"Bingo!" shouted Amber as we walked along the sandy trail. My 9 year old was busy scribbling answers in her Junior Ranger Adventure Guide during our hike through the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve. A sighting of fiddleneck completed her Plants and Animals Bingo in less than a half hour.
The website says it best: "Do you really charge to pet cats? Yes. Yes we do." That's the business model of Crumbs and Whiskers, L.A.'s first cat cafe, and it's right there on the FAQ page.
Not surprisingly, there was some grumbling when we told the kids we were headed to The Arboretum. The Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden is a 127-acre outdoor paradise in Arcadia that features multiple gardens, landscapes and plants from around the world.
Like a relationship, Downtown L.A. delivers highs, lows and surprises. And, as with someone special, the more time you give them, the better things get.
After the holidays, I find that I need to get out and move. A big hike. A long bike ride. It's not about starting big on the perennial "be more active" resolution. My aim is to simply chip away some of the physical and mental rust that accumulate during the stretch of sedentary indulgence between Thanksgiving and New Year's.
Fall in Santa Clarita can be elusive (Still hot, but now windy.). Though barely detectable, it's enough to stir in me a restlessness that demands one final trip to the Sierras before winter snows blow in and shut down the canyons, trails and lakes.
As plans go, this one seemed foolproof. My brother-in-law Javier put out the call to head for Mt. Pinos on a Friday night to catch the Perseid meteor shower. He'd gone up last summer and it proved to be the perfect star-gazing destination. Dark and uncrowded, the parking lot offered a quiet place to lay out a blanket and take in the amazing show exploding across the night sky.
Start with a beachside location, add a heaping cup of sunshine, fold in good friends, season liberally with interesting food and finish with a splash of tequila. That's the recipe for an indulgent afternoon in Laguna Beach touring the town, learning its history and, best of all, sampling its food and drink.
To say the world moves fast at 90 miles per hour is redundant. But as I pointed the Porsche Cayman GTS toward the first turn of the race course at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, two upright cones told me I had a lot to do, and not much time to do it.
It was Friday afternoon and we were actually driving west on Highway 126. After innumerable texts, e-mails and internet research, our girls' weekend was officially under way.
Standing at home plate in Dodger Stadium for the first time, I pause a moment to take it all in. The first and third base lines stretching away to the foul poles. The pitcher's mound that will deliver up a 100-mph fastball. And the 56,000 spectators whose attention will be on me.
As the car climbed Mulholland Canyon Road away from the Arroyo Sequit, Drew started calling out plant names from the back row.
Arroyo Grande is the coolest little town you've never heard of. When I told a friend where I was headed, it didn't register. "Just off the 101, south of Pismo Beach," I told him. Still nothing. He finally Googled it on his phone and was intrigued. With good reason.
With a recent visit to a Downtown Los Angeles icon, the baton has been officially passed to the next generation. Clifton's Cafeteria, a Southern California tradition for 80 years, lives on in our family.
So how does this sound for a Valentine's Day get-away: rugged beauty, elegant comfort, a range of activities to suit any mood, all within weekend driving distance? Sounds too good to be true, right? Guess again.
Call it the day of the do-overs. That's the best way to sum up a Saturday we spent exploring the Santa Barbara area. Everything we did was worth repeating, although for different reasons.
So how do you like your zipline - with wine or pines? Two distinct adventure opportunities await visitors to the Central Coast and Lake Tahoe. And regardless of which you choose, you can count on finishing with a smile.
Live like a local. That's the credo embraced by Cape Rey, a new resort in the North San Diego County's Carlsbad. But what exactly does that mean?
On the occasion of Inside SCV's 10th anniversary, I was asked to select the 10 most memorable "Get Out of Town" destinations. Over the past decade, my family --wife April, and kids Laurel, Drew, Brooke, and Amber - have wandered all over California, from the shores of San Diego to the peaks of the Sierra Nevada, visiting everything from back-country camps to four-diamond resorts.
That's a lot of lot of miles, and even more memories. So the resulting list is necessarily eclectic. Some selections represent the best of a locale or lodging category. Others are included solely for sentimental reasons. They're not presented in any particular order, chronological, alphabetical, or otherwise.
Ready? Let's take a road trip down Memory Lane.
Whether a weekend is truly relaxing hinges on Sunday morning. If three particular elements come together then, I consider myself relaxed. Sleeping in. Indulgent food. Dark coffee. With four kids at home, these things rarely align for me. But sitting down in the dining room at Shaver Lake's Elliott House Bed and Breakfast on a weekend away with April, I found it all.