Luxurious Destinations
Northern California
Destinations Within Northern California

Northern California Trip Itineraries

North Tahoe Epicurean Delight

North Tahoe Epicurean Delight
Destination(s): Lake Tahoe

When one thinks of Lake Tahoe in the summer, hiking and boating on the magnificent clear blue water comes to mind. And it should! But to truly enjoy Lake Tahoe, there is much more to experience. I beckon you to a four-day fest that includes great food, wine, light invigorating exercise, the best of the water has to offer, and Shakespeare with the most dramatic backdrop. read more about North Tahoe Epicurean Delight... Read More

From Apple Butter to Zinfandel: A Harvest-time Getaway to Healdsburg and the Russian River

From Apple Butter to Zinfandel: A Harvest-time Getaway to Healdsburg and the Russian River
Destination(s): Sonoma

Cutesy Healdsburg might be, but get a block or two off the plaza and the tourist trappings fall away, revealing a hard-working Sonoma valley town where viticulture is taken seriously, and has been for many generations.No matter which road you take out of town, you'll stop umpteen times for snaps. The Alexander Valley boasts the Jimtown Store, everyone's favorite haute-roadhouse lunch stop, and the best bike route. Dry Creek Valley has some of my favorite wineries, including Preston, where the picnic area features bocce ball courts and a wood-fired oven turning out hot loaves of homemade sourdough bread. After dinner at Dry Creek Kitchen and breakfast on the inn's sunny terrace, you'll be wondering if Sonoma residents ever eat anything that's not phenomenally fresh.Head south along River Road and you can taste sparkling wine from Korbel, and consider whether it's as good as the French version from the Champagne region whose name Californian bubblies are not allowed to use. Or stop being grown-up for a while and join the kids paddling in the river. Whether you'd rather kayak, canoe, or float downstream in an inner tube, the Russian River is the quintessential lazy river, with sandy beaches, cool green water and plenty of deep swimming holes to choose from.Though a short distance away from the river, the Farmhouse Inn is worth the drive for the rustic elegance of its atmosphere, sort of a cross between English manor house and Tuscan villa. The food is anything but rustic, though; San Franciscan foodies make the drive just for Chef Steve Litke's savory creations, which make the most of local ingredients like goat cheese handcrafted at an organic dairy just down the road. On the way home, be sure to stop at Mom's Apple Pies and pick up one made from gravensteins so fresh they were probably picked that morning in the orchard behind the bakery. Take home a slice of Sonoma graciousness to start the week off easy. read more about From Apple Butter to Zinfandel: A Harvest-time Getaway to Healdsburg and the Russian River... Read More

Ten Best Yosemite Dayhikes

Ten Best Yosemite Dayhikes
Destination(s): Yosemite National Park

So much to choose from! I had to put Half Dome at the top of my list; it's so unique. For the fit and determined it's just the right amount of challenge with a great reward on top. Key: start up in the dark, drink lots of water. Be aware that for 2010 you need a day use permit for Fri, Sat, Sun, holidays on Half Dome. For an easier jaunt, almost anyone can make the pleasant grade to Mirror Lake for a more intimate view of the canyon floor. Off Glacier Point Road, the hike up to Sentinel Dome affords a grand 360-degree panorama. Do a bit less than Half Dome but with the best of the dramatic start/finish miles by hiking up to Vernal Fall and/or go beyond it to the top of Nevada Fall - good training for a Half Dome assault next summer. Another way to see this part of Yosemite is to pay for the hikers' bus up to Glacier Point and hike down the Panorama Trail. At Tioga Pass, crawl up over a steep ridge to an isolated glacial basin at Gaylor Lakes; classic Sierra alpine terrain. In Tuolumne Meadows, getting to the top of Lembert Dome is the must-do viewing platform. A fine subalpine hike gets you to the two Cathedral Lakes. In the south part of the park, take a great climb up the Chilnualna Falls Trail from Wawona; warm work, but worth it. It is truly hard to go wrong with Yosemite trails; do get a good map at the Visitor Center and ask rangers about route difficulties. Always have plenty of water, snacks and layers for the weather. read more about Ten Best Yosemite Dayhikes... Read More

Urban Santa Barbara

Urban Santa Barbara
Destination(s): Santa Barbara

Hit the urban wine trail, indulge in Mediterranean eats and fresh fish, and catch live music during a weekend of downtown happenings. read more about Urban Santa Barbara... Read More

Holiday Weekend in Sonoma

Holiday Weekend in Sonoma
Destination(s): Glen Ellen

West Sonoma has it all: the Russian River, with all it's water fun options, wine tasting in one of the best undiscovered appellations left in California, and a wealth of great hotels, B&Bs and inns that often have rooms available last-minute. And then of course there's the food. You can eat your way across Sonoma County without ever crossing the threshold of a chain establishment. Farm-to-Table cuisine was born here in Sonoma, and everywhere you look there are chefs, cheesemakers, bakers and other artisanal food specialists waiting to tempt you with food so fresh you probably saw it growing minutes before you sat down.

So if the Fourth of July weekend or another holiday has caught you off-guard and unprepared, no worries.The minute you're off the highway the fun begins. read more about Holiday Weekend in Sonoma... Read More

Tahoe Winter Sports for Kids

Tahoe Winter Sports for Kids
Destination(s): Lake Tahoe

Kids and snow go hand in hand. At Lake Tahoe, there are dozens of places where little skiers and non-skiers can hit the bunny slopes, tube down a fast hill, play on a zip line course or enjoy some ice skating.

Photo by Chad Crowell/Flickr
http://www.flickr.com/photos/thecrowells/2214831614/sizes/m/in/photostream/ read more about Tahoe Winter Sports for Kids... Read More

My Santa Barbara Guide

My Santa Barbara Guide
Destination(s): Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara’s pristine shores, rugged mountain pass, and famous wine country are musts for anyone traveling to the Central Coast of California. read more about My Santa Barbara Guide... Read More

The "Ten Best" Restaurants in the Napa Valley

The "Ten Best" Restaurants in the Napa Valley
Destination(s): Napa Valley

Are there really 10 restaurants in the Napa valley the rise above the rest? Honestly, no -- there's such an incredible wealth of fine food and creative cookery in Napa that this really would have to be the "Top 25" to be anywhere near fair. And I'm afraid I have to admit my picks would change every six months, depending on who's arrived, who's departed, and who's just not quite on their juice. But just to get the conversation going, here are ten truly fine restaurants that every Napa food afficionado should try. Then please, add your own! read more about The "Ten Best" Restaurants in the Napa Valley... Read More

Napa Launch Tasting Tour

Napa Launch Tasting Tour
Destination(s): Napa Valley

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Couple's Retreat

Couple's Retreat
Destination(s): Santa Barbara

A quiet and comfy stay at the luxe San Ysidro Ranch sets the tone for a romantic weekend getaway. Stroll through the gardens of Lotusland, schedule a couple's massage, take a show at the theater, picnic in the Old Mission rose garden, and linger over meals with a bottle of wine. read more about Couple's Retreat... Read More