Eating Italy My Roman Holiday: Part Two
By Leslie Westbrook   |   December 21, 2021

My first morning in Rome began with some much-appreciated exercise, as I was aching to hit the ground running. A person can run — or walk briskly as I did — with stops at historic sites on a special tour arranged by the dream team of concierges at my hotel Sofitel Villa Borghese. Along with […]

Forces of Nature
By Chuck Graham   |   November 16, 2021

Strolling down Scorpion Canyon to the cobble beach, I was keen to see lightning strikes across the Santa Barbara Channel. From the southeast fringe of Santa Cruz Island, the beach was deserted with lightning strikes touching down around the largest isle off the California Coast. As dusk approached, the storm moved directly over Scorpion Canyon. […]

 

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Riding the Rails in Idaho
By Hattie Beresford   |   November 16, 2021

In mid-September, my husband Michael and I hit the road and traveled to Kellogg, Idaho, to ride the rails. Our locomotion, however, was pedal-powered and the iron rails had long been torn out, leaving behind two rail corridors: one of the Union Pacific Railroad and the other of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific […]

Full Moon and Wildfires
By Chuck Graham   |   November 2, 2021

Fed by a beaming full moon, the gritty granite walls were lit up like an ancient coliseum as we ascended the Mountaineering Route on Mount Whitney in the Eastern Sierra.  Days earlier, I had my doubts on whether we would be allowed to ascend Mount Whitney. All the National Forests throughout California were off limits […]

Jazz, Pizza, Art and Old Friends: What More Could a Gal Ask For?
By Leslie Westbrook   |   October 19, 2021

“New York City is back!” I exclaimed to Gianni Valenti over a drink at Birdland, the 70-plus-year-old jazz club and theater cabaret that he’s owned for the past three-plus decades, on 44th Street in New York City. “It’s half back,” he corrected me, adding that his longtime landlord was very understanding of the economic climate […]

Embracing the Loam
By Chuck Graham   |   October 19, 2021

Snow flurries, hail, and intermittent rain was just enough to dampen the top layer of loam along the serpentine spine of the Caliente Ridge, the Caliente Mountains being a west-to-east uplifting mountain range in the remote southeast corner of San Luis Obispo County. While mountain biking up the winding Caliente Ridge Road, a dense canopy […]

On Foot and by Paddle
By Chuck Graham   |   October 5, 2021

Timing the surge of an incoming tide took me to the backend of the Morro Bay Estuary. Paddling my standup paddleboard, I glided effortlessly through serpentine-like channels choked in colorful pickleweed. Flanked by massive Morro Rock to the north, the rest of the seven sisters lied ahead, prominent rocky spires that fortify the backend of […]

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Let’s Get Away From It All: The Endless Summer in Laguna Beach
By Leslie Westbrook   |   October 5, 2021

“Let’s motor down to MiamiLet’s climb the Grand Canyon WallLet’s catch a tunaWay out in LagunaLet’s get away from it all”– Lyrics from “Let’s Get Away From It All” (music by Matt Dennis and lyrics by Tom Adair, published 1941) commonly associated with Frank Sinatra  One of my best female friends and I have traveled […]

‘Mystery Bird’: Getting to Know the Ashy Storm Petrel
By Chuck Graham   |   September 7, 2021

It was 9:30 pm, and I was kayaking out to Scorpion Rock, a half-mile east of Scorpion Anchorage on Santa Cruz Island. I was meeting up with several nocturnal seabird biologists finishing their last round of mist netting for 2021 of the secretive ashy storm petrels on the Channel Islands National Park. If I didn’t […]

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Two Days Tucked Away in Heavenly Santa Ynez Valley
By Leslie Westbrook   |   August 12, 2021

I’m swaying in a heavenly hammock on the porch of an absolutely charming room (#18 of 18 guestrooms) with views of the creatively landscaped central courtyard at the Hotel Ynez and life is good. Located just off Highway 246, in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley, and nestled between Solvang and Santa Ynez, this […]

A-03 Has Arrived: Bald Eagles on the Channel Islands National Park
By Chuck Graham   |   August 12, 2021

The manic cacophony of western gulls was too frantic to pass up, diverting my attention span toward drama-filled blue skies as a keystone species buzzed a prominent, weather-beaten seabird rookery. As I kayaked toward the commotion, I soon realized I was in the presence of an apex predator wreaking havoc over Scorpion Rock near the […]

On The Road Again
By James Buckley   |   August 5, 2021

I’m in Paris. And I arrived as soon as I could.  Yes, masks are required everywhere at the airport, but once inside the lounge and sitting at one’s own table, off comes the mask and in goes the American-style breakfast, excellent espresso coffee, and a glass of champagne to celebrate the start of a long […]

Feeding Curiosity: Wilderness Youth Project Utilizes Nature to Educate
By Steven Libowitz   |   July 22, 2021

I wasn’t much of a hiker before the pandemic. But being cooped up inside for days and weeks on end, with no opportunities for dancing of beach volleyball, finally spurred me to put fears of poison oak and chiggers out of my mind to brave the San Marcos Foothills Preserve. Pretty soon that became a […]

Escape to the North: A Look at What San Luis Obispo Has to Offer
By James Buckley   |   July 15, 2021

After having been locked up for more than a year, there is a real need among many Montecito residents to just get away — anywhere. The nice thing about choosing San Luis Obispo is that one needn’t go very far to feel very far away; it is a mere two hours by car, yet it […]

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