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SHASTA CASCADE

The Dragon and Feather River Inn Golf Courses Reopen
Previously known as the Nakoma Golf Resort, The Dragon Golf Course will be reopening following repairs that make it “friendlier” to a wider spectrum of players. Golf rates range from $55-$75. Golfers can also once again play the nine-hole course at the historic Feather River Inn. After being closed for several years, the course is reopening and offers a revamped par-three that is ready to play. The course is being managed by Graeagle Meadows Golf Course. Rates are just $20 weekdays and $25 on weekends. Both courses are located in Eastern Plumas County. Contact: Karen Whitaker, Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association, (530) 365-7500, pr@shastacascade.org, www.shastacascade.com.

Paddle Your Way to Wildlife Viewing
The Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge recently added the David Shampine Memorial Canoe Trail, a new seasonal canoe trail, which offers visitors a unique way to view the various bird species and wildlife in their natural habitat. There is one canoe available for visitors available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Contact: Karen Whitaker, Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association, (530) 365-7500, pr@shastacascade.org, www.shastacascade.com.

Lakehead Campground and RV Park Adds Cabin Tents
For those seeking a unique outdoor camping experience, visit the Lakehead Campground and RV Park, which recently added three Cabin Tents. These adorable and roomy Cabin Tents are hassle free, since they are already set up. Inside, you’ll find a cozy space with beds, electricity, a light and a fan for the warmer months. One can also enjoy free Wi-Fi or play a game of horseshoes, walk along the lake, swim in the pool or participate in many other recreational activities. Lakehead offers one large 10 x 14 Cabin Tent, which sleeps up to six people. It has two double beds, as well as floor cots if needed. The other two smaller Cabin Tents have one double bed and sleep up to four with extra cots. The tents are situated on a raised foundation and are even carpeted. The site also includes a picnic table, fire pit and BBQ perfect for outdoor grillers. Contact: Kathy Hengst, Lakehead Campground & RV Park, (530) 238-8450, vacation@lakeheadcampgroundandrv.com, www.lakeheadcampgroungandrv.com.

Lost Coast Surfboards Rents Stand-Up Paddle Boards
For those thrill-seekers looking to try something new, give Lost Coast Surfboards a call to rent a stand-up paddle board. They are located at Brandy Creek Beach right on the beautiful Whiskeytown Lake, 15 minutes west of Redding. For those just starting out, you can learn the basics by taking a private lesson. Included in the rental is a lifejacket, board and a paddle. This is the newest water sport, perfect for all ages, and it’s a new and unique way to see Whiskeytown Lake. Contact: Neil and Jeanie Eliasson, Lost Coast Surfboards & Stand-Up Paddle Boards, (530) 244-1129, pr@shastacascade.org, www.shastacascade.org.

Learn and Tour Lassen Volcanic National Park
Group tours are now being offered by park concessionaire California Guest Services, with an interpretive guide and lunch. The tours take in some of the park’s best hydrothermal features, including Bumpass Hell and Sulphur Works, and stops at Manzanita Lake, Lake Helen and Lassen Peak. Tours can be customized for different types of travelers, to feature just photo stops or take in short walks or longer, ranger-led hikes. The tours do not include transportation and require a minimum of 10 people. The Lassen Park Foundation will also be starting the “Reach the Peak” rehabilitation project to widen and restore the Lassen Peak Trail. This trail takes visitors on a 2.5-mile hike to the top of one of the largest plug dome volcanoes in the world. The five-year, $2.2 million project will entail construction of a new 5.5-mile trail linking Manzanita Creek Trail to the Lassen Peak parking area, along with new interpretive materials and installation of restroom facilities halfway up the Lassen Peak trail. Contact: Karen Whitaker, Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association, (530) 365-7500, pr@shastacascade.org, www.shastacascade.com.

NORTH COAST

Famed Vintner Opens Unique Wine Tasting Room
Mike Draxton, who has produced wines for a number of labels, including El Roy, Heliodoro and Henry Bronson, is opening a tasting room in Geyserville’s Alexander Valley. All of his wines are made from estate-grown or purchased grapes from the Alexander Valley. His new Vintners Signatures tasting room highlights the magic that happens when you combine the right grower, varietal and location with an experienced winemaking team. The tasting room is a unique concept as it features the partnership of grower and winemaker; the wines available for tasting are all the product of small lots from exceptional vineyards in Sonoma and Napa County, hand-crafted to express the unique character of specific vineyards.Contact: Michael Monahan, Vintners Signatures, (707) 857-3300, michael@vintnerssignatures.com, www.vintnerssignatures.com.

Historic Mendocino Property Restored & Reopened
Located in Hopland, the gateway to Mendocino County, Campovida has an incredibly interesting history. Originally opened by the winemaking Fetzer family in 1983, the 51-acre property was well known for being the first organic food and wine center in the U.S., and once hosted such culinary greats as Emeril Lagasse, Julia Child and John Ash. It has been closed to the public for the last five years, but reopened during the summer under new ownership and management. The property features a 13-acre biodiversity-rich, organic garden featuring more than 2,000 varieties of fresh fruit, herbs, vegetables, ornamental and edible flowers; the Dining Pavilion, which seats up to 120 guests with two kitchens – one demonstration and one commercial; an area for public exhibitions on gardening and wine and food products; a barn under renovation, a board room and reception area; and 10 acres of organic Sangiovese and Viognier. Visitors to Campovida can enjoy local wines and epicurean items presented through a collaborative, interactive onsite program with Mendocino Farms called “A Place to Taste,” including a wine tasting room featuring a range of local, organic and biodynamic wines from the Magnanimus Wine Group; pairings with herbs and products from the property and region and guided tours of the gardens. Campovida will also offer culinary events, classes and programs. Contact: Megan Metz, Campovida, megan@campovida.com, www.campovida.com.

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Reopens
Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, San Francisco Odditorium and a popular Fisherman’s Wharf attraction since 1967, has reopened after undergoing a mega-makeover in 2010. With more than 70 new interactive and hands-on exhibits, it’s the most interactive Believe It or Not! Odditorium in the world. It is home to more than 300 exhibits, 80% of which are new, in 18 themed galleries, with a new emphasis on the Bay Area. Ripley’s Marvelous Mirror Maze is where “mirror, mirror on the wall” goes to a whole new level, with more than 200 mirrors spread across nearly 2,000 square feet of space. Special lighting and sound effects make this a fun family activity. Ripley’s Candy & Toy Factory is a colorful, fun and tasty addition with a huge variety of candies of all kinds – from old fashioned root beer barrels to the most current confections. Contact: Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, (415) 202-9850, sanfran@ripleys.com, www.ripleysf.com.

Wine Excursions with Master Sommelier
Venture off the Meadowood estate and into Napa Valley for a half or full-day wine excursion with Meadowood’s resident wine educator, Gilles de Chambure. Start the morning with a vineyard tour followed by a private winery tour and tasting. At mid-day, break for a casual lunch or picnic. A second winery visit may be added in the afternoon. This guided exploration includes an introduction to Napa Valley’s climate, geography and viticulture. Guests also enjoy a discussion of local history and a current view of who’s who in the world of wine. Contact: Meadowood Napa Valley, 1-800-458-8080, www.meadowood.com.

GOLD COUNTRY

Wine Bike Tours in Murphys
There’s no better way to tour the vineyards near the charming town of Murphys than from the seat of a bicycle. As guests pedal past the gently rolling hills and pastoral vineyards of Calaveras County, they enjoy a refreshing sensory experience that simply cannot be achieved from a car. The group is led by GetOnYourMARK owner and cycling coach Shelley Marenka and provides the chance to visit wineries you otherwise might miss, and talk directly with the owners and winemakers. Each tour group enjoys a catered gourmet picnic lunch, served overlooking the vineyards or on the wine tasting grounds. The pace of the bike tours is catered to recreational cyclists. With a casual pace and frequent stops, the emphasis is on enjoying the scenery and having a great time with friends. Wine tasting and a gourmet lunch in historic Murphys follows the vineyard cycling adventure. Contact: Shelley Marenka, GetOnYourMARK, (209) 890-6244, getonyourmark@gmail.com, www.getonyourmark.com.

CENTRAL VALLEY

New Winery in Woodland
Woodland is home to Route 3 Wines, a new winery that produces a variety of wines that won’t break the bank. Each wine bottle costs less than $15 and is made with local grapes from Yolo County. The first wines of the company were introduced in 2009. Among other offerings, the winery features syrah, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. Owners of the winery hope to have a tasting room and winery facility on-site in the future. In the interim, wine can be purchased online at www.route3wines.com. Contact: Tiffany Dozier, Yolo County Visitors Bureau, (530) 297-1900, tiffany@yolocvb.org, www.yolocvb.org.

"American Muscle" Opening on April 9, 2011 at CA Automobile Museum
American Muscle celebrates Detroit’s 1960s glory days of speed, sound, and style, when lightweight, mid-sized cars with big engines tore up American roads. The exhibit captures the colorful history of the muscle car, from its origins (whether you believe that was in 1964, 1955, or even 1938) to its sudden demise in the economy-conscious 1970s. Exhibit runs from April 9 - July 10. Contact: Kaela Nelson, California Automobile Museum, (916) 442-6802, pr@calautomuseum.org, www.calautomuseum.org.

HIGH SIERRA

New Donner Cross Erected
The Donner Cross, originally erected in 1887, has been standing tall in Truckee for more than a century, paying tribute to the Donner Party who were trapped during the notorious winter of 1846-47. The Donner Cross has a long line of history from being burned down to rotting through because of the harsh weather, but still remains today for people to come and remember the struggles that the Donner Party faced. The original cross, which was 24-feet high, was erected to mark the site of the Graves-Reed Cabin at Donner Lake in 1887, but by 1906 the Donner Cross was rotting through so the Donner Ice Company replaced it with a 20-foot cross. This spring, the Donner Cross once again fell victim to years of Sierra winters. Mark Tanner offered to help the Truckee Donner Historical Society replace the cross and they sent out a crew, led by Jim Smith, to construct a new cross. The new Donner Cross sits just as the original had, representing the hardships these brave emigrants faced and ensuring that residents and visitors can continue to remember the story of the Donner Party. Contact: Lynn Saunders, Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce, (530) 587-2439, lynn@truckee.com, www.truckee.com.

New Section of Four-Lane on U.S. 395      
Caltrans has completed construction on 11 miles of new four-lane on U.S. 395, from just south of Manzanar to just north of Independence, in Inyo County. This newest section of scenic U.S. 395 means the main road up the East Side of the Sierra Nevada and through the Owens Valley is completely four-laned from Pearsonville to north of Bishop, except for several miles through Olancha. The project also included new sidewalks, street lamps and other improvements in Independence. Contact: Jon Klusmire, Inyo County, (760) 878-0258, jklusmire@inyocounty.us, www.theothersideofcalifornia.com.

“1000 Words or More ... ” Exhibit at Eastern California Museum
Photogravures by Edward S. Curtis and Photographs by Andrew A. Forbes. The exhibit running from March, 2011 - February 1012 presents the two men’s differing perspectives on the use of photography to document the changing West. Edward S. Curtis stated his intent to create a visual and textual document of American Indians beginning in 1906, for his 20-volume epic, “The North American Indian.” Many of his photos have become iconic images. The Moore Family Trust recently donated 30 Curtis photogravures to the Eastern California Museum. These classic, formal images will be contrasted with the work of professional photographer Andrew A. Forbes, who began his photo-documentation of the settling of the Owens Valley and the valley’s Paiute tribes in the same year. Photos of camps and dwellings present the view with the most striking difference between the two men’s approaches to documenting the culture, and cultural changes taking place in the west at the time.. The museum is located at 155 N. Grant Street in Independence, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Contact: Jon Klusmire, Inyo County, (760) 878-0258, jklusmire@inyocounty.us, www.theothersideofcalifornia.com.

CENTRAL COAST

New and Improved Pismo Beach
Take in sweeping ocean views while strolling along Pismo Beach’s newly upgraded and expanded promenade. The wooden boardwalk now stretches from the end of Main Street to Pomeroy Avenue, and includes new improvements to the Pier Plaza area, including public restrooms, additional parking spaces, showers and a new drop-off area. The final phase of the project cost $1.5 million. The Pismo Beach Promenade provides yet one more amenity to this classic California beach town. Media and public contact: Suzen Brasile, Pismo Beach Conference & Visitors Bureau, (805) 773-7034, sbrasile@pismobeach.org, www.classiccalifornia.com.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY

Dive Immersion: Your Chance to Dive in an Aquarium
For the first-time ever, general certified divers are now invited to dive into the Aquarium of the Pacific. Guests can journey into the warm, 350,000-gallon Tropical Reef Habitat to meet more than 1,000 tropical fish, sharks, rays and turtles up close and personal. In this two-and-a-half hour experience, they get a personal behind-the-scenes tour of the dive program, a dive in the aquarium's largest exhibit, a certificate of completion, souvenir towel, use of an underwater camera and a memory card of photos to take home. All equipment is provided, and an RSVP is required. A minimum of an Open Water certification from a nationally recognized scuba certifying agency and a picture I.D. are required and must be brought with guests on their diving day. Contact: Aquarium of the Pacific, (562) 590-3100, aquariumofpacific@lbaop.org, www.aquariumofpacific.org.

ORANGE COUNTY

Walk on Water in Huntington Beach
The newest craze in water sports hits Huntington Beach – stand-up paddle boarding. This sport, which involves paddling a large surfboard with an extended paddle to propel forward movement, actually first began in the 1940s when famed Hawaiian surfer Duke Kahanamoku wanted to try something other than traditional surfing or outrigger canoe racing. An activity for all ages (the younger kids can actually sit on the board while an adult paddles), paddle boarding is much easier than it looks. Most beginners learn how to paddle board in the beautiful Huntington Beach Harbour, an enclosed harbor with little to no waves. More experienced paddle boarders will practice their sport out in the ocean with either shorter, more lightweight boards to catch waves as they would with a regular surfboard, or with the classic large paddle boards for paddling out past the waves to enjoy the amazing aquatic surroundings. Rocky McKinnon, a local paddle boarder and board shaper taught by some of the most elite watermen in the world, champions the sport in Huntington Beach and teaches lessons at reasonable costs for small groups or families. Contact: Rocky McKinnon, McKinnon Shapes & Designs, (714) 377-6101, rockymckinnon@mckinnonsurfboards.com, www.mckinnonsurfboards.com.

DESERTS

The Living Desert’s New Discovery Center
The Living Desert opened the Miriam U. Hoover Discovery Center on November 6. The 6,000-square-foot play and education center will have interactive exhibits focusing on the effects of sun, wind, sand and a little water in the desert environment over geologic time. Highlights include everything from a giant ground sloth skeleton to a fossil wall and a seismograph to interpretation of the sustainable design practices employed in the building. Contact: Kimberly Bowers, The Living Desert, (760) 346-5694, kbowers@livingdesert.org, www.livingdesert.org.

INLAND EMPIRE

Temecula’s Filsinger Winery Is Now Danza del Sol
In the eight months since Robert Olson purchased Filsinger Vineyard and Winery in Temecula Valley, he and his management team have worked steadily to create the beautiful old-world winery that is now Danza Del Sol. With a newly revamped Spanish-style tasting room that is nearly four times the size of its predecessor and beautiful yet comfortable new patio area, the new changes have created a simple yet enchanting home for the exceptional new Danza Del Sol wines. A new direction of the winery has been made clear with the addition of veteran winemaker Mike Tingley. Tingley has 30 years of winemaking experience in the Temecula Valley, and he is a professional member of the American Society of Viticulture and Enology. As well as being an experienced wine judge, Tingley has won numerous Gold, Best of Region and Best of Competition awards for his handcrafted wines over the years. Danza Del Sol Winery has continued to support the Filsinger brand of wines, including the ever popular Gewurztraminer and the Orange Muscat. The Danza Del Sol team is excited about the recent release of the gold medal-winning 2009 Chardonnay, the bronze medal-winning 2009 Dos Blancos, 2009 Reserve Chardonnay, a 2008 Merlot, a 2009 Tempranillo and a soon-to-be released 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon. Contact: Carolyn Fittipaldi, Temecula Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau, (951) 491-6085, carolyn@temeculacvb.com, www.temeculacvb.com.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY

What’s New in San Diego
The Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park will present “Zandra Rhodes – A Lifelong Love Affair With Textiles,” through April 3, 2011. The exhibition will present 47 high-fashion costumes in distinctive printed textiles created by Rhodes, who began her career in the 1960s. Contact: Stephenie Medina, San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau, (619) 557-2838, smedina@sdcvb.org, www.sandiego.org.

“Kid City” Exhibition Reopens at the Reuben Fleet Science Center
“Kid City,” the specially designed exhibition for preschool children ages 3 to 5 years, has undergone the final phase of a custom two-part renovation to completely makeover the exhibition. Improvements to “Kid City” support additional opportunities for hands-on and parent-guided learning for preschoolers throughout the exhibition. Phase II additions include a new infant area that will provide tactile experiences. The enclosed area offers infants still in the crawling stage a safe space to explore with their parents. Objects present a variety of sloped, bumpy and soft surfaces to contribute to infants’ developing motor skills. A new “fire truck” exhibit sponsored by ScholarShrae College Savings Plan and Fidelity Investments gives young visitors the opportunity to manipulate the controls found on a real life fire truck with multiple gadgets to push and pull, in addition to sound and light features. Phase 1 renovations, completed in April 2010, included the expansion of the “Power Plant” to include a permanent “Ball Wall” with multiple chutes, tubing, tracks, pinwheels and other moving objects. The “Grocery Store” was upgraded with a new nutrition interactive that teaches young visitors about the importance of healthy food choices, along with a new delivery vehicle for loading and unloading groceries and produce. The “Little Learner’s Lab” features an innovated microscope on a rope that allows for up-close exploration from objects ranging from soft felt to prickly steel wool pads. Contact: Client Services, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, (619) 238-1233, publicrelations@rhfleet.org, www.rhfleet.org.

 
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