High Above It All at Lake Como – Hiking to the Church of San Martino

Lake Como from aboveThe first thing I did when I arrived in the town of Varenna on the eastern shore Lake Como was stake out a café as close as possible to the water. Continue reading

The Ultimate Guide to Mount Diablo

Mount DiabloAs you drive along Route 680 in Contra Costa County, a solitary mountain dominates the horizon. It could almost be mistaken for a volcano. Sacred to the Miwok Indians who once lived here, this geologic show-stopper called Mount Diablo is many things to many people – a wilderness playground, a temple of solitude, a subject for artistic expression. For all who live within its shadow, it’s an everyday reminder of nature’s beauty and endurance. Continue reading

Volunteering at Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

Call me crazy, but this past February I used a week of my vacation time to travel half way around the world . . . to work! Granted I was on the beautiful tropical island of Phuket in southern Thailand, but still, I was not lounging on the beach and partying into the wee hours as many do at this popular tourist destination. (Ok, I did get half a day at Nai Yang Beach, plus an amazing Thai massage!) Instead, I was volunteering at Phuket’s first ethical sanctuary for elephants, Phuket Elephant Sanctuary (PES). Continue reading

Nevada City: Weekend Getaway in Gold Country

Nevada CityNevada City is one of those “I can’t believe I’ve lived in Northern California for almost 20 years and haven’t been here yet” places. After passing by the Nevada City/Rte. 49 exit off I-80 countless times on trips to Lake Tahoe, my husband and I finally made the turn off to check out the historic gold mining town that is fast becoming a popular spot for San Francisco Bay Area transplants. Continue reading