Going to southern California? Do this:
- Drink a famous Irish coffee at the Buena Vista Cafe.
- Wander along the Fisherman’s Wharf.
- Spend quarters at the Musee Mecanique, “one of the world’s largest privately owned (since 1933) collections of coin-operated mechanical musical instruments and antique arcade machines.”
- Laugh at the California sea lions sunning, swimming and squabbling at Wharf 39.
- Endulge with Ghiradelli chocolate.
- Stroll through Chinatown (the largest one outside of Asia) and chow down on plates of dim sum.
- Walk through the grand lobby of the historic Palace Hotel to have a drink at the barroom. It features the Pied Piper of Hamlin mural created by painter Maxfield Parrish in 1909.
- Attend the Teatro Zinzanni, “… a bewitching evening of European cabaret and cirque, divas and madmen, spectacle and sensuality with live music and a gourmet five-course dinner – set in the nightclub of your dreams!” Elena Gatilova, the Ukrainian rhythmic gymnist, mesmerized us with her grace, agility, beauty and strength as she performed on a ring in the air. See for yourself.
- Do the obvious – ride a cable car. Learn about this historic mode of transportation.
- Cruise along U.S. Route 1 that zigzags along Pacific Ocean coastline and explore a few beaches.
- Dine on the back deck at Nick’s Cove, a historic restored roadhouse on Tomales Bay. Gene raved over the hot BBQ oysters with garlic-parsley butter.
- Check out the spinning neon flamingo sign at the Flamingo Conference Resort and Spa. The Los Angeles modernist architect George Vernon Russell built the resort in 1957 to mirror the original Vegas Flamingo design. Hang out at the pool like actress Jayne Mansfield used to do.
- Kick back with a fine craft beer at the Russian River Brewing Company, maker of the double IPA Pliny the Elder.
Russian River Valley
- Sip 200 regional artisanal wines and nibble on epicurian delights at the Sonoma Wine Country Festival. The event is held at the MacMurray Ranch, once owned by actor Fred MacMurray, who, among other roles, played the father in “My Three Sons.”