I like city driving; not freeways, but I can handle the Marin route out of San Francisco. So, I have made the trip to the Healdsburg area in Sonoma County three times in the last few months. Recently, for a birthday party at a lovely B & B called the Gipson Bed & Breakfast, owned by an old friend and his wife.
I had been to the same spot last summer for an epic 50th Russian Dacha birthday party, where many guests camped and a Russian BBQ ensued with a zip line, trampoline, bubbles, pool, jacuzzi and pogo-sticks for the big and little kids and of course shots of vodka and blinis for the hearty adults. This time it was for a five-year-old’s party, the daughter of my friends, the innkeepers.
Healdsburg lies at the crossroads of three of California’s most famous wine growing appellations: Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley and the Russian River Valley. It is surrounded by more than 60 wineries and is a favorite Sonoma Wine Country destination. Continue reading »
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The water below barely rippled, a sheet of blue reflecting star sapphire or lapis lazuli, brilliant in the morning sun. From my spot on the bowspirt it looked impossibly distant. For more than two years I’d dreamed of being in this place, high above the Aegean Sea with the sun on my shoulders and that deep blue bleeding into indigo like a memory long forgotten.
I took a deep breath, gazed at the horizon, looked down once more, then dove toward that memory. Down, down, arms reaching, chin tucked, feet pointed, down to the sea, slicing without impact into that lapis pool, cool silk caressing my skin. Down, down, into that radiant mystical sapphire that dazzles like a sunrise, like a shooting star, like a full moon glimpsed through autumn trees. Down into that blue that is so blue it feels like it’s reaching into the cosmos. Continue reading »
The Columbia River Gorge is one of the best board sailing destinations on earth (for example, watch this video and this one too). In spring and summer, when it’s hot inland and cold on the coast, the low inland pressure sucks coastal air up the gorge. As the gorge narrows, it acts like a wind tunnel, creating winds of phenomenal speeds. But some days the wind just doesn’t blow. And that’s when you just paddle around with your dog.
Travelers in the Pacific Northwest have many options for superb outdoors experiences, but an unusual one that seems to be catching on is positively, uh, radiant. Hugo Martin in the Los Angeles Times reports on the growing numbers of kayakers and jet-boat tourists cruising the Columbia River past the Hanford Reach in Hanford, Washington, America’s most contaminated nuclear site. Soon the reactor that produced the plutonium for the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan in World War II may be designated a historic landmark and open for tours. I wonder if you’ll need to wear a lead suit?
(Via LA Times’s Daily Travel & Deal Blog)