Road Trips: Great American Solar Eclipse

Sky gazers are scrambling to find a spot where they can see the shadow of the moon completely obscure the sun for a few moments on August 21st.

Obviously, I wouldn’t expect you to actually make travel plans this late (you wouldn’t be able to anyway…any city in the path of totality during the eclipse has been fully booked for months!).   See what the eclipse will look like in Walnut Creek (or anywhere else) with the peak at 10:15 am Monday.

The eclipse path will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.  I know many people who have already left for Oregon to snag first come, first serve campsites. Ironically, Sun Valley, Idaho is in the path for a total eclipse and it is one my favorite spots to ski, not to mention it’s beauty for hiking in the summer. Already a popular tourist hotspot, Sun Valley will be overrun with thousands of tourists hoping to catch a clear glimpse (with eclipse glasses on, of course) of the rare spectacle.

Everybody is getting on the solar eclipse band wagon! In Hopkinsville, KY just two miles from the point of greatest totality, Casey Jones Distillery (makers of Eclipse Moonshine!) have dubbed their spirit the official drink of 2017 Solar Eclipse.

Those who have seen eclipses in the past described them as “magical” and “spiritual.”  It will be the first time in 38 years that a solar eclipse passes through the entirety of the continental United States, so it’s an event worth traveling for, but if you are like me – not making special plans  and at work – don’t forget to take a few minutes to step outside to marvel at this wondrous celestial event. Don’t forget to wear eclipse glasses!

Road Trips: Surprise Valley

If you’ve been to Burning Man, you know a little something about today’s Road Trips post. I recently visited Surprise Vally with a friend, which literally sits on the California/Nevada border by Cedarville – an hour and a half drive from the Black Rock Desert.

Our mission was to pick up a piece of artwork from an artist who lives out there (and to stay at a friend of a friend’s who owns Bare Ranch, where we had a BBQ with a group of friends who were also in the area).

The area is simply stunning. A mix of high desert, mountains and ranch land. If you get the chance to road trip up there, whether for the Festival or not, I’d highly recommend it. The drive is east of Reno on I-80; you turn off at Nixon, which is an Indian Reservation, after passing the turn-off for the new Tesla Battery Factory.

You first have to go through Gerlach, and those who know Burning Man will recognize this as the turn-off, as well as a place to get gas and something to eat. Bruno is a bit of legend who passed this year at the ripe age of 94. He had the oldest ongoing gambling license in the state. There was no gambling at the time I was there because it was in the process of being transferred, but Bruno’s is also known for their ravioli, which we did order!
After Gerlach, there is Pottery X, where a group of people live, make pottery, paint and sell those items to the public. It’s worth a stop – I picked up a birthday gift for a friend. Finally, there are natural hot springs, so if you are looking for a real getaway, you can book a hotel and indulge in the hot springs after a long day’s hike.

Road Trip: San Francisco Museums

For these “Road Trips” segments, I often pick a place out of the Bay Area for a good road trip. But sometimes, the best road trips are within the same region and even go right into the busiest city!

Starting this Saturday, June 24th, The Legion of Honor in San Francisco will hold a Degas exhibition that examines the French artist’s place in Impressionist history.

I’ve been to a few exhibitions here, and it’s a really interesting museum that will captivate you for a few hours. Plus, it’s a great way to escape this heat wave and find a fun, educational indoor activity for the day.

Here’s a bonus: you can make a whole day out of it! Pick your favorite two or three museums in San Francisco and do a little mini-tour of them. For example, a ticket to The Legion of Honor earns you a free same-day admission to the de Young. That is right across the street from the California Academy of Sciences. And you can always hit the Exploratorium on your way in or out of town, especially if you have a few kids with you!

The Legion of Honor just closed a Monet exhibit a few weeks ago, where I’d met a recent client! You can take BART and a bus (or just drive – parking is fairly easy around there) to the Legion of Honor and members get in free to the exhibit. For non-members, it’s $28, but well worth the price of admission.

Road trips aren’t always about stuffing the trunk full of junk, rolling down the windows and driving for hours to get somewhere. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a 45-minute jaunt over the Bay Bridge to beautiful San Francisco for some museum-hopping on a sweltering hot day.

If you go to the Degas exhibit, or any other museum for that matter, comment here and let me know how you liked it!

Road Trips: Scenic Drives in Northern CA

Nothing can top the beauty of Northern California. From the ocean, to the mountains, to lakes, rivers and cities, the Bay Area is one of the most breathtaking places in the world.

California Redwood Road Trip

We have officially kicked off the summer season, the rain has stopped and given NorCals mild summer weather, it’s a perfect place to explore, especially during these upcoming months. I’m a big fan of road trips – there’s nothing like hopping in the car, rolling the windows down and going for a drive on a warm summer day.

With that in mind, I found a great article on OnlyInYourState.com listing 11 great scenic drives in Northern California. I’ll list a few of my favorites out below for reference, but take a look at the full list, and then take a trip!

1. Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway – Lassen National Park

2. Yuba Donner Scenic Byway – Tahoe National Forest

3. Emigrant Trail – Tahoe/Donner Area

4. Route 101 Redwood Highway – Del Norte Redwoods State Park

5. Carson Pass – CA/NV Border

Happy Trails and have a great summer!

 

Road Trips: Raymond & Buena Vista Winery

I’m a wine member with the Boisset Collection which includes Raymond Vineyards,  Buena Vista Winery, Deloach, Frenchie, JCB, Lockwood, Wyeth, Amberhill, and Wattle Creek which makes heading to Napa or Sonoma  a really fun weekend road trip!

Jean Charles Boisset has his roots in France where his parents had wineries; he has bought a few in the U.S. (see above) and in 2009 married Gina Gallo. Some of the rooms have a wild slant (think of the French Court in the 1700). There are costumes, wigs to play dress-up in some of the private tasting rooms, and some crazy art.

Back to the road trip – I went up for the day to Raymond & Buena Vista with a couple of girlfriends. Raymond was fun and whimsical – French is next door and we did the tasting all at Raymond. Buena Vista is rich in history and has a wonderful bubble lounge. It was the only working winery during prohibition.

Raymond Vineyards (founded 1970), has been a family business for five generations now. They originally came in 1933.

Now, they and Buena Vista are inspired by famous proprietor Boisset. Also, they are certified organic and Biodynamic and the winery is entirely powered by renewable solar energy. Very Bay Area of them!

At Buena Vista, “The Count of Buena Vista,” Agoston Haraszthy de Mokesa, immigrated from Hungary in 1840 after growing up among his local vineyards. He was the first to plant hops in Wisconsin and became an important pioneer in the American beer industry.

His love for wine continued as he moved around California (San Diego, then San Francisco, then Sonoma) looking for the perfect atmosphere in which to grow great grapes. Finally, he settled in Sonoma in 1860 and hit it big.

Since then, Buena Vista has gone through multiple owners (including the Catholic Church), and currently is part of the Boisset Family Estates a measly 150 years after the Count first made it over.

Weather you belong to a wine club or just want to go up for a day of tasting with a picnic, the wine country is so close with great restaurants and beautiful scenery, it is well worth a trip at least twice a year if not more often!

Road Trips: Strawberry Jam 5K in Capay

Grab your kids for a short road trip! Today there is a fun event going on in Capay (1.5 hours from Walnut Creek, just North of Vacaville): a 5K run and farm tour at Capay Organic.

I get produce from the delivered to my door weekly if I choose and you pick what you put into that box – of course it is only fruits and veggies currently in season and they often have a recipe included.  Last week I got sunchokes as I forgot to modify my order – these are also called Jerusulum  articokes and I made a wonderful potato sunchoke latke which will be recreated and served for Easter Brunch.

From the Capay Organic website.

Tickets are available here, and sign in begins at 10 a.m., with the run starting a half hour later. The farm will be open to tours from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and includes the options of tractor rides, a Q&A, arts and crafts, face-painting, a petting zoo and an Easter egg hunt!

If that’s not the most perfect way to spend Saturday of Easter weekend, I don’t know what is! For you foodies, there will be a little farmer’s market section with local honey, olive oil and pesto tastings, fresh Mexican food and plenty of sweet dessert and coffee options.

For a little different twist on your regular Bay Area road trip, consider Capay Organic for your next weekend away. They have events almost every month, and the pictures make it look like an absolutely gorgeous setting. I wish I could have been there today myself!

Road Trips: Arte Italia

Don’t be fooled: this blog is not about a road trip in Italy. However, it might as well have been!

Arte Italia is a non-profit organization that brings Italian culture to Reno. One of their most popular events is when they bring chefs from all over Italy for a cooking class and the audience gets to have a very cool culinary experience, all whilst drinking wine. The classes are usually translated into English by Eldorado’s Head Chef.

Chef Errico Recanati was the latest superstar from Italy to teach a quarterly cooking class (it’s a lottery with only 32 seats each of the three nights, so I got lucky!).

The dishes included fried eggs with sunchokes and truffles, purple potato gnocchi stuffed with braised wild boar, roasted duck, and a modern twist to tiramisu. It was so much fun and all very delicious, as you can imagine.

Check out Arte Italia’s website arteitaliausa.org, plan a trip around the next class and cross your fingers that you get an opportunity to experience a decadent feast. First-timers get priority.

Road Trips: Mt. Rose

Have you been to Tahoe this season? It is absolutely breathtaking how much snow has fallen! Check out this panoramic picture from my ski trip to Mt. Rose a couple weekends ago:

My research confirms what I’ve heard: that Mt. Rose has the most snow in the nation (more than 600 inches this year alone!). Because of its elevation (base elevation: 8,260 ft.), Mt. Rose was still getting snow when places like Squaw were getting rain. Check out this picture from the Mt. Rose website:

Right now, Rose has the best conditions in Tahoe by far. They have 53 feet (!!!) of snow already. It’s a record-breaking year. Here is a chart from Weather.com to give you a good idea of the snowfall on the West Coast:

Pick up a lift ticket and check it out before the season ends. This is a once-in-a-lifetime stellar snow season!