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...Read More
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...Read More
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...Read More
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...Read More
On a sunny, spring day about a year ago, we stopped in at the Oroville Dam and its Feather River Fish Hatchery. Little did we know the peaceful shots we snapped would be such a contrast to the thundering water of the overfilled Oroville Dam in February 2017 that forced the evacuation of more than 180,000 people. In addition to the evacuation of people, however, was the mandatory evacuation of several million baby fish from the hatchery we had enjoyed.Read More
The food and drink from world-class restaurants to top-rated wineries in Napa Valley is endless. A stay at a spa can help you “detox” from all that indulgence. We selected the Villagio Spa in Napa for a short retreat that was more about the bliss than the bounty of Napa Valley.Read More
POPOS may sound like a funny name for something you’d munch on during happy hour, but that is so wrong. POPOS stands for “Privately Owned Public Open Spaces,” a.k.a. San Francisco secret gardens. Whether you as a traveler call them POPOS, secret gardens, or rooftop parks, they are ideal respites and secluded open spaces when wandering and touring cities for travelers who just need to rest weary feet or simply take in the surroundings or do a little people-watching – for free, often in a really pleasant venue.Read More
The San Francisco Bay Area hills are spotted with numerous parks where one can hike or picnic, often with great views of the rolling countryside or even the ocean. Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve east of San Francisco has another secret worth a traveler’s exploration: the Rose Hill Cemetery dating back to the Gold Rush.Read More
Mozzeria pizzeria on 16th Street in San Francisco’s Mission District seems like any other pizza joint from the outside looking in. Unassuming sign, simple door, narrow long room, tables full, a line of patrons waiting to be seated, and wait staff bustling about. The noise-level inside is subdued, but unless one is very observant, you may not even notice the out-of-the-ordinary experience provided by dining at Mozzeria. Not until the hostess greets you do you begin to realize this is not your everyday pizza joint.Read More
Armenian Blessing of the Grapes Ceremony at the Holy Trinity Church in Fresno, California in 2016. Armenians have blessed the grape harvest in mid-August since the Old Testament. Rich in religious symbolism, the blessing still happens around the globe at the start of the harvest.Read More
Since HI Travel Tales is based in California’s so-called Gold Country, we naively thought that this was the center of the panning for gold world. You know, Sierra Nevada gold rush, gold discovery at Sutter’s Mill, gold miners, ‘49ers, and all that jazz. Boy did we learn a thing or two, like gold panning is a world-wide pursuit and there is even a world championships each year.Read More
Driving north on State Route 99 through California’s Central Valley isn’t always a travel bright spot. But keep your eyes open and pioneering history may pop out at you – such as the Liberty Cemetery from the 1850s.Read More
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