Category: Found in My Own Backyard

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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Finding Fine Art in San Francisco

Finding Fine Art in San Francisco

I’m not an “Art Museum Kind of Guy.”

That doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate “fine art” or “artsy-craftsy” art.

I’d just rather see it in place, someplace, rather than in a stuffy old museum.

(Dustin Gaffke Flickr Photo)
(Dustin Gaffke Flickr Photo)

But now and again, I make an exception to my general disinterest in visiting art museums, and in San Francisco, I make two.

Found in My Own Backyard: San Francisco‚Äôs Museum Gem,” took you on a virtual tour of one of those exceptions: The Legion of Honor, located in Lincoln Park, on the far west side of the city, just blocks from the Pacific Ocean.

This time I’ll show you the second of San Francisco’s Fine Art Museums, the deYoung in Golden Gate Park, a little less than three miles and an eight minute drive to the southeast of the Legion of Honor.

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Hanging Out in “Beserkley”

Hanging Out in “Beserkley”

“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 Texas a few weeks earlier, I was on my way to Monterey, California to study Chinese Mandarin at the Defense Language Institute situated on a hill above that city’s famed Cannery Row.

After the Christmas holidays I had time to kill before reporting for duty at DLI, so I decided to spend a few days in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Long hours behind the wheel and the setting sun forced me to call it a day and pull off the highway 30 miles short of San Francisco.

The next day I made it into San Francisco, where I bunked in a budget motel on Lombard Street, dined in a “coffee house” on Union Street that was far “cooler” than the “coffee shops” like Denny’s that I had frequented back in Seattle. And at a theater just across the street, I saw The Graduate, the movie that launched Dustin Hoffman’s cinematic stardom.

On the other side of the Bay, I did an uneventful “drive-through” of Berkeley. I had no idea of what I’d experience there just a few months later.

(Eric Fischer Flickr Photo)
(Eric Fischer Flickr Photo)

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