Discover California Wines

California's wonderful year-round weather is as good for our wine as it is for our visitors. Many of us Californian’s have enjoyed wine for years in the comfort of our homes or at our favorite restaurants. However, California provides the unique ability for us to go directly to the source.

Wine tourism is one of the best ways to learn about the people, culture, heritage, and customs of a specific region. Getting out and visiting wine producers provides contact with local farmers and artisans who care deeply about the area. Wine growers are farmers, and their perspective on the local area, and life in general, tends to be different from other locals typically encountered while traveling. But spending several days visiting the area, chatting with the wine makers and growers, and eating the local cuisine (which has evolved together with the wine for the two to perfectly complement each other) will provide an exceptional context for the wine and give deep insight into why and how the wine turned out the way it did…all the while visiting some of the most spectacular scenery California has to offer. Read More

What Impact are Rising Fuel Costs
Having on Your Camping Plans?

We're conducting a survey to see what effect rising fuel costs are having on our reader's camping plans.

So far the majority (nearly 40%) say they will camp closer to home; another 24% say they will take fewer camping trips; and another 19% say it won't affect their camping plans at all.

What about you? Please chime in with your response! Click here to take the survey.

Featured Region –
The Central Valley
California’s Food Basket

The Central Valley is a large region that spans the heart of California from Corning and Chico in the north to Bakersfield in the South. Home to the greatest garden in the world, the valley is one of the world's most productive agricultural regions supplying fully one-quarter of the food America eats. Over 300 crops are grown in this incredibly fertile pocket of land.

One of the fastest growing regions in California, the valley has about 6.5 million people living in it today. The largest city is Fresno, followed by Sacramento, the state capital. Of the 49% of mostly federally owned land in California there is relatively little government-owned land in the Central Valley. Land on the valley floor is predominantly farmland and is almost entirely privately owned. Read more…

5 Great Central Valley Things for Families 5 Great Central Valley Things for Adults
California State Railroad Museum Lodi Wine Tasting
Sacramento Fairytale Town Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace
California Living Museum Buttonwillow Raceway Park
Woodward Mountain Bike Park Sierra Nevada Brewing Tour
Explorit Science Center Guided fishing trip on California’s Delta

Featured Wildlife Viewing Area
San Luis National Wildlife Refuge

The Central Valley has a spectacular new resource for wildlife viewers. San Luis National Wildlife Refuge near Los Banos, a member of the California Watchable Wildlife network, opened a new Visitors Center in late 2011.

The state of the art building is a net-zero energy use building that produces all its power through solar panels. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is seeking LEED Platinum status for the center, which features an exhibit hall with interactive exhibits, and an environmental education room for visiting schools.

Interpretive panels tell the story of the Yokut Indians that once lived on the land where the refuge now sits. The Chester Marsh nature trail guides visitors to historic sites including remnants of an old river ferry from the late 1800s.

The San Luis National Wildlife Refuge encompasses over 26,800 acres of wetlands, riparian forests, native grasslands and vernal pools. A thriving population of endemic Tule Elk may often be seen from the viewing area in the lobby of the Visitors Center and from the auto tour routes.

The refuge is also host to significant numbers of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects and plants. The refuge is a major wintering ground and migratory stopover point for large concentrations of waterfowl, shorebirds and other waterbirds. A species list, wildlife viewing tips and hours of operation are available on the Watchable Wildlife website.

Other nearby Watchable Wildlife sites are Merced National Wildlife Refuge and Los Banos Wildlife Area.

Featured State Park

Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park

Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park is a beautiful, three-story, 26 room Victorian House Museum that stands as a memorial to John and Annie Bidwell. John Bidwell was known throughout California and across the nation as an important pioneer, farmer, soldier, statesman, politician and philanthropist. Annie Ellicott Kennedy Bidwell, the daughter of a socially prominent, high ranking Washington official, was deeply religious, and committed to a number of moral and social causes. Read More

Featured Central Valley Hikes

American River Parkway Trail - Every city, it seems, has a trail where dog walkers can see and be seen. In Sacramento, that trail is the American River Parkway, a 23-mile (one-way) paved trail that links Sacramento with the towns of Rancho Cordova, Fair Oaks, and Folsom. There are actually two parallel trails happening here. One is the paved American River Parkway for cyclists and roller bladers, then there’s the dirt Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail for horses, trail runners, and hikers. Read More

Lodi Lake Nature Trail - The nature trail joins the exercise trail to form a pleasant loop that lets hikers experience the wonderful sights, sounds, and scents to be found in the Mokelumne River riparian area. Rarely does a small town take such care to preserve an important ecological area such as the city of Lodi has done with this 58-acre nature area. Read More

Orland Buttes - The low but steep Orland Buttes punctuate flatlands that surround Orland, hiding scenic Black Butte Lake and offering awesome views from their summits. Black Butte Lake, fed by Stony Creek, is a popular fishing spot. The lake was named for the prominent geological rock cliff formations near Eagle Pass called the Orland Buttes. Read More

For Maximum Parenting Enjoyment, please follow these directions: Take your child fishing, preferably someplace where the fish rarely bite. Prepare the tackle, cast the line, untangle the line, and cast again. Repeat until the child’s attention wanders (three to five minutes on average). By now he should be thoroughly absorbed in an activity that has nothing to do with fishing. Join in on this activity. Plunk rocks into the water, look for frogs, dig in the mud, lie on your bellies and stare at the minnows. Just remember that you are not the fun expert here. Your kid is. Whatever you end up doing will be enjoyable, so long as he leads the way. Just prepare to be surprised.

by Jay Heinrichs, Spirit Magazine, April 2008

Featured Recipe
Shrimp and Asparagus

Hosted by

Evanne Schmarder shares what pots and pans you should carry in your RV. P eek inside her cupboards. She’ll share tips on what's handy to have on the road and what's not really necessary.  Also learn the top 10 kitchen storage secrets all while making a great tortellini salad!

Upcoming California Events and Fun Happenings!

Explore California Events happening all over the Golden State. Here are just a few to wet your whistle.

Earth Day Food & Wine Festival, Central Coast, April 20-22

Indulge in tantalizing food and wine pairings from chefs, producers, and farmers dedicated to local, sustainable food systems.  The 5th annual Earth Day Food & Wine Festival is a weekend celebration at locations throughout the Central Coast. Read More…

Apple Blossom Festival, Gold Country, April 28 & 29

Held the last weekend in April. Apple Blossom activities, including trail run and benefit BBQ, at participating ranches.   Read More…

Lakeside Rodeo, San Diego County, April 20-22

This small town rodeo brings some of the best, nationaly recoginzed, saddle bronc riding, bull riding, barrel racing and more to southern California.  Named rodeo of the year four times by the International Professional Rodeo Association. Read More ….


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