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3901 Packer Lake Rd, Sierra City, CA 96125, USA

My wife, Robin, and I have been camping, fishing, and hiking in the Lakes Basin area, near Sierra City, since we met. These days, our usual home base is a tiny log cabin at the edge of Packer Lake, pictured here. From trailheads around Packer you...

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Three miles into Yellowstone from the North Entrance and before you reach Mammoth Hot Springs is a small parking lot on your left. Park and walk down the trail (400m). At the confluence of the Gardiner and Boiling rivers is a fun swimming hole....
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Purdon Rd, Nevada City, CA 95959, USA
I just spent the weekend following the 4th of July up near Nevada City. It got over 90 degrees during the day, so we headed to the river. Although lots of people had similar ideas, I was with a local who directed us to this spot and we had it to...
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390 Capistrano Rd, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, USA
It may be a little cold and foggy on the the patio at the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. And certainly a pint or two of their microbrew will refresh more than heat your insides. But don't worry, there are heat lamps over the picnic table or a few...
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Hume Lake, California 93628, USA
Along a windy road in Sequoia's National Park you may see a sign for Hume Lake. It won't be a big sign, and if you're not looking for it, you'll think it's just one of many lakes along the winding roads thru the great Sequoia's park. This one gets...
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Whitethorn, CA 95589, USA

This is some of the finest, most remote backpacking in northern California.

Its stunning.

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Little River, CA, USA
Mendocino has a bunch of small beaches along Highway 1. This one is right in front of the Little River Inn, in Little River, a town 2 miles south of Mendocino village.
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25 North St, Healdsburg, CA 95448, USA
SHED is one of my favorite shops with a cafe, coffee bar and fermentation bar, plus local produce and pantry items. They have an incredible selection of hand-crafted and classic kitchen, farm, and garden tools. I always pick up another French...
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641 Limerick Ln, Healdsburg, CA 95448, USA
The tasting room is small, enough for a party of eight, but the diminutive space means more personal attention, which is kind and gracious. The pouring staff want you to enjoy and love the Zins, Chardonnays, and Syrahs as much as they do and will...
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Metes & Bounds starts hosting farm-to-table dinners in Sonoma and Marin counties on May 1. The multi course meals are prepared in a yellow school bus retrofitted with a kitchen and grill. This appeared in the May 2014 issue.
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25 North St, Healdsburg, CA 95448, USA
The new Healdsburg Shed is a hub for lovers of all things local, agrarian, and food-related. Stop by to shop the selection of locally made housewares, join a workshop, or just linger over a glass of the on-tap kombucha. It's an ideal breakfast...
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219 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448, USA
The 36-room h2 Hotel in Healdsburg is the perfect Sonoma base. Guests can explore the green roof, lounge by the creekside pool, or rent bikes for cycling to nearby wineries.
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726 Higuera St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, USA
We discovered Novo one evening as we were strolling about San Louis Obispo. Outside by the back patio is the most relaxing place to sit and enjoy the meal. There is a giant old oak tree that shades almost the entire patio and the musical babbling...
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1121 Broad St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, USA
We drive through this part of the Central Coast of California quite a bit and we always stop in at Big Sky Cafe for a meal. Whether it's breakfast, lunch or dinner- the food is excellent and fairly priced. Most of their foods come from local...
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7800 Eastside Rd, Healdsburg, CA 95448, USA
Last year Copain Winery in Sonoma started hosting guest chef dinners at its tasting room as part of a Supper Club Series. Copain's winemaker, Wells Guthrie, reaches out to some of his favorite chefs and sommeliers, like Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan...
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What I love about Sonoma County, California is its dramatic contrasts. That one moment you're sipping on wine in a cozy tasting room on the square in Healdsburg Plaza and the next you're hiking around Lake Sonoma with views like this. The overlook...
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Weott, CA 95571, USA
A popular stop along the Avenue of the Giants, the Dyerville Giant rendered me speechless today. This ancient tree, which stood for 1,600 years and grew to be 362 feet tall, fell to the ground in 1991. Its sheer size--the tree was taller than...
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47540 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
The view from the Big Sur Bakery is right on par with the food. In the morning, fuel up on breakfast scones and strong coffee. After a day exploring the Henry Miller Library and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, return at dusk for baby lettuces,...
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Petaluma Ave, Sebastopol, CA 95472, USA
The Sea Ranch, a community located three hours north of San Francisco on the coast, comes close to Utopia for me. Founded by a group of UC Berkeley architects in the 1960s, Sea Ranch was conceived as a rustic escape from the city. The houses are...
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560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA
At the restaurant Nopa in San Francisco's Western Addition, the long bar and communal tables are perfect places to perch on a weeknight. Go early, order an elderflower gimlet or a sparkling, minty Old Cuban (both off-menu). Don't miss the Mission...
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CA-1, Bodega Bay, CA 94923, USA
Many car commercials have been filmed along this stretch of the iconic California road. The hairpin turns and switchbacks make it a wild ride for some, but the views to the west (the ocean) and the east (Northern California's inimitable green...
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20 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448, USA
The Russian River Valley in Sonoma County is a wonderful day trip from San Francisco. Pack a picnic and reserve a raft from SOAR Inflatables, and spend a summer day moseying down the river. Go early or late in the season to avoid crowds and have...
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214 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448, USA
After a day spent floating down the Russian River, happy hour at Mateo's hit the spot. We grabbed seats at the colorful bar and ordered tacones stuffed with olive oil guacamole and black bean puree with homemade chorizo. I paired the food with a...
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1245 Spring St, St Helena, CA 94574, USA
In St. Helena, what was once Martini House is now a fun new restaurant called Goose & Gander. Go on a warm Friday night, ask for a table outside under the big oak tree, and order this Coastal Pimm's Cup cocktail, made with St. George Terroir...
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2601 Monarch St, Alameda, CA 94501, USA
At St. George Spirits, a liquor distiller located inside a huge hangar on the decommissioned Alameda Naval Base, you can learn all about alcohol production—and you can taste all-natural vodkas, gins, Eau de Vie, whiskeys, and more. The tour lasts...
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18501 Philo Greenwood Rd, Philo, CA 95466, USA
by Annie Gowan Stone At the Apple Farm, sleep in wooden cottages surrounded by one of the valley’s last major orchards. Sally and Don Schmitt, founders of the French Laundry, the legendary restaurant in Yountville, California, run the farm with...
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Boonville, CA 95415, USA
Boonville, a tiny town in the middle of California's Anderson Valley, is proudly anti-establishment and idiosyncratic. The area has its own language, and a radical newspaper that isn't afraid to print controversial stories. The last time I passed...
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8501 CA-128, Philo, CA 95466, USA
This unpretentious tasting room is set in gorgeous country. Stop for a picnic--and some sips of brut rose--if you're cutting across the Anderson Valley en route to the Mendocino Coast.
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47900 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
Described by devotees as the most luxurious, one-of-a-kind lodging experience in all of California, the Post Ranch Inn was purpose-built to blend in with the Santa Lucia Mountains. Opened in 1992, and designed by famed Big Sur architect Mickey...
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2 Portola Plaza, Monterey, CA 93940, USA
I never stay in swanky hotels. Ok, ok, I have stayed in a few, but only when I did not have to foot the bill. But when I decided to attend this years’ ESTC12 Eco tourism conference, I could not resist staying in a hotel that is claiming to be...
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Monterey, CA, USA
Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey is a touristy hell, where cotton candy grows like kelp and soup only comes in bread bowls. But just beyond the madness is a beautiful little bike path that goes all the way to Cannery Row and the aquarium. There's a...
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62 California 1, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923, USA
I've been all over the California coast and Point Lobos is my favorite place to hike. We have hiked every trail in this reserve and never tire of this magical place. You can see many animals, such as sea otters, seals, elephant seals,sea lions,...
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47540 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
The Big Sur Bakery and Restaurant serves housemade granola, ginger scones, and seasonal fruit strudels in a cabin built in 1937. Wood-fired pizzas, with toppings such as squash and prosciutto, stand out on the dinner menu, and the blackberry...
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45500 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
One of my favorite campgrounds in Big Sur is the big open meadow at Andrew Molera State Park. It's great for large groups and it's one of the best bases for hiking and surfing in the area. More than 20 miles of trails run throughout the park's...
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48510 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA

Though I had read a lot about Nepenthe, as it is a "must-see" if you are in the Big Sur area, I still wasn't prepared for just how beautiful the views were. We were planning on setting up camp and then coming back the few miles to eat dinner at...

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Presidio Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94129, USA
Artist Andy Goldsworthy's Wooden Line meanders its way through a grove of Eucalyptus in the Presidio, inviting all to take off shoes and balance beam through the forest. The sculpture, formed from the trunks of eucalyptus, gently curves its way...
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Even in winter, this grassy part of the trail is lovely. It runs along as part of the Coastal Trail high above Stinson Beach. Always makes for a great run... but in early spring with the wild flowers its ideal. Purple and green vibrate!