Traveling in Europe in 1954 may sound cheap to us now, but to Rusty and Kit who were on a budget of about $5 a day, spending $4 ($2 each) to stay one night at the Hotel Astoria in Brussels was expensive. …
How do you keep four kids, ranging in age from 4 to 12, entertained for a day in San Francisco? Equipped with the cards “City Walks with Kids: San Francisco: 50 Adventures on Foot,” we explored Chinatown, discovering new places and unfamiliar parts of the city one cool winter day.
We visited a tiny fortune cookie factory, where we sampled and bought a bag of cookies.
We walked by a building where a dragon in the window reminded us that Chinese New Year was just around the corner.
We listened to a Chinese band as the kids played on a jungle gym in Portsmouth Square. We shopped at a small market, bought trinkets, listened to street musicians, and ended our adventure with lunch at the Far East Cafe, a family favorite from my childhood years.
Trip taken: December 2010.
Although Rusty and Kit didn’t write about the treats they ate while in Brussels or Bruge, one of my Belgian friends gave me this recipe for a typical Belgian dessert, Gateau Aux Petits Beurres. …
Truckee still has the same sense of community that it had when I first moved here, the woman behind the counter said. “In the 18 years I’ve lived here, the population has grown from 4600 to 16,000, but it’s still the same.” And when I mention her quote to others who’ve been visiting Truckee for at least that long, they agree, though they tell me that the week between Christmas and New Year’s the winter enthusiasts have elevated the population to 50,000 or so.
It’s been years since I’ve visited Truckee. So long that I didn’t remember it’s charm. Most of what the tourist visits when they’re not hiking or snow shoeing or skiing is on one long street in downtown Truckee filled with boutiques, a fudge shop, and local artisan galleries.
There are old railroad tracks and tiny bungalows just a block away, and plenty of places to spend money.
We ogled and coveted the beautiful locally crafted items at Riverside Studios and Bespoke, wishing we could add to our Christmas list. We ate burgers and sampled beer at Fifty Fifty Brewing Company. We drank coffee at Coffee Bar, trying its lavender and chai spiced lattes, and gluten-free desserts. We enjoyed the uniqueness, the character, the charm of this mountainside community.
Trip taken January 2016.
One of my favorite things about Marin County, just north of San Francisco, is its accessibility to hiking. Within an hour or less from urban life, you can be hiking on challenging trails with a view of the ocean or in the shade of redwood trees.
On my last visit to Marin, a friend and I went for a hike in the Tennessee Valley area of the Marin Headlands.
It was a blustery but sunny day. We hiked along the Tennessee Valley Road to the confluence of the Old Springs Trail and took a left, eventually turning on the Wolf Ridge Trail toward Hill 88.
What was once a former Nike Missile Radar Station, Hill 88 is now graffiti covered buildings with incredible views of the city.
After exploring Hill 88, we hiked back along the Wolf Ridge trail, wondering about the cannon we could see far below (but without the time or the inclination to discover it for ourselves).
Instead we headed back down the Coastal Trail, toward Tennessee Valley Road and our car. Soon we were back in civilization, eating tacos for lunch (see Tacos in Sausalito), and going about our day.
For a map of the trails in the Marin Headlands click here.
Trip taken: January 2014.
So you thought Mount Rushmore was big! Well, wait until you see Crazy Horse Memorial. This memorial, paid for by private donations, not public ones, is worth more than a drive by. Not only is there a sculpted monument in progress to observe (you can take a bus to get near the site), there are museums and gift shops as well.
How big is the carving? Imagine a 35-foot tall hand or a 219-foot tall horse’s head. Crazy Horse’s head is 87 feet 6 inches high. When complete, the entire carving will be 641 feet long by 563 feet high! (The faces of Mount Rushmore are just 60 feet high.)
And why is it there? Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear asked Korczak Ziolkowski, a sculptor who assisted Gutzon Borglum on Mount Rushmore, to create a monument “to honor the culture, tradition, and living heritage of North American Indians.” According to the website, “Native American leaders chose Crazy Horse for the Mountain Carving because he was a great and patriotic hero. Crazy Horse’s tenacity of purpose, his modest life, his unfailing courage, and his tragic death set him apart and above the others.”
Work on the world’s largest mountain sculpture officially began on June 3, 1948 and continues. In 1976, the Indian Museum of North America opened which includes artifacts and art from a variety of American Indian cultures. In 1996, the Native American Educational and Cultural Center was added. It includes artifact collections and Native American vendors and artisans.
Cost of admission is $11 or $28 per carload. It’s an extra $4 to take the bus up close to the bottom of the mountain. Crazy Horse Memorial is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) foundation.
Trip taken July 2013.