germany-bavaria

California Attractions


Maiden Lane - Frank Lloyd Wright Building

The only Frank Lloyd Wright building in San Francisco is found at 140 Maiden Lane. Enter through the arched doorway to the interior whose spiraling ramp echoes his design for the Guggenheim museum in New York. Many of the stores fittings are original. Xanadu gallery which showcases folk ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Kayaking lets you enjoy another perspective of Monterey—looking back at the town and gorgeous beaches from the bay. Open-deck kayaks make the sport easy even for the inexperienced and paddling out amongst the seals and otters is quite memorable. We rented from A B Seas Kayak and found own... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Alamo Square, San Francisco

From Alamo Square take a photo of six picture perfect Victorian homes with views of downtown (fog permitting) in the background.   ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Alcatraz, San Francisco

Alcatraz: Wreathed in mystery, the often fog-shrouded island of Alcatraz lies in the heart of San Francisco Bay, a scant mile and a quarter from the sights and sounds of downtown. The site of the first lighthouse on the west coast, in operation since 1854, “The Rock” has since been ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Set above the old town of Jackson in a Victorian home is the Amador County Museum, 225 Church Street (. The various rooms have rather eclectic exhibits from the Gold Rush era: for example, the kitchen is full of 19th-century cookware while a small upstairs bedroom displays Indian baskets. Set i... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Leaving Healdsburg, follow Hwy 101 north for the half-hour drive to Cloverdale where you take Hwy 128 heading northwest toward the coast. At first the road twists slowly up and over a rather steep pass. After the summit, the way becomes more gentle as you head down into the beautiful Anderson V... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Leaving Lompoc, follow signs for Buelleton, which has the redoubtable fame of being the home of split-pea soup—you come to Andersen’s Pea Soup Restaurant just before Hwy 246 crosses Hwy 101. The menu has more to offer than soup, but it is still possible to sample a bowl of the food ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

The views are breathtaking and the trails are great for hiking, Bike riding, horseback riding and jogging. There is a limited number of campsites in the park so plan well in advance.... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Thirty miles south of Half Moon Bay is the Año Nuevo State Reserve, home to elephant seals whose huge males with their trunk-like snouts reach a whopping 6,000 pounds. From mid-December to the end of March park docents conduct a 3-mile round-trip hike to the breeding grounds of these car... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Recommended by Haydon Street Inn: Drive or hike through the beautiful Armstrong Redwood Forest. Some of these magnificent Redwoods are over 300 feet tall and date back over 1400 years. An enjoyable, scenic 45-minute drive from the Haydon Street Inn.... more

  • Property Recommended

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A relatively new label in the region, Artesa Winery took over the home of Codorníu Napa in 1999. Artesa translates from Spanish Catalan as "craftsmen" and its name is both appropriate for the magnificently “crafted” wines and the dramatic architecture. Set on the hillside, the glass and co... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Asian Art Museum

Located in the onetime San Francisco library the Asian Art museum has a collection of about 17,000 artifacts and artwork from the major Asian countries. Over 2,500 of these are on display in the permanent collection. Major galleries include China, Japan, the Himalayas and Tibet, the Per... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

From Leggett continue north along Hwy 101 signposted for Eureka. However, rather than rushing all the way up Hwy 101, follow the old highway, called the Avenue of the Giants, that weaves through the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. This is a 33-mile-long drive, but we suggest you select the most b... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Take the ferry from Balboa Peninsula over to Balboa Island.  You might have to wait in line a bit because the little old-fashioned ferry takes only three cars at a time. When your turn comes, it is just minutes to the island, a delightful, wealthy community where residents drive golf carts. Pa... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park is without a doubt one of the highlights of downtown San Diego. Attractions within the park include the San Diego Zoo, one of the finest in the world. But Balboa Park offers much more than its splendid zoo. There are fascinating museums and exhibits within the 1,400-acre park: the ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

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A unique experience on board takes you on a memorable family journey through World War II, Korean War, and Cold War; following in footsteps of thousands of sailors that lived on a city at sea. Visitors tour six decks and numerous exhibits on the Battleship that hosted three U.S. Presidents duri... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Bay Bridge

The Bay Bridge, connecting San Francisco and Oakland, has one of the longest spans in the world.... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Beach Chalet Restaurant, Golden Gate Park

If you are hungry, you might want to consider the Beach Chalet, a restaurant on the ocean side of the Golden Gate Park near the Dutch Windmill. The menu offers good, modern American fare matched with their list of brewery selections. The building once served as the changing rooms for Ocean Beac... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Beaulieu Vineyards, commonly known as BV (1960 Saint Helena Hwy, Hwy 29, Rutherford, CA 94573). The name for BV originates from the wife of founder Georges de Latour exclaiming "beau lieu!" (French for beautiful place) when first viewing the the land which would become their vineyards. Half-hou... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

The Benziger Winery (1883 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen, CA 95442), set on a wooded knoll, is a fun, family-run winery. If it’s close to lunchtime, take advantage of picnic tables set under redwood trees (bring your own food). Before you walk up to the tasting room, follow the informative sel... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

As Hwy 29 leaves the northern residential area of Saint Helena, turn left into Beringer Vineyards (2000 Main Street, Hwy 29, Saint Helena, CA 94574). Set on a knoll, surrounded by landscaped grounds, the magnificent Rhine House was built as a replica of the German home that Frederick and his br... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

For a change of transportation, a number of companies offer one-day rafting trips down the most famous section of the South Fork of the American River. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip that we took with Beyond Limits Adventures. It’s a class 3 (intermediate) section of river that combines p... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

bianchi winery paso robles (1)

Family owned, the wine tasting room of Bianchi Winery opens on to a lovely deck overlooking a small lake. We timed our visit here to coincide with lunch so we could enjoy the peaceful setting. Weather dampened our plans, but sitting in front of the cozy fireplace offered a delightful alternativ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Believe everything you ever read about the beauties of the Big Sur Coastline: it is truly sensational. However, hope for clear weather, because on foggy or rainy days an endless picture of stunning seascapes becomes a tortuous drive around precipitous cliff roads. (In poor weather, you may wish... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

The Birch Aquarium At Scripps Institution of Oceanography is a delightful small aquarium packed with types of fish, sharks, sting rays, jellyfishes, and other sea life. There’s an area where you can feel some of the  inmates, a café and gift store.  Before or after the visit you can spend... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

If you opt to remain on scenic Hwy 1, you will find its passage dramatic over the much-photographed, long concrete span of Bixby Creek Bridge.... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Blazing Saddles-Bike The Bridge, Pier 41, San Francisco

A great day out is to bike from Pier 39 across the Golden Gate Bridge to Tiburon (8miles) or Sausalito (18miles) and return via ferry to the Ferry Building and back to Pier 39. Along the route you can detour round the Marin Headlands (an additional 10miles) or head out to Muir Woods and Mount T... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Blue & Gold ferries

An enjoyable excursion is to take a one hour bay cruise from Pier 39 under the Golden Gate Bridge, past Sausalito and around Alcatraz island. Blue & Gold Fleet also provides ferry service to Sausalito and Tiburon, small towns across the bay full of intriguing shops, art galleries and r... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Blue Wing Inn

Across the street from Sonoma Mission is the Blue Wing Inn, an old adobe building built by General Vallejo in1840 to accommodate travelers. During the California Gold Rush, the inn was purchased by two retired sailors who ran it as a hotel and store. The guest list included John Fremont, U. S. ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Leaving Stinson Beach, the road curves inland bordering Bolinas Lagoon, a paradise for birds, and then leaves the water and continues north for about 10 miles to the town of Olema.... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

view from Botanical Building, Balboa Park

The beautiful wooden Botanical Building with the lily pond in front of it is one of the most photographed buildings in Balboa Park. The building dates back to the 1915-16 Exposition held in San Diego.... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

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Leaving the Sonoma town square, go east on Napa Street for 2 miles to Old Winery Road where you turn left to visit the region’s oldest winery, Buena Vista (18000 Old Winery Road, Sonoma, CA 95476), built in 1857. Nestled in a wooded glen, the old ivy-covered buildings are very picturesque wit... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Cable Car Museum, San Francisco

For a behind-the-scenes look at this charmingly antiquated transit system, visit the Cable Car Museum at the corner of Washington and Mason Streets. Here you can view the huge cables that pull the cars from below the streets and a historical display that includes the very first cable car.... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Leaving Chatom Vineyards, a 20 mile drive brings you to Calaveras Big Trees State Park, a 6,000-acre preserve of forest including two magnificent stands of sequoia trees. A 45-minute self-guided tour takes you through the North Grove and the nearby visitors center provides information and histo... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park

The Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park is one of San Francisco’s most engaging museums. It offers so much diversity for the visitor. The rainforest dome is amazing with its colorful butterflies, flitting birds, lizards and tiny frogs—it gets more humid as you get towards the top. The a... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Just round the corner (678 Mission Street)from the Modern Art Museum a turn-of-the-century hardware store houses the California Historical Society with its bookstore and changing exhibits of photographs, paintings, and objects documenting California’s growth and change. (415-357-1848, www... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco

California Palace of the Legion of Honor: has a spectacular setting on a bluff in Lincoln Park overlooking the ocean. One of the original castings of Rodin’s famous Thinker welcomes you to the San Francisco replica of the Palais de la Légion d’Honneur in Paris where Napoleon ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Leaving Calistoga, take the Petrified Forest Road (which becomes Calistoga Road) west to the outskirts of Santa Rosa, forsaking the Napa Valley for the neighboring Sonoma Valley. The road climbs and winds a scenic 12 miles through forest and past meadows where cattle graze next to orchards. You... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

California Street cable car turnaround

Ride the cable car to the eastern end of the California Street line and walk through the Embarcadero Center (excellent shops and eateries) to the Ferry Building.... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Cannery Row, Monterey

Cannery Row, once the center of this area’s thriving sardine industry (the fish are long gone) and brought vividly to life by John Steinbeck in his novels featuring Doc and the boys, is now filled with small stores and tucked into an old warehouse are some outlet stores. The premier attractio... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Carmel Mission, Carmel, California

Just south of town is the Carmel Mission, established in 1770 by Father Junipero Serra. Beautifully restored and fronted by a pretty garden, the mission was Father Serra’s headquarters. It is from here that the stalwart little priest set out to expand the chain of missions. A small museum sho... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Carmody McKnight Estate Wines, is an 1800s farmhouse with a pond in front, where you can enjoy your wine tasting while overlooking their gardens.... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

The Carnegie Library, in the center of the town park, is home to a wonderful collection of local history and a Western Art Gallery.... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

On the northwestern edge of Old Town restoration project lies the ornate Carson Mansion, the most photographed, ornate, Victorian mansion in northern California. The mansion is privately owned and not open for touring but is worth a drive-by. ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Castoro south of Highway 46 W on North Bethel Road is a must for tasting. Challenging all to visit, they claim to pour “Dam Fine Wine” and offer gourmet foods to be enjoyed in their picnic area. Locals recommend Castoro Winery as a “must for tasting” and be sure to check their calenda... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Centerville Beach is 5 miles west of Ferndale on Centerville Road (turn right on Ocean Avenue at the end of Ferndale). Here you have 9 miles of beaches backed by dairy farms to the north and steep cliffs to the south. Watch for harbor seals in the breakers and tundra swans, which congregate in ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

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Just beyond the geyser is the very interesting Château Montelena winery (1429 Tubbs Lane, Calistoga, CA 94515), founded in 1882 by Alfred Tubbs who brought over a French architect to build an “authentic” French château (you’ll see that the architect took a little artistic license with t... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Neighboring Landmark Vineyards, Château St. Jean (8555 Sonoma Hwy, Hwy 12, Kenwood, CA 95452) lies snug against the hillside. An extremely pretty road winds up through vineyards to the strikingly beautiful winery and main house surrounded by lush lawns. With the exception of its mock tower, Ch... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

From the Moaning Caverns a short drive brings you to Hwy 4 where you turn east (right) and travel a very short distance to Chatom Vineyards where you can sample their wines and picnic under their shady arbor. (www.chatomvineyards.com, 800-435-8852) ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

Turn left on Hwy 88 signposted for Lake Tahoe and Pine Grove. Just outside Pine Grove turn left (signposted for your next two destinations, Indian Grinding Rock State Park and Volcano) and follow a pretty back road to Chaw’se Indian Grinding Rock State Park. A giant slab of limestone has ... more

  • Karen Brown Recommended

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