend.

Visit wineries along the Madera Wine Trail to sample excellent locally produced wines. A very special treat for Valentine's Day weekend includes chocolates that pair with the wines, live musical entertainment, displays of local artists, and scrumptious food tidbits!

Be sure to take some wine home to share with loved ones and friends, too!

2015 Wine and Chocolate Weekend
Saturday, February 14 & Sunday, February 15, 2015
Madera Wine Trail, Madera CA

Don't miss this opportunity to sample Madera wines
- you're in for a treat - especially if you didn't even know they make wine in Madera!

For more about the area, visit Discover California's Great Central Valley.

To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

Continue reading "February Event: Madera"

February Event: Sonoma Valley

This is the Finale Weekend!

Photo of Van Gogh's Olive Trees; CC jpellgen
Photo of Van Gogh's Olive Trees; CC jpellgen

This weekend, VinOlivo wraps up Sonoma Valley's two-month long Olive Season festivities with a wide variety of activities.

Learn all about olive curing at An Olive Odyssey, which takes place at Jacuzzi Family Vineyards. Enjoy live musical entertainment, book an olive-related seminar, take an olive cooking class, browse artisan markets, and check out the olive infused spa treatments!

Start with the Grand Tasting on Friday night, move on to the Ticket to Sonoma Valley (over 40 Sonoma Valley wineries), and finish with an Olive Odyssey at Jacuzzi Family Vineyards.

“The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us.” ~ Bible Quote

For more about Sonoma, visit Discover Sonoma County. To see photos, check out our Facebook album, Sonoma.

To find more January, February, & March Events and Festivals: January through March

Continue reading "February Event: Sonoma Valley"

Butte County

Visit Butte County to explore natural wonders like Feather River Canyon, engineering feats like Oroville Dam, and charming small-town communities like Chico.

Continue reading "Butte County"

February Event: Healdsburg

With Valentine's Day fast approaching,
the wine and chocolate events are positively flowing!

Rodney Strong Wine; CC Steve Palmer
Rodney Strong Wine; CC Steve Palmer

Starting with the Dance & Dine with your Valentine event in the Artisan Cellar belonging to Rodney Strong Vineyards on February 14th.

Lose yourself in an evening of barrel tasting, a dance lesson, and a romantic four-course dinner - all with beautiful music.

Dance & Dine with your Valentine
Saturday, February 14, 2015
Rodney Strong Vineyards, Healdsburg

Surprise someone special
with an unforgettable night of decadence!

For more about Healdsburg and Sonoma County, visit Charming Healdsburg and Discover Sonoma County.

To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

Continue reading "February Event: Healdsburg"

February Event: San Francisco Bay

My favorite weather is bird-chirping weather.
~Terri Guillemets

Clark's Grebe; CC Len Blumin
Clark's Grebe; CC Len Blumin

Historic and fascinating Mare Island is the scene for the 19th Annual San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival on Friday, February 13th through Monday, February 16th.

The Flyway Festival was founded in November 1996 by Myrna Hayes and Marc Holmes, while staffers of Save San Francisco Bay Association, as part of a project called the Partnership for San Pablo Baylands. Inspired by urging of Robin Leong, of the Napa-Solano Audubon Society, they crafted an event that would introduce the Bay Area public to the world of birding, the fastest growing outdoor recreation in America. Its roots are in a cause–to set one weekend aside each year to celebrate the migration of all sorts of birds and wildlife through San Pablo Bay - which is the largest bay in the San Francisco Bay Estuary - and to offer access to areas of San Francisco Bay’s north shore, not normally open to the public.

This year's event promises more guided hikes and outings, tours and workshops on Mare Island than every before. With over 60 events on the schedule, you'll have to watch closely to make sure you don't miss your favorite! You will find that one of the most unique aspects of this birding festival is the chance to soak up history on Mare Island and view an amazing array of birdlife all at the same time.

SF Bay Flyway Festival
February 13 - 16, 2015
Mare Island, San Francisco Bay

Join your fellow birding enthusiasts on Mare Island
for some awesome bird watching this weekend!

For more about the Bay Area, visit Discover Alameda County, Discover Marin, and Discover San Francisco. To see photos from around the Bay Area, check out our Facebook albums.

To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

Continue reading "February Event: San Francisco Bay"

February Event: San Francisco

Paying Tribute to the Year of the Ram

Chinese Woman in Parade; CC Min Lee
Chinese Woman in Parade

San Francisco's Chinatown is the oldest Chinese community in North America and the largest Chinese community outside of China, so it stands to reason they would be The Bomb when it comes to Chinese New Year celebrations!

In the Lunar Year of 4713, San Francisco has a month's worth of festival activities to usher in the Chinese New Year, starting with a mini-procession and ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, February 14 along Chinatown's Grant Avenue.

Festivities continue with the Flower Market Fair, Miss Chinatown U.S.A. Pageant, basketball jamboree, and Miss Chinatown U.S.A. Coronation Ball, then culminate with the traditional Chinese New Year Parade and Community Street Fair on March 7th and 8th.

San Francisco: It's the place to be for the Chinese New Year!

For more about San Francisco and Chinatown, visit Discover San Francisco, Chinatown, the Neighborhood, and Chinatown, the Tourist Attraction. For photos of San Francisco, check out our Facebook album, Random Photos.

To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

Continue reading "February Event: San Francisco"

February Event: Benicia

Wine and Chocolate: The Perfect Aphrodisiac!

Wine and Chocolate; CC Robert Nagy
Wine and Chocolate

Downtown Benicia is the place to be on Saturday, February 7th, for their Wine & Chocolate Walk - a tasting of fine wines and chocolate pairings throughout the downtown district.

Up to 20 different wines will be poured inside participating shops, providing an enjoyable outing before Valentine's Day. So come along and join in on the fun.

Stroll along First Street with your glass in your hand, tasting the finest pairings of wines and chocolates while you socialize with the shop-keepers and enjoy browsing the wares!

The perfect way to get ready for Valentine's Day!

To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

Continue reading "February Event: Benicia"

February Event: Santa Cruz

The 2015 Santa Cruz Baroque Festival Kicks Off Saturday, February 7, with Treasures from the Birth of the Baroque!

The Baltimore Consort; Photo Courtesy of scbaroque.org
The Baltimore Consort; Courtesy of scbaroque.org

The Santa Cruz Baroque Festival has announced the start of its 42nd concert season under the direction of Linda Burman-Hall.

Each year the Baroque Festival presents an assortment of concerts with music and instruments from the time before the American Revolution.

Concert I - Treasures from the Birth of the Baroque - features Marja Gaynor and Nina Treadwell performing exotic songs and dances.

Concert II - Treasures of the Irish Harp - presents Bill Coulter & Friends weaving an enchanting tapestry of sounds.

Concert III - Treasures from the Age of Shakespeare - showcases The Baltimore Consort with their heavenly harmony and earthly delights from the time of the bard... I'm sensing a theme here!

Check out the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival website for
more details about upcoming concerts!

For more about Santa Cruz, visit Things To Do in Santa Cruz. To see photos of the Santa Cruz area, check out our Facebook album, Santa Cruz County.

To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

Continue reading "February Event: Santa Cruz"

February Event: Galt

It's All About the Birds This Weekend!

Sandhill Cranes in Flight;CC Chuq Von Rospach
Sandhill Cranes in Flight

In Chico and Butte County, we've got the Snow Goose Festival in January, offering field trips and other fun stuff involving migratory birds.

In Galt - "Winter home of the regal, red-browed Sandhill Crane" - we have the 8th annual Winter Bird Festival on Saturday, February 7th, with birding tours, guest speakers, and free family fun involving more migratory birds!

Many migratory and resident birds call Galt their winter home. The Winter Bird Festival steering committee and volunteers hope that you will find this festival to be an exciting and educational opportunity to celebrate the Winter Birds and habitat we all call home.

If you're a budding nature photographer, you won't want to miss the Cosumnes River Preserve Photo Tour, sponsored by CANON!

But the thing that makes this birding festival special is the sight and sound of hundreds of cranes flying in to roost for the night!

To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

Continue reading "February Event: Galt"

February Event: Mendocino

Surprise someone special prior to Valentine's Day!

Zina Hyde Cunningham Tasting Room Truck;
Photo by Suzi Rosenberg
Zina Hyde Cunningham Tasting Room Truck

The Anderson Valley in Mendocino County is well known for its Alsace-style whites like Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Gerwurztraminer, and Muscat. And this weekend AV is holding its annual Alsace Varietals Festival.

Meet the winemakers, and drink Alsace style wines paired perfectly with tasty treats at the 10th annual International Alsace Varietals Festival Grand Tasting.

Or dine in the intimate Scharffenberger Cellars for the Winemakers Dinner.

Or spend a day touring the many wineries of the Anderson Valley during the Winery Open Houses.

If you're always looking for just the right wine to pair with your special dinners, I think you'll find what you're looking for at the International Alsace Varietals Festival!

International Alsace Varietals Festival
Saturday, February 7, and Sunday, February 8, 2015
Boonville, Anderson Valley

Discover special lodging packages at Little River and Stanford Inn

For more about Mendocino County and Little River, visit Discover Mendocino County and Discover Little River. To see photos of Little River, check out our Facebook album, Little River.

To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

Continue reading "February Event: Mendocino"

February Event: Sacramento

Celebrating 17 Years of Free Museum Days!

California Railroad Museum;
Photo by Suzi Rosenberg
California Railroad Museum

February 7, 2015 marks the 17th year that the Sacramento Association of Museums has presented Sacramento Museum Day to the citizens of and visitors to California's state capitol city.

Many Sacramento area museums and local venues will be participating in this year's Museum Day activities, including the California State Railroad Museum, the Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park, the California Automobile Museum, the Sacramento Children's Museum, the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery, Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, and even the Sacramento Zoo, and Fairytale Town in Land Park.

Designed to entice everyone in the community to enjoy the city's vast offerings of art, history, science, and wildlife, this special day of free and reduced-pricings offers a unique opportunity to experience all of the past, present, and future offerings that our capitol city provides. So plan to get out there on Saturday and take advantage!

On your mark. Get set.
Go hit a museum or two or three!

For more about California's state capitol, visit Discover Sacramento California. To see photos of Sacramento, including Old Sacramento, the Fab 40s, William Land Park, and more, check out our Facebook albums, Old Sacramento, William Land Park, Sacramento Fab 40s, and Downtown and Midtown Victorians.

To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

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Things To Do in Northern California: Calistoga

Visit Old Faithful without Leaving Northern California!

Old Faithful Geyser near Calistoga; CC Alan Fung-Schwarz
Old Faithful Geyser near Calistoga; CC Alan Fung-Schwarz

Who knew? Most of us think of Yellowstone National Park when we hear Old Faithful, but there are actually three (only) Old Faithfuls in the world, and one is in Northern California!

But don't be fooled by the close-up picture above - that's just the beginning of the show!

Calistoga's Old Faithful erupts about every 30 minutes, forecast by rising steam and boiling water, to shoot thousands of gallons of 350 degree water over 60 feet into the air. Head for Calistoga, spend the day, bring a picnic lunch, and visit the interestingly different animals (Tennessee Fainting Goats and Guard Llamas) in a petting-zoo-like atmosphere while you’re there.

(By the way – the 3rd Old Faithful is in New Zealand. Now there’s something for your Bucket List – visit all three Old Faithfuls before you die!)

For more about things to do in California's Wine Country, see Discover Napa, and Discover Sonoma.

Continue reading "Things To Do in Northern California: Calistoga"

Things To Do in Northern California: Shasta

Let the Adventure Begin in Shasta County... with a Boat Ride!

Bus Ride up to Shasta Caverns; By Suzi Rosenberg
Bus Ride up to Shasta Caverns; By Suzi Rosenberg

A visit to Lake Shasta Caverns is a little bit different from visiting other caverns!

When you first arrive you'll think you've stumbled on a kid's park or a playland.

You're greeted by the Rock Box where the kidlettes can utilize the climbing wall, climbing tunnel, climbing rock, and tree house to their little hearts' content.

Or the whole family can take part in sluicing for gemstones and fossils - purchase a bag of mining rough and head for the sluice to sort it all out!

Once you enter the main store/ticket office you'll realize there's even more adventure ahead when you discover you'll have to take a catamaran ride across the McCloud Arm of Lake Shasta, then a bus ride up a scenic-but-skinny mountain road on the other side, just to get to the caverns.

The boat ride is relaxing, informative & fun, you'll enjoy the scenic bus trip up to the caverns from the boat landing, and the grand prize in the end is the caverns themselves, with stalagmites, stalactites, cave coral, and flow stone.

This adventure takes mobility and a bit of stamina, so it might be too much for a wee one or great-great-grampy!

For photos, visit our Photo Gallery, Lake Shasta Caverns.

For more about the area, see Discover Shasta County, and Discover Siskiyou County.

Continue reading "Things To Do in Northern California: Shasta"

Things To Do in Northern California: Mendocino

Spring has Sprung in Mendocino County!

Botanical Gardens Rhododendron; Photo Courtesy of Scott Chalmers
Botanical Gardens Rhododendron

It may be hard to believe, but it is the beginning of Spring in Northern California!

And Spring is the perfect time to visit one of the most beautiful attractions along the Northern California coastline: the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens on the outskirts of Fort Bragg, California!

You’ll find colorful displays during every season of the year, with manicured formal gardens, a coastal pine forest, native plants, animals, and birds, and flower-filled coastal bluffs overlooking the majestic Pacific Ocean.

But Spring is special for that's when you'll discover the early rhododendrons, camellias, daffodils, magnolias, cherries, and Pacific Coast iris in bloom.

The gardens are awash with pinks, lavenders, magentas, whites, yellows and oranges as these lovely plants and flowers come into their own.

Stroll the trails through the peaceful and colorful gardens
all the way to the ocean's edge!

For photos of Fort Bragg and more, visit our Facebook Photo Albums.

For more about the Fort Bragg area, visit our Discover Mendocino pages.

Continue reading "Things To Do in Northern California: Mendocino"

January Event: Monterey

This is an event that our grandson would love - he's all into gems!

Gemstones; CC Orbital Joe
Gemstones; CC Orbital Joe

Visit Monterey this weekend for one of the largest gem, jewelry, and bead shows in the U.S.A.

With over 40 vendors, you'll find high-quality gems, beads, crystals, and minerals in all shapes and sizes to choose from - and at manufacturer prices! Offerings also include fine jewelry, costume jewelry, gemstones, beads, crystals, precious metals, plus tools, jewelry supplies and boxes all under one roof!

Monterey Gem Faire
January 30 - February 1, 2015
Monterey County Fairgrounds

Be sure to enter for a chance to win cool prizes! With a drawing every hour, your chances of winning are good...

P.S. If you can't make it to Monterey this weekend, Gem Faire will be in Roseville at the Placer County Fairgrounds February 6 - 8, 2015 with the same fabulous merchandise and more hourly drawings!

For more about Monterey, visit Discover Monterey County. To see photos, check out our Facebook albums.

To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

Continue reading "January Event: Monterey"

Contra Costa County

Contra Costa County, California holds many surprises for the Northern California traveler, even for native Californians.

Continue reading "Contra Costa County"

January Event: San Francisco

"Take a Trip to Russia without
leaving the Bay Area!™"

Russian Fest Poster;
Poster Courtesy of RussianCenterSF.com
Russian Fest Poster

Founded in 1939 by Russian immigrants, the Russian Center of San Francisco brings the annual Russian Festival to the Bay Area for the 27th year.

The festival's purpose is to preserve the rich cultural heritage of Russian families living in the United States by showcasing the traditional food, art, music, and dance of Russian peoples everywhere.

The festival is held for three days each year (January 30 - February 1, 2015) and attracts thousands of people from all over the Bay Area.

Bringing Russian Culture to San Francisco for 27 years!

For more about things to see and do in San Francisco, visit San Francisco Attractions. To see photos of things to see and do in San Francisco, check out our Facebook albums, California Academy of Sciences, Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, Forbes Island, and more.

To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

Continue reading "January Event: San Francisco"

January Event: Big Sur

January event sponsored by Mother Nature:
Witness the birthing of elephant seals!

Elephant Seal and Pup; CC Jerry Kirkhart
Elephant Seals and Newborns

For a few months each year, elephant seals come ashore and form colonies for the purposes of giving birth, breeding, and molting...

In late November, mature males start to arrive at Piedras Blancas beach in Big Sur and and begin the fighting rituals that determine dominance, which in turn determines who gets to breed.

The females start arriving in the middle of December and continue to arrive until the middle of February. The first births begin about Christmastime, but the peak of the birthing season occurs during the last two weeks of January, so now's a very good time to visit!

The pups are typically born within four or five days of the female's arrival, and they weigh around 60 pounds. The pups only nurse for about 26 days, but they are nursing on the richest milk in the mammal world, giving them the sustenance they need for the coming weeks of learning to survive on their own.

See it all at the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery in the southern part of Big Sur near San Simeon!

Friends of the Elephant Seals provide volunteer docents at the viewpoint to answer questions and help visitors.

Witness the miracle of the Circle of Life!

For more about Big Sur, visit Discover Big Sur, and Discover Big Sur Attractions.

To find more Events and Festivals: January through March, April through June, and Fun Food Festivals

Continue reading "January Event: Big Sur"

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