Posted May 28, 2009 by Nicki Krawczyk
Okay, get this: Alaska Airlines is adding service from Oakland, California to Kahului, Hawaii and Oakland and Kona beginning in November, plus expanding service between Seattle and Honolulu. Suspicious, wouldn’t you say? Alaska and Hawaii, two states who, heretofore, have never done much fraternizing are all of a sudden flying back and forth by way of California.
Coincidence? I think not. It’s blatant collusion. I propose to you: “Alaska and Hawaii’s Conspiracy to Gang Up on the Mainland” Fact: People in Alaska and Hawaii hate it when tourists go there and say things like “We’re from the U.S.” as if Alaskans and Hawaiians aren’t, too. Fact: Alaska and Hawaii were the last two states added to the union and, as such, missed out on historical moments like the launching of both fruit flies and mice into space as well as the invention of M&M's. Fact: Alaska and Hawaii are the farthest states away from Washington, D. C. and, as such, their representatives have to travel a really long time to get there and undoubtedly miss out on all kinds of congressional parties because of jet lag. Conclusion: Alaska and Hawaii are probably hopping mad and ready to take out their vengeance on the mainland.
And now, now, it appears that we've got all kinds of mingling and moving and perhaps even rampant skullduggery going on between Alaska and Hawaii by way of Alaska Airlines. There’s something big going on, people—I recommend you keep your eyes open and your mouths shut. Sure, this could end up being a nice little weekend getaways route for the people of California and a pleasant jaunt to paradise on a nice airline…until Alaska and Hawaii unleash their nefarious plans. You heard it here first. And you’ve been warned.
Posted May 26, 2009 by Kate Hamman
Point Reyes National Seashore may be a mere hop, skip, and less-than-an-hour car ride from San Francisco, but it's worlds away from the bright lights of the city. Visitors find a nature-oriented escape carved between the endless Pacific Ocean and rugged wildlife. Food comes freshly plucked from the ground or water, and guests are welcome to shuck their own oysters.
Hog Island Oyster Company: At Hog Island Oysters, you can have your oyster, and shuck it too. At the farm, guests learn about aquaculture, order fresh-from-the-sea oysters, and enjoy a picnic by the water. Picnic area fees are $8 per person on weekends, $10 without as available (weekend reservations are highly recommended), and $5 on weekdays. The price includes BBQ access, lemon, sauces, shucking tools, and a shucking lesson for newbies. So, pack a picnic, grab a bottle of wine, and come taste the freshest oysters on the market opened with your own two hands.
The Point Reyes Lighthouse: Touted as the windiest place on the Pacific Coast and the second foggiest place in North America, Point Reyes is a prime destination for a lighthouse. And visitors can tour for free this beacon of hope that has guided mariners for more than 100 years. Just be prepared to climb down 308 steps to the ledge where the lighthouse sits to see the lens room. The stairway and visitor's center is open 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday through Monday, but closes if winds exceed 40 m.p.h. On bad weather days, guests can still peruse other historical artifacts such as a lightkeeper's journal and photos in the visitor's center.
Bear Valley Inn at Point Reyes National Seashore: Continue your coastal escape with a stay at Bear Valley Inn. Each room is inspired by the outdoors. For example, the Tides Room features blue sea tones. In the morning, you're greeted with a hearty breakfast, made with only fresh and local ingredients like eggs from the inn's own chickens. Rates start at $120 per night, and include breakfast. A 15-percent discount is available for those who bike to the inn.
Use our price-comparison tool to search for flights and compare prices to San Francisco and Oakland, which are home to Point Reyes’ nearest major airports.
(Photo: Rafael Ramirez Lee)
Posted May 11, 2009 by Kate Hamman
Just north of San Francisco, leave your hectic workaday pace behind as you encounter farms with grazing cattle, meadows of wildflowers, and especially rows of grapevines. This is Glen Ellen, Sonoma, where Jack London found his inspiration and agriculturists work the soil to produce top-notch wines, vegetables, and even flowers. Taste the fruits of their labor with a glass of Cabernet and a gourmet meal while you unwind and let the chaos slip away.
Glen Ellen Inn: Looking for a place to hide from the outside world? Look no further than the secret cottages of Glen Ellen Inn. With creekside views, fireplaces, Jacuzzi tubs, and a lack of in-room phones, these private, free-standing bungalows are just the place to lay low. Because of the inn's location close to downtown Glen Ellen and many of the area's vineyards, you can still get in a day of wine-tasting and shopping without having to travel too far. If you decide you never want to leave your little hideaway, the on-site Glen Ellen Inn Oyster Grill & Martini Bar brings the local scene inside with California-fusion inspired dishes paired with regional wines. Prices start at $149 for weeknights and $239 for weekends during high season.
Valley of the Moon Winery: If you want a different type of escape, take a walk in the Valley of the Moon, where the wines are heavenly. Operating since 1863, this winery is the oldest in Glen Ellen, and pairs contemporary wine making with time-honored traditions. Free tours of the expansive grounds run twice daily, taking you through historical stone buildings, ancient trees, and fertile land. Complimentary tastings are offered between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m, and you'll find classic Sonoma-style reds and whites, as well as a smooth vintage port.
Oak Hill Farm of Sonoma: Though it sells much of its bounty to local restaurateurs and markets, including San Francisco's famous Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, Oak Hill Farm welcomes visitors to eat off the fat of the land, too. With the Mayacamas Mountains as a backdrop and set among 700 acres of protected wildlands, the Red Barn Store, a 100-year-old dairy barn, sells vegetables, fruits, and herbs, as well as flowers and wreaths produced on its 45-acre organic farm. Prices reflect the quality of the produce, but it doesn't cost a thing to inhale a more agrarian-side of life.
Use our price-comparison tool to search for flights and compare prices to Oakland, San Francisco, and Sacramento, which are home to Glen Ellen’s nearest major airports.
(Photo: Oak Hill Farm of Sonoma)