Friday, August 28, 2015

101 North: Larkspur, Emporio Rulli


Emporio Rulli  464 Magnolia Ave./Cane St., (888) 88-RULLI, (415) 924-7478.  Daily 7:30-5:30; $.  Offering what must be the most mouth-watering selection of sweets found this side of Milan, and displaying them in polished mahogany-and-glass cases worthy of jewels, this authentic Italian pasty shop is a treasure trove of exquisite confections.  Among them are an enormous selection of imported chocolates and candies and ten kinds of gelato, plus Italian cakes and pastries and seasonal specialties.  It is possible to select and indulge on site, along with an espresso or other beverage, and an extensive hot panini (sandwich) menu is also available.

pastry case at Emporio Rulli in Larkspur, California

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A branch, Emporio Rulli Caffè, is on Union Square in San Francisco and at the San Francisco Airport.

More things to do in Larkspur.

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image ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers  
 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

San Francisco: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, de Young Museum

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The de Young Museum is currently exhibiting "J.M.W. Turner:  Painting Set Free." It is the first major show focusing on his late career.  I found it especially interesting to see after viewing the recently released movie about Turner, "Mr. Turner."  More . . . Show runs through September 20, 2015.

Varnishing Day, Turner exhibit at de Young Museum in San Francisco
I learned about Varnishing Day in the movie and found it fascinating.
War. The Exile and the Rock Limpet, 1842; Turner exhibit at de Young Museum in San Francisco
"War. The Exile and the Rock Limpet"; 1842
detail from Sunrise with Sea Monsters, 1845; Turner exhibit at the de Young Museum in San Francisco
monster detail from "Sunrise with Sea Monsters"; 1845
three paintings Turner working on concurrently just before he died; Turner exhibit at the de Young Museum in San Francisco
three paintings Turner working on concurrently just before he died
queen detail from "The Departure of the Fleet"; 1850; from Turner exhibit at de Young Museum in San Francisco
queen detail from "The Departure of the Fleet"; 1850

More things to do in Golden Gate Park.

More things to do in San Francisco

Way more things to do in San Francisco. 

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways.  

images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 
 

Monday, August 24, 2015

101 North: Eureka, Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate


Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate  4 W. 4th St., (707) 798-6010.  M-F 10am-4pm.  This luxury chocolate-maker offers drop-in tours of its production facility. No appointment necessary.  Focusing on quality, they make small batch bean-to-bar chocolate from scratch and specialize in dark chocolate from around the world.  
cacao pod and bean display at Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate in Eureka, California
cacao pod and bean display
Only 12 tons were produced last year, but the plan is for 18 tons this year.  You’ll see burlap bags filled with slowly sun-dried cacao beans from around the world.
burlap bags at Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate in Eureka, California

Beans are sorted on a conveyer-belt machine,


then roasted 35 pounds at a time in an antique Royal #5 coffee roaster from the early 1900s, which dries and sterilizes them.
antique Royal #5 coffee roaster at Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate in Eureka, California
antique Royal #5 coffee roaster
The flavor and chemicals that make you feel so good are in the nibs.
bucket of chocolate nibs at Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate in Eureka, California
bucket of chocolate nibs
Cocoa butter—which is solid in your hand, but liquid in your mouth or at body temp--is what makes chocolate unique.  A grinding ball mill uses ball bearings to turn nibs into paste, and that is followed by more grinding.
co-owner Adam Dick with grinding ball mill at Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate in Eureka, California
co-owner Adam Dick with grinding ball mill
The last step in the process is putting the mix into a circular conche,
conche at Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate in Eureka, California

where it spends 48 hours and comes out liquid.  It is then tempered and put into molds, hardened into blocks, and finally foiled and wrapped in envelopes.
liquid chocolate at Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate in Eureka, California

chocolate is wrapped at Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate in Eureka, California
A whole array of specialized machines is used, and it takes three weeks to transform from bean to bar.  This shop sells their own chocolate bars, of course, but also offers a few items they like from other makers.  Since dark chocolate is Dick Taylor’s specialty, and since I am a huge fan of milk chocolate, I wound up seduced by an Omnom dark milk-burned sugar 55% bar from Iceland as my souvenir (I like it).  My husband, a dark chocolate lover, plans to buy Dick Taylor bars where he can find them distributed.
chocolate products at Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate in Eureka, California


More things to do in Eureka.

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

images and video ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Friday, August 21, 2015

101 North: Eureka, Harper Ford Carousel


Harper Ford Carousel  4800 Hwy. 101 N, 2 mi. N of town, (877) 285-6677, (707) 443-7311.  Daily noon-4pm.  Free.  Amazingly, a classic 1947 Allan Herschell wood carousel has operated at this car dealership since 1992!  Any dullness resulting from its exposure to the elements is periodically spiffed up with automobile paint, leading to some horses in unusual colors.  Of the 30 horses, 15 are original wood ones and 15 are replacements in aluminum.  Each has its own theme and name.  One of the oldest Ford dealerships in the United States, Harper Ford was established in 1912 by Harvey Harper's father, Harvey Mitchell Harper, who arrived in Eureka from Phoenix, Arizona, after a 40-day journey in a 1912 Ford Model T.

1947 Allan Herschell carousel at Harper Ford dealership in Eureka, California

1947 Allan Herschell carousel at Harper Ford dealership in Eureka, California

1947 Allan Herschell carousel at Harper Ford dealership in Eureka, California

1947 Allan Herschell carousel at Harper Ford dealership in Eureka, California

More things to do in Eureka.
More carousels.

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

images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

101 North: Eureka, Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe and Lost Coast Brew House

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Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe  617 4th St., in Old Town, (707) 445-4480.  L-D daily; $.  Reservations accepted.  Situated within a historic building, this is the first brewery in the U.S. founded and operated by women.  The actual brewing production has moved to a new dedicated facility south of town, where you can take a tour.  Among the several kinds of handcrafted microbrews, the hands-down favorites are  Great White beer (features the flavors of wheat and coriander and is their best seller) and Downtown Brown ale, but Indian Pale Ale isn’t far behind and was my favorite.  And don’t overlook the house-made root beer.  Roast beef and turkey is baked in-house, and french fries are made from scratch with fresh potatoes.  The menu’s extensive pub fare goes well with a pint.  Burgers are the best sellers, but the delicious locally-caught  halibut and chips is close behind.  More options include French dip and pulled pork sandwiches, coconut prawns, stuffed Navajo bread, Tuscany pizza, and a build-your-own pizza.  Happy Hour runs Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. and is the perfect time to try the nachos or the big baked pretzel--solo or stuffed with cheese.
rear entrance to Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe in Eureka, California
back door


bar menu at Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe in Eureka, California
 interior of Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe in Eureka, California
surfboard chomped on by a Great White at Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe in Eureka, California
surfboard chomped on by a Great White

local halibut and chips at Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe in Eureka, California

house salad at Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe in Eureka, California
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Lost Coast Brew House  1600 Sunset Ave., 2 mi. SW of town, (707) 445-4484.  Free.  This small regional brewery is of one of the nation's largest microbrews and now has a sleek new brewing production facility.  The company’s brews were made for the first three years in the pub cafe, then in a warehouse for 22 more years.  Tours here are usually led by owner Barbara Groom, a former pharmacist.  You’ll learn about how yeast eats sugar and makes gas, and about malt and green leaves and sun and how it all turns into beer.  You’ll smell the fragrances, see the various grains, and stagger your mind with the fact that 40 types of yeast are used to give the beer different flavors.  If you’re lucky, you might get to step inside the 20-degree hop freezer—a particularly refreshing experience on a warm day.  Throughout you’ll see shiny stainless steel pipes, concrete floors, and equipment from an array of international companies—Germany (tanks with colorful blue trim), Mexico (a grain grinder with a dryer motor used to grind coriander for Great White), and America (a fascinating bottling machine).  Try to schedule a weekday tour because that is when everything is happening,  and you can see the bottles filled, capped, and packed in boxes.  The bottler pops out 440 per minute, and though bottles are king, cans are coming due to demand for use at the beach and around pools.  At the tour’s conclusion, you’ll get to do some tasting in the Tap Room, where lovely recycled counters from a 100-year-old Monterey cypress tree enhance the decor (that tree was also used for trim throughout the building).  Ice cream is available from Humboldt Creamery (expelled grain from their company is used in beer making here).  Don’t miss viewing the concrete restroom counter made with recycled chipped beer bottles and molded to look like a beer bottle.  Picnicking is welcome. 
owner Barbara Groom leads tour at Lost Coast Brew House in Eureka, California
owner Barbara Groom leads a tour

bottling line at Lost Coast Brew House in Eureka, California

recycled beer bottle counter at Lost Coast Brew House in Eureka, California

More things to do in Eureka.

More breweries.

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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Greater East Bay: Antioch, Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve


Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve  5175 Somersville Rd., off Hwy. 4, (888) 327-2757 x5, (925) 757-2620.  Daily 8am-dusk; mine tour Mar-Nov Sat-Sun.  $5/vehicle; mine tour $5, must be age 7+; $2/dog.  From 1860 to 1906, when coal mining was a booming business, this area was California’s largest coal-mining operation.  More than half the coal used in the state came from these mines.  Today, bird-watchers can view more than 100 species of birds, and hikers can walk nearly 40 miles of trails winding through wildflowers and groves of almond, black locust, eucalyptus, and pepper trees.  Historic Rose Hill Cemetery is also interesting to visit.  A tour of the Hazel-Atlas Mine takes participants 950 feet into the 57-degrees-cool silica-sand mine.  Sand was mined from the 1920s through 1940s and used to make glass.  Participants are loaned hard hats for this adventure.  Picnic facilities and campsites are available, and naturalist programs are scheduled regularly. 

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways. 



Friday, August 14, 2015

880 South: Berkeley, Cafe Gratitude--CLOSED


Cafe Gratitude  1730 Shattuck Ave./Delaware St., (415) 824-4652.  L-D daily; $$-$$$.  No reservations.  This casual cafe serves 100% organic vegan cuisine and invites you “to step inside and enjoy being someone who chooses:  loving your life, adoring yourself, accepting the world, being generous and grateful every day, and experiencing being provided for.”  Sounds pleasant, and it is.  The atmosphere is one of natural wood banquettes lining the brick walls, upbeat music, and skylights.  A small sheltered patio in front is inviting on warm days.  My waiter was super cheery, and seated in the main dining room I enjoyed my view of the kitchen activity.  A dishtowel was my napkin.  The restaurant has been accused of being “more like Cafe Attitude,” but that’s a cheap shot.  Each item on the menu has a name that starts with “I Am . . .”.  For instance, for breakfast “I Am Awesome” is avocado toast with pickled red onion and cashew ricotta; for a raw specialty “I Am Honoring” is nachos with sunflower-seed pate, cashew nacho cheese, and carrot flax chips; and for entrees “I Am Extraordinary” is a BLT with maple coconut bacon and cashew chipotle aioli.  I chose the “I Am Fortified” bowl.  It was composed of sautéed green beans, carrots, zucchini, and spinach over brown rice and topped with big sunflower sprouts and a tasty garlic-tahini dressing.  As my waiter served it to me, he said, “You are fortified, my dear.”  Drinks include elixirs, cold-pressed juices, and smoothies, and the best desserts are reputedly chocolate cream pie, key lime pie, and vegan soft-serve nut-milk ice cream.

entry to Cafe Gratitude in Berkeley, California


check-in at Cafe Gratitude in Berkeley, California

main dining room at Cafe Gratitude in Berkeley, California

"I Am Fortified" bowl at Cafe Gratitude in Berkeley, California
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More things to do in Berkeley.

Way more thing to do in Berkeley.  

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

images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

101 North: Eureka, Humboldt Bay Naval Sea/Air Museum


Humboldt Bay Naval Sea/Air Museum  Commercial Street Dock, Waterfront Dr., just a few miles from Old Town waterfront, (707) 442-9333.  F & Sun 9am-3pm, & any other time the flag is up and the coffee pot is on.  By donation. 
last operational WWII Landing Craft at Humboldt Bay Naval Sea/Air Museum in Eureka, California

boarding the WWII Landing Craft at Humboldt Bay Naval Sea/Air Museum in Eureka, California

welcome mat at Humboldt Bay Naval Sea/Air Museum in Eureka, California

Out on this area’s scenic waterfront, past some rusted train cars that are covered in an attractive way with graffiti, a World War II Landing Craft is now moored to the pier and operates as a floating museum.  Though 1,098 were built during World War II--this one being #1091--only two remain.  This 158-foot-long vessel is the last operational LCI (#713 is in Portland, Oregon, and has no engines).  Used in Okinawa in the last invasion of the Pacific War, she looks similar to when she was in combat more than 50 years ago.  The craft served again in the Korean War as an epidemic control vessel, but was in actuality a spy ship.  In 1960 she became a processing ship for an Alaska fish company, and then was purchased by Dr. Ralph Davis in Everett, Washington, and sailed here in 1989 to be used for albacore fishing.  In 2006, when fuel became too expensive, Dr. Davis donated the ship to the museum.  "Ten Ninety-One" (civilian name) was built in 1944 in the De Bois Shipyards in Bay City, Michigan.  In the war she sailed in flotillas of LCIs, each carrying 200 soldiers and their gear that they delivered to enemy beaches via a ramp.  The LCIs were built in small shipyards because bigger ones were occupied constructing Liberty ships.  You can get an impromptu tour of the craft and see the galley, berths, and heads.  Museum volunteers continue to work on restoring #1091 to her original state.  An additional viewing bonus is the 36-foot Flemish life boat that bobs adjacent.  These boats were designed so anyone can operate them.  Only three are left and this museum has them all.
36-foot Flemish life boat at Humboldt Bay Naval Sea/Air Museum in Eureka, California

Fun fund-raisers are scheduled periodically, including pancake breakfasts, events on military holidays, and a Haunted Ship at Halloween.  Drop by to hear the rest of the story and chew the fat with some old salts.
volunteers in front of gun tower on WWII Landing Craft at Humboldt Bay Naval Sea/Air Museum in Eureka, California


More World War II stories:  Dad’s Story; Rosie the Riveter Stories; Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park.

More things to do in Eureka.

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

images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, August 10, 2015

1 North: Muir Beach, Green Gulch Farm

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Green Gulch Farm  1601 Shoreline Hwy., just S of town, (415) 383-3134.  Guest House:  12 rooms, 1 cottage; $-$$.  No TVs; all shared baths.  Vegetarian meals included.  Reached via a sharp downhill turnoff, this retreat is operated by the San Francisco Zen Center.  Public meditation programs are scheduled daily, and a longer program on Sundays includes a dharma talk.  Retreats, workshops, and children’s programs are also scheduled, as is a fairly regular Sunday Tea Gathering where you can the traditional Japanese tradition of whisked green tea.  Visitors are welcome to take informal afternoon walks in the organic garden, which supplies the herbs and vegetables for Greens restaurant in San Francisco.  Plants are available for purchase from the nursery.

Overnight lodging is available in the peaceful, Japanese-style Lindisfarne Guest House, which is constructed without nails.  A separate cottage is available for families with children, and guests may take their meals at communal tables with the permanent residents.

More things to do in Muir Beach.
 
More vegan-vegetarian places.

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

images courtesy of venue


Friday, August 7, 2015

101 North: Garberville, Benbow Hotel & Resort

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Benbow Historic Inn  Off Hwy. 101, 445 Lake Benbow Dr., (800) 355-3301, (707) 923-2124.  55 rooms; $129-$569+.  Some TVs & wood-burning fireplaces.  Afternoon tea at 3; restaurant; bar.  Pool & hot tub nearby (May-Oct).  Pets ok in some rooms.  Opened in 1926, this magnificent English Tudor inn is on the National Register of Historic Places.
front exterior of Benbow Historic Inn in Garberville, California

Guest rooms are furnished with antiques and equipped with a basket of mystery novels and a carafe of sherry.  Some have lake views and private patios.
guest room at Benbow Historic Inn in Garberville, California

guest room sherry at Benbow Historic Inn in Garberville, California

The inn was once quite popular with the Hollywood elite--think Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, and Joan Fontaine--and actor Charles Laughton found it quiet enough here to memorize his lines for Mutiny on the Bounty.  A majestic communal lounge with fireplace and library invites socializing, and game tables are set with chessboards and jigsaw puzzles.
lobby lounge at Benbow Historic Inn in Garberville, California

This spot enjoys perfect summer temperatures.  Outside pleasures that make the most of it include colorful English gardens with grassy expanses, a small private beach on the east branch of the Eel River, lawn games, and complimentary use of bicycles.  A 9-hole golf course and heated swimming pool plus hot tub are within walking distance.  Facilities there also include a playground, putting green, laundry room, and pet run.
swimming pool at Benbow Historic Inn in Garberville, California

Complimentary tea and scones is served each afternoon at 3 p.m. during check-in.  Special events are often scheduled, and holiday festivities occur throughout December. 

afternoon check-in tea at Benbow Historic Inn in Garberville, California

The elegant restaurant is open daily for breakfast and dinner.  It offers an expansive menu, with both simple dishes and more sophisticated fare.  For summer dinner on the terrace, my husband and I dined on a colorful heirloom tomato and queso fresco salad,
queso fresco salad at Benbow Historic Inn restaurant in Garberville, California

a baby surf and turf (a filet mignon medallion, smoked prawn, and lemon mashed potatoes),
baby surf and turf at Benbow Historic Inn restaurant in Garberville, California

and pan-seared organic king salmon.
salmon plate at Benbow Historic Inn restaurant in Garberville, California

We each ordered a white wine flight and enjoyed making tasting comparisons throughout our meal,
white wine flight at Benbow Historic Inn restaurant in Garberville, California

and we ended with house-made chocolate truffles.
chocolate truffles at Benbow Historic Inn restaurant in Garberville, California

Note that a special vegan menu is available.  For brunch in the dining room the next morning,
dining room at Benbow Historic Inn restaurant in Garberville, California

we each ordered our usual—me a classic eggs Benedict,
eggs Benedict at Benbow Historic Inn restaurant in Garberville, California

and my husband a simple country breakfast with chicken-apple sausage.
country breakfast at Benbow Historic Inn restaurant in Garberville, California
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In fair weather, diners may sit outdoors on a large terrace overlooking the back lawn and river, and live entertainment is scheduled on most mid-week summer evenings.  Additionally, a cozy taproom bar dispenses good cheer, and guests can order picnic lunches to go.

And from here it is just a few minutes to the magnificent redwoods of the Avenue of the Giants.  


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


images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers