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EAT, DRINK & PLAY   -   GET OUT OF TOWN
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Devil's Punchbowl Natural Area is one of those places that leaves you wanting to come back for more. Each trip is filled with, "Where in the heck am I?" moments. It is so unlike its surroundings - or anywhere else in Southern California - that you can't help but want to keep exploring.
"Who wants this gold?" asked a park ranger holding up a small glass tube packed with shiny flakes. Without waiting for an answer, she waved her hand over a trough lined with sand and gravel. The flakes fluttered into the cold water and disappeared to the bottom.
For many years Carpinteria was where we stopped for gas or lunch on the way to somewhere else. We rarely ventured far from the freeway and certainly never made this charming beach town between Ventura and Santa Barbara a destination in its own right. Last summer we finally realized what we were missing.
"Dad, I see snow!" 3-year-old Amber shouted from the back seat. We were winding our way up the Tioga Road just outside the east entrance to Yosemite National Park.
"I found gold!" shouted Brooke, 5, as she crouched next to a stream of water trickling out of an abandoned mine. Her hopes were as high as the thousands of miners who flocked to this isolated valley, just off the Tioga Road near the entrance to Yosemite National Park.
The Do Not Disturb sign hanging from the door on our room at L'Auberge Del Mar nicely summed up our recent weekend there - "Dreaming to the sound of the waves."
Standing at Newport Beach's Crystal Cove, I can't help but feel sorry for those poor souls who live in places that boast four real seasons. Summer is still months away, and while they're shoveling snow, I'm here with my toes in the sand.
be surprised at what you learn. Take Torrance for instance. I knew it was in the South Bay, just off the 405 Freeway.
OK ladies, listen up. As the holidays have just passed, you know it's more blessed to give than to receive. Or at least that's the theory. So with that in mind, I'm pulling a switcheroo with the annual Valentine's Day edition of Get Out of Town. This year, it's your turn to plan the festivities.
It's January again, so it must be time for resolutions.
So what's it going to be - the usual? Eat healthier. Work out more. Watch less TV.
Here's the real question - do you really want to do any of those things? Didn't think so.
Surprise them this year when the Thanksgiving dinner conversation turns to, "So what are you thankful for?" Your savvy traveler answer: "I'm thankful I don't live in Bodie." And here's why.
This year marks the 85th-anniversary of Hollywood's famed El Capitan Theatre. Opened in 1926, it was part of the trio of themed entertainment palaces that graced Hollywood Boulevard, including the Chinese and Egyptian theaters.
This year marks the 85th-anniversary of Hollywood's famed El Capitan Theatre. Opened in 1926, it was part of the trio of themed entertainment palaces that graced Hollywood Boulevard, including the Chinese and Egyptian theaters.
"It looked really scary, but it was really cool!" proclaimed my 5-year-old daughter Brooke. After splashing around in LEGOLAND Water Park's tamer attractions for awhile, she had summoned the courage to ride one of the larger slides. And then she was unstoppable.
Standing in our room after dinner, I glanced down at my iPhone and saw the best message of the day: No service. April and I had just checked into The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort outside Solvang looking for a distraction-free weekend of relaxation. And it was clear we were in the right place.
Hollywood stars don't always age gracefully, but the Griffith Observatory is an exception. Perched on a promontory offering sweeping views of Los Angeles, from the snowcapped peaks of the San Gabriels in the east, to the shores of Santa Monica on the west, the iconic landmark celebrated its 75th anniversary last year. And it still shines.
There's nothing more terrifying nighttime sound when you're camping.
It's worse than hearing a bear rifling through your food. Or someone saying, "The creek's starting to flood; you might want to move your tent." Or hard-partying neighbors telling fart jokes at 2 in the morning.
If you're a kid growing up in Southern California, there are a few things you can count on at school (besides budget cuts). Chances are you'll reconstruct a California mission with sugar cubes and red licorice. And you'll go on a whale-watching field trip.
Some people celebrate 40 with an "over the hill" party theme. Not my buddy Mike. He wanted to climb the hill, specifically 8,800-foot Half Dome in Yosemite. And take a dozen dudes with him. Yeah, it was an ambitious 40th-birthday plan, but that's Mike.
Dude, I hate to break it to you, but Cupid is calling you out again. Yes, Valentine's Day is right around the corner. But don't panic. This year, you are all over him. Like red velvet on a box of chocolate. You might think he's got your number, but read on, and you'll be the man with the V-Day plan.
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