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Ghost Towns / Road Trips / Summer Travel / Alaska Travel / Connecticut Travel / Colorado Travel / Alabama Travel / California Travel / → All Tags
Remember that real ghost town in Wyoming we told you about earlier the week--the one Amelia Earhart loved? Well, we know the U.S. has plenty more abandoned and spooky towns to offer up for an ideal summer road-trip.
The abandoned towns that exist in American today were primarily mining towns, once living high-on-the-hog before the local industry turned. Others were decimated by natural disasters, sending remaining residents to greener pastures. Regardless of the reason for their dilapidation, these ghosts towns need to make it to your list of things to do over the next few months:
Adventure Travel / Skydiving / Zion National Park / Upstate New York Travel / Finger Lakes Travel / Arizona Travel / Sedona Travel / Orlando Travel / Florida Travel / Sebastian Travel / Santa Barbara Travel / California Travel / → All Tags
Since the physical rush of skydiving is bound to occur regardless of your location, the components of a good skydiving destination are found more in the surroundings than in the act of jumping itself. Aka, the scenery.
Why jump out of a perfectly good plane? One answer is the view. After the first ten seconds of freefall, everything begins to calm down as you reach terminal velocity. Suddenly, it doesn't feel like you're falling - it feels like you're floating in a wind tunnel. Aided by your guide who will point out major landmarks, the perspective and outlook over the landscape below is absolutely amazing. Once the parachute is open and you gently descend back to earth, the ground gets closer and the scenery begins to engulf you, a calm complement to the rush of the plunge.
Travel Movie Tuesday / Movies / Travel Movies / Sideways / Movie Travel / Wine Travel / California Travel / → All Tags
From Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck falling in love in Rome to Julia Roberts circling the globe to find herself, film has played an important role in shaping both the golden years and current day of travel. Thus, we present our newest series, Travel Movie Tuesday, where we detail the most inspiring travel films.
A movie about two middle-aged men traveling through California's wine country might not sound like much fun if you're not a huge oenophile, but we'd say the 2004 hit film, "Sideways", is more than just a mid-life crisis story. It stars Paul Giamatti as Miles Raymons, an unsuccessful writer and wine afficianato, and Thomas Haden Church as Jack Cole, Miles' actor-friend planning to get married the next week. The two plan an elaborate trip into Santa Ynez Valley to relax and sip some perfect Pinot noir, not Merlot.
According to the calendar we’re just days away from the start of the summer season, and that means it’s time to turn our attention towards some great warm weather destinations. So get out on the water, wave goodbye to the mainland, and set you watch to island time.
What’s Catalina Island?
You’ve been to Southern California and visited its tourist attractions, must-sees, and hidden gems; however, we would have to guess that you have not made you way out to Santa Catalina Island. Known just as Catalina Island or Catalina to its friends, the spot does its thing as part of Los Angeles County roughly 22 miles off the coast from Los Angeles itself. It belongs to a larger chain of islands, and they’re all part of one big happy family—the Channel Islands. Some estimates put visitors at close to a million per year, so it’s probably one of the more well known of our lesser known islands.
How To Get There
Paddling a kayak isn’t going to be an option here, and the car is going to need to stay back on the mainland. Ferry service is available from a couple spots along the California coast, but it seems like the major route heads back and forth between Avalon—on the island—and San Pedro. Catalina Express is responsible here, and they also have options from Long Beach and Dana Point. Rates start at around $80 per adult including some mandatory wharf charges, but plan to add a few more bucks if bringing your bike or surfboard.
Travel Alerts / San Francisco Travel / Lombard Street / California Travel / Tourism / Travel News / → All Tags
Bad news for those with plans to visit San Francisco this summer: The city announced yesterday that it will close Lombard Street, perhaps the most famous crooked road in the world, on certain weekends this summer.
According to reports, the local board received many complaints from residents about tourism on the street, citing traffic congestion and overcrowding that disrupts daily life. Tourists line up to drive and walk down the street, which gains its popularity from its steep grade, tight turns, expensive real estate, and beautiful views.
Around mid-day today, Legoland California evacuated guests and shut down rides due to operational disruptions caused by the three wildfires raging in the vicinity of San Diego.
The official word:
LEGOLAND California was affected by several power outages today caused by fires nearby. All the rides have been evacuated to ensure the comfort and safety of Park guests. The LEGOLAND California Park and SEA LIFE Aquarium are now closed but the LEGOLAND Hotel is still open.
Updates are being posted on their Facebook page, and guests planning visits to the part should monitor this and the wildfire situation in southern California over the next few days.
Tax day is here, and you're probably excited...but not because you love sifting through receipts and credit card statements. You're excited because you're getting a fat refund. Probably. The economy may be on its way back up, but you should try to stretch that tax refund as far as you can...like with a little "you did a great job last year" tripa Tax Refund Vacation.
Starship sang about it, Armistead Maupin wrote about it, Alfred Hitchcock often filmed it, and Rice-a-Roni fills our belly with it. We're talking about the golden child of the west coast, San Francisco, a city that offers up more than hilly thoroughfares, foggy afternoons, and an island prison.
Although it sits at number 14 on the list of largest cities in the U.S., 'Frisco' sits just behind New York City for population density, but don't let that deter you from exploring the 'City by the Bay.' With its unique architecture, healthy lifestyle, and the proximity to world-class vineyards, anybody flying into or out of SFO won't be disappointed.
Earlier this month, we were in a Santa Barbara state of mind ourselves, showing off a few photos of the "American Riviera" as we made our way down the central coast of California to Los Angeles. We discovered one of the town's best kept secrets, and compared its urban wine trail with the nearby Santa Ynez Valley wine country.
If you need any more motivation than that, or are simply looking for a new avenue to daydream at work, Santa Barbara announced this week that it has launched its own Pandora radio station. To create it, Visit Santa Barbara used social media to find out which artists and songs people thought best represented its vibe, culture, and energy. Think Jack Johnson, Bob Marley, and the Beach Boys as the main seeders for the station.
Just the other day we shared a great place to tiptoe through the tulips, and now we’ve got another recommendation on where to check out all the glory that is the spring season. Pack your favorite allergy medicine—we’d recommend at least a Claritin or two—and head to Carlsbad, California, as The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch are now in the business of blooming until May 11.
Not too far north from San Diego sit over fifty acres of blossoms, as Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers take over the rolling hills and fields. The Fields are open to the public each and every day of the week and, judging from the picture, it’s well worth the cost of admission. It’ll set you back $12 for the adults in your group, and the kids will be just $6—with those under two scooting in for free. If you like what you see, opt for a season pass that'll set you back $25.
Monday Five Thirty / Santa Barbara Travel / California Travel / Santa Ynez Travel / Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail / Drinking Travel / → All Tags
In celebration of the most needed happy hour of the week, this column, called “Monday, Five Thirty,” takes a look at all things booze from around the world. Last week, it was a potent after-dinner drink made of "gum drops." This week, we head to California wine country.
If the hand-holding haven of Lotusland is Santa Barbara's best kept secret, then its proximity to the Santa Ynez wine country is a close second. From downtown, a scenic drive up Highway 154 will take you up "into the valley," past Lake Cachuma and through the towns of Solvang, Los Olivos, and Buellton. Northern California gets most of the attention when it comes to wine on a national level, yet the Santa Ynez Valley was put on the map when it was featured in the book turned movie, Sideways.
They don't call it the "American Riviera" for nothing. Santa Barbara's beauty is everything but subtle, which really makes our job easy. It's a total point-and-shoot kind of town, each corner revealing another wonderful vantage point that delightfully combines the ocean, mountains, and the mission-style architecture and colors.
The aerial views you see below were taken from the tower on top of the Courthouse, which is free to access and a good place to get a full bird's eye view. The others are from the beaches along Cabrillo Boulevard, the final sunrise coming from our hotel room at the soon-to-be Hotel Milo.
Santa Barbara distracts many with its beaches, wine country, and ocean-hugging mountains, but amongst the protective landscaping that hides the estates of neighboring Montecito sits the area's best kept secret: Lotusland, a 37-acre outdoor garden containing 3,000 plant species from all over the world.
Originally designed to be a retreat for Tibetan monks, the property features about two dozen unique garden plots that allow you to immerse yourself in different ecosystems. One minute you're strolling through an arid, hardy cactus garden, and the next you've entered a peaceful, Japanese-themed plot of land, an aloe garden, or are walking under tropical trees. One of the crown jewels of Lotusland is its Cycad Garden, a species that dates back nearly 300 million years.