Category: California

Fresno Underground Gardens: Highway 99 stop for curious travelers

Reading Time: 6 minutes 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

Reading Time: 3 minutes 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

Reading Time: 6 minutes 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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Mozzeria Pizzeria: Dining experience more than extraordinary food

Reading Time: 4 minutes 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

Reading Time: 3 minutes 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

Reading Time: 4 minutes 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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Table Mountain Preserve – California wildflowers and waterfalls

Reading Time: 5 minutes Table Mountain Preserve boasts one of the most spectacular waterfalls in California and an amazing display of California wildflowers in the spring, yet the North Table Mountain Ecological Preserve (just “Table Mountain” preserve to locals) is surprisingly unknown. If you want blankets of colorful wildflowers, including periodic super blooms, Table Mountain delivers.

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Pacific Grove Museum: Area natural history comes alive

Reading Time: 3 minutes 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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Sierra foothills wildflowers hike: Fields of California wildflowers

Reading Time: 4 minutes With springtime comes the search for California wildflower walks to enjoy the multicolored beauty of sometimes fleeting blooms. Sierra foothills wildflowers are everywhere as are relatively easy hikes to view them – you just have to know where since you often can’t see the blooms from a road. This short hike showcases some amazing wildflowers such as lupine and poppies.

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Corpse Flower: stinking good time in Sacramento

Reading Time: 3 minutes 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

Reading Time: 2 minutes 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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