Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley: Refreshingly Rural with Cutting Edge Wines March 15, 2022

Looking down on the Anderson Valley from the Indian Creek Inn

Napa. Sonoma. Boonville. On the list of California’s celebrated wine towns, the name Boonville may sound a bit odd. With more livestock than people (area pop. 1,400)and not a stop-light to be found, Boonville sounds like a wide spot in the road – not an award-winning wine destination.

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A Drive up I-5 is a Holiday Treat

MERCURYNEWS.COM: December 3, 2021

Manzanita Lake at Lassen Volcanic National Park, about 45 minutes from Redding, provides its own light show in winter with the water’s reflection and stunning views of snow-capped Mount Lassen in the background. (Ginny Prior/for Bay Area News Group)

A million brilliant bulbs twinkle in the night. Imagine the impact this has on your mood as you stroll through one of the most dazzling light festivals in the country. The Redding Garden of Lights is drawing visitors from across the Pacific Northwest, with its 10 acres of world-class illumination by light artist Tres Fromme. It’s one of many reasons to drive up Interstate 5 in December.

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East Bay Open-Water Swimming

A guide to the best local swim spots


Conny Bleul, a coach with Odyssey Open Water Swimming, takes a sunrise swim in the Bay.Bob Day

Increased fitness, unbeatable views, and an instant mood boost: the benefits of open-water swimming are drawing growing numbers of swimmers to the East Bay’s coastal waters. Whether it’s Alameda’s 2.5-mile sandy shoreline,the Berkeley Marina’s more challenging chop, or the relatively calm cove at Richmond’s Keller Beach, saltwater swimming is making a splash.

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Post-COVID travel to Calistoga a great gift for the holidays December 13, 2020

Ginny Prior/for Bay Area News Group Just a block off Calistoga’s main street is Roman Spa Hot Springs Resort, where the grounds are laced with lush greenery and swaying palms fan the mineral pools, above

It’s Santa’s big week, and the presents are nestled safely under our tree, to quote a movie line from “Jingle all the Way.” Statistics show the number-one present this season is the gift card — for anything from electronics to post-pandemic travel. This year, I’m gifting travel.

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Happy Wanderer: Yosemite’s ‘shoulder season’ a great time to visit November 5, 2020

photo courtesy of Ginny Prior
A favorite Yosemite Valley fall hike is the pleasant, forested trek to Mirror Lake, which gets no water this time of year but features a vast expanse of sand and rocks and a nearby collection of Hoo Doos, above, on a hillside.

November brings good news for those of us ‘pining’ for outdoor adventures. Yosemite National Park is no longer requiring advance reservations. The 5-month policy requiring day passes during peak summer travel ended Nov. 1 as the park ushers in “shoulder season.” Continue reading