Category: California

Dutch Flat 4th of July water hijinks and parade

Dutch Flat 4th of July celebration is a parade with water hijinks and loads of fun! Historic Dutch Flat in California boasts a population today of about 200 (“if everybody’s home,” a local adds) but the numbers swell on July 4 for good reason — the town is FUN!!!

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Fresno Underground Gardens: Highway 99 stop for curious travelers

The Underground Gardens tourist destination offers an intriguing tale for all ages that is well worth a stop. The Underground Gardens is what it sounds like: A weaving labyrinth of caverns, rooms and passages all dug underground and filled with fruit trees, vines and plants in spaces that open to the sky. This oddity was built – or shall we say, dug – by Italian immigrant Baldassare Forestiere for about 38 years starting in 1906.

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Feather River Fish Hatchery fish saved from Oroville Dam disaster

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.

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Discovering San Francisco secret gardens and public rooftop open spaces

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.

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Rose Hill Cemetery at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve

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.

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Mozzeria Pizzeria: Dining experience more than extraordinary food

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.

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Panning for gold a pursuit with world championships

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.

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Historic Gold Rush town Michigan Bluff off beaten path

Situated at about the halfway point of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, Michigan Bluff is a California Gold Rush town so tiny nobody even bothers to count how many people live there. Could be about 20. Give or take. An old mining hamlet that once teemed with thousands of gold-seeking pioneers, this is what they call in true Old West cowboy slang a “one-horse town.” No, there’s not much there, but that’s what makes it charming and worth a stop for a hike or a walk when in the Sierra Nevada Gold Country.

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Pacific Grove Museum: Area natural history comes alive

OK, I’ll admit this straight out: When HI Travel Tales ventures to another city, museums aren’t usually the top of our list. There is normally so much to see, experience and live on the streets and outdoors. But sometimes a museum just stands out. Take the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History in Monterey County for one.

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Corpse Flower: stinking good time in Sacramento

When a giant flower only blooms about every two decades – and promises to fill a hall with the smell of road kill rather than jasmine – I just had to go. I’m a garden nut when I’m not traveling – and sometimes even when HI Travel Tales is circling the globe we love to ferret out great gardens.

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UC Davis Arboretum: free award-winning gardens

Alongside the roar of Interstate 80 connecting the San Francisco Bay Area to Lake Tahoe is an award-winning botanical garden that beckons plant-lovers, gardeners or anyone looking for a relaxing park setting – the UC Davis Arboretum. The park-like arboretum itself beckons with winding paths, benches and plant collections with different themes.

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Allez French restaurant delight near Placerville

We could not have imagined what French culinary delight we were about to experience as we walked to the front door of Allez! Located just a few minutes from Placerville in the California Gold Country not far from Sacramento, Allez French restaurant is an intimate bistro owned and operated by Christian and Jennifer Masse. Christian is as French as they come — and Allez’s chef. It had just enough “quaint” to offer a casual European bistro feel.

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California