Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Point Pinos Lighthouse, Monterey CA - Leap Day Travel Tip

February 29, 2012

Today’s travel tip: Drive around the entire Monterey and Pacific Grove coastline next to the Monterey Bay on your way to Carmel.  This will be an adventure as you never know what type of weather you may encounter – sun, fog, rain. The views are fabulous. 

Be sure to stop, get out of your car and explore – watch the sea otters play in the kelp beds and hear the sharp crack of an abalone being opened for lunch by one of these creatures.

When I turned around from watching the sea otters, I found this special image of Point Pinos Lighthouse. I remember a professional photo image from Monterey CVB website of this ~ I found the exact spot to add to my own collection.

Point Pinos Lighthouse, Monterey Bay, with smiles DWest


Point Pinos Lighthouse (stands for point of the pines) is a perfect name for this rugged area of the Monterey coastline and was named by the Spanish explorer Sebastian Vizcaino in 1602.  This cape-cod style lighthouse is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the west coast (Since Feb. 1, 1855) and is a National Historic Landmark.

The Lightkeepers

A not so common and different profession is that of a Lightkeeper. I found this website with fun stories of all of the Lightkeepers.  The first lightkeeper was Charles Layton, appointed to the post at $1000 per year.   The most famous lightkeeper was Mrs. Emily Fish, who served from 1893 to 1914. She was called the "Socialite Keeper" due to her love of entertaining guests at the lighthouse.

On the way to Point Pinos Dwest
Point Pinos Lighthouse, 831.648.3176, is available to the public, call before you go for the most current information.

Hours of Operation:
Thursday-Monday
1 p.m.-4 p.m.

Suggested Donation:
$2 - Adults
$1 - Youth


Celebrating this Leap Day going off the beaten path ~ The Fun Tour Guru
Many thank you's of travel sources for this article which I get detailed background information from some favorite travel writers below.  I do wander through this region quite often.  I prepared our Monterey E-Guide that you may download or print and take with you on your trip.  

Northern California Off the Beaten Path, Mark R. Williams
Best Places Central California Coast , Judith Babcock Wylie


By DWest








Monday, February 20, 2012

Arizona Travel, Baseball Spring Training Starts in March

Football season is over.  On this lazy afternoon, I watch the cold, blurry white winter storms increasing across the rest of our country.  Yes, this is the time of the year I start daydreaming.  When I have this double duo distraction of baseball games while searching for local stories on my trips, I drift away completely on cloud nine. It is starting... San Francisco Giants spring training camp.
 
I came across this article today about the San Francisco Giants which makes me even more eager to go Arizona.  I miss baseball. 


I don’t know about the rest of you, I love to go to a region where I find a superb mix of activities; hanging out with other baseball fanatics on a sunny afternoon watching exhibition games, hiking (or with me, slower morning walks now), swimming, spas, art and culture, shopping, unusual architecture, and eating. 


Cowboys and upscale city life combined – it is time for those of us in the northern states to pack our bags and head south. I like to pretend I am a baseball scout and talk with players on my favorite teams about what they are doing to prepare for the regular season.

Will Buster Posey be back behind the plate?
How healthy is Brian Wilson this year?


Don’t be surprised to find out you aren’t the only one going to spring training. The Cactus League website says, “Visitor attendance has increased every year.”  You might want to call in advance and make a few reservations this year.

History of Baseball Spring Training

Official Spring Training Season started in the early 1900s.  Some people say it was as early as the late 1800s. I won't go into the details here, as you will find an excellent article outlining spring training history by Rodney Johnson, From Dust to Diamonds: The Evolution of the Cactus League, (c) 2012 - Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Origins of Spring Training, on the Arizona Cactus League website. 

People have taken this break opportunity as long as we remember for the sun, fun, and ball games.  I am drawn into reading local stories of well known baseball icons like Ted Williams and Bob Fuller who spent their spring training heydays at the modernized mid-century hotel property of Hotel Valley Ho.

San Francisco Giants and Spring Training

The San Francisco Giants, a part of the Cactus League, hold their spring training camp in Scottsdale, Arizona.  If you haven’t participated in spring training events, you should. I like to carry my camera and iPhone with me at all times as you never know when you will bump into favorite players in local business shops and restaurants after watching them at the exhibition games. 

Spring training tickets are affordable.  Check in advance with the game schedules.  Add an extra fun day trip to see your favorite team play in 8 different cities across Arizona.

 
Other Local Arizona Attractions

I was quick to discover many other things to do around this region on my last trip. I don’t really follow architecture,  I became spellbound with Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home, Taliesin West tour as I listened to the well delivered docent stories.  And, you don’t have to be athletic to go on local jeep tours in the desert. 

There are multiple desert hiking trails to start the day with. I enjoy going for a s-l-o-w morning walk in the morning sunshine – be sure to keep water with you all of the time. I must say the Arizona culinary scene is incredible. Yes, I have to exercise everyday to get ready for my evening dinner tasting.

Image courtesy of Scottsdale CVB
My Insider Information tips:

My favorite hotel – Firesky Resort & Spa, with their open lobby is very affordable and within walking distance of old town Scottsdale, and stop by their restaurant for any meal, Taggia . A fabulous ~ 5 Stars to the friendly hello's you receive from all employees, everyday.  

My favorite restaurant – I love to eat original Stetson Chopped Salad at Cowboy Ciao, and was an instant fan when I found out they served my favorite Ridge Bordeaux blend from the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Oh yeah, now back to my baseball spring training story..... batter up! 1 - 2 - 3 and you are out at the ol' ball game (grins)

 The Fun Tour Guru Strays off the beaten path to Arizona with Baseball Spring Training.



Trivia quiz: Can you tell me what is no longer true in the Giants Baseball Stadium in the first picture? 



 

Monday, February 13, 2012

San Francisco & Tony Bennett on Feb 14 Tribute - 50 years

First, the Grammy's 

I am melancholy today after watching the Grammy's last night.  I realize I don't even remember who won the awards ~ with one exception, Adele, with her awesome story, came away with well deserved recognition.  It was all of the performances, one after another, that simply put me under a spell!  Famous to new performers - all varieties of music - they all were fabulous.  Everyone. 

Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Adele, Taylor Swift, Tony Bennett, The Beach Boys, Glen Campbell, Katy Perry, Chris Brown ... and so forth ... you get the picture.  And, of the sad news of Whitney Houston, we need to remember life is fragile.

Next, I left my heart in San Francisco St. Valentine's Day Tribute

I know, this may be kind of corny, there is something special about this little town by the bay .... and Tony Bennett!
Today, I read an announcement of San Francisco's - to honor Tony Bennett in a a tribute of the 50th Anniversary of the song, "I left my heart in San Francisco". And, he will be there to sing in person.

When: Noon, Tuesday, February 14, City Hall, Downtown San Francisco you will listen to a free Valentine's Day Treat.

Fabulous tribute


Tony first sang the song in the Venetian Room at the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill in December of 1961, and Tony returns there on the evening of Valentine’s Day to sing at a sold-out benefit dinner and concert to raise money for heart research at UCSF. He recorded the song in 1962. 

Yep, I used to (and still do) always play this song when taking my groups into San Francisco after the long ride north on the peninsula from south bay.   

Of course, for those of you who are curious creatives ~ try entering the contest sponsored by San Francisco Travel Association. Good luck!



With hearts and smiles, Happy Valentine's Day from San Francisco! ~~ The Fun Tour Guru