Travel: February 2009 Archives

corkscrewed.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

When American journalist Robert Camuto moved to the south of France with his family several years ago (I know, I know, cue the Peter Mayle comparisons), it was in search of adventure unlike any the seasoned writer had experienced thus far. Indeed, it wasn't long before the New York native found himself squarely in the land of the vine, where - surprise! - the erstwhile political reporter began an adventure decidedly different from anything he'd known before.
By Christopher Nevin Johnston

filmfestBruce.jpgLooking for a good reason to hit the road and relax for a few days?  Well, look no more.  Every spring the Sonoma International Film Festival draws more than 17,000 visitors to the historic Sonoma City Plaza--located roughly 45 miles northeast of San Francisco--for an extended weekend of laid-back film, food, wine, art and music.

Akin to the more scenic film festival locations like Park City or Santa Barbara, Sonoma has all of the natural beauty of its sister fests but--and here's the kicker--is actually an affordable pleasure experience that won't leave you with a bad case of spender's remorse.  From now until February 28th all passes are on sale for 20% off the regular price.  So, if you purchased a basic Festival Pass (valued at $225) you could attend all the regular screenings and panels for only $180!  Let's see the Sundance Kid offer you a better deal....And if your pockets run a little deeper and you would like a more tailored festival experience, Platinum and Premiere Passes will ensure a hobnobbing good time without a bail-out from the Feds.

Family Fun in the Wine Country

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By Robert Farmer

fatherBaby.jpgThe trip from San Francisco to California's Wine Country is a quick one. But for several months in my life it might as well have been half way around the globe. The addition to our family of a baby--our beautiful daughter--had countless positive effects. However, there was one drawback. It turned the Golden Gate Bridge, over which we previously had skipped so effortlessly into Wine Country into a Bridge Too Far.

For several months on end, not only did we not make one of our favorite day trips or easy weekend getaways, we scarcely even let the prospect enter our minds.  So recently when we had occasion to try it again--owing mostly to being forced out of our house to make way for some minor construction--we weren't quite sure what to expect.

February to May in Mendocino

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As winter's squalls turn to gentle raindrops, the Mendocino coast begins to come alive with wildflowers and native grasses. Perhaps one of the most beautiful times to visit, springtime is a fickle season that transforms from grey mornings as fog rolls in, to brilliantly sunny afternoons perfect for coaxing out tiny buds.

Inland areas tend to be similarly rainy, though a bit warmer. Even so, this time of year throughout the county tends to be a slow season, with most travelers waiting to escape to the cool coast when things get stifling elsewhere (June to October). You'll find fewer crowds right now (though February and March are whale season, and attract wildlife enthusiasts). Some tasting rooms and restaurants close up altogether or have limited hours until the crowds start returning in May, so check ahead. The good news is that you may be able to get an easy reservation at your favorite inn or hard-to-book restaurant during this slow season.

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