Weekend escapes for Southern Californians

  • Oregon's Heceta Head Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast casts a bright glow

    Oregon's Heceta Head Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast casts a bright glow

    Where can you stay in a historic sentinel — rumored to be haunted — on a rugged coastline? Or watch a towering beacon cast beams of light that extend 21 miles out to sea? Nowhere, except at Heceta Head Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast on Oregon's central coast. My husband and I explored this icon and...

  • Visiting San Francisco? Say yes to NoPa

    Visiting San Francisco? Say yes to NoPa

    A late-summer trip to San Francisco with my wife, child and parents had all of us wanting to check out different parts of the City by the Bay. With some planning, we were able to combine touristy highlights with lesser-known areas, including where we stayed — the city's NoPa neighborhood. NoPa,...

  • Suburban Danville, Calif., is full of all-American charms

    Suburban Danville, Calif., is full of all-American charms

    Having a child is the clichéd motivation to move to the suburbs, and so it was for me and my husband. Our quest to trade our San Francisco one-bedroom led us to Danville, Calif., part of what's known as the Tri-Valley area. I didn't know much about it, except that its main street is darling. Every...

  • Boonville a wine town with rustic charm

    Boonville a wine town with rustic charm

    Boonville, at the beginning of the Anderson Valley appellation (the wine-growing region that stretches along California Highway 128) sometimes feels like a place beyond the frontier. It even has its own dialect, known as "boontling." Yet you'll find charm in this Mendocino County outpost that you...

  • Weekend Escape: Do you know the way to San Jose's Santana Row?

    Weekend Escape: Do you know the way to San Jose's Santana Row?

    Once upon a time, the best reason to stop in San Jose was to visit the Winchester Mystery House (525 S. Winchester Blvd.; [408] 247-2101, winchestermysteryhouse.com). Although that's still a good excuse to get off Interstate 880, San Jose is no longer a one-trick pony for tourists. Silicon Valley...

  • Weekend Escape: Rancho Mirage, a desert vacation with one-stop convenience

    Weekend Escape: Rancho Mirage, a desert vacation with one-stop convenience

    Turns out there's more to the desert than just Palm Springs. Case in point — Rancho Mirage, a town of about 17,000 residents with an outdoor shopping plaza called the River at Rancho Mirage. This area is home to a movie theater, 10 restaurants (including Michael's Pizzeria and Sam's Sushi), eight...

  • Weekend Escape: Quaint coastal town of Carmel charms visitors

    Carmel suffers from a paradox that many places would beg to have: It has so many quaint, historic homes, so many gleaming galleries filled with rare artworks, so many beautiful beaches and sweeping cliff-side vistas that the area seems almost a fantasy. But if you work it just right, as my sweetheart,...

  • Weekend Escape: Downtown Las Vegas is on a winning streak these days

    Old school or new, Sin City's downtown is in the midst of a revival, thanks in part to Zappos' CEO. The Mob Museum, the Boneyard at the Neon Museum and Container Park are among the attractions.

  • Weekend Escape: Golf with Frank Lloyd Wright in Plumas County, Calif.

    Weekend Escape: Golf with Frank Lloyd Wright in Plumas County, Calif.

    It took only three-quarters of a century to realize Frank Lloyd Wright's vision for a golf clubhouse. But instead of being constructed in his native Wisconsin, as Wright had planned, the building forms the centerpiece of a resort in ruggedly beautiful Plumas County, Calif., in the Sierra Nevada...

  • Weekend Escape: Off the trail and into a soft bed in Mammoth Lakes

    After an early July backpacking trip that had my wife, 7-year-old daughter and me eating instant oatmeal and fending off swarms of pesky mosquitoes, we indulged in a hotel stay, shopping and eating out in the resort town of Mammoth Lakes. Although the backpacking costs were minimal — $21 for our...

50°