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Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley

Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley

Beaches, upscale food and wine joints and modern lodging only begin to describe Santa Barbara, California.  Formerly a haven for surfers and touted for its perfect blend of Spanish Mission Style architecture, today there’s a mini-fascination with this “American Riviera” situated in Malibu’s backyard. The charming community along California’s Central Coast with a surfeit of...
The Mission Inn, Riverside Calif

The Mission Inn, Riverside Calif

I had heard that the magical holiday displays at The Mission Inn were a must see, but I visited in the middle of the summer to get a look at the inn.  Riverside, California, in its heyday, was home to a colony of healthy people who tried mightily to grow crops until they hit on...
South Point on the Big Island

South Point on the Big Island

If you want to get into a lively discussion with a fellow traveler, ask where the southernmost part of the USA is located.  Many areas claim this special recognition, but at 19 degrees latitude, South Point beach on the Big Island takes the pineapple.  Known as Ka Lae, it’s a National Historic Landmark District commerates...
San Diego's Craft Spirits

San Diego’s Craft Spirits

Step aside craft beers; there are some new spirits in town. Rum, vodka, gin and moonshine have all become an integral part of the San Diego scene as local distilleries brew up small batches for the cosmopolitan crowd. To introduce diners to these indie craft brands, Solare Ristorante in Liberty Station recently planned a “Spirits...
Big Island, Italian Style

Big Island, Italian Style

Move over poi and luau pig. On the Island of Hawaii, Pueo’s Osteria is on the radar more than the spouting volcano.  Neatly tucked away in an older Hawaiian style courtyard, the villa-like surroundings, with soft yellows and a muted green stone wall, feels right out of Tuscany.  It’s quite an authentic Italian atmosphere and...