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

Best West Road Trip: Top Winter Stories

Wine and Music for Sonoma Wildfire Relief.

Suing Big Oil over climate change, Santa Cruz eyes wildfire, storm costs.

Headlines and Highlights: Winter 2017 – 2018

Recovery

Central Coast Region. San Luis Obispo Girl Raises Money for ‘People Who Lost Their Daddies in the Fire’. “Segraves, herself the daughter of a firefighter, kicked off her fundraising efforts by contributing her own money earned doing chores, her mother stated. The video was posted on the Wildland Firefighter Foundation’s Facebook page, along with pictures of Segraves and a link to a MobileCause fundraising page.” 

Iconic Big Sur Bridge

Central Coast Region. What To Know Before A Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip… ““The Bixby Bridge is just south of Carmel, meaning you’ll have to pull a U-turn after viewing. But it’s completely worth it. In our opinion, it’s one of the most pristinely beautiful and inspiring places on earth. Anywhere – literally, anywhere. Try to time your trip for early morning or late afternoon, while the sun is still out, giving yourself ample time to make it back onto main roads before dark.”

North Coast Region. Wine and Music for Sonoma Wildfire Relief. “Hamel Family Wines owners George and Pamela Hamel set the stage for John Fogerty: Songs for Sonoma this past Saturday to benefit Sonoma County wildfire relief.” 

North Coast Region. Sonoma County. Two months later, California wildfire victims begin the long road to rebuilding. “But for the survivors like Carlin Rosset, adjusting to the aftermath has been difficult. For starters, she now wakes up her children at 6:30 every morning to drive 35 minutes to and from school. They used to live a short walk away.” 

North Coast Region. California Wine Country Travel Update: Everything You Need to Know to Plan a Trip After the Fires. “First, Northern California’s beloved Napa and Sonoma counties seemed ruined, and then Santa Barbara and Ojai took a staggering hit.” 

A member of Raphael Saadiq’s band performs during the Band Together Bay Area benefit  for the Tipping Point Emergency Relief Fund for North Bay fire relief.

North Bay Region.  Musicians band together in SF to benefit North Bay fire victims. “The names kept getting bigger for the sold-out Band Together Bay Area benefit concert, with Rancid, G-Eazy and Dead & Company giving impassioned performances and Metallica closing out the night.” 

History

South Coast Region. Islands Along the Pacific Coast. Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo. “On November 23, 1542, the little fleet arrived back in “San Salvador” (Santa Catalina Island) to overwinter and make repairs. There, around Christmas Eve, Cabrillo stepped out of his boat and splintered his shin when he stumbled onto a jagged rock while trying to rescue some of his men from attacking Tongva warriors. The injury became infected and developed gangrene, and he died on January 3, 1543 and was buried. A possible headstone was later found on San Miguel Island. His second-in-command brought the remainder of the party back to Navidad, where they arrived April 14, 1543.” Wikipedia

North Coast Region. Humboldt County. Bret Harte. ““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

North Coast Region. Humboldt County. Since 1890 on California’s North Coast. ““Every large or small logging or mill operation in the redwood country had a cookhouse. It was the hub of life in the temporary community, if it was in the woods. If it was located in a substantial settlement, it served as a “community center”. If the cookhouse was set up to serve fifteen or twenty men in a shingle bolt camp, often a woman and her husband, with a helper or two called bullcooks, flunkeys or cookees, handled the cooking and serving.” samoacookhouse.net

San Francisco Region. A look at the time San Francisco’s Cliff House was nearly blown into the Pacific. “This incarnation of the Cliff House, at San Francisco’s Land’s End, was built in 1894, opened in 1896, survived the 1906 earthquake, only to burn down September 7, 1907.” Photo: Chronicle Archives

Central Coast Region. 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)”

San Francisco Region. Here’s what life looked like 50 years ago. “Hippies dawdle at the corner of Haight and Ashbury Streets, the epicenter of the Summer of Love, in San Francisco on May 4, 1967.” Photo: Michael Ochs Archives.

 

Offshore

Central  Coast Region. South Coast Region. 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

North Coast Region. Mendocino County Steve Lopez on what’s been saved along the California coast. “But property owners are still locking out the public and bulldozers are still revving up to tear into open space. Times columnist Steve Lopez and photographer Allen Schaben are on a road trip from Oregon to Mexico to explore beaches, wetlands, wave-pounded coves, rocky cliffs and the characters who thrive in this iconic realm.”

Central Coast Region. Suing Big Oil over climate change, Santa Cruz eyes wildfire, storm costs. “The city and county of Santa Cruz sued 29 oil companies over climate change on Wednesday, seeking to recoup hundreds of millions of dollars of damages.” 

Central Coast Region. Monterey Bay sewage spill was ‘huge wakeup call,’ company says. “After the massive raw sewage spill into the Monterey Bay earlier this month that shut down beaches along the Central California Coast and prompted a federal investigation, Monterey One Water gave an update at a Monday board meeting on what it’s doing to make sure it never happens again.”

South Coast Region.  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)

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.”

Goin’ Coastal

“California Regions – the last leg of your journey. From the desert and the mountains to the sea. Ending In Santa Monica at the Pier. It’s all there if you dare!”

Seemingly Endless Southern California Beaches
And, when standing at the end of the pier you look at the beaches to your left and right, you realize your next road trip adventure calls you with its siren song.

You want rugged?

Check.

You want mysterious deserts?

Check.

You want Redwood coastal wilderness?

Check.

In California the travel regions vary greatly, ranging from  the rugged interior mountains to the harsh southern desert to the forested northern coastal regions.

California’s 10 travel regions are broken down into:

California’s Ten Travel Regions
  • Southern California
  • Desert
  • Central Coast
  • San Joaquin Valley
  • Sacramento Valley
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Gold Country
  • Bay Area
  • North Coast
  • Shasta Cascades

If you’re interested in the Desert and part of the Southern California region, you may enjoy the “California Regions” edition of “Best West Road Trips – Route 66

Get Your Kicks on Route 66

“California Regions – the last leg of your journey. From the desert and the mountains to the sea. Ending In Santa Monica at the Pier. It’s all there if you dare!”

The Mother Road ends at the Santa Monica Pier.

Well, not exactly, but the attraction more than makes up for historical inaccuracy.

You can’t drive any further west unless you plan to plunge into the Pacific Ocean.

Here’s my recommendation.

Park.

Stroll out onto the pier and take a selfie at the End of the Trail sign.

Near the intersection of Route 66 and Pacific Coast Highway

Then go for it.

Make your way past the crowds and attractions to as far as you can walk.

Then standing there at the end of the pier look at the beaches to your left and right.

Turn around and look back to where you came.

That’s when you realize your next road trip adventure calls you with its siren song.

The iconic, and more breath-taking scenic road trip on Pacific Coast Highway.

That’s what we did.

World Famous Hotel Del Coronado

We invite you to retrace our coastal steps.

We begin in the South Coast Region with the historic beach Hotel del Coronado in San Diego.

Then we head north with the ocean on our drivers side.  

Always on our drivers side.

We hug the coast, not necessarily always on PCH, but  traveling through Southern California beach towns to the laid back Central Coast, into the Bay Area and finally to the North Coast before terminating at Pacific Northwest towns and destinations like Tumwater and Port Angeles, Washington.

Mapping Out Your Best West Road Trips

We’re taking our time.

Exploring everything we can on  a road trip in sequence.

One town after another up the Pacific Coast.

Vacation beach towns, missions, piers and light houses.

And so much more.

More for road trippers, vacationers and more for anyone who wouldn’t mind moving to a resort community.

Fall in love on vacation, stay for a lifetime.