A Grand Weekend at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Spa in Dana Point
By Leslie Westbrook   |   November 14, 2023

Why travel? To celebrate a special occasion? Birthday, anniversary, retirement, new job, you name it.For a change of scenery? To alleviate boredom? To explore new regions, to be pampered or just sneak off and indulge? Whatever your reason, I love flopping onto a freshly made bed in a hotel room – preferably with a view […]

Iceland Adventure: Images from Afar
By Robert Bernstein   |   September 5, 2023

Merlie and I travelled for most of July in Iceland and Greenland with Overseas Adventure Travel. Upon arrival, the Litli-Hrutur volcano erupted near the airport. I thought we might be stranded. Instead, it was an opportunity of a lifetime: We got to fly over it in a small plane! Along the way we also saw […]


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Ritz-Carlton Bacara: Out-of-this-World Experience in Our Own Backyard
By Leslie Westbrook   |   August 29, 2023

Why would anyone want to spend $55 million for a three-day trip to the moon on SpaceX (estimated cost in the future) when they could merely drive 15 minutes from Montecito to The Ritz-Carlton Bacara Resort and book an “out of this world” spa experience? I indulged in “Body Melt,” an 80-minute treatment that has […]

Island Canyon Chronicles
By Chuck Graham   |   August 29, 2023

The mud was something to behold. However, the narrow, serpentine-like side canyons of Scorpion Canyon were green, lush, and oozing with moisture. The many rushing waterfalls were perpetually soothing as water flowed uninhibited to the main canyon carrying that aquatic melody to the cobbled shoreline at Scorpion Anchorage. It felt like I was experiencing my […]

Peaceful Paddling on the Russian River
By Chuck Graham   |   August 15, 2023

The little North Coast town of Jenner was still asleep as I slid my kayak off the boat ramp and into the glassy waters of the Russian River, a couple hours north of the San Francisco Bay. I had a solid head start, maybe 90 minutes of paddling before sunrise would light up the tallest […]

Lovely Laguna and Montage Laguna Beach Eat. Drink. Swim. Nap. Walk. Get Pampered. Repeat. Not necessarily in that order.
By Leslie Westbrook   |   July 25, 2023

There’s nothing more SoCal picturesque than cruising down the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway, in case you’re not a Californian reading this story) on a sunny summer day.  I headed to one of Laguna Beach’s stellar spots: Crystal Cove and Montage Laguna Beach, perched elegantly above the Pacific and adjacent to a lovely seaside public park […]

By Steven Libowitz   |   July 18, 2023

The NatureTrack Film Festival was created as an extension of the NatureTrack Foundation, the nonprofit that combats “Nature-Deficit Disorder” by transporting county students outside via a variety of no-charge field trips from the seashore to the inland oak woodlands to engage curiosity and instill appreciation and awe of nature. The festival had a fine first […]

  • Life at the Waterhole
    By Chuck Graham   |   July 11, 2023

    The spotted hyenas soaked themselves in one of the many waterholes surrounding the vast, searing white pan of Etosha National Park in northern Namibia of southwestern Africa. The two scavengers were multitasking. While cooling off in the shallow pool of water, they were also strategizing on how to drive off a healthy-looking lioness and her […]

    Mattei’s Tavern and Inn Opens With a Bang!
    By Leslie Westbrook   |   June 20, 2023

    What’s black and white and bright all over? The freshly open (but still in the process of being built out) super-duper redo of The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern – thanks to interior designer/design team AvroKO, par excellence, who has not missed a detail from the bootjacks outside guest room doors to leather tabs on the […]


    Patience is Required
    By Chuck Graham   |   May 16, 2023

    Not too much of it though, myself and the western gulls were growing anxious. However, all I had to do was observe and study the throngs of those hungry seabirds, and then eventually the drama unfolded. The northern elephant seal colony above San Simeon and surrounding the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse on the Central California Coast, […]

    By Chuck Graham   |   April 4, 2023

    As I do most days after leading a kayak tour at Scorpion Anchorage on Santa Cruz Island, I took a stroll with my camera after everyone had left the island and returned to the harbor in Ventura. As small waves crashed on the deserted, cobbled shoreline, I noticed something odd approaching the beach just before […]

    By Chuck Graham   |   March 21, 2023

    As I walked across an icy Pixley National Wildlife Refuge (NWF), five miles west of Highway 99, it sounded as if I was inside a packed house of a football stadium. It was an hour before sunset, and it sounded as if it was that loud. Just past sunset, squadrons of migratory sandhill cranes were […]

    Madagascar Adventure: Images from Afar
    By Robert Bernstein   |   March 21, 2023

    Just before COVID, the British journal New Scientist offered a tour to Madagascar, and I immediately placed a deposit. More than 20 years ago, I had attended a talk on Madagascar, which piqued my interest but also only offered a bleak interpretation of its conservation. (For a fuller discussion, see my article titled, “A Lesson […]

    SB Travel Bureau: Seventy-Five Big Ones!
    By James Buckley   |   March 7, 2023

    Santa Barbara Travel Bureau co-owners Charles and David de L’Arbre and his family left Brussels, Belgium, in May 1940 just ahead of an advancing German army. Charles’s father packed their things, filled the family Buick’s gas tank, threw another tank of gas in the trunk, and took off. Charles recalls that his grandmother was walking […]