Category: Found in My Own Backyard

In Oregon: On the Trail of Ale

In Oregon: On the Trail of Ale

The first evening in our new hometown of Eugene, Oregon, my wife and I walked to a grocery store across the street from our temporary lodgings to purchase some take-out food for dinner.

While my wife searched in vain for an already-chilled bottle of white wine—that store provides a “quick-chilling” vat of liquid so customers can cool a bottle of wine to the temperature they desire rather than picking it out of a refrigeration case—she suddenly exclaimed “They must sell at least 500 different beers!”

(Pond Skipper Flickr Photo)

Welcome to Oregon, where “Beer” is one of the state’s unofficial “Four Food Groups,” along with “Coffee,” “Wine,” and “Everything Else.”

And while there are over five hundred wineries in the Willamette Valley, don’t ask me how many places make beer.

But there are “a lot,” or at least “plenty” to keep you tasting and drinking your life away, at least for a good while.

And an excellent way to find and drink beer is to take a trek, long or short, along the “Eugene Ale Trail.”

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San Francisco’s “Hidden” Public Places, Public Art

San Francisco’s “Hidden” Public Places, Public Art

Like any large city, San Francisco has a myriad of government owned parks and plazas that are open to the public.

But unknown to many “locals” as well as visitors, are “Privately-Owned Public Open Space” (also know by the acronym, “POPOS”).

( David McSpadden Flickr Photo)
( David McSpadden Flickr Photo)

The city’s Planning Department says that they are “publicly accessible spaces in forms of plazas, terraces, atriums, small parks, and even snippets that are provided and maintained by private developers. In San Francisco, POPOS mostly appear in the Downtown office district area.”

The Department also points out that the city “has a ‘1% Art Program’ that requires that large projects in the Downtown and nearby neighborhoods provide public art that equals at least 1% of the total construction cost.”

But how do you find these places?

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Off-Season in Sonoma Valley Wine Country

Off-Season in Sonoma Valley Wine Country

From late spring through early fall when the weather is likely to be warm and sunny sounds like the ideal time to visit “Wine Country” north of San Francisco.

Weather-wise, it is, and that’s why during that time of year you’ll find lodgings fully-booked, restaurant reservations hard to come by, roads clogged with cars, and winery tasting rooms chock-a-block with those seeking to sample the wares.

The grape harvest, beginning from sometime in August and extending through sometime in October, is a particularly busy time, not just for grape growers and wineries, but for the area’s tourist industry as a whole

(Chip Harlan Flick Photo)
(Chip Harlan Flick Photo)

But like leaves on trees, tourism begins to fall by November, “locals” begin reclaiming their must-loved wine region for themselves, and savvy travelers take advantage of the quiet time in wine country.

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