It’s Not Too Early to Plan Your Weekend, Staycation or Vacation, Right?

Plan extended seasonal vacations during summer and winter months.

Group destination locations together in regional trips to explore what several bucket list towns have to offer in the general vicinity

Dedicated to helping you live, love, work, play, invest and leave a legacy. Enjoy our latest newsletter inspiring you to appreciate California’s natural beauty and awesome adventures waiting for you.

Curated Highlights and Headlines

California Coast: Tip to Tip

South Coast Region

South Bay 

Ventura County: Mission San Buenaventura. “This ghost tries to help people and some say he is an unknown saint who wants to comfort those in spiritual need.” 

North County

Del Mar: “KAABOO (September 13–15), the three-day music, food, and comedy festival based at the county fairgrounds in the coastal town of Del Mar. This year’s lineup has been announced, with Kings of Leon, Dave Matthews Band, and Mumford & Sons headlining the three nights.”

Orange County Beach Towns

Competition with Santa Cruz: “After battling it out with the beachside city of Santa Cruz to their north, Huntington Beach in California’s Orange County officially claimed the title of USA’s “Surf City” in 2008. The surf influence around Huntington Beach is glaringly obvious, but what exactly is it that gives the city its label as the USA’s home of surf?”

Huntington Beach: “The city is also home to terrific seafood, fun bars, acclaimed resorts, epic bike rides, surf schools, surf competitions, and a surf museum. Okay, so maybe it is mostly about the surfing here.”

South Orange County

Curated by Steve Howard published in “California Coast: Tip to Tip” for the Best West Road Trips digital magazine.

San Juan Capistrano: “Development in the area, and loss of the birds’ habitat, are the likely culprits behind the disruption of the birds’ migratory patterns. The replicated nests worked. A cliff swallow has built a nest in the East Corridor of the mission near the Serra Chapel entry, and rough-winged swallows have been spotted nesting in the ruins of the Great Stone Church, a popular spot for the swallows many years ago”.

Central Coast Region

San Luis Obispo: “It’s on the central coast, but 12 miles inland, out of the fog belt; has eternally perfect weather; and sports a self-aware downtown core that manages to be both hip and historic — and, yes, very walkable.

North Coast Region

Fort Bragg: “There are all sorts of ways to eat, sip and play in Fort Bragg, the bustling fishing town on Mendocino County’s spectacular, craggy coast. Here are three ideas to get you started.”

Peninsula Region

Half Moon Bay: “A day by the Bay, the OTHER Bay — Half Moon Bay — combines so many of the best things about Northern California, all in one stop. From amazing beer and diverse food offerings, cheap or expensive things to do, a fascinating dock, beautiful trails, world-renowned surfing, reasonable or outrageous hotels, and all a short drive from the chaos of the city.” 

San Francisco Bay Region

Romantic and beautiful, San Francisco has been the backdrop for many of the world’s favourite films, such as Bullitt and Mrs Doubtfire. The reality is even better, from the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz to cable cars and fog. With great restaurants, shopping and museums, this is a five-star destination.

Steps:

21) Spend the time to find the best place to live and invest. It will be worth your while. The great thing about living where others spend their vacation is the year round quality-of-life. 

24) Determine which maker or breaker community issues you will find across all resort communities vs. those unique only to the quality-of-life towns at the top of your best places list.

32) Plan extended seasonal vacations during summer and winter months. Group destination locations together in regional trips to explore what several bucket list towns have to offer in the general vicinity – with only a week or two vacation time to spend, we recommend organizing your itinerary by travel regions.

33) When you move, will your established neighbors share your same values? Does your new home have potential over the long-term to develop into a high appreciation real estate investment while being affordable for mid-life or empty nesters? Do the weather patterns in winter or summer make you want to live there year round, or only on a seasonal basis. Does  your new community offer a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities?

34) On your visits look for any newer developments that may trigger changes in neighborhood patterns. New construction in or around the neighborhood? Major regional economic adjustments? Transition from households with children to ones that are empty nests? Rezoning, and dramatically rising/falling land values?

 

 

 

Stars, Sharks, Gold, Tidepools and All Things California in June

Last year, honorary awards were bestowed on eventual Oscar winners Jordan Peele, Guillermo del Toro, Allison Janney and Sam Rockwell, among others.

Photo by Rob Latour /REX/Shutterstock (9360603ac)
A sprawling ranch in northern California that’s almost twice the size of Manhattan has hit the market for the first time since being created by the late stock market tycoon Dean Witter.

 

Curated Highlights and Headlines, June 2018

Central Coast Region

Santa Barbara Coast

Actor Rob Lowe lists his scenic spot in Montecito for $47 million.

Actor Rob Lowe and his wife, jewelry designer Sheryl Lowe, have listed their estate in Montecito for $47 million. Set on 3.4 acres of scenic grounds, the property centers on a 10,000-square-foot main house that was designed by architect Don Nulty and built in 2009. Also on the property are guest and pool houses, vegetable gardens and a swimming pool and spa. A tennis court features two observation areas. Mature trees dot the grounds.” Los Angeles Times · By Neal J. Leitereg (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Santa Barbara Film Festival Sets 2019 Dates

Photo by Rob Latour /REX/Shutterstock (9360603ac)

“The 34th annual Santa Barbara Film Festival is set to run January 30-February 9 in 2019, organizers said this morning. Official events will be held throughout the city, including the Arlington and Lobero theaters, for the fest that takes place in the heat of movie awards season. Last year, honorary awards were bestowed on eventual Oscar winners Jordan Peele, Guillermo del Toro, Allison Janney and Sam Rockwell, among others. The 2018 fest went on as planned in the face of the horrific Thomas Fire that scorched 280,000 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, making it the largest wildfire in California history. The conditions led to mudslides in Santa Barbara’s neighboring towns of Montecito and Summerland, killing 17.” Deadline · Patrick Hipes REX/Shutterstock

Santa Cruz Coast

Kayaker paddles with a dozen great white sharks off coast near Santa Cruz

Nicolle Otman paddles in a kayak as great white sharks circle. Captain and Marine Biologist Giancarlo Thomae took the video and says about 40 young great whites are making the waters off Aptos their home in spring. Thomae has been kayaking with great whites ever since they started showing up in increasing numbers off the coast of Aptos, just south of Santa Cruz, four years ago. He and other experts believe about 40 juvenile great whites are making the area off the pier at Seacliff State Beach their home each spring. In the first year, the sharks were small, at about eight-feet long, and in each following year, they measured larger. This year, they average 10 to 12 feet with some as long as 13.” SF Gate · By Amy Graff, SFGATE Photo taken: June 23, 2018. Media: Giancarlo Thomae/Sanctuary Cruises.

San Francisco Bay

San Francisco

Boomtime: What San Francisco looked like at the end of the Gold Rush

View down Sacramento street, May 1855: This view is the fifth plate in Fardon’s seven-plate panorama. From the slopes of the Clay Steet Hill (Nob Hill), the view is to the east down Sacramento Street to the bay. At the right is the back of Saint Mary’s Church (which faces California Street at Dupont.) On Sacramento, several signs in Chinese are visible, as is a “family grocery”, two “coffin ware rooms”, and “Vance’s Daguerrean Rooms” (the photographic studio or Robert H. Vance.) Across from Vance’s is the Armory Hall. (This view provides and interesting comparison to a daguerreotype in the Bancroft Library; BANC PIC 1905.16242:104–CASE.) Barely visible at the far left is a sign for the City of Paris store.” SF Gate · By Amy Graff, SFGATE Photo: G.R. Fardon / UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library

South Coast Region

Orange County Beach Towns, South Bay and Naples to Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Are you taking from tidepools? In Marine Protected Areas, volunteers track bad behavior at the beach

File photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG

Swimmers enjoy Shaw’s Cove, a Marine Protected Area. You can look –  just leave it where you found it. Don’t take the fish — or other sea creatures — in Marine Protected Areas. Don’t even slip a shell into your beach bag. People may be watching and documenting your every move, noting whether you’re breaking the law while exploring sensitive ecosystems. In Orange County, they include areas from Bolsa Chica and Crystal Cove, through Laguna Beach, and into Dana Point. In Los Angeles County, they include Point Dume north of Malibu and Point Vicente/Abalone Cove off Palos Verdes. While some areas have restrictions but still allow some fishing, others – such as Laguna Beach and Point Vicente/Abalone Cove – are a “no-take” zone, meaning nothing can be taken out of the ocean, from tide pools or beaches.” By Laylan Connelly | lconnelly@scng.com | Orange County Register File photo by Mark Rightmire

Orange County Beach Towns

Newport Beach.

Landmark mansion at tip of Newport Beach’s Harbor Island on market at $60 million 

The 14,200-square-foot home boasts over 300 feet of bay frontage, along with views of the turning basin. An imposing, French neoclassic mansion on a half acre at the western tip of Harbor Island is on the market for just under $60 million. Built in 1990, the lavish, 14,200-square-foot home boasts over 300 feet of bay frontage, along with expansive gardens and views of the turning basin. The dock can accommodate a yacht larger than 120 feet, as well as other boats, according to the listing. The updated, three-story home has six bedrooms and 12 bathrooms, formal living and dining rooms, and catering and staff quarters. An elevator, walk-in wine cellar, waterfront tile pool and subterranean parking for eight cars are among the amenities.” Orange County Register By Marilyn Kalfus (Google Earth)

North County, San Diego

Colors of Carlsbad: The Real-Life Instagram Filter

While you can find these four colors all over the world, I had the chance to discover them in Carlsbad, California. About an hours drive north of San Diego, the small beach town sometimes gets lost in the Santa Monica’s and Newport’s of the state, but it’s not one to miss. You may know it as where Legoland is found, but there’s plenty more to see than just that. The small city has that coveted beach-town vibe without the touristy feel. Here, everyone feels like a local. For the most colorful view of Carlsbad, visit March through mid-May when The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch are in full bloom. The 50-plus acre farmland is home to rows and rows of brightly-colored Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers, creating an ombre field of picture-worthy spots at every turn. While you can’t freely traipse through the fields, there’s many “cutouts” that let you get that perfect shot.” arizonafoothillsmagazine.com SUZANNE KOCH Carlsbad State Beach

North Coast Region

Humboldt Coast

Old Home (Indian) Beach, Trinidad, CA

Old Home Beach, also known as Indian Beach, is a narrow beach on Trinidad Bay in the small town of Trinidad. It has been renamed, probably out of political correctness, but some signage still has the old name. This protected beach offers great views of Trinidad Head and the bay with many picturesque rocks sticking up. There are two ways to get to Old Home Beach from the bluff above it. The first is down a trail with stairs behind the Trinidad Lighthouse Memorial at the corner of Trinity and Edwards Streets.The second beach access is down a trail at the end of Parker Street called the Parker Creek Trail (park on grass at top of the hill and walk down Parker St.). The view from the lighthouse memorial is stunning.” californiabeaches.com

Mendocino Coast

Dream Town: Mendocino, California

This village on California’s northern coast combines big scenery with small-town charms. Winding three and a half hours north of San Francisco, the road to Mendocino may be as magical as the destination itself. Frequently no wider than a country lane, it corkscrews through mountain passes, parallels patches of farmland and vineyards, traverses a cathedral of redwoods, and chases the Navarro River to the sea. And what an arrival it is: tabletop headlands carved below by massive sea caves and topped above with barns, lighthouses, and cliffside inns. Amid the dramatic landscape nestles the downtown, with Victorian homes in Easter-egg colors and Main Street lined with a bookstore, museum, toy shop, chocolatier, B&Bs, and eateries.  Coastal Living · By Ann Wycoff Photo: Thomas J. Story

Mendocino County

Nearly 27,000-Square-Foot California Ranch Asks $31 Million

A sprawling ranch in northern California that’s almost twice the size of Manhattan has hit the market for the first time since being created by the late stock market tycoon Dean Witter. Lone Pine Ranch, in both Trinity and Mendocino counties, is asking $31 million. It’s typically difficult to find ranches that have everything, according to Mr. McDavid. “Usually you have to make some sacrifice, like I really want a big herd of elk or I want trout water. It’s very hard to get it all in one place,” he added. But Lone Pine Ranch has an extremely diverse amount of wildlife and land, Mr. McDavid told Mansion Global. There’s viable cattle and timber operations, fishable water, and resident wildlife includes populations of elk, blacktail deer, pig, bear and quail. “You go to some other parts of California and you’re going to find some pretty desolate land, this place is really rich,” Mr. McDavid said. “It’s just a really beautiful landscape.” The Los Angeles Times first reported the listing. Mansion Global · Liz Lucking BILL MCDAVID

Peninsula Region

San Mateo County

PG&E expects to pay $2.5 billion for North Bay wildfires

A Northern California utility said Thursday that it expects to pay at least $2.5 billion in connection with deadly wildfires that whipped through wine country last October — some of them ignited by its fallen power lines. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. also warned that its liability could be considerably higher after state fire officials determine the cause of 21 major fires that devastated the region last year. They killed 44 people, destroyed thousands of homes and businesses, and wiped out vineyards, marijuana farms and other agricultural operations.” AP Photo Jeff Chiu, File

Steps:

20)  Maybe the lists of best places don’t appeal to you. Where can you go to make a fresh, new start? Don’t limit your imagination. Think anywhere — across the globe. Where do you really, really want to live, work and play?  Why not live where it’s a vacation all year round?

21) Spend the time to find the best place to live and invest. It will be worth your while. The great thing about living where others spend their vacation is the year round quality-of-life.

30) Review headlines and relevant news as far back as you can find online to surface each community’s unique pulse and identify information necessary to make your decision. Is there a “ticking time bomb” issue you may uncover that eliminates the resort from your bucket list? Search on topix.com.

32) Plan extended seasonal vacations during summer and winter months. Group destination locations together in regional trips to explore what several bucket list towns have to offer in the general vicinity – with only a week or two vacation time to spend, we recommend organizing your itinerary by travel regions.

Are You Ready for Natural Beauty and Awesome Adventures?

We’re nearing the end of our journey inching up the coast of California, town-by-town, beach-by-beach choosing roads that hug the Pacific Ocean whenever we can.

 

Looking for awesome vacations and potential second or first homes we’d love.

 

Highlights and Headlines: April 2018

South Coast Region

San Diego

Point Loma. 7 Things to Do, See, and Eat in Point Loma.

You know that a peninsula is worthy of national monument status when even the “new” lighthouse has been safely guiding ships into port for over 125 years. The city’s history can be traced back to this very spot, and today the area is dotted with pristine marinas, dockside dining, and miles of walking and hiking paths that beckon locals and tourists alike who are looking for fun on the waterfront.” By: San Diego Magazine sandiego.org 

North County, San Diego

Del Mar. Ultimate California beach house wants $18.75M.

This beach house in Del Mar, in San Diego County, is the stuff of dreams—and magazines. Recently featured on the cover of Dream Homes magazine, the 1982 home was designed by architect Sim Bruce Richards, a Taliesin fellow, and the influences of Frank Lloyd Wright are clear.” By Lauren Ro  Courtesy of Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty

Orange County Beach Towns

South Orange County

Capistrano. More Sharks Offshore, But Don’t Panic. 

Experts Say We’re not on the Menu. Whale-watchers spot a young white shark off Capistrano Beach last May aboard Capt. Dave’s Dolphin Safari from Dana Point.” By Rita Robinson.  lagunabeachindy.com Photo courtesy of Jason and Jenny Armstrong.

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach. Art Ninjas Add Local Color by Stealth.

Muralist Jeff Lavinsky during installation of “Main Beach Mandala, located south of Main Beach. lagunabeachindy.com Photo courtesy of Jeff Lavinsky.

 

Balboa, Newport and CDM

Newport Beach. Gray whale entangled off the Wedge in Newport Beach; rescue efforts halted for the day.

Leslie Evarts saw the gray whale in the distance from her Laguna Beach home, grabbed her stand-up paddleboard and rushed out to the water, with hopes of seeing the 30-foot sea creature up close.” By LAYLAN CONNELLY Orange County Register Photo courtesy of Ryan Lawler, Newport Coastal Adventure 

Surf City USA – Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach. FIVB Huntington Beach Open: Humana-Paredes, Pavan outlast April Ross, Alix Klineman.

USA’s Alix Klineman, left, and partner April Ross get tangled up during their three-set loss to Canada’s Sarah Pavin and Melissa Humana-Paredes on Friday at the FIVB Huntington Beach Open.” BOB KEISSER | Press-Enterprise (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Naples to Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Long Beach. Tacos and Mexican food for Cinco de Mayo — the best in the Long Beach area.

 Tacos are popular in Southern California, whether they’re basic with ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese, or more elaborate creations, such as these Brisket tacos.” By MERRILL SHINDLER | MrEats@aol.com |presstelegram.com (File photo) 

South Bay

Malibu. Malibu Surfrider Beach.

Malibu Lagoon is comprised of 22 acres of wetlands, gardens, and sandy beach, while Malibu “Surfrider” Beach has almost a mile of ocean frontage with 0.7 acres of property, and famous Malibu Pier is a great place for saltwater fishing.beaches.lacounty.gov 

 

Ventura County

Ventura. California’s Ventura County Coast: Surf, Style & Shakespeare.

As I learned firsthand this summer, the entire Ventura County Coast, comprising the cities of Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo, and Hueneme, on the southern end of California’s central coast, offers many such glorious juxtapositions, embracing surfing, style, Shakespeare, and much more.” By Robert Firpo-Cappiello budgettravel.com  Courtesy Ventura County Coast

Islands along the Pacific Coast

Catalina Island. Avalon Harbor Lights Tour.

Experience the romance and mystery of Catalina by night on this narrated adventure into the hills above historic Avalon. Your open air biofuel Hummer will take you east along the waterfront past Lover’s Cove before heading up to Mt. Ada for spectacular views of the twinkling city and harbor lights below.visitcatalinaisland.com 

Central Coast Region

Santa Barbara County

Montecito. Cheers to Montecito – Visit Santa Barbara.

Along the coast of The American Riviera® lies the town of Montecito, a seaside haven that balances sweeping coastal views and a savory culinary scene. Treat yourself to an extended vacation full of indulgent restaurants, premium wines and coastal bliss.santabarbaraca.com 

San Luis Obispo County

Avila Beach Dining | California Highway One Coast Road Trip.

Our Central Coast beach-side location holds beautiful views with a casual atmosphere. An excellent dining experience is our top priority. Our menu has something for everyone…fresh fish, hand cut steaks, refreshing salads and our specialty appetizers. We offer breakfast, lunch and dinner. Come and have a drink at our cocktail bar, or dine on our outdoor patio while gazing out across the beautiful San Luis Bay.http://highway1discoveryroute.com 

Monterey County

Big Sur. 3 Days in Monterey and Big Sur.

En route, you’ll pitstop on the Monterey Peninsula before snaking along through the wilderness of Big Sur. It needs our tourism more than ever, after suffering near economic catastrophe when it was cut off from the outside world during the winter storm season 2017; bridges were destroyed and roads blocked at both its northern and southern reaches. Thankfully, for locals and visitors alike, the northern section has already reopened, across Pfeiffer Canyon, but the southern connection, at Ragged Point, is still under construction (scheduled to open late 2018 but check with CalTrans for fresh updates). “ Crystal Le blog.thedyrt.com Getty Images

Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz: 5 places to catch a good wave.

Steamer Lane is one of the best surfing breaks on the West Coast.ELLIOTT ALMOND (Shmuel Thaler – Santa Cruz Sentinel) 

 

Peninsula Region

Half Moon Bay.  12 Reasons to Love The Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay.

The Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay was the perfect place for our staycation.  We were not only able to catch up after my week in New York City, but escape the everyday of our area.  We were able to relax without the pressure of needing to do anything and everything (in true Jess- fashion), but could focus our energy on ourselves.  There’s no such thing as the go-go-go attitude at the Ritz, and just being there instantly puts you into a calm and relaxed state.” JESSICA  apassionandapassport.com 

San Francisco Region

San Francisco. New Hotel in a Former Military Barracks Has a Breathtaking View of the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Come June 27, Lodge at the Presidio will open as San Francisco’s closest hotel to the Golden Gate Bridge. The three-story building was constructed between 1895 and 1897 as military barracks on Infantry Row for the U.S. Army. The exterior has been entirely preserved, and the renovated interior will have historical elements and spectacular views of the bridge, Alcatraz, and the city skyline.” Miranda Smith afar.com  Courtesy of the Presidio Trust

North Bay Region

Marin County. 15 Of The Best Beaches In California To Visit.

Stinson Beach is a mere 20 miles north of the city of San Francisco and two and a half miles from the secluded (and totally lovely) Bolinas Bay. Once here, make sure you take a dip in the ocean as it’s highly rated as one of the best beaches in California for swimming. If you’re more of a rambler, then take the California hiking trails from the beach lead you to Mount Tamalpais State Park.handluggageonly.co.uk/ 

North Coast Region

Sonoma Coast

Bodega Bay. Escape Reality With a Weekend on the Sonoma Coast.

It can be hard to wrap your mind around Sonoma County, an area that starts 45 miles north of San Francisco. It’s nearly the size of Delaware and encompasses rolling vineyards, dense redwood forests and, perhaps most surprisingly, a wild and foggy stretch of coast. Many tourists know that this shoreline includes the fishing village of Bodega Bay, where Hitchcock filmed “The Birds,” but the Sonoma Coast has many other draws for travelers.Rachel Ward wheretraveler.com/ The coastline along Highway 1. (Courtesy Timber Cove Resort)

Mendocino Coast

Gualala.  Gualala Country Inn.

Hike the trails of the pristine ocean beaches, explore the Redwood forests, or kayak the Gualala River. Dive for the abalone or golf the local Scottish links-style PGA quality golf course.gualalacountryinn.com/ 

 

Humboldt County

Orick. Beaches in Orick, CA.

Surrounded by parks and a natural setting, the small town of Orick offers plenty of outdoor recreation. Humboldt Lagoons State Park offers a marshland habitat of native birds, animals and plants. It is also a prime location for fishing, boating and hiking. Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, meanwhile, is most famous as the filming site of the movie Jurassic Park II. In reality, though, this natural area is a haven for preservation of native redwood forest.” californiabeaches.com 

Del Norte County

Klamath. Historic Requa Inn, Klamath, CA.

With more than a century of history, the Historic Requa Inn offers a quaint bed and breakfast in remote Klamath. Uniquely tucked away within a World Heritage Site, towering redwoods surround the inn, with various state parks, recreation areas and the coast all within a 40-minute drive.californiabeaches.com 

What You Missed in March

Magnificent trees, a comfy inn and plenty of adventure.

 

It’s the closest thing to the great trauma of being born. When a big swell hits the Wedge, already gigantic waves bounce off the jetty at the south end of Balboa Boulevard

 

Highlights and Headlines: March 2018

South Coast Region

San Diego

La Jolla Cove. Southern California isn’t exactly known for its snorkeling — the strong waves usually make it tough to see much of anything — but La Jolla Cove, just north of San Diego, is an exception. The area is ringed by tall cliffs that protect the cove from big waves, allowing curious snorkelers to explore its underwater scene. Be on the lookout for leopard sharks, sea lions and dolphins. By Allyson Reedy Shutterstock

North County
Del Mar | Hot Property – A Del Mar estate built for activist investor David Batchelder has sold for $21.5 million, making it the most expensive home sold in San Diego County in more than a decade. (Sam Chen)

Orange County Beach Towns

South Orange County
Dana Point. “On the surfing front, anybody who rides waves around here should have a brief appreciation for just how San Onofre came to be one of the birthplaces of surf culture on the West Coast. It was first surfed in the early 1920s, although it’s still debated who the first person to surf at San Onofre was. Some say it was Laguna Beach’s George “Peanuts” Larson. Others contend it was Matt Brown and Lorrin “Whitey” Harrison. Given that was nearly 100 years ago, the mystery will probably never be solved conclusively, but it’s fun to banter about.” Dana Point Times Jake Howard

Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach. “The five star Montage Laguna Beach resort receive a five-star rating from the Forbes Travel Guide for its hotel, restaurant and spa. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)”

 

Balboa, Newport and CDM
Balboa Peninsula. Asked what it’s like to bodysurf one of the most famous breaks on Earth, a regular once opined, “It’s the closest thing to the great trauma of being born.” When a big swell hits the Wedge, already gigantic waves bounce off the jetty at the south end of Balboa Boulevard; combining with the next wave, they create magnificent, malevolent monsters that can top 25 feet.

Surf City USA – Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach. Irvine and Huntington Beach Make Top Ten List of Happiest Cities in America. WalletHub released a survey of the happiest cities in America. Our own Irvine and Huntington Beach are in the top 10 happiest cities, coming in at No. 8 and 9, respectively. Orange Coast Magazine Alan Gibbons

Naples to Palos Verdes Peninsula
Long Beach. Calls for more research, education as great white shark population grows off California. “Chris Lowe, director of the Shark Lab at CSU Long Beach, said the shark population is recovering at time when more and more people are swimming, surfing and paddle boarding along the coast.” (Photo: AP FILE PHOTO) Cheri Carlson vcstar.com

South Bay

Redondo Beach. As you may infer from its name Redondo Beach features a mile and a half of sandy beachfront as you venture south of the marina and pier area. timeout.com

 

Ventura County

Ojai. Hotels & Resorts in Ojai California | Ojai Visitors Bureau | Things to Do in Ojai. Nestled in a scenic valley surrounded by citrus groves and natural beauty, Ojai is easy to explore while taking in the sights along the way. This is the perfect destination for family vacations in Southern California. Looking for a girlfriends getaway? Golf vacation? Romantic weekend? Solo getaway? Ojai has something for everyone. ojaivisitors.com

Islands along the Pacific Coast

Anacapa Island. “Anacapa is the closest island to the mainland, just 12 miles from the Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard. Most of Island Packers departures to East Anacapa Island are from our location in the Channel Islands Harbor. islandpackers.com

Central Coast Region

Santa Barbara County
Santa Barbara. “Review: Hyatt Centric Santa Barbara. “The former Hotel Vista Mar Monte opened to grand fanfare in 1931. It is a California classic. There is not one hotel building but three…and they are not connected.” MATTHEW. liveandletsfly.com

 

 

 

San Luis Obispo County
San Luis Obispo. “Welcome to Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. For more than two centuries, Mission San Luis Obispo has greeted travelers, pilgrims and guests with open doors and a place to rest. At the crossroads of the Central California coast, the Mission lends heart and spirit to its vibrant surrounding community. We hope you will visit us. We are open year-round.” missionsanluisobispo.org

Monterey County
Monterey. Experience Monterey Bay at This Historic Hotel Overlooking the Surf. 30 percent off Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa, a classic coastal gem perched over a magnificent bay. Don’t miss the rooftop spa and the seafood restaurant with ocean views. Courtesy of Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa. travelandleisure.com

Santa Cruz County
Judge’s tentative ruling clears the way for potentially huge fines against Coastal Commissioners. Five former and current members of the California Coastal Commission face hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for allegedly not properly disclosing private meetings with developers and others, under a 2016 lawsuit. Joshua Emerson Smith. sandiegouniontribune.com

Peninsula Region

Half Moon Bay. Sam’s Chowder House: Brings the Coastside to the Table. Sam’s Chowder House sits steps from the shore with front row views of the Pacific—close enough to spy migrating whales leap from the water—and exceptional seafood that’s gained a loyal following and a shout-out on the Today Show. Yet, the family-owned and operated restaurant offers more than great views and grub. www.visithalfmoonbay.org

San Francisco Region

Ocean Beach. Want to Fight Sea Level Rise? Look to San Francisco’s Ocean Beach. The problem at Ocean Beach will only get worse, because the sea has nothing to do but rise in this era of rapid climate change. So will San Francisco spend the rest of its days shoveling sand in a quixotic battle against inevitability? Far from it—it’s all part of a plan to adapt to inevitability, which could set precedent for how this and other coastal cities fight rising seas. MATT SIMON SCIENCE wired.dom GETTY IMAGES

North Bay Region

Marin. West Marin saloon nurturing a new live music scene. “As the modern world speeds along at breakneck speed, challenging us all to keep up, there are still outposts from old Marin that survive and even flourish. One of them is the Papermill Creek Saloon at 1 Castro St. in Forest Knolls, a 110-year-old watering hole in the heart of the forested San Geronimo Valley that proudly advertises itself as “the best historic dive bar in Marin.”” Paul Liberatore marinij.com

North Coast Region

Sonoma Coast
Sonoma County. A Sonoma Wine Maker’s Locavore Favorites. A native of Sonoma County, Tom Gore Vineyards owner Tom Gore grew up farming and studied agriculture before launching his own wine brand. Felicia Feaster. Tim Gore Vineyards

Mendocino Coast
Mendocino. Bed and Breakfast Mendocino County. “For those who cherish the renewing power of California’s wild and beautiful North Coast, the AWARD-WINNING North Coast Country Inn Bed and Breakfast is a haven to be returned to again and again.” northcoastcountryinn.com

Humboldt County
Redwood National Park: Magnificent trees, a comfy inn and plenty of adventure. Drifting fog adds drama to Northern California’s coastline near Redwood National and State Parks. (Courtesy Marta Yamamoto) www.mercurynews.com

 

Del Norte County
See the Del Norte County Beaches. Del Norte County is the northernmost county in California and, like Humboldt County to the south, it has more wild remote beaches than urban beaches. Crescent City is the largest city in the county and it is located near the mid-point of the Del Norte Coast. californiabeaches.com

What You Missed in January

To a degree, you haven’t witnessed our city until you’ve seen all its nature’s beauty.

Bruce Brown. Endless Summer.
While stationed in Hawaii, he’d spent much of his time surfing and shooting home movies of friends riding waves. With his service complete and being back in Orange County, he cut a crude, 90-minute “surf movie” together.

Highlights and Headlines: January 2018

New offshore oil drilling proposed off California coast by Trump administration. The Trump administration on Thursday proposed allowing new offshore oil drilling in most of America’s coastal areas, including northern, southern and central California areas like Big Sur. By PAUL ROGERS | progers@bayareanewsgroup.com

South Coast Region

Huntington Beach. ExxonMobil Alleges It Is Victim of Vast California Climate Change ‘Conspiracy’. Surfers ride waves in front of an oil rig off Huntington Beach on July 31, 2015. (Credit: Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty Images)

 

Laguna Beach. Uncertainty Clouds Hotel Laguna. The last guests of the historic Hotel Laguna turned in their room keys and its longtime operator turned over the property last week to the landlord, but much else about the iconic downtown property remains uncertain.  Photo by Mitch Ridder.

Newport Beach.  Newport’s iconic Crab Cooker to close and rebuild because of 3-year-old foundation damage. “The Crab Cooker, which has been at 2200 Newport Blvd. in Newport Beach since 1951, will be closed for about a year starting in 2018 while it is rebuilt on the same site. (File Photo)”

Bruce Brown. Endless Summer.

South Orange County.  In Remembrance: Bruce Brown, Maker of ‘The Endless Summer,’ Passes Away at 80.  “In 1958, Bruce Brown landed in Dana Point after a stint in the Navy. While stationed in Hawaii, he’d spent much of his time surfing and shooting home movies of friends riding waves. With his service complete and being back in Orange County, he cut a crude, 90-minute “surf movie” together. Resident surfboard baron Dale Velzy let Brown show the movie in his shop in San Clemente for 25 cents a head.” By Jake Howard

San Diego. 10 San Diego Trails to Get You Outside in 2018. To a degree, you haven’t witnessed our city until you’ve seen all its nature’s beauty. From the highest point in county to the La Jolla Tide Pools and peeks at the Pacific from above your handlebars, there’s no shortage of ways to get outside in the New Year. Go on, now—take a hike! San Diego Magazine

 

 

Long Beach.  Long Beach Airport to start daily service to Hawaii in June.  The historic terminal at Long Beach Airport. Hawaiian Airlines will begin operating nonstop daily flights between Long Beach and Honolulu. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

South Bay. Redondo Beach. Seaside Lagoon. “This isn’t your typical swimming pool. Seaside Lagoon is a saltwater lagoon steps away from the Pacific Ocean. Visitors can swim under lifeguard supervision, and there’s also water slides, a playground, beach volleyball and picnic areas.” Photograph: Courtesy Seaside Lagoon

Ventura County. California Fire Map Update: Thomas Fire Is Second Largest in State History. As the blaze grows, it is on track to surpass the record-holding 2003 Cedar Fire, which killed 15 people and destroyed 273,246 acres in southern San Diego. The Thomas Fire earned the second-largest wildfire designation on Tuesday by surpassing the 2012 Rush Fire, which burned 271,911 acres. This California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection

Central Coast Region

Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara’s Biltmore turns 90 with photo show and custom-made wines. “Santa Barbara’s Biltmore marks 90 years this year. Longtime photographer Hal Boucher shot a photo of Rosalind Russell, left, Jack Lemmon and his wife, Felicia, at the resort in 1963. (Hal Boucher)”

Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo CA. The 10 Happiest Cities in the U.S., According to New Research. “Perhaps unsurprisingly, almost 30 percent of the places are in California. There’s really something to be said for near-constant sunshine. Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) is real, and has a dramatic impact on happiness levels for an entire season of the year. And when you’re sad almost every day, it’s hard to rate your life well, or feel natural joy.” Inc Magazine

Peninsula Region

Half Moon Bay. Weather changes push back Mavericks surf contest. Throughout the past week, there was excitement over a west-northwest swell that would bring the largest Mavericks surf of the season. That is now a matter of conjecture, and the once-promising weather forecasts have changed. SF Gate · By Bruce Jenkins

San Francisco Region

San Francisco. Turning blue to ring in the new with frigid Jan. 1 Ocean Beach plunge.  Three hundred people showed up at the foot of Taraval Street for the annual Plunge at Ocean Beach on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. Photo: Steve Rubenstein/ The Chronicle

North Bay Region

Marin County. Historic fire truck finds new home with Marin History Museum. “This 1935 fire engine is being donated to the Marin History Museum, which is temporarily donating the truck to the Marin County Fire Department, after being transported from Sonoma, Calif. on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal)”

North Coast Region

Sonoma County. Devastated by wildfire, a California city weighs rebuilding amid a housing crunch. “Jeff Okrepkie stands by the lot where his house stood in the Coffey Park area of Santa Rosa, Calif. After losing his home in the wildfires last fall, Okrepkie has organized a neighborhood group to help those like him who want to rebuild. (Preston Gannaway/For The Washington Post)”

Mendocino County. Luxury Mendocino Hotel | Heritage House Resort | CA.  The Heritage House Resort is a destination you simply must experience for yourself. While our property has undergone a dramatic change over the past five years, transforming from a romantic seaside inn to a contemporary and luxurious boutique hotel, our commitment to the perfect guest experience remains.

Humboldt County. Trinidad. Majestic. Part of the auto wreck scene in The Majestic was shot at College Cove Beach on 19 March 2001. Wikipedia.

What You Missed in December

People who live, work, or play there need to become comfortable with the idea that change is coming along the coast.

World Surf League has cleared its final hurdle and will stage the Mavericks big-wave surfing contest within a waiting period running from Jan. 3 through Feb. 28.

 

Change is coming to the Pacific Coast. King Tides. Big-Waves. And Mother Nature unleashed her forces when we least expected it and could afford it. Fires and recovery efforts. Oh, and we celebrated Christmas in our unique ways.

Highlights and Headlines: December 2017

North Coast Region

Arcata. History.

“The Arcata Theatre is a striking combination of Art Deco and Art Moderne architecture. This structure incorporates the geometric Art Deco design with the sweeping curved style of the Art Moderne; a frequent combination in 1930’s theater design. The marquee features neon lighting and is a focal point in the city’s skyline. In the original blue print designs, the neon marquee was nearly twice as tall as it was eventually built. “Best advertising for the town is George Mann’s new sign on the G Street Theater which emblazons to the world at large that south bound tourists are now entering Arcata”” 

Mendocino. Victorian-inspired Mendocino mansion goes to auction for $3 million.

“As a final note, the original (and thus far only) homeowners, Linda E Pedroni and Rudolph H Light, were apparently quite active for years in circles working to preserve oak tree populations, the East Ranch even serving as the mailing address for the International Oak Society‘s election committee.” 

Sonoma County. Artists draw together at Schulz Museum for North Bay fire relief.

Artists for Recovery Victims

Some of the Bay Area’s most hailed graphic novelists, cartoonists and authors — including Dave Eggers, Raina Telgemeier and Stephan Pastis — are converged at Santa Rosa’s Charles M. Schulz Museum on Saturday, Dec. 9, to raise money to support victims of the recent wildfires in Sonoma County. 

North Bay Region

Ronnie Spector, the bad girl of rock, and Summer of Love legends headline benefit concerts

“Ronnie Spector, the original bad girl of rock, a 2007 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, headlined Narada Michael Walden’s 21st Holiday Jam on Dec. 16 at the Throckmorton Theater in Mill Valley.” 

 

San Francisco Region

(SF GateView Item)

Naughty is nice as SantaCon invades S.F.

The Santas were kicking off the start of this year’s SantaCon, a worldwide event that features a daylong bar crawl that sends many of its participants to the naughty list. 

Peninsula Region

Mavericks surf contest gets the go-ahead

After months of dealing with a complicated permit process, the World Surf League has cleared its final hurdle and will stage the Mavericks big-wave surfing contest within a waiting period running from Jan. 3 through Feb. 28. Once known as the Titans of Mavericks, the event off the coast of Half Moon Bay now will be called the Mavericks Challenge. 

 

Central Coast Region

Ellen DeGeneres Evacuates as California Wildfires Spread Through Santa Barbara County

Ellen and Montecito Celebrities Forced to Evacuate

DeGeneres and her wife Portia de Rossi live in Montecito, an area where many celebrities own homes, including Patrick Stewart, Jane Seymour, Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Bridges and former Vice President Al Gore. Residents there were told to evacuate as the Thomas Fire, which has burned 170,000 acres, has threatened homes in the area. The fire, which began in Ventura County, has pushed into Santa Barbara County 

South Coast Region

California’s Thomas Fire Has Burned an Area the Size of New York

Massive Thomas Fire

Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, has reportedly scorched an area the size of New York City. As of Sunday evening the fire has burned 230,000 acres since it began, and is the fifth largest fire in recorded state history.

South Bay.

‘Re-wilding’ a Santa Monica beach to protect against sea level rise

“At the north end of Santa Monica Beach, there’s a fenced off 2-acre section that looks a bit unkempt. It’s an experiment in “re-wilding,” or restoring the beach to what it looked like before humans altered it. The pilot project, a partnership of The Bay Foundation and Santa Monica, could also help protect the city from sea level rise.”

Long Beach’s Naples and Daisy Lane parades wind down the holiday marching season

Photo For The Press Telegram by Axel Koester.

“Do you want to watch the gaudily decorated toys of wealthy people cruise Alamitos Bay and the canals of Naples? If you don’t have a friend with a canalside home, you’re welcome to join the Great Unwashed as you elbow your way to a vantage point of the decorated yachts, dories and Duffys.”

 

King Tides Apply Pressure To San Diego Coastline

A Monday morning flyover of the region’s coast revealed that the high water levels are having a variety of impacts. People who live, work, or play there need to become comfortable with the idea that change is coming along the coast. The King tides offer that insight.

What You Missed in November

 Newport Beach is a picture-perfect place to visit any time of year for its stunning coastline, dramatic yacht-dotted harbor and aesthetically inclined locals.”

“Here’s Johnny’s” Malibu Mansion
Wineries across both Napa and Sonoma are open and pouring their best vintages – except Signorello Estate, which burned to the ground on the Silverado Trail in Napa during the October fires.

 

Who are Millbillies? When did Brett Harte move to Arcata? What makes Carlsbad a “walkable town” and Newport Beach a “shop ’til you drop” destination? How much is Johnny Carson’s Malibu mansion on the market for?  And where did Hollywood celebrities “from Clark Gable to Renée Zellwegger” hang out when they were, well, not in Hollywood?

Find out answers to these burning questions (with apologies to Sonoma and Napa valley residents and wineries) with this month’s Baker’s Dozen.

Highlights and Headlines: November 2017

South Coast Region

Floating Concrete House

San Diego. ‘Floating’ concrete house wins top architecture award. “The (awards) jury felt the project was an excellent example of great architecture that is also carbon neutral and energy neutral,” the five-member selection panel said. “The simple clean lines of the architecture reminded the jury of the quality work of (modernist architect Rudolph) Schindler.” Called “The Cresta,” the three-story house sits on a 5,000-square-foot lot, a fraction of the size of nearby sites, Segal said in his nomination form. (Film by Jeff Durkin, Architecture by Jonathan & Matthew Segal. (Courtesy of Bread Truck Films)

Walking Wine Tour

North County. Carlsbad is a lovely ocean-side community just north of San Diego, and directly adjacent to the aptly named town of Oceanside. It offers year-around amazing weather, scenic beaches, dozens of quaint restaurants, and two wineries. Carlsbad is a very walkable town, at least for tourists like us, so we parked our car when we arrived and pretty much walked everywhere we wanted to go! https://winetastingbliss.com/2017/10/wine-carlsbad/#

Lido Marina Village in Newport Beach

Orange County Beach TownsNewport Beach is a picture-perfect place to visit any time of year for its stunning coastline, dramatic yacht-dotted harbor and aesthetically inclined locals. And now—thanks to a tasteful, modern-day reincarnation of a vintage favorite—this Orange County haunt is also a sensational place to shop ‘til you drop. Lido Marina Village (3434 Via Lido, Newport Beach) was first developed in 1971, originally conceived as a small and charming pedestrian- friendly shopping center. It was only last year that private equity investment firm” Hauteliving.com

Long Beach Development Plans

Naples to Palos Verdes Peninsula. Long Beach. “The 1,500 square-foot area is roughly bounded by Seventh Street, Marine Stadium and Orange County. It includes single and multifamily residential neighborhoods and several large shopping centers, such as Marina Pacifica, the Marketplace and Marina Shores.” Long Beach Press-Telegram

“Here’s Johnny’s” Malibu Mansion

South Bay. Malibu. “For the first time in a decade, the lifelong home of comedy legend Johnny Carson has hit the market. Listed by Coldwell Banker, the five-bedroom, four-bathroom Malibu residence can be your new home away from home for a cool $81.5 million dollars.” JUSTLUXE: LUXURY NEWS AND REVIEWS

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

Ventura County. Ojai.  “But for those in the know, a historic property 35 miles south of Santa Barbara is the perfect spot for a pleasing respite. Ojai Valley Inn & Spa in Ojai, California, has long been the go-to vacation spot for the Hollywood elite, from Clark Gable to Renée Zellwegger.” PURSUITIST

Avalon on Santa Catalina Island

Islands along the Pacific Coast. Catalina Island. A modern estate perched on a hillside in Avalon has sold for $4.6 million, making it the most expensive home sold on Santa Catalina Island since 2013. Built in 2007, the red-hued home is a confluence of contemporary and Balinese style. Los Angeles Times

Central Coast Region

Montecito Estate in Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara. CONSTANTIA is an estate of unparalleled quality located in the heart of Montecito. Juxtaposed between the mountains and the sea, this Cape Dutch Colonial masterpiece harkens back to a more elegant time, but with the conveniences of a 21st Century home. Hauteresidence.com

 

Peninsula Region

A rancher’s cows relax at the new La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve in La Honda, California,

La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve. Huge new Bay Area open space preserve opens to public. For the past 175 years, it’s been a Mexican land grant, a dairy farm, a hideout for members of Jesse James’ outlaw gang, an oil field, a redwood logging mill, a cattle ranch and a retreat for heirs to the Weyerhaeuser lumber and Folgers coffee fortunes. The Mercury News.

San Francisco Region

San Francisco

From bread bowls to Karl the Fog to our indisputable holy object, the Golden Gate Bridge, scroll through the above gallery for a list of things San Franciscans consider sacred. SF Gate

 

 

North Bay Region

An informal Millbilly gathering

Mill Valley. “An informal Millbilly gathering on a Friday night at the Depot Plaza. From left, Gary Scheuenstuhl, a local drummer and owner of Mill Valley Music; Jesse Lee Kincaid, a local guitarist; and Eric Meade of Fairfax. Says Scheuenstuhl: “The ’60s and ’70s were the golden era here. A lot of my high school friends had to leave.” (Photo by Mary Ann Hogan)” Marin Independent Journal

North Coast Region

Wine Country Rebound

Sonoma and Napa Wine CountryWineries across both Napa and Sonoma are open and pouring their best vintages – except Signorello Estate, which burned to the ground on the Silverado Trail in Napa during the October fires, and a few others that suffered damage. But the classics are still at the top of their games, with favorites like the award-winning Shafer Vineyards (whose Relentless 2008 bottling took home the world’s number one wine prize from Wine Spectator in 2012) unscathed and taking reservations for during-the-week tastings. http://ncwineguys.com/

Bret Harte in North Coast Region

Arcata.(Bret) Harte moved to California in 1853, later working there in a number of capacities, including miner, teacher, messenger, and journalist. He spent part of his life in the northern California coastal town of Union (now Arcata). The 1860 massacre of between 80 and 200 Wiyots at the village of Tuluwat was well documented historically and was reported in San Francisco and New York by Harte. When serving as assistant editor for the Northern Californian.” Wikipedia

What You Missed in October

But after this year’s wildfires, for the first time ever, Constellation rejected the Old Hill fruit.

Devastation in Wine Country
But there’s no place quite like it on the West Coast, and the ship’s operators have been talking up some ambitious plans.

Is it true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?

If so, then it feels like we’re witnessing remarkable stories of superhuman resilience, recovery and revitalization along the Pacific Coast in October.

Devastating fires in Wine Country. Past and future earthquake reminders in San Francisco. Iconic Big Sur rebounding from fires, mudslides, bridge and business destruction and  community  isolation.

Oh, and some good stuff too.

So let’s start our review in the North Coast Region and travel to the South Coast Region, ok?

Highlights and Headlines: October 2017

North Coast Region

“Find a special treasure that helps you remember your time in Humboldt County with fondness. Old Town Eureka is home to a wide array of restaurants, from fine dining to casual eateries. Grab a bite while you’re on the go.

Old Town Eureka in Humboldt County

Throughout the year, the neighborhood is the site of exciting events, including the weekly Farmers’ Market during the summer and fall, and the Redwood Coast Music Festival in the spring.” (http://www.humboldtbayinn.com/things-to-do/historic-old-town)

Sonoma and Napa Valleys

Devastation in Wine Country

The Bucklin family’s relationship with Constellation Brands stretches back more than three decades. That’s how long Constellation — a global wine corporation expected to generate $7.33 billion in revenue this year, and owner of California wine brands like Robert Mondavi and Ravenswood — has bought grapes from Old Hill Ranch, the Bucklins’ 35-acre Sonoma Valley vineyard. But after this year’s wildfires, for the first time ever, Constellation rejected the Old Hill fruit. (Photo: Peter DaSilva, Special To The Chronicle)

Neighborhoods Staying Strong

California fire officials have updated the number of buildings destroyed by wildfires that ripped through Northern California to 8,700.  (Kent Porter / Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

Prevention or Status Quo?

Following wildfires, urban areas tend to build up more densely despite the remaining fire risk, and residents tend to build in only as many fire-defense measures as regulations require, researchers with the U.S. Forest Service and University of Wisconsin found from studying rebuilding after past U.S. wildfires. Rebuilding also often takes years longer than residents realize. In California wildfires studied, just 35 percent of buildings lost were rebuilt within five years, the researchers determined. (Photo: Jeff Chiu, AP / http://www.sfgate.com/news/us/)

Tourism Officials Weigh In

“Tourism officials remain optimistic, saying huge swaths of verdant wine country in the western end of the region remain unscorched and open to wine lovers. Hotels, short-term home rentals and tourist attractions there are operating as usual.”  (MABANGL / EPA-EFE/REX/ Shutterstock) / Los Angeles Times)

North Bay Region

Interior rendering for 135 Belvedere Avenue in Belvedere. The site is for sale for $65 million, which includes the completed structure and the whole property. (Courtesy David Kotzebue Architecture / Marin Independent Journal)

San Francisco Region

Stay Away from Coastal Districts

Earthquake in? The potential impacts of this quake on San Francisco are severe. Heavy, dense apartments built above cavernous garages (also known as soft-story housing), will buckle as the marshy soil beneath them — added in the latter half of the 19th century by zealous developers wanting to extend the peninsula’s real estate — behaves like a liquid. (Business Insider / Google Maps / USGS)

Chinatown Rising from 1906 Earthquake

Earthquake in 1906: Chinatown managed to secure the previous location for their community, and began to refashion San Francisco’s Chinatown as an exotic wonderland for non-Chinese visitors. Look Tin Eli and other Chinatown leaders had a vision of an “Oriental city [of] veritable fairy palaces filled with the choicest treasures of the Orient.” (The Conversation / louisraphael/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA)

Peninsula Region

Rugged Coast near Ritz Carlton

Half Moon Bay. “This quintessential beauty spot has all the hallmarks you’d dream of in a Northern California beach—rugged cliffs, dramatic dunes, fine golden sand, and a magnificent sweep of Pacific Ocean. Extra style points for being home to the regal Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay.” (Coastal Living / Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Central Coast Region

Ventana Big Sur Reopens

Welcome to the new and improved Ventana Big Sur, reopening today after months of renovations. As you approach the familiar, rustic façade of the building situated on the coast, you’ll almost wonder if anything is different. (Urban Daddy)

 

Iconic Big Sur Bridge

With the opening of the bridge, the restaurants and resorts are back to full service, including Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn with a new menu and Ventana Big Sur celebrated its grand reopening and reimagining this month. Highway 1 is not yet passable from Big Sur to San Simeon due to the Mud Creek Slide. Caltrans expects to have that portion of the highway open late-summer 2018. That project will fully reconnect Big Sur and the Highway 1 road trip experience. (Lonely Planet / ©Phitha Tanpairoj/Shutterstock)

South Coast Region

Hotel Laguna in Better Days

The local family that has operated the iconic Hotel Laguna for more than three decades intends to close its doors next month and has filed a lawsuit alleging they are being illegally forced out by the property’s owners. (Laguna Beach Indy)

A Fixture in Dana Point Harbor

“General manager Jay Styles, left, and owner Robert Mardian at the Wind and Sea restaurant in Dana Point, which is celebrating its 45th anniversary. Mardian opened the restaurant after realizing he didn’t want to become a lawyer. (Daily Pilot – Los Angeles Times. Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)”

The Queen Mary in Long Beach

Long Beach. “But there’s no place quite like it on the West Coast, and the ship’s operators have been talking up some ambitious plans.  If you’re not ready to spend the night or brave Dark Harbor, the hour-long Glory Days Historical Tour is offered eight times per day, every day.” (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

Peninsula Region’s Highlights and Headlines

Martin’s Beach has been ground zero for beach access activists, surfers and those on the Coastside with fond memories of walking or driving the path from Highway 1 to the relatively small and protected beach.

Maverick’s Extreme Waves
For more than a decade, Coastsiders and visitors have satisfied their kitchen cravings at the Main Street store.
Peninsula Region lies south of San Francisco and north of Santa Cruz on the California coast.

The Peninsula region lies immediately south of San Francisco in San Mateo County. While many residents in Daly City, Half Moon Bay, Moss Beach, Pacifica and Pescadero work and play to the north or south, the Peninsula has its attractions, including some beautiful wilderness areas. The Santa Cruz Mountains divide the region in half north-south, with a large wilderness area that’s great for hiking and mountain biking.

Highlights and Headlines.

Martin’s Beach – Ongoing Story Beginning in 1918

Vinod Khosla’s granting of partial access to Martins Beach called ‘insufficient’

Vinod Khosla Billionaire Denies Beach Access

Although Khosla said he planned to open the gate, he did not do so until Wednesday, two days after lawyers for the Surfrider Foundation filed papers urging the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco to enforce its August ruling that Khosla could not block access to Martins Beach without a permit. The Surfrider Foundation sued Khosla in 2013, arguing that the shoreline had been open to all comers since at least 1918 and belonged to the public.

 

Billionaires don’t get to decide when and how Californians reach the beach

Martin’s Beach Access Challenged by Surfrider Foundation

But last week, the gates suddenly opened. Had Khosla finally done the right thing and restored access to Martins Beach? Not exactly. His representatives told Coastal Commission officials that they would open the gates from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., provided someone on the property was available to do so. Sorry, but that’s not the “maximum access” the law requires, as Coastal Commission officials have rightly pointed out.

Appellate court reaffirms access for Martin’s Beach

Martin’s Beach has been ground zero for beach access activists, surfers and those on the Coastside with fond memories of walking or driving the path from Highway 1 to the relatively small and protected beach. Khosla bought the property from a Coastside family in 2008. A year later, the new owner closed the gate and painted over a billboard that once advertised access to the beach.

Sea Otters Grabbing Beach Time

Ana Nuevo State Park

Año Nuevo offers intense volunteer experience

“Docents work hard at Año Nuevo State Park, but they say the work is rewarding.”

Half Moon Bay

Domoic Acid and Sea Otter

Recovering Sea Otter

“Yankee Doodle munches on a snack at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. The sea otter was recently rescued in Half Moon Bay after becoming sickened by an exposure to domoic acid. Photo courtesy Bill Hunnewell / Marine Mammal Center”

Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival 2017: Your guide to food, events

They changed the name of this long-running festival some years back to the Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival, but let’s face it: If you loathe pumpkin, you’re not the most likely candidate to make the trek to the coast.

Professional pumpkin carver Mike Valladao, aka Farmer Mike, leaves his mark on gigantic orange gourds at the Half Moon Bay Arts & Pumpkin Festival in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

Big Wave Competition at Mavericks

High Flying Mavericks Surfer

Mavericks sale to World Surf League hits a snag

“A surfer takes advantage of big waves at the Maverick’s surf break near Half Moon Bay in January. The sale of the permits to the World Surf League to host a contest at the break may have hit a snag after a company filed an objection to the sale Wednesday. (Patrick Tehan/Bay Area News Group)”

WSL paddles into choppy Mavericks waters

Mavericks Big Surf Lineup

In a 95-page “motion to sell” submitted to the court on Wednesday, the former surf contest organizers detailed their wishes to turn over the reins to the World Surf League.

Marriott Moments: Luxury at The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay

This screams wealth – no surprise, at a base cost of high $600s to $800-$900s. Note that this does not include valet parking ($49 for overnight guests) or resort fee ($35/night) which covers the below:

Downtown Half Moon Bay kitchen ware closes

Downtown Retail Shop Closing

“For more than a decade, Coastsiders and visitors have satisfied their kitchen cravings at the Main Street store where they could find a pour-over coffee kettle from San Francisco, cutting-edge stainless steel knives from Japan, clay cookware from Colombia and even fine linens from France.”

 

Crumbling Romeo Pier in County Harbor

Romeo Pier demolition to cost $2.3 million

“The San Mateo County Harbor District put out a bid for demolition of the beloved but crumbling Romeo Pier, but received only one bidder. That bid came in at nearly double the $1.5 million the district envisioned.”

Hiking Pacifica at Mori Point in San Mateo County

Hiking San Mateo – Golden Gate National Recreation Area (U.S. National Park Service)

“The main entrance to Mori Point is located at Bradford Way in Pacifica. At this entrance you will find two accessible parking spaces and an accessible restroom. There is an accessible entrance to the left of the trailhead gate. Old Mori Road is relatively flat which makes for a nice, leisurely stroll. You will encounter lots of native vegetation and wildlife. The surface material is a compacted natural material. After about a ¼ mile to your left will be the entrance to the Lishumsha trail. You may choose to take this route which will provide more of a strenuous hike or you may choose to continue on Old Mori which becomes an elevated boardwalk.”

Hiking Elevations

 

What’s It Like to Be a Local?

Its placement on the California North Coast is indisputably beautiful. The area, often shrouded in fog and very definitely behind the Redwood Curtain, is very different from the rest of California.

Huntington Beach spiritual leaders bless the ocean
Father Christian Mondor, 92, of Sts. Simon & Jude Catholic Church in Huntington Beach arrives to conduct the annual Blessing of the Waves on Sunday at the Huntington Beach Pier.

 

O.K. I’m biased.

I get to live in the South Coast of California.

Before I moved here I wondered, “What’s like living in such a beautiful place?”

  • Most travel stories focus on where to find a B&B for a weekend.
  • Or which restaurant to reserve a table overlooking the beach sunset.
  • But, those are just extended weekends.
  • Or at best about how to cram as much in as you can in one week.

But, what is it really like to become a local?

And, not just in Southern California.

But in unique communities beginning in Humboldt County and traveling south to San Diego.

Check them out to get a flavor.

Eureka. Humboldt County. Old Town Eureka

Old Town Eureka

“Old Town is the thriving, cultural heart of Eureka, California and the region. The area is an attraction for visitors and locals alike. Its placement on the California North Coast is indisputably beautiful. The area, often shrouded in fog and very definitely behind the Redwood Curtain, is very different from the rest of California. The vibrant art scene that has grown up there in the final decades of the 20th century led to the declaration that the city was one of the 100 best art towns in America.”

Sonoma Coast. 33rd Annual International Coastal Cleanup Day!

Sonoma Coast Coastal Cleanup Day!

“California Coastal Cleanup Day is Saturday September 16th, 2017. It is one of the country’s largest volunteer events of the year and many of the clean-up efforts will be occurring right here on the Sonoma Coast.”

Fort Bragg. Mendocino Coast. Secret Beach Entrances.

You Have to Wait for Low Tide

“At low tide you can find the entrance to a tunnel through a rock wall that provides access to this interesting spot. The wall is at the north end of Seaside Creek Beach at an approximate address of 30000 Shoreline Highway, Fort Bragg.

Belvedere. North Bay Region. Unbuilt Marin House Seeks Record Sale with $65 Million Listing

FILE – In this March 29, 2016, file photo, (Photo by Brian Ach/Invision/AP, File)

Interior rendering for 135 Belvedere Avenue in Belvedere. The site is for sale for $65 million, which includes the completed structure and the whole property. (Courtesy David Kotzebue Architecture)

San Francisco Region. An Earthquake Expert Says There’s One Neighborhood in San Francisco She’d Never Buy a House (San Francisco’s eastern shoreline).

San Francisco’s eastern shoreline

The potential impacts of this quake on San Francisco are severe. Heavy, dense apartments built above cavernous garages (also known as soft-story housing), will buckle as the marshy soil beneath them — added in the latter half of the 19th century by zealous developers wanting to extend the peninsula’s real estate — behaves like a liquid.

Half Moon Bay. Peninsula Region. Commission Warns of Legal Action.

Martin’s Beach – HB Review

Martin’s Beach is a beloved spot by many throughout the Coastside. Now, the California Coastal Commission says it will step up efforts to reopen it to visitors.”

Santa Cruz. Central Coast. Santa Cruz County Median Home Price $815,000 in July.

Four-bedroom solar-powered geodesic dome home

“The seller is asking $998,000 for this four-bedroom solar-powered geodesic dome home on 3.3 acres at 235 Dorrance Road in Boulder Creek. List price in June was $1.08 million.”

Pacific Grove. Central Coast. Pacific Grove’s Butterfly Parade and Chautauqua Days to branch out.

Pacific Grove’s Butterfly Parade and Chautauqua Days

“The local pageant and accompanying activities, part of the traditionally two-day event that have taken place since 1939 (excluding during World War II), are getting a makeover thanks to The Heritage Society of Pacific Grove’s board member Dixie Layne. Layne was responsible last year for putting together the new 90-minute bus tour featuring the Pacific Grove landmarks from the lives of Monterey Peninsula residents John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts.”

Cambria. Central Coast. Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve ~ Experience the Ranch

Fiscalini Ranch Preserve

We also help manage the property for the public by organizing volunteers to remove invasive plants, maintain trails and plant native species to help Mother Nature replenish her bounty.

Santa Barbara County. Central Coast. Chumash Tribe still willing to negotiate into land-into-trust agreement with county.

Ynez Band of Chumash Indians

“The House Committee on Natural Resources passed H.R.1491, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Land Affirmation Act, at a markup session last month. The bill ratifies a Bureau of Indian Affairs decision to place the land, known as Camp 4, in trust.”

Ventura. South Coast Region. Check Out This Crazy Drone Footage of a Humpback Whale Trapped in Ventura Harbor.

A 35-foot Humpback Whale

A 35-foot Humpback Whale was trapped in Southern California’s Ventura Harbor and was lured to freedom by wildlife officials using an underwater microphone to broadcast whale calls

South Bay. South Coast Region. Lottery to open for hikers who want to trek all 67 miles of Santa Monica Mountain’s Backbone Trail.

Santa Monica Mountain’s Backbone Trail

“Guided hikes begin Jan. 13 on the trail’s western edge in Pt. Mugu State Park near the L.A.-Ventura county line and end April 28 at Will Rogers State Historic Park in Pacific Palisades.”

Orange County Beach Towns. South Coast Region. Huntington Beach spiritual leaders bless the ocean at annual service

Huntington Beach spiritual leaders bless the ocean

“Father Christian Mondor, 92, of Sts. Simon & Jude Catholic Church in Huntington Beach arrives to conduct the annual Blessing of the Waves on Sunday at the Huntington Beach Pier. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley)”

San Diego. South Coast Region. Gray whale makes a pit stop in Carlsbad lagoon

A young California gray whale in Tamarack Beach

“A young California gray whale swimming near Tamarack Beach Monday afternoon slowed traffic and drew more than 300 spectators before it disappeared in the waves a few hours later.”