Happy Wanderer: Early fall is perfect time to visit Quebec

Mercurynews.com: August 28, 2015

The daffodil-colored cottage sat just beyond the road, perched on a knoll and surrounded by grazing sheep.”Bonjour,” said the woman with the brightly colored apron as if welcoming dear friends. Her kind words entwined with the heady aroma of fresh bread as she showed us to a checker-cloth table near the window. Monet may have painted this scene, were he alive today.
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Happy Wanderer: Central Coast includes stewardship with vacations

photoMERCURYNEWS.COM: July 9, 2016

From my lookout over the San Simeon coast, the elephant seals looked like cigars — their long, brown bodies splayed side-by-side on the beach below. I strained to see past the blubber and protruding proboscises for a green scar on the neck of one male — a mammal called “Green Tie” because of the mark left from a deeply embedded packing strap. Continue reading

Happy Wanderer: Cuba remains charming trip back to 1950s

http://christopherpbaker.com/CONTRACOSTATIMES.COM: July 3, 2015

To quote a lyric from Johnny Cash, Cuba is suddenly “hotter than a pepper sprout” on the world travel stage with U.S. travel to Cuba jumping 39 percent this year. But is this island — frozen in time for more than five decades — a must-see destination? Christopher P. Baker, who helped found the Bay Area Travel Writers (www.batw.org) in the mid-1980s, is the premier authority on tourism to Cuba. “Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castro’s Cuba,” is one of six books and dozens of articles Baker has penned on the island nation. Continue reading

Happy Wanderer: East Bay’s Muir, O’Neill homes are gems

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HILLS NEWSPAPERS: February 26, 2015

Two famous men are the subject of this travel feature. And if that doesn’t intrigue you, the word “free” just might.

The East Bay homes of John Muir and Eugene O’Neill are off-radar gems that make great day trip destinations. Both were big thinkers, if not geniuses in their day, and their homes give us insight into their lives. Continue reading

Happy Wanderer: UC Botanical Garden offers worldly view of plants

CONTRACOSTATIMES.COM: January 16, 2015

As a seasoned traveler, I’ve ended up in some strange foreign lands. Iceland in June, Lapland in January … South Dakota in the dead of winter. But this happened in my own backyard, so to speak.

There I was, standing face to face with a cobra. Alert and extended, it seemed poised to strike.

“It’s a magnificent specimen,” said my guide as he beckoned me closer. “Just look at the hood.” Continue reading