Author: Therese Iknoian

Bathing in pollen: Ladybugs and poppies

When thoughts start to turn to spring and flowers, the question arises, where to find wildflowers and perhaps butterflies and ladybugs too? The hunt is on for the expanses of color, the bees, the butterflies and the beauty. In Northern California, we go looking everywhere somewhere new. The subject: Where to find wildflowers in the Auburn State Recreation Area? They are in abundance in many corners if your timing is right and you go to the right place. Areas that get just the right amount of sun and water flourish. On this hunt for wildflowers we chose the Foresthill...

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South Yuba River State Park: Bridgeport covered bridge and wildflowers

As spring cracks opens its doors, the multitude of wildflowers at South Yuba River State Park’s Bridgeport area pop up their heads. No time is better to visit the Bridgeport Historic Covered Bridge, take a hike along the river on the Point Defiance Trail, or enjoy a guided wildflower walk on the Buttermilk Bend Trail. We took that opportunity recently for the first time after a couple of years and thoroughly enjoyed the Point Defiance Loop Trail. The 1.2-mile Buttermilk Bend Trail is highly touted for its wildflowers, and docents conduct guided wildflower walks there every Saturday from mid-March...

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Vintage photo of St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow 1984

A chance to tour St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) and Moscow in 1984 while I was a student in Germany was not to be missed. Our group of students was led to museums, which I and a few others skipped to take in the REAL city sights. St. Basil’s Cathedral is of course THE sight in Moscow. The subject: St Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square in Moscow, Russia, is what you think of when thinking of Moscow, right? A colorful and polished clump of towers and bulbs in vibrant colors, right? Red, yellow, blue, all looking good enough to eat,...

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The best hike in Carmel: Palo Corona Park trails and views

When you are in Carmel on the Monterey Peninsula of California’s coast, the ocean and beaches are a huge draw. But don’t forget to seek out inland trails to find what may be the best hike in Carmel. Palo Corona Regional Park is nestled in the surrounding hills with pastoral views and sweeping ocean overlooks from on high. It is a great hiking destination for visitors and locals alike. What makes Palo Corona Regional Park so amazing is that you end up feeling as if you’re in a huge private playground. Due to parking limitations at both the east...

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Alhambra Theater: Travelers can find lost history in Sacramento

Once one of the renowned theaters and movie palaces in the 1920s and ’30s, the Alhambra Theater is an historic site in Sacramento that would be of interest to any traveler who is a movie buff. Unfortunately, the Alhambra, which opened in 1927, was lost to a wrecking ball in 1973. Only a nondescript national chain grocery store sits where the historic theater once stood. Sadly, the one wall and a fountain that were maintained in the theater’s honor are now subject to vandalism. It is that wall and fountain that caught my eye one summer day as I...

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Great carnival parades in Europe: Think small (Updated February 2017)

Known in the United States as Mardi Gras (actually French for “Fat Tuesday), the traditions of excessive celebrations and outrageous carnival parades prior to the pre-Easter fasting during Lent date back many centuries in Europe. But you don’t have to head to the crowd-filled streets of big towns like Germany’s Cologne or Dusseldorf, France’s Nice, or Switzerland’s Basel to experience some great carnival parades in Europe. And you don’t even have to indulge in excess!

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