Friday, August 30, 2013

1 North: Mendocino, Blair House Inn

Blair House Inn  45110 Little Lake St., (800) 699-9296, (707) 937-1800.  4 rooms, 1 cottage; $$-$$$.  No TVS.  Some shared baths.  Unsuitable for children under 6.  Continental breakfast.  Pets ok.  Famous as the exterior for Jessica Fletcher’s house in the TV series Murder, She Wrote, this charmingly unaltered 1888 Victorian is constructed of now absurdly expensive virgin clearheart redwood.  All the rooms are decorated with antiques and hand-crafted quilts, but the spacious Angelas Suite has 10-foot ceilings, oriental rugs and a four-poster bed, and a bathroom with a rare Victorian pivoting dip sink and a clawfoot tub.  Beds are cozied up with featherbeds and comforters, and some rooms have ocean views.  The exterior of the house looks much as it did when originally built and is surrounded by a white picket fence and a cottage garden.  Each room gets a half-bottle of Husch Vineyards wine upon arrival, and breakfast consists mostly of organic local products, including Thanksgiving Coffee and Cafe Beaujolais’ Early Bird Cashew Granola.

More things to do in Mendocino.

Some travel articles to inspire and help you plan spectacular getaways.

image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

101 South: San Mateo, Curry Up Now

Curry Up Now  129 S. B St., (650) 477-1001.  L-D daily; $.  Reservations taken.  This is a food truck gone brick and mortar.  Order at the counter, then select a seat in the contemporary interior furnished with sleek black tabletops that match the unusual menu choices displayed chalk board-style on the wall.  The menu blends ethnic Indian street food with Mexican dishes--think chicken tikka masala burrito, kathi roll (a wrap consisting of a whole-wheat parantha flat bread stuffed with, perhaps, egg and paneer), aloo paratha quesadilla, sexy fries (cross-cut sweet potato fries topped with tikka masala), deconstructed samosa (a mushed-up samosa with chickpeas and teeny-tiny mini samosas mixed in).  Drinks include a ginger-mint lemonade and rose, mango, and mango-mint lassis.  Special vegan and gluten-free menus are available.

Curry Up Now on Urbanspoon

More things to do in San Mateo.

Here are some travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images ©2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, August 26, 2013

1 North: Mendocino, shops

Mendocino Twist  45140 Main St., (707) 937-1717.  Daily 10:30-5:30.  “Eco-groovy” clothing (including organic hemp hoodies), peace-sign potholders, organic notebooks, and more.

Gallery Bookshop  Main St., 937-BOOK.  Sun-Thur 9:30-6, F-Sat 9:30-9.  This is the perfect spot for a good, long browse.  It’s even more perfect on a rainy day. 

More things to do in Mendocino.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

images c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, August 23, 2013

Wine Country: Sonoma, The Chocolate Cow

The Chocolate Cow  452 First St. East.  This place hits the spot on a warm Wine Country afternoon.  Choose from sundaes, banana splits, milk shakes, and Chocolate Cow floats--all made with rich ice cream from Oregon. You can also get yogurt, Hawaiian shaved ice, handmade chocolates, fresh fudge, candy, and “cow-lectible” gift items.

The Chocolate Cow on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

1 North: Mendocino, miscellaneous, souvenir foods

I’ve made many visits to Mendocino through the years and have  built up quite a shopping list of locally-made foods to purchase when I hit town.  I also have some favorite products I collect a few miles north in Fort Bragg, and I’ve  also found goodies that I stop for on the drive in or out.  When you discover how delicious these foods are, you might want to add a few to your own list.   Read more.

More things to do in Mendocino.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, August 19, 2013

1 North: Mendocino, Artists’ Co-op of Mendocino

Artists’ Co-op of Mendocino  45270 Main St. (west end, upstairs above quilt shop), (707) 937-2217.  Daily 10:30-5; irregular hrs. on Tu in winter.  This upstairs gallery overlooking the bay showcases an ever-changing array of handmade artworks from many of the well-known artists that live in Mendocino.

More things to do in Mendocino.

More art galleries.
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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, August 16, 2013

1 South: Pacifica, Shelldance Orchid Garden

Shelldance Orchid Garden  2000 Hwy. 1, (650) 355-4845.  Sat-Sun 10-5.  Situated high up on a bluff overlooking the ocean and reached via a sharp right turn then steep climb off northbound Highway 1, this orchid and bromeliad conservatory is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.   You can visit the greenhouses, where you’ll see many unusual specimens; some are for sale, and some are not. 

    The Mori Ridge trailhead for Sweeney Ridge, which is also part of the GGNRA, is adjacent.  A 5-mile roundtrip trail provides spectacular ocean views. 

More things to do in Pacifica. 

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

images c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

80 North: Berkeley, Kirin

Kirin  1767 Solano Ave./Ensenada Ave., (510) 524-1677.  L M-Sat, D daily; $$.  Plenty of seating is provided and most of it has a view into the busy glassed-in kitchen.  The northern China menu has some delicious dishes, including Szechwan chicken, kung pao chicken, sesame chicken, Xian Jiang lamb, Mongolian beef, Kirin beef, Sichuan dry-fried prawns, vegetable chow fun, and Pan-Pacific wontons filled with crab and cream cheese.

Kirin Chinese on Urbanspoon

More things to do in Berkeley.

Way more thing to do in Berkeley.  

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, August 12, 2013

101 North: Philo, Handley Cellars

Handley Cellars  3151 Hwy. 128, in Philo, (800) 733-3151, (707) 895-3876.  Tasting daily 10-6 May-Oct, 10-5 Nov-Apr; tours by appt.  After a FREE! sampling wines, allow time to peruse the unusual collection of international folk art displayed here—most especially the carved elephant chairs and table from northern Thailand.  An adjacent shaded sculpture garden with tables is the perfect spot for a picnic enhanced by one of the winery’s tasty Pinot Noirs.

More things to do in Philo.

Things to do in nearby Boonville.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, August 9, 2013

1 South: Monterey, Casa Munras Hotel & Spa


Casa Munras Hotel  & Spa  700 Munras Ave, (800) 222-2446, (831) 375-2411.  171 rooms; $$-$$$.  Some gas fireplaces.  Heated pool; fitness room; full-service spa.  Afternoon snack; restaurant.  One of the first residences built outside the walls of the old Presidio in 1824, the original Casa was constructed of handmade adobe bricks.  Parts of the original dining room and porch remain as an alcove off of one of the meeting rooms; the rest of the adobe remains have been encapsulated within newer walls or built over.  The Casa was converted into a lodging in 1941, and guest rooms are spread among 11 buildings on spacious, flower-heavy grounds.  Complimentary freshly baked cookies are available from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily.
    Esteban ((831) 735-0176; B & D daily.) restaurant features tapas.  It has a contemporary interior and a patio with a large fire pit. 

All-adobe tour of Monterey.

More things to do in Monterey.

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

1 North: Jenner, Timber Cove Inn


Timber Cove Inn  21780 Hwy. 1, 14 mi. N of town, (800) 987-8319, (707) 847-3231.  49 rooms; $-$$$+.  Unsuitable for children.  Some gas fireplaces.  Fitness room.  Restaurant.  Pets ok.  Perched on a rocky seaside cliff, this inn offers rooms with magnificent ocean views and some with sunken tubs and private in-room hot tubs.  All have a balcony or patio.  Room 405 is a corner junior suite with a great view and deck and a remote- activated gas fireplace.  Opened in 1963, the inn's design was influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright and features a dramatic Japanese-modern style.  The lobby has an inviting large seating area with high ceilings and a corner bar.  The property is the home of world-renowned artist Beniamino Bufano's 93-foot-tall obelisk "The Expanding Universe," which was donated by a previous owner to the state along with a 60-foot-diameter plot of land around it to protect it.  Now named Bufano Peace Statue Monument, it is the second-smallest California State Park.  A further claim to fame is that photographer Ansel Adams took the photos for the lodging’s original brochure, which is on display in the lobby.  Facilities include a fitness room built into solid rock with an ocean view from the treadmills, a croquet court, and a hiking path that runs throughout the property. 

    In Alexander’s restaurant everyone gets a view, and a central gas fireplace warms things up.  The kitchen makes use of local ingredients, and Sonoma County wines are featured on the extensive wine list.  Lunch and weekend brunch are particularly good times to enjoy the ocean view and perhaps a grilled salmon sandwich or a made-to-order omelette. 

More things to do in Jenner.

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images c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, August 5, 2013

Greater East Bay: Orinda, Europa Hofbrau Deli & Pub

Europa Hofbrau Deli & Pub  64 Moraga Way, (925) 254-7202.  L-D daily; $.  In a large open room, you place your order at the cafeteria-style service bar.  You’re on your own to find a table and secure your utensils, water, and condiments.  The menu is a selection of deli sandwiches and carved-to-order meat plates--roast beef, corned beef, pastrami, roasted turkey.  An open-faced sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy is my favorite.  Specialty sandwiches include a Reuben--corned beef, sauerkraut, Russian dressing, and cheese on rye--and a Thanksgiving turkey-cranberry, and daily specials and a soup of the day are also available.  Salad sides are inexpensive—the potato salad is delish--and tasty pickle rounds are complimentary.

Europa Hofbrau & Deli on Urbanspoon

More things to do in Orinda.

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, August 2, 2013

Wine Country: Glen Ellen, Benziger Family Winery


Benziger Family Winery  1883 London Ranch Rd., (888) 490-2739, (707) 935-3000.  Tasting daily 10-5; self-guided tour daily; tram tour daily 11-3:30, on the half-hour, $20, under 21 $5.  Just up the hill from the little crook in the road that is Glen Ellen and just down the hill from Jack London State Historic Park, this family-operated winery operates a 45-minute tram tour through their biodynamic vineyards that provides hands-on experience with vines, grapes, and trellising techniques.  The tour is followed by tasting.  Additional diversions include caged peacocks and extensive picnic facilities as well as an open-air cafe.

More things to do in Glen Ellen.

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers