Sunday, October 14, 2007

Off the beaten path locally...... find out now!

Click below to the link of the latest free issue from the Silicon Valley Concierge Assoication.

"Off the Beaten Path" article features a tree (yes, a tree) over a 1,000 years old in the heart of Silicon Valley. Wow! Where is it?

And, for anyone who is fascinated with it, a link to learn more of saving our very own Hangar One at Moffett Field is included. Let's save some of our Silicon Valley history! Again, this is free, join now and help save history in this local area.
or, and click on valley access......

Do you enjoy these informative items of what is happening in the south bay of the San Franicisco Bay area? Join the SVCA. Affordable and great group to get acquainted with.


Friday, September 14, 2007

Wine tasting in Silicon Valley? REALLY!

I was reading an article of “Perfect Picnics, Santa Cruz: A rich repast under the redwood trees “ by Kacie Ratner, printed Friday May 25, 2007, in online in SF Gate this weekend and it reminded me of the great properties we have locally SOUTH of San Francisco.

These special boutique “gems” are a challenge to locate in the Santa Cruz Mountains, yet are very worthwhile to visit. The personnel behind the scenes are always very gracious, and the wines found are great, and there are so many stories to be found.

I advise that it is best to find the expertise to help “guide” you to these locations. The roads are steep and windy and with not the best of signs posted. Fortunately, there are 4-5 local companies that specialize in wine tasting tours (including Lighthouse Tours) of this area and it is best to let these people assist you.

I have cautioned many participants whether the wineries are large group friendly, or if larger motor coaches would be able to make it to the wineries themselves. And, not all wineries are open to the public or only open during weekends or on certain weekends throughout the year.

They are worth visiting – let these trained professionals assist and guide you. I have great testimonials from each group I escort to these local south bay wineries. You will be glad you went!

Tips from the FunGuru

Lighthouse Tours

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Interesting blog about the travel industry

This is an interesting article about the travel industry and I wanted to share this awareness with consumers. Yes, you need to do your homework of who to do business with. If something looks to good to be true, it probably IS not such a great deal. Yes, you may look up packages and great deals and reserve for yourself, as we all now know, the best deals are not published on the Internet. Even Internet prices are inflated - companies have to make a profit.

Read for your yourself and share your questions & comments. Remember, most travel professionals that I know, will work with you before, during and after. I am happy to refer you to several great travel professionals - should I not have the resources myself to assist.

Tips to ask: Seller of travel registrations needed in several states as California and Florida, Liability & errors - omission insurance, member of which travel organizations. Service provided during trip or after?

Thanks - and please share your thoughts ...... I look forward to them.

Always, have fun! the travel fun guru

September tales

September is back to school month for families and the trend for individuals is to focus on getting back to their objectives after taking deserved time off over the summer months.

Did you travel a far or stay local this year? Share with us and others your travel tales of what you did! Reply now.

The season for Art & Wine Festivals starts in the cities that compose of Silicon Valley. I recommend Santa Clara's Art & Wine Festival, held in Central Park. The outstanding Joe Sharino Band will be one of their performers and always a fun day to wander in the park. Mountain View will have their outstanding festival in their downtown area too with many great performers and vendors. You might even start picking out some gifts for your favorite friends and family. Remember, these are free!

For all of you athletes - a great event to go to this month at Santa Clara's very own Great America is Run Forest Run, 5 k on Sept 16. And, the bonus, admission to Great America and parking is free ............... all you have to do is run or walk 5k. Yes, they do have a 1k path available. There is a place to sign up on the link page. Join Us for the "Run Forrest Run!" 5K at Great America on 9.16.07- Click here for details

Other items may be found at in the current issue of the e-zine. Check out my column, 'Off the Beaten Path'. Or, you might pick up the fall issue of Women's Connection Magazine, 408-378-2191, and read my latest article (tip) of Travels around Silicon Valley.

Remember, there are quite a few local wineries in Santa Clara Valley and Santa Cruz Mountains that you may visit.

Make every experience fun - starting with a smile.

Have FUN ! Ciao, the fun guru of Silicon Valley

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

27th Steinbeck Festival - August 2-5, 2007

If you are looking for something a bit different this year, and intriguing this year, remember to add the Steinbeck Festival to your calendar. It is 4 days of interacting events, walking tours, food, music and lots of fun and smiles. You may buy a 4-day passport or day passes and a la carte tickets as well.

Plus, what better time to go exploring this excellent area on your own. There are so many things to do. You may wander to the coastline and perhaps go kayaking in Elkhorn Slough. Or, stop in San Juan Bautista, and do a bit shopping in this fun 'ol west' town and have lunch. It is also home to another one of California's missions. This one made famous from the James Stewart movie Vertigo.

And, if you enjoy wine tasting, you will find several of my favorite wineries, off the beaten path, to visit. These wineries are with less crowds and in general, you are able to visit with the winemakers themselves.

What would Mr. Steinbeck say about his hometown if he were to see it today? So much has happened since the early 1900's - as we carry cell phones, and write emails and drive our fast cars.

Be safe and explore our local area south of San Jose ........................... or perhaps be adventurous and travel with a group. Tip: You are splitting the cost of fuel between several people, and have fun traveling with new and familiar friends. Word of advice from someone who knows this region, the best wineries are sometimes a challenge to find, going down that two lane road in the middle of the country. Another reason for going with a small group is to let someone else do the driving for you. And, you are worry-free of parking issues as well.

Check out the Steinbeck Festival this summer!

The Fun Tour Guru

Off the Beaten Path - writer for Valley Access, the Silicon Valley Concierge Publication

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Off the Beaten Path, in Steinbeck Country

"To finish is a sadness to a writer - a little death. He puts the last word down and it is done. But it isn't really done. The story goes on and leaves the writer behind, for no story is ever done." -- John Steinbeck

To some people Northern California evokes thoughts of technology and Silicon Valley, while other lucky folks enjoy the many attractions of Steinbeck Country, a region rich in history literary, offering several days of exciting exploration.

Steinbeck Country, Salinas, CA 

Start your journey in the charming town of Salinas, birthplace of Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck, and the setting for many of the fascinating stories he wrote in books such as The Red Pony.

One essential stop is the National Steinbeck Center, in Salinas, California. While here, let yourself be enticed by the many creative exhibits from the life of Steinbeck. Be sure to see the other fun, informative, and interactive exhibits from this agricultural region. The next stop is the home where Steinbeck grew up. You will love chatting with the locals on your walk through the historical downtown.

Steinbeck in Monterey, CA

Let yourself enjoy the back roads into Monterey, California. This area has changed quite a bit since Steinbeck wrote Cannery Row (Ad link). Discovering the many differences between the old and the new can be a great learning experience.

Steinbeck in Los Gatos and Campbell, CA 

Another extraordinary learning experience to add to your tour is free of charge and is found in downtown San Jose. It is San Jose State University's Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies, a fascinating place with many exciting exhibits, including excerpts from Steinbeck's Nobel Prize acceptance speech and much, much, more!

Then there are the towns of Los Gatos and Campbell where Steinbeck also lived, offering many special tales for you to discover as you walk the streets.

What would John Steinbeck say if he could visit this region today and see all the changes time has wrought in this area? 
This is a fascinating question to keep in mind as you set out, his books in hand, to explore the back roads right in your own back yard, whether you know it as Steinbeck Country, Silicon Valley, or Valley of Hearts' Delight. All you need to do is stray off the beaten path!

Exploring famous writers roots are fun, where would YOU like to go?  ~ The Fun Tour Guru 

Do you like this article? Please share with your friends, comment, and talk with us below!  Sign up by email for our newsletter - click to our sidebar.

Original article written by Fun Tour Guru (me), in a past summer issue of the Women's Connection Magazine.
Both images by the Fun Tour Guru (me)

My favorite travel book is A Journey into Steinbeck's California (ArtPlace) by Susan Shillinglaw (this is an affiliate link)

Monday, June 4, 2007

Are you connected during your vacation?

Wow, people are really staying connected now even while they are on vacation. What happened to the days when a manager looked fabulous when he/she took time away and did not have to call into the office at all? These managers were known for excellent training of their staff to take over when they were not in the offices.

For more information ............. the rest of this article may be found at the LA Times.

News article from LA Times:
Poll: Most vacationers opt to stay connected
Most vacationers stay connected to friends, family and coworkers through the various devices available, such as laptops and cell phones, according to a recent AP-Ipsos poll. About 25% of people younger than 40 brought laptops with them while on vacation, the poll found, while 80% toted cell phones. Los Angeles Times/Associated Press (free registration)

I really enjoy not being connected on my own vacations - time off, what about you?

Fun Tour Guru

Saturday, May 26, 2007

5 Things to do this sizzling summer 2007 in Silicon Valley

5 Things to do this sizzling summer in Silicon Valley:

A. the book group expo,
in downtown San Jose on June 8, 9, 10. Serious readers having serious fun

This expo kicks off the action filled summer of fabulous events – There IS something for everyone this year.

B. the roaring Grand Prix
C. the fabulous Jazz Festival
D. the colorful Tapestry Arts Festival.
E. Or, outside of town, try visiting the Steinbeck Festival in Salinas.
Newest bonus attraction: Jose & Clara & children – adopted falcons in downtown San Jose

Do you want more? Read your Discover Magazine, San Jose and Santa Clara for calendars of fun things to do.

Always, looking for that special place to share in your travels, either around town, local and beyond…….. have fun this summer!

See my column in the next Valley Access for more things to do.
Fun Guru

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A new adventure happening June 9 and 10

What is new and off the beaten path in Silicon Valley?

It is the book group expo ... something new in San Jose. Well, it is not new, this is the "SECOND CHAPTER." June 9 and 10, 2007

Where: San Jose Convention Center - downtown San Jose - capital of Silicon Valley

Book group exp .... it is everything that book lovers want. And, you do not have to be a book lover to enjoy. A Warning to everyone: you may become a book lover should you indulge. It is a great discovery!

Unique salons to visit with the authors, a fabulous marketplace and more! Okay, there is chocolate. Inside sources tell me that books and chocolate go hand in hand.

Did you miss the interview with Khaled Hosseini (author of "A Thousand Splendid Suns" and "The Kite Runner") on Good Morning America?

Not to worry, see him in person on Friday evening, June 8 (advance tickets only) purchase now.

And, while you are at it... purchase the whole weekend of tickets. Then just go and have fun. How cool is this?

This is simply a fabulous good 'ol fashion fun experience.

Am I part of the book group expo? I was not at first, it is very addicting and easy to fall in with this great group of people. NO, I do not get compensation for writing this blog post - I do get to see you at the expo (smile).

Remember, I always say in my articles, "something is always happening in Silicon Valley" and there is. The "book group expo"! The talk around town!

Watch for more of my "off the beaten path" posts, and you may see my monthly column in the Valley Access e-magazine for Silicon Valley Concierge Association and Women's Connection Magazine. Until my next post, keep smiling ...and yes, comments are always welcome. Let me hear from you - or better yet, I will see you at the book group expo in San Jose June 8, 9, 10.

The Fun Guru