Found in My Own Backyard

Hanging Out in “Beserkley”

Found in My Own Backyard
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“California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day.” That lyric from the Mama and Papas’ hit song, California Dreamin, could have been playing on the radio in my 1960 Alfa Romeo as I drove south from Seattle, through Oregon, and on to San Francisco at the end of 1967. Having completed Air Force “boot camp” in […]

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Finding Art and Architecture in the Napa Valley

Found in My Own Backyard
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California’s Napa Valley is renowned for the wine it produces from over 45,000 acres of vineyards and 400-odd wineries. But when visiting Napa, don’t just enjoy the fine wine. Take time to check out intriguing art and architecture at these locations. Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Dick Jordan

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Seeing Seals Saved By The Seashore

Found in My Own Backyard
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We humans feel a kinship to marine mammals: Porpoises, dolphins, whales, seals, sea lions. They’re a bit like us: Talkative, social,  solitary, inquisitive, active, and some times lazy beach bums. And like us, they’re smart. And like us, sometimes they become ill or are injured and need help. Which is when we help them, just […]

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Ruth’s Secret Garden

Found in My Own Backyard
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Motorist speed up and down busy Bancroft Road, unwittingly bypassing one of Walnut Creek, California’s hidden secrets: The Ruth Bancroft Garden. The idea for the garden might have been germinating in Ruth Bancroft’s mind back in 1971 when I briefly lived just up the road in the city of Concord. But by the time she […]

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Riding to Reno on the “Motown Snow Train”

Found in My Own Backyard
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Elvis had left the building. Followed by Martha Reeves of “Martha and The Vandellas” of Motown music fame. Then me. Over the next seven hours we sang and danced two-hundred odd miles from Emeryville, California on eastern shore of San Francisco Bay, across California’s Central Valley, past Sacramento, over the Sierra Nevada mountains, and into […]

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Cooking Up “The Big Night”

Found in My Own Backyard
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Over a decade ago, I sat through a “demo” cooking class with my wife at Ramekins Culinary School in the Town of Sonoma. It was a bit like being seated at a table near the cooking island on a Food Network TV show while Emeril Lagasse periodically shouted “Bam!” while whipping up a series of […]

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Found in My Own Backyard: Hot Escapes

Found in My Own Backyard
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Although the recent week-long heat wave that caused San Francisco Bay Area residents like myself literally and figuratively “sweating it” has ended, there’s still plenty of time for a blistering temperature encore this summer. To escape from the heat, Michael Krasny, host of KQED Radio’s popular weekday morning show, “Forum,” asked these three guests to […]

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Found in My Own Backyard: Great Photos of a Great Place

Found in My Own Backyard
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Point Reyes National Seashore is a beautiful, wild place along the California Coast, just over an hour’s drive north of San Francisco, with mountains, beaches, bays, wildflowers, trees, that is home to deer, elk, and many other animals, including the lowly garden gopher. But what sets it apart from populated areas north and south, are […]

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Meeting Norman Rockwell

Found in My Own Backyard
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I first encountered noted American illustrator, Norman Rockwell, back in the last century when I was living in Seattle. Sometimes he’d show up with the postman. Sometimes I’d find him at the local public library. Sometimes he’d be in a friend or relative’s home. But whenever and wherever we crossed paths, he’d brighten my day. […]

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Dry Creek Valley: If You Go

Found in My Own Backyard
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(“Dry Creek: It’s Flowing with Wine” and “Dry Creek: Off The Beaten Wine Road” covered nearly a dozen wineries in Northern California’s Dry Creek Valley. Today we tell you how to get there, where to stay, where to eat, and what to do when you visit Dry Creek.) Stay Healdsburg—just a few minutes driver from […]

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Dry Creek: Off the Beaten Wine Road

Found in My Own Backyard
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(Coverage of wineries in Northern California’s Dry Creek Valley which began yesterday continues today.) The Underground Winery Gio Martorana’s family has been growing grapes in Dry Creek Valley for more than 25 years. So when it came time to build a winery, he knew exactly where to put it: Underground. The Martorana Family Winery building […]

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Dry Creek: It’s Flowing with Wine

Found in My Own Backyard
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Dry Creek. It sounds like a place in the desert where there’s not even a drop of water to drink. But it’s actually an oasis in Northern California wine country just outside of Healdsburg and 70 miles north of San Francisco that flows with wine as good as any produced elsewhere in the Golden State. […]

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Acting “In Character” at Sonoma’s Buena Vista Winery

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Taking a by-appointment tour of a small California winery with its owner isn’t unusual. I’ve done it a few times myself.  And, as I recall, when I first visited the Robert Mondavi Winery in the Napa Valley in 1971, I went on a public group tour led by the now-late, then-very-alive, Mondavi himself. Buena Vista, […]

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Francis Ford Coppola: Swimming with Wine

Found in My Own Backyard
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Las Vegas used to be an “adults-only” destination. You went there to drink. You went there to gamble. You went there to engage in “adults-only” activities. But the Las Vegas city fathers (and mothers) have changed their burg’s image by turning casino hotels into family-friendly shopping malls cum amusement parks, and “destinations within a destination” […]

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Found in My Own Backyard: Bee Gardens in The Air

Found in My Own Backyard

Something is abuzz these days on top of San Francisco’s Nob Hill. But it’s not some hot bit of socialite gossip. And it’s not hype about the latest and greatest thing since sliced sourdough bread. It’s all about bees and beer. Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Dick Jordan

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Found in My Own Backyard: Musical Parking

Found in My Own Backyard

I’ve parked in San Francisco’s Fifth & Mission Parking Garage many times.   It’s handy if you are headed to Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, or one of the other stores in the Westfield San Francisco Centre shopping arcade just across Mission Street.  Access is convenient, and rates are fairly reasonable. Last summer, I left my car Fifth & […]

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Found in My Own Backyard: San Francisco’s Museum Gem

Destination Updates

I’ve been to the Louvre in Paris, the Uffizi in Florence, and countless other museums dedicated to the works of artists living and dead.  But I don’t often go to art museums.  Too much stuff on the walls, too little time to view it, too many people trying to get “up close and personal” with […]

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Found in My Own Backyard: A Virtual Choir

Destination Updates

Grace Cathedral sits atop Nob Hill, high above downtown San Francisco.  It is the site of year-round concerts, but I like to attend ones during the Christmas holiday season when the nearby luxury hotels, The Fairmont and Mark Hopkins, and the trees surrounding Huntington Park across the street from the cathedral, are festooned with lights. […]

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Found in My Own Backyard: Snow in San Francisco

Christmas Holiday Videos

Never before in the four decades that I have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area had I seen snow fall at sea level. But in this age of global warming, the weather patterns near my home have changed.  In fact, I can confidently predict that it will snow not just once between now and […]

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Found in My Own Backyard: Art in The Valley of The Moon

Destination Updates

I recently set off south down California Highway 12 in Sonoma County to hunt for wine.  But I found something totally unexpected on a Christmas tree farm that I have probably driven by a hundred times, oblivious to what treasures lay just off the road. Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2011-2012 Dick Jordan

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Found in My Own Backyard: A Painting Monk in Napa Valley

Found in My Own Backyard

One of my first forays into the Napa Valley after I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1971 was to the Christian Brothers’ Greystone Winery just north of St. Helena, where Brother Timothy spent decades overseeing the creation of table wines and brandy. Over a hundred years after Greystone was built, its ownership […]

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