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Last Updated: 08/30/2010 05:00PM • Subscribe via RSSATOM


Redwood City

Redwood City, California is known as a hub for technology industry headquarters, but it has much to offer those who wish to escape gadget-ville for a blissful weekend away – exquisite dining, arts and community events, and activities for everyone.

We Tried It: Northstar-at-Tahoe Mountain Bike Park

Gettin' dirty at Northern California's largest lift-access mountain bike park.

5 Couples' Retreats

Five hand picked romantic California get-aways for you and your special someone.

10 Fun-for-All Festivals

When I was a kid, my parents took us on a series of motor home adventures throughout the U.S. One of my favorites was a stop at the 1986 World’s Fair in Vancouver.I remember the thrill of the festival scene: the food, the attractions, the music, and the people. There was something special about sharing the experience with my family, a great moment for bonding in between long hours on the road. While some of our country’s most endearing festivals are a stone’s throw from Sacramento (well, a couple hours drive at the most) others are accessible via flights out of SMF. Of course many take place during vacation-friendly summer months, but some not-to-be-missed festivals make an appearance throughout the year. From tasty food fests and music gatherings to film and theatre offerings, there are plenty of wonderful options to pencil in on the calendar. Here are Style’s top 10 picks!1. Crested Butte Music FestivalWhen: July 3-August 5, 2010Where: Crested Butte, ColoradoHow: Connect in Salt Lake City and take Delta directly to Crested Butte.What: In one of the most spectacular settings in the West, music lovers gather to hear everything from Bluegrass to opera and plenty of family friendly fun. crestedbuttemusicfestival.com2. Lake Tahoe Shakespeare FestivalWhen: July 9-August 22, 2010Where: Sand Harbor, Lake TahoeHow: An easy drive through the Sierras!What: The Bards on the bill at this popular theatrical event now in its 38th season. This year, the festival presents The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged), a hilarious romp through the playwright’s works in one comedic performance. A Young Shakespeare program also brings the classics to a kid-friendly audience throughout the festival run. laketahoeshakespeare.com3. Maine Lobster FestivalWhen: August 4-8, 2010Where: Rockland, MaineHow: JetBlue offers flights from SMF to Portland, Maine.What: Put on your bib and get ready to feast on the best lobster in the country. Celebrating 63 years, this summer’s festival includes Maine arts and crafts, lobster races, and of course, fabulous seafood.mainelobsterfestival.org4. Ghirardelli Chocolate FestivalWhen: September 11-12, 2010Where: San Francisco, CAHow: Easy flight or drive from Sacramento.What: The Bay Area’s famous chocolate company welcomes sweet-toothed fans for a two-day celebration of all things chocolate. Enjoy samples galore, wine tastings and plenty of family activities in one of our country’s most charming cities.ghirardellisq.com5. Albuquerque International Balloon FiestaWhen: October 2-10, 2010Where: Albuquerque, New MexicoHow: Southwest offers flights with one stop between SMF and Albuquerque.What: From a 78-acre launch field, hundreds of colorful hot air balloons will fill the New Mexico blue sky in this spectacular feast for the eyes. Kids can enjoy entertainment throughout the festival grounds while adults snap pictures at one of the most photographed events of its kind. balloonfiesta.com6. Austin City Limits FestivalWhen: October 8-10, 2010Where: Austin, TexasHow: Southwest offers flights with one stop between SMF and Austin.What: Austin’s quickly earning a reputation as a city of music, and this popular festival keeps things humming along. In addition to the family-friendly Austin Kiddie Limits zone for youngsters to enjoy, the whole gang can rock out to such legendary bands as festival headliners The Eagles. aclfestival.com7. Magnificent Mile Lights FestivalWhen: November 20, 2010Where: Chicago, IllinoisHow: Southwest and United fly non-stop from SMF to Chicago.What: Kick off the holiday season with this beloved Chicago tradition of one million lights on 200 trees along the Magnificent Mile. Highlights include a parade, wonderful Chicago food stations and a fireworks finale. magnificentmilelightsfestival.com8. Oregon Truffle FestivalWhen: January 28-30, 2011Where: Outside Eugene, OregonHow: Fly direct on Alaska Airlines from SMF to Eugene.What: During three brisk days in the middle of winter, enthusiasts come out in droves to celebrate this tiny delicacy at one of the first festivals of its kind in North America. While truffles might not be every kid’s cup of tea, the activity of snuffing out these ripe treasures with the aid of a trained truffle dog makes for a unique family experience.oregontrufflefestival.com9. International Family Film FestivalWhen: March 16-20, 2011Where: Hollywood, CAHow: Southwest flies direct from SMF to Burbank.What: This weekend-long event in sunny Southern California celebrates the movies with family-friendly film screenings and variety of seminars and ceremonies filled with special celebrity guests. iffilmfest.org10. National Cherry Blossom FestivalWhen: March 26-April 10, 2011Where: Washington D.C.How: Both JetBlue and Southwest fly direct from SMF to Washington D.C.What: Commemorating the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Tokyo to the U.S., this colorful and fragrant festival is a feast for the senses. Highlights include arts and music events, a lantern lighting ceremony and a parade. The breathtaking trees in bloom are worth the journey alone.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org 

Monterey

A city known for preservation of culture, history, and its natural environment, Monterey is paving the way to establishing one of California’s sustainable communities.The city’s focus on natural resource conservation, comfortable year-round climate and rich historical and cultural presence makes Monterey a fabulous destination to relax, unwind and explore, any time of year. This peninsula with remarkable views of the Central Coast offers a plethora of activities to satisfy cravings for history, art, marine life, recreation, and of course, food.Maximize your stay at Monterey’s Victorian Inn. Just one block from the water, the charm of the Inn lives up to its namesake with updated amenities and a wine and cheese hour, offering guests intimate hospitality at its best. With a more-than-accommodating concierge, the Victorian Inn can assist in planning an ideal Monterey getaway. Their “Pooch Package” also allows for convenient travel with pets. Nearby access to the pet-friendly recreational path and select beaches will make for one happy pup.The recreational path is pet, bike and walker friendly and stretches along the picturesque coast. Stops along the trail include Historic Monterey, San Carlos Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf and Cannery Row. Kayak along the coast and explore marine life up close. Meander along Fisherman’s Wharf sampling famous clam chowder, and pick up unique coastal gifts in one of the quaint gift shops. Surrounding the nearby Monterey State Historic Park are the Maritime Museum, the Pacific House Museum and the Monterey Museum of Art. Downtown Monterey also offers a variety of local restaurants, and famed pubs.A historic walking tour led by trained docents provides a glimpse into the exciting past (and into a myriad of historic buildings) of Monterey. Along the way, visitors may behold the oldest stone building in California, the Royal Presidio Chapel, the state’s first theater, and the Custom House, a traditionally-styled Mexican adobe structure – among numerous other historic structures.A notable Monterey attraction, Cannery Row has come a long way from the “gathered and scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron” as Steinbeck described it in his 1945 novel. The famous stretch of now hotels, boutiques, art galleries, eateries, entertainment and shops ends at the famed Monterey Bay Aquarium. Live music may be enjoyed any given weekend, and the distinctive galleries grant many late-night openings and opportunities to view unique artisan handiwork. Stop in at one of the city’s many celebrated restaurants for fresh local seafood.The aquarium is a spectacle and fun for all ages. With new and exciting exhibits, any time is the perfect time to visit. Reserve an entire day (or two) to take in the nautical wonder. Enjoy the latest exhibit, the Hot Pink Flamingos, and learn where they get their pink color from; and The Secret Life of Seahorses is a must-see, fascinating and educational experience. And while the sea otters and giant octopus are also favorites, everyone will find something to love at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.With a keen focus on environmental preservation, rich history and an abundance of activities and fresh cuisine, Monterey Bay offers a small-town vibe with big-city fun for everyone.POSTCARD FROM MONTEREYEATDomenico's on the Wharf50 Fisherman's Wharfdomenicosmonterey.com831-372-3655Paradiso Trattoria654 Cannery Rowparadisomonterey.com831-375-4155The Fish Hopper700 Cannery Rowfishhopper.com831-372-8543STAYBest Western Victorian Inn487 Foam Streetvictorianinn.com831-373-8000Monterey Hotel406 Alvarado Streetmontereyhotel.com831-375-3184Monterey Bay Inn242 Cannery Rowmontereybayinn.com831-373-6242PLAYMonterey Bay Aquarium886 Cannery Rowmontereybayaquarium.org831-648-4888Randy's Fishing Trips and Whale Watching66 Old Fisherman's Wharf, Suite 1randysfishingtrips.com831-372-7440Monterey Mirror Maze751 Cannery Row, Suite 109montereymirrormaze.com831-649-6293 

San Luis Obispo

Situated almost exactly half way between San Francisco and Los Angeles, you’ll run into San Luis Obispo when driving along the central coast’s Highway 101.

Amador County

From the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountain range on the county’s east side, to rolling foothills and sprawling ranch lands near its western end, Amador County occupies a rather expansive 570 square miles.

Reno, Nevada

Adventurous outdoor activities, a thriving arts scene, an urban renaissance, culture and exceptional cuisine...in one destination?It all exists in Reno, Nevada. While Reno is the birthplace of gaming and casinos make up its integral attraction, there’s even more fun to be had at 4,500 feet. In addition to its colossal gaming industry, the “biggest little city in the world” has much to offer in arts, culture, recreation and even relaxation.THE ARTSReno’s downtown district has become the hub for the burgeoning arts scene. The Nevada Museum of Art hosts rare and celebrated exhibits year-round in a modern architectural masterpiece situated among quaint historic buildings and scattered high-rises. The homegrown art scene is also booming. Independent and up-and-coming musicians and artists of all mediums are sprouting. Their influence has fueled the city’s artistic enrichment. Reno residents and visitors alike take advantage of the climate and partake in a month-long celebration of arts and culture, Artown. Formed in response to the growing need for cultural and creative channels in the area, Artown remains one of the nation’s largest and most diverse arts festivals. With an event or activity each day of the month, July explodes with music and artistic expression of all forms.Nevada Museum of ArtRECREATION & RELAXATIONFor an adventure-seeking traveler, Reno and its nearby neighbors grant visitors a plethora of activities. Allow Grand Sierra Adventures to plan your outdoor excursion. From sight-seeing tours to cruising on Lake Tahoe and ATV tours through Plumas National Forest, to rafting and kayaking down the Truckee River, you’re covered. Unwind following a day of excitement at Spa Atlantis. Serenity awaits guests who desire an exceptional spa experience. Cool hues, hot rooms, and guest-centric treatment rooms, coupled with a fitness facility and aqua lounge to indulge in hydro luxury, create an environment of idyllic tranquility.DO AND SEEA visit to the National Automobile Museum is in order for anyone who appreciates cars and history. Stroll down period-style street scenes, through a century, beholding our country’s greatest invention and take in the rare, extravagant, and even the outlandish. Knowledgeable docents and staff help create an unrivaled ride through vehicular history.National Bowling StadiumFrom memory lane to the bowling lane, Reno provides visitors with an unparalleled experience. Dedicated to the sport of bowling, the National Bowling Stadium is the filming location of the 1996 hit Kingpin. The mammoth structure and 78-lane facility boasts the longest video display system in the world, and the Stadium Club, an entertaining spot that offers impressive downtown views.GOOD EATSMagnificent dining in Reno may be one of its best kept secrets, but not for long. For an ultimate steakhouse experience with an understated elegant flare, Atlantis Steakhouse fits the bill. Their extensive menu, elegant-chic dining room and drink menu is a best bet. Also serving up fresh, local bites with a hip midtown vibe is Sezmu. Artfully created courses and a heavenly dessert menu complement the fine dining experience. The art district’s The Cheese Board is a local favorite offering bistro fare and an extensive wine list. The area also boasts outstanding ethnic menus, and now that Reno’s dining secret is out, tables may be harder to find.Reno may forever be a gaming mecca, but it’s also evidence that there’s room in the biggest little city for culture, history, adventure and fabulous food.POSTCARD FROM RENOSpa AtlantisSTAYGrand Sierra Resort and Casinograndsierraresort.comAtlantis Casino Resort Spaatlantiscasino.comPeppermill Resort Casinopeppermillreno.comEATAtlantis Steakhouse3800 South Virginia Street775-825-4700Sezmu Restaurant670 Mount Rose Streetsezmurestaurant.comThe Cheese Board247 California Avenuethecheezboard.bizPeg’s Glorified Ham and Eggs420 South Sierra Street775-329-2600SEENevada Museum of Artnevadaart.orgNational Automobile Museumautomuseum.orgGrand Sierra Resort Adventuregrandsierraresort.comNational Bowling Stadiumvisitrenotahoe.com

Love by the Bay

I fell head over heels for San Francisco on the occasion of my first visit nearly 25 years ago. The seduction occurred in many layers: the sound of the cable cars pinging up Powell Street; the views of breathtaking beauty from the tip of the Transamerica pyramid to the trees of Golden Gate Park; the salty smell of the bay breeze as the fog rolled over the bridge.

Simi Valley

Even if you’ve never been to Simi Valley – the sprawling suburb in Ventura County just north of Los Angeles – chances are you’ve experienced it one time or another on both the big and small screens.

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