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CALIFORNIA & PACIFIC WI N T E R 20 1 9

Amazing! BOUNDLESS BEAUTY Bike, hike, behold national parks Crater Lake National Park (Oregon)

CRUISING THE COAST Bluffs, beaches, majestic views

BIG HARVEST CRUSH Food, festivals & fine wines


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CONTENTS

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CALIFORNIA & PACIFIC

CALIFORNIA CRUSH Harvest season offers more than just fine wines

BOB MCCLENAHAN/PROVIDED BY VISIT NAPA VALLEY


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

CONTENTS This is a product of

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Jeanette Barrett-Stokes jbstokes@usatoday.com

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jerald Council jcouncil@usatoday.com

FEATURE

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MOTHER NATURE’S GIFTS National parks offer rugged wilderness and spectacular views

Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle BRADY HARVEY

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MAGIC OF DISNEY A few surprises in store for faithful fans

mjwashington@usatoday.com

EDITORS Amy Sinatra Ayres Susan Bryant Tracy Scott Forson Sara Schwartz Debbie Williams ISSUE DESIGNER Lisa M. Zilka

UP FRONT

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MANAGING EDITOR Michelle Washington

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TIMELESS CHARM Step back in time at historic hotels with old-world grandeur

DESIGNERS Amira Martin Gina Toole Saunders INTERN Jordan Pecar

18 STAPLES CENTER

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PANDAS, PENGUINS, PLUS

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SCORING BIG

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Susan B. Barnes, Debra Bass, Brian J. Barth, Scott Craven, Dawn Gilbertson, Weldon B. Johnson, Jennifer McClellan, Sarah Sekula, Gene Sloan, Jean Chen Smith

Wildlife and sea creatures abound at West Coast zoos and aquariums

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Sports stadiums hitting home

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pburke@usatoday.com

THE REGION

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ALASKA View state’s staggering natural beauty from the deck of cruise ships

CALIFORNIA

ACCOUNT DIRECTOR Justine Madden | (703) 854-5444

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Explore San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego

HAWAII Experience Big Island’s perfect blend of paradise

OREGON Sleep under the stars at night in tree hammocks

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WASHINGTON

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Panther Creek Falls is one of Washington’s hidden gems

Seattle’s iconic landmarks and beauty abound

ON THE COVER Crater Lake National Park PHOTO BY NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

jmadden@usatoday.com

FINANCE Billing Coordinator Julie Marco ISSN#0734-7456 A USA TODAY Network publication, Gannett Co. Inc.

Discover some of the state’s best seaside escapes

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VP, ADVERTISING Patrick Burke | (703) 854-5914

USA TODAY, its logo and associated graphics are the trademarks of Gannett Co. Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Copyright 2018, USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc. Editorial and publication headquarters are at 7950 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, VA 22108, and at (703) 854-3400. For accuracy questions, call or send an email to accuracy@usatoday.com.

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UP FRONT

DISNEYLAND

Faithful fans may find a few surprises

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ZOOS & AQUARIUMS

Connect with wildlife and sea creatures

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SPORTS ARENAS

Tour colleges and professional venues

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HISTORIC HOTELS

Luxury lodges with deep roots to bygone eras

WICKEDLY WONDERFUL DISNEYLAND Get ready for a spooktacular good time during the Magic Kingdom’s most bewitching season happening through Oct. 31.

AP PHOTO/JAE C. HONG


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION UP FRONT | DISNEYLAND

DISNEY RESORT

1. PADDLE A CANOE Welcome to Disneyland’s only ride free of tracks, rails or other mechanisms designed to keep you on course. Putting guests in charge of the free-floating Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes seems unwise, especially when sharing the waterway with large ships. But, cast members at the front and rear keep canoes on course, and even if they do topple — and they won’t — the water’s not very deep.

Classic Disney characters welcome visitors outside Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif.

2. DRAW A DISNEY CHARACTER Head to the Animation Academy at California Adventure for an art lesson. Classes are every 30 minutes with animators providing step-bystep instructions to create popular, copyrightprotected characters. Even those lacking basic art skills will create a recognizable drawing. DISNEYLAND

Witness the Wonders

Canoe, creep, skip across Disneyland By Scott Craven

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ERHAPS YOU’VE BEEN TO

Disney a dozen or more times and are sure you’ve done all there is to do, even impressing others

with your insider knowledge. Yet the park may still hold a few surprises for even the most faithful fans. Here are five things to do at Disneyland and California Adventure you’ve probably never done:

3. BUY AN ORIGINAL ILLUSTRATION Imagine purchasing an original work from a Disney animator without cashing in your 401(k). Visit Disneyana on Main Street, where Disney pros occasionally drop in and leave behind various sketches. You can pick one up for as little as $50, though more elaborate drawings are commensurately more.

4. CHECK OUT ‘SECRET’ PET CEMETERY Just to be clear, these plots in a cast-membersonly area west of the Haunted Mansion contain no remains, almost disappointing guests who ask in a hopeful voice. The grassy area just above the attraction’s exit once held more than a dozen tombstones, but most were moved to the Mansion’s front yard in 1993. Ask a cast member to show you the “hidden” graves. And no, you won’t find Mr. Toad. Perhaps there wasn’t enough left of him after his wrong turn onto railroad tracks, bringing a tragic end to his wild ride.


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION UP FRONT | DISNEYLAND

A river of luminescent floats, the Paint the Night Parade is an after-dark sensation that winds its way through Disney’s Adventure Park. DISNEY PIXAR/DISNEYLAND RESORT

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LUXURY BONUS: PHOTO OP Haunted Mansion

5. FIENDISH FUN

DISNEYLAND

Be prepared to be scared stiff. The Haunted Mansion is a hair-raising ride that is home to spooky ghosts, ghouls and supernatural surprises. There are more than 15 rooms to explore in the mansion. And just in time for the holidays, Disney promises that Sally, Oogie Boogie and other Nightmare Before Christmas nasties will also be on hand to wish you “Season’s Screamings!”

Are you blessed with a chunk of disposable income? For $1,700, you can buy a private photo shoot in Toontown or Cars Land. You and up to seven others enter the park an hour before opening to meet with a professional photographer. Pose your heart out for 60 minutes, making sure you fill Facebook and Instagram in ways sure to make friends and followers envious. Have a little more to spend? Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and/or Pluto are happy to join for an additional charge.


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION UP FRONT | ZOOS & AQUARIUMS

A to Z Fun

Explore the region’s best aquariums and zoos

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QUARIUMS AND ZOOS PUT us face to fur and fin with aquatic

life and wildlife from the world’s native lands and waterways in an entertaining and educational setting. They also provide fun for the entire family during vacations. Here are a few suggestions from the editors at 10Best.com to consider:

ALASKA

The Alaska Zoo, Anchorage If your kids enjoy the outdoors or you want to educate them about Artic wildlife, it doesn’t get any better than a visit to this zoo. Sprawling over 25 wooded, hillside acres is the widest array of animals native to the state, including polar bears, moose, Dall sheep, snow leopards, caribou and gray wolves. You will also spot exotic species such as Amur tigers, Bactrian camels and yaks. Kids can join the fun at the petting zoo, and on Mondays and Tuesdays, children 12 and older can shadow a zookeeper for five hours through the Keeper for a Day program, which costs $200. ▶ alaskazoo.org

ALASKA CHANNEL


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION UP FRONT | ZOOS & AQUARIUMS

CALIFORNIA Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach The Aquarium of the Pacific — the largest aquarium in Southern California — displays more than 11,000 animals representing 500 species from the largest body of water on the planet, the Pacific Ocean. More than 150 sharks populate Shark Lagoon, including toothy sand tiger sharks and whitetip reef sharks, and visitors can even feel the slippery skin of bamboo and epaulette sharks at special touch pools. The largest exhibit, the Tropical Reef Habitat, houses more than 1,000 animals, colorful coral, sea turtles and sharks. The NOAA Science on a Sphere exhibit offers imagery and real-time ocean and weather data. ▶ aquariumofpacific.org

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HAWAII

DESERT ADVENTURE

Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Palm Desert Ever wonder what a roadrunner and coyote really look like? At the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, you can see the real-life inspiration for these desertdwelling Looney Tunes characters. This botanical garden and zoo focuses on educating visitors about animals from deserts in North America and Africa, including giraffes, warthogs, jaguars and bighorn sheep. The Living Desert also has a number of gardens showcasing the various cacti and other plants native to the desert. Hikers, be sure to bring your gear; 1,080 acres of undisturbed desert land and three nature trails through the preserve are open seasonally to the public. ▶ livingdesert.org

Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens, Hilo Hawaii’s Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens is the only naturally occurring tropical rainforest zoo in the United States. More than 80 species of animals call the reserve “home,” including a white Bengal tiger named Tzatziki and an orange Bengal tiger named Sriracha. Other residents include an Aldabra giant tortoise, giant anteaters, American alligators named Lilo and Stitch, capuchin monkeys and North American Monarch butterflies. Tropical flora, a water garden and peacocks also add a note of exoticism. An on-site playground coupled with a petting zoo makes it an ideal place for families. Daily admission is free. ▶ hilozoo.org

WASHINGTON

OREGON Oregon Zoo, Portland Spanning 64 acres in Washington Park, the massive Oregon Zoo offers children the chance to see their favorite animals up close and is one of the largest attractions in the state. Here, more than 2,600 animals, including 19 endangered and nine threatened species reside in natural, expertly designed habitats including Black Bear Ridge, home to black bears and bobcats. Other exciting exhibits include Steller Cove, which features sea otters and harbor seals. Kids will especially love the Zoo Railway, a winding six-minute ride through the zoo with views of Elephant Lands and the Family Farm. ▶ oregonzoo.org

POINT DEFIANCE ZOO & AQUARIUM

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Tacoma Located 6 miles north of downtown Tacoma, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is a one-of-a kind marine and wildlife experience. This 29-acre park is best known for its hands-on marine activities that allow visitors to touch dinner-plate stingrays and a sea star and take part in a squid dissection. Opened in September is the Pacific Seas Aquarium, a 35,000-square-foot facility that is home to species such as green sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, spider crabs and spotted eagle rays. Entry to the aquariums is included with regular admission to the zoo, where you’ll find polar bears, tigers, elephants, penguins, peacocks, wolves, walruses and more. ▶ pdza.org


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION UP FRONT | SPORTS ARENAS

USA TODAY

ORACLE ARENA, OAKLAND

USA TODAY

Oracle Arena has a maximum occupancy of 19,596, including 72 luxury suites and three exclusive clubs.

Score!

Hosts: Golden State Warriors Year built: 1966 Capacity: 19,596 Ambiance: Warriors fans are famously rambunctious — last year, the NBA Players Association selected the team for its Best Home Court Advantage award. Claim to fame: The Warriors have recently joined the pantheon of the NBA’s all-time greatest teams, alongside the Lakers, Celtics and Bulls. Perks: The Oracle Arena is next door to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, home of the Raiders and the A’s. Fun fact: This is the oldest arena currently in use by an NBA team.

History, design and on-field actions are big hits for these sports venues By Brian J. Barth

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ALIFORNIA IS HOME TO some of sports most hallowed grounds. Put on your sneakers and take a tour through some of the state’s top stadiums and arenas. California is a great place to be a sports fan, says legendary Bay Area sports writer Tim Kawakami, who is currently the editor in chief of The Athletic Bay Area, an online sports magazine. And it’s even better if you’re a sports tourist, free to hop from stadium to stadium and city to city at your leisure. After all, what other state boasts recurrent championship teams in the NHL (Kings), MLB (Giants), WNBA (Sparks) and NBA (Warriors and Lakers)? At the moment, says Kawakami, there is no sports venue more electrifying than Oracle Arena in Oakland, home to the Golden State Warriors, who’ve won three NBA championships in the last four years. The

upcoming season is your last chance to experience the Warriors at the Roaracle, as locals call it, because the team is moving across the Bay to San Francisco next year. “The Oracle was already famous for its attitude and noise back when the Warriors were terrible,” says Kawakami. “When they started getting really good, the place just kind of exploded. It’s always interesting when you look around and there are five dot-com billionaires sitting in the first two rows watching Steph Curry play.” Los Angeles is the best place to spot celebrities at sporting events, adds Kawakami. Staples Arena — home turf for the Lakers, Clippers, Kings and Sparks — is a sports fanatic’s paradise. “There’s no other venue in the United States with as many game nights per year,” he says. After decades of covering sports throughout the state, here are some of Kawakami’s favorite venues:

USA TODAY

STAPLES CENTER, LOS ANGELES

Hosts: Lakers, Clippers, Kings, Sparks Year built: 1999 Capacity: 18,997 Ambiance: The arena anchors L.A. Live, the city’s entertainment district, which includes more than 20 restaurants and bars, six concert venues and a giant convention center. Claim to fame: L.A. Lakers games are famous for attracting the rich and famous — Jack Nicholson, Denzel Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise, Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake are all regulars at the Staples Center. Perks: The arena hosts numerous concerts and other events throughout the year, including the Grammys. Fun fact: Over one four-day period in May 2012, the Staples Center hosted four NBA and two NHL playoff games.


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SAFECO FIELD EVENTS SEATTLE , WA

SEPTEMBER-NOVEMBER

NOVEMBER 23 – DECEMBER 30

Take a tour of Safeco Field, the spectacular home of the Seattle Mariners. The 19.59 acre outdoor ballpark features real grass, a retractable roof and the largest videoboard in Major League Baseball. View areas of the ballpark that are normally restricted to the public, including the Press Box, Owners Suite, Field, Dugouts, Visitors Clubhouse, All-Star Club, and more.

WWW.MARINERS.COM/TOURS

WWW.ENCHANTCHRISTMAS.COM


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION UP FRONT | SPORTS ARENAS AT&T PARK, SAN FRANCISCO

Hosts: Giants Year built: 2000 Capacity: 42,300 Ambiance: Nestled in the South Beach neighborhood, this intimate stadium is surrounded not by a sea of parking lots, but by the sparkling waters of the bay. Claim to fame: Considered an instant classic, this stadium has earned a place in the pantheon of century-old ballparks such as Wrigley Field and Fenway Park. Perks: An edible garden onsite provides fruits and veggies for the stadium’s two farm-totable-themed bistros. Fun fact: A team of Portuguese water dogs fetch home-run balls that end up in the bay behind the park.

ERIC RISBERG/AP PHOTO

LENNY IGNELZ/AP PHOTO

PETCO PARK, SAN DIEGO

Hosts: Padres Year built: 2004 Capacity: 40,162 Ambiance: “Park” in this case applies to more than just the ballfield — this stadium is made for lounging, with views of the ocean, balmy SoCal air, a faux beach for kids, plus an actual park outside the stadium where you can watch the game for a discount. Claim to fame: The stadium has been lauded for its architectural character, in

part because the 100-year-old façade of a factory (Western Metal Supply Co.) that once occupied the site was preserved and incorporated into the design. The Padres Hall of Fame and Museum is also on-site. Perks: Traveling with a canine? Check out Petco Park’s annual Dog Days of Summer game, where people and their furry friends can root — or woof — for the home team together. Fun fact: Petco Park also features a dogfriendly section of luxury suites.

USA TODAY

ROSE BOWL, PASADENA

Hosts: UCLA Bruins home games; Rose Bowl college football championship game Year built: 1922 Capacity: 90,888 Ambiance: This is a bare-bones venue (bring a seat cushion for those hard, backless bleachers) and a National Historic Landmark, which helps explain its seating choice. Claim to fame: Known as the “granddaddy of them all” because it

was the first venue for a college “bowl” game, the Rose Bowl kicked off the postseason tradition in college football more than 100 years ago. It is also the 11th largest college sports arena in in the country. Perks: The sunsets against the LA hills behind the stadium are spectacular. Fun fact: Up to 60,000 roses cover each float in the world-famous Rose Parade that precedes the Rose Bowl game each New Year’s Day.


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION UP FRONT | LUXE LODGING

The Mission Inn and Spa in Riverside, Calif., is aweinspiring, blending rich history and grand style. THE MISSION INN AND SPA

Historic Stays Heritage hotels maintain character, charm and class of the past By Susan B. Barnes and Jean Chen Smith

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OME HOTELS OFFER POSTCARD-PERFECT locations,

luxury amenities and on-site five-star restaurants. Others take pride in the grandeur of their past, breathing new life into their interior spaces with detailed artistry and craftmanship that honors their place in history.

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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION UP FRONT | LUXE LODGING

THE NINES HOTEL

URBAN FARMER RESTAURANT/THE NINES HOTEL

HOTEL DEL CORONADO

Portland, Ore. The Nines is a deluxe retreat built inside of Portland’s renowned Meier & Frank building, constructed in 1909. The shopping empire created by Aaron Meier and Sigmund Frank was once the largest retailer west of the Mississippi. This iconic 15-story building introduced the first escalator installation in Portland in 1922. As Portland’s flagship department store, patrons would often dress up in their most exquisite attire (dressed to the nines). In 2005, the building commenced its transformation into a luxury hotel, which opened in 2008. The architects set out to integrate a nostalgic, contemporary style in the building, retaining the original exterior and adding a seven-story atrium to allow for picturesque views and natural light to envelope its interior. Elements from the building’s fashion and retail history remain, with more than 400 collections by contemporary local artists incorporated into the design of the 331room hotel. There is also a 24-hour fitness center, two restaurants and a full-service business center. ▶ thenines.com

HEMERA TECHNOLOGIES/PHOTOS.COM/GETTY IMAGES

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HOTEL DEL CORONADO

MISSION INN HOTEL & SPA

THE ROYAL HAWAIIAN

San Diego Since its opening in February 1888, Hotel del Coronado has been a San Diego landmark (not to mention it’s now a National Historic Landmark), its silhouette rising from the coastline like a sandcastle reaching for the sky. The Del, as the resort is affectionately known, quickly gained attention for its setting and was touted in contemporary brochures as the “unrivaled Queen of seaside resorts.’’ Today’s guests at The Del will find 757 contemporary guest rooms in the Victorian building, the California Cabanas and Ocean Towers, and Beach Village, a resort-within-the-resort. The exclusive oceanfront Beach Village features 78 cottages and villas, ranging from one to three bedrooms; three secluded pools and Jacuzzis; personalized concierge service; and breakfast at the exclusive Windsor Cottage. Additionally, found throughout the resort’s 28 acres are a 24-hour fitness center; two pools; The Spa at The Del, complete with a private terrace with vanishing-edge pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean; six restaurants; an ice cream parlor and Sunday brunch in the iconic Crown Room. Presidential guests have included Benjamin Harrison, William Taft, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. ▶ hoteldel.com

Riverside, Calif. The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, a National Historic Landmark, started out modestly as a 12-room adobe boarding house in the late 1800s when wealthy East Coast residents and Europeans began moving to Riverside for the warm weather and growing citrus industry. Today, the charming AAA Four Diamond hotel offers 238 rooms, secluded garden oases, a fitness center, historic museum and six distinct dining options. Its opulence and perfectly appointed architecture have made it a premier West Coast wedding destination, as well as inspired visits from former presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Howard Taft and George W. Bush, and notable figures such as Booker T. Washington, Amelia Earhart and Albert Einstein. Former President Ronald Reagan and wife Nancy spent their wedding night on March 4, 1952, in the now-named Alhambra suite. And a custom chair designed for Taft sits in the lobby. ▶ missioninn.com

Honolulu A Waikiki icon, the 528-room Royal Hawaiian sits amid coconut groves and tranquil pools along Honolulu’s trendy beachfront. Built in 1927 in the Spanish-Moorish style popular at the time, the “Pink Palace of the Pacific” was leased to the U.S. Navy during World War II for use as a rest and recreation facility before reopening to the public in 1947. The six-story structure offers refined luxury, majestic views and effortlessly connects guests with the royal Hawaiian culture. The 14 acres of Waikiki beachfront was once a playground for King Kamehameha, and Queen Kaahumanu’s Summer Palace once stood where the hotel’s Coconut Grove is today. Among the elite seeking modern (at the time) royal treatment at the hotel were heads of state, the Rockefellers, the Beatles, Marilyn Monroe and Natalie Wood. ▶ royalhawaiian.com


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Fa l l i n g fo r t h e

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Harvest season offers more than fine wines

BOB MCCLENAHAN


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DAILY GRAPE STOMP

BY DEBRA BASS

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ulsing with energy and expectation, yet tempered by stately vistas and cool breezes, fall’s fragrant grape harvest ushers in the most seductive season for California vineyard visitors. Fruitful terrain, ranging from arid coasts to wooded hillsides along the state’s impressive length, nurtures a grape diversity unparalleled by any geographical region in the world. Bigger than Italy and longer than France, 46 of California’s 58 counties cultivate more than 100 varieties of wine grapes, typically harvested from mid-August through October. Though the first vines in the state are believed to have been planted in 1779 at Mission San Juan Capistrano in Southern California, the dominant region for wineries and wine tourists has shifted to the north coast. Although cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay are the most widely planted, wine lovers looking for varieties off the beaten path will find surprises in Napa Valley. More than three dozen wine grape varieties flourish in the region. However, that could change as competition evolves. While California’s coastal areas get the glory for producing some of the country’s finest wines, the Central Valley is the workhouse of California’s wine industry, producing some three-quarters of the state’s grapes. “On days when grape trucks are rolling in, we run our tour groups out to the crush pad. The smells and the colors are unbelievable. It’s my favorite time of year,” says John Jordan of Jordan Vineyard & Winery in Healdsburg. Special events are as abundant as the crops during fall, and many wineries offer intimate experiences that belie the bustle of California crush season.

Every harvest at Grgich Hills Estates, founded in 1977, begins with a blessing of the grapes, but that’s not the only hallowed harvest tradition at this Napa Valley winery. Those who really want to get a feel, literally, for winemaking are invited to kick off their shoes and climb into a wine barrel from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily through Oct. 28. Founder Miljenko “Mike” Grgich initiated the daily stomp because it was a technique used in his youth in Croatia. You can sample the fruits of your labor, but a tasting of three estate wines will probably be more appealing. A souvenir T-shirt stamped with your footprints is included in the $40 fee. ▶ grgich.com

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FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA WINERY

CHAD KEIG

Indulge in a group or private walking tour and tasting starting at $15 that offers a behind-the-scenes look at how the Coppola family’s passions for wine and film intersect. The winery is not Coppola in name only; the family remains involved in the Sonoma County vineyard’s operation. In fact, it’s not so unusual to see its namesake in the flesh, wandering past the vast collection of movie memorabilia on display. Tours during harvest offer special surprises: “We let people taste freshpressed juice that’s not quite wine and compare it to the final product. It totally changes the conversation,” says Rick Toyota, senior director of hospitality. “It’s an experience that only happens at harvest.” ▶ francisfordcoppolawinery.com


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

NAPA VALLEY HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE This daily excursion begins at sunrise at the Domaine Chandon winery with a continental breakfast, followed by a one-hour flight soaring over lush panoramic views of the forest-green, golden-yellow and crimson-colored landscape. The journey (starting at $239) ends with a postflight classic American buffet breakfast featuring Chandon sparkling and other wines. ▶ napavalleyballoons.com

Joseph Phelps Vineyards

BOB MCCLENAHAN

EMMA K. MORRIS

JOSEPH PHELPS VINEYARDS

Jordan Vineyard & Winery JORDAN VINEYARD & WINERY

JORDAN VINEYARD & WINERY

Even if you aren’t an early riser, the postcard-perfect views of Sonoma County as a backdrop for a guided estate tour are guaranteed to jump-start your day. After a continental breakfast, you will journey beyond the walls of the Healdsburg chateau to view Jordan’s vineyards, lakes, a chef’s garden and apiary (bee colony). And fear not, much of the three-hour experience is comprised of picturesque rest stops for food and wine pairings. The adventure costs $125 (no guests younger than 21) from 9:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays through Mondays until Oct. 31. If you’d like a shorter activity, lavish family-style lunches and wine tastings start at $35. ▶ jordanwinery.com

If you don’t have time for the executive chef’s sensory-rich, three-hour lunch experience for $275, a shorter hands-on activity might pique the budding winemaker in you. Led by a wine educator, you can sniff, taste and experiment with the complex components of the Napa vineyard’s flagship red wine, Insignia, a velvety cabernet sauvignon combined with petit verdot and other varietals. Then you can test how much your concoction matches the latest vintage. Insignia retails at $275 a bottle, but you can enjoy the blending and sampling for $100 on select days at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. ▶ josephphelps.com

TEMECULA VALLEY

CRUSH 2018

California wine tourists generally have to be pretty selective in picking which wineries to visit, but a Sept. 29 showcase from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. will offer tastings from more than 30 member wineries in one location in Temecula Valley. Winery owners and winemakers will be on hand to discuss their process and their products. Celebrating 50 years, the event will feature live music by Kai Kalama and bites from more than 15 restaurants and caterers for $89 to $99. ▶ temeculawines.org


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Au

Naturel Explore the rugged wilderness and spectacular views of national parks

Olympic National Park, Washington NATIONAL PARK SERVICE


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By Weldon B. Johnson

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ITH WINTER ON THE

verge of sinking its frigid teeth into a large swath of the United States, now might be the perfect time to lift your spirits by exploring the majesty of our national parks. The 60 parks — and many of the 417 lesser designated sites protected by the National Park Service — offer a plethora of opportunities to marvel at the jaw-dropping wonders of our natural world, far from the urban islands where many of us are marooned. But with so much magnificence at your disposal, how do you narrow down your list? Think in terms of three key characteristics: altitude, latitude and water. Depending on where you live, any one of these factors can offer an opportunity to recharge. Combine two or three of them, and you’re golden. Naturally, the nation’s top sites attract crowds, so be strategic with your planning, or choose a less-visited park or monument, which can hold hidden treasures. Camp, get up early and hit the trails: Most visitors rarely adventure beyond the first half-mile. Ask rangers for recommendations for quieter trails and campsites. Here are a few parks to get you thinking. Before you know it, you’ll be trekking, rowing, biking or just basking in the beauty of it all.

Denali National Park and Preserve GETTY IMAGES

ALASKA National parks don’t get any wilder than Alaska’s Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve (nps.gov/gaar). This is a can’t-miss destination with winding rivers that make it an ideal get-away-from-it-all experience for packrafting, backpacking or kayaking. Note: There are no roads or established trails. Another Alaskan must-see

is Denali National Park & Preserve (nps.gov/dena). Denali, the highest mountain in North America at 20,310 feet, was named after former President William McKinley for a century until President Barack Obama changed it in 2015 to its original, native Athabascan name. The “tall one” has continuously towered over the 6 million acres that form one of the biggest and

most iconic national parks. Plan at least three full days to absorb its magnitude and allot time to traverse the park’s only road, a 92-mile stretch that runs east to west, while exploring some trails along the way. A ranger-led Discovery Hike is recommended, as are the 9.5-mile Triple Lakes Trail and the nearly 2-mile loop around Savage River.

CALIFORNIA Experience California the way it used to be at Channel Islands National Park (nps.gov/chis). The island chain is one of the best free national parks for a getaway experience. However, you must pay for a boat or plane ride to the islands. Bring your snorkel, fins and a wetsuit to explore kelp forests, sea caves and coves of colorful fish. Or, explore island trails and relax on a remote beach — a little patch of paradise you might have all to yourself. San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park (nps.gov/safr) in the Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood offers the sights, sounds, smells and stories of Pacific Coast maritime history. A fleet of historic vessels gives visitors a chance to travel back to the 19th century. First protected in 1864, Yosemite National Park (nps.gov/yose) welcomes more than 4 million visitors every year. While it’s best known for its waterfalls, you will find deep valleys, grand

Channel Islands National Park GETTY IMAGES

meadows, ancient giant sequoias and a vast wilderness area within its nearly 1,200 square miles. Yosemite is one of the crown jewels of the National Park Service and a bucket-list destination for any nature lover. CONTINUED


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Naturel

Crater Lake National Park GETTY IMAGES

OREGON The stunning cobalt blue of the nation’s deepest lake — and the world’s ninth deepest — is worth the trip itself to Crater Lake National Park (nps.gov/crla). But there’s so much more to enjoy: the expansive views of this 7,700-year-old volcanic caldera with the picturesque Wizard Island and Phantom Ship rising from its waters; or prospecting for birds and wildflowers along the park’s 90 miles of trails. Oregon Caves National Monument & Preserve (nps.gov/ orca) is one of the nation’s free national parks. You can enjoy numerous hiking trails and catch panoramic views of the Siskiyou Mountains or head inside the visitor center to experience interactive exhibits on the caves, mountains and wild inhabitants. However, the marble caves can only be explored via a paid guided tour.

WASHINGTON

Haleakala National Park GETTY IMAGES

HAWAII Take a break from sandy beaches and swaying palms to revisit a pivotal time in American history at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument (nps.gov/ valr) in Honolulu. While you won’t be able to tour the sunken battleship USS Arizona, one of the monument’s main attractions, as it is sidelined because of repairs, you can still take a boat to the memorial and go on a 15-minute narrated harbor tour of Battleship Row. The Arizona was bombed and sank about 15 minutes into the

Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Haleakala National Park (nps.gov/hale) on Maui beckons with stark volcanic landscapes, subtropical rainforest and endangered species that exist nowhere else. Hike through subalpine shrubland, cloud forest and cinder desert to reach the 10,023-foot summit, which boasts spectacular sunsets and stargazing. Or, explore the coast below that connects lush forest, waterfalls and meadows to the ocean, where sea turtles, monk seals and humpback whales make their habitat.

Olympic National Park (nps.gov/ olym) is home to possibly the quietest spot in the Lower 48, according to acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton. The Hoh Rainforest is one of the Olympic National Park few temperate NATIONAL PARK SERVICE rainforests in the U.S. Draped in ferns and carpeted with mosses, the forest is infused with a rare hush that might be broken by an endangered marbled murrelet seabird if you’re very lucky. Or step into a glade and catch the chirp of an Olympic marmot. Witness the wide range of ecosystems in the park, which is open 24 hours a day year-round, as you hike the Olympic Mountains. At 14,410 feet, the namesake peak of Mount Rainier National Park (nps.gov/mora) towers as a state icon. The active volcano is the highest in the Cascade Range and is home to 25 major glaciers that feed six rivers. The park is renowned for its wildflower displays with pretty meadows circling the icy mountain, and ancient forest cloaks the lower slopes. Bring your winter sports gear to climb, hike or camp in the Paradise section. Tracy L. Barnett and Susan Bryant contributed to this story.


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THE REGION

ALASKA

Cruise on the American Constellation

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CALIFORNIA

Sites, sounds and serenity of coastal living

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HAWAII

Aloha state offers more than magical beauty

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Sleep under the stars in tree hammocks

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Emerald City is a true dream destination

SPELLBINDING VIEW Cozy up on one of four beaches that ring Hawaii’s Hanalei Bay and watch the sun set over emerald mountains and the sparkling sea.

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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION ALASKA | CRUISES

SCENIC SAILING Taking a cruise is an ideal way to experience Alaska’s otherworldly landscape and plentiful wildlife while enjoying the comforts of a luxury ship. Here are other cruise lines that run vacation tours to the region: Holland America Line The Holland America Line offers seven- to 20-day tours to Alaska and the Yukon with departure points in Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia. Stops include Kodiak, Homer and Anchorage. ▶ hollandamerica.com

Sea, Alaska

Hop aboard a cruise ship for a land-and-water experience of the Last Frontier

American Constellation AMERICAN CRUISE LINES

By Gene Sloan

T

HINKING ABOUT A CRUISE to Alaska?

Consider boarding one of the newest and most intimate vessels sailing to the 49th state, American Cruise Lines’ 175-passenger American Constellation. Just unveiled in 2017, the U.S.-built ship began

seven- and 10-night Alaska voyages out of Juneau, Alaska, as well as 14-night Alaska sailings between Juneau and Seattle. The vessel this year also is operating seven- and 10-night voyages out of Seattle to the Pacific Northwest. American Constellation will be the biggest CONTI NUED

Princess Cruises Princess Cruises has seven ships in its Alaskan fleet and offers cruises ranging from seven to 14 days, departing from Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Vancouver, and including stops at Glacier Bay National Park, the Tracy Arm fjord, Kodiak, Seward, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point, Ketchikan and Victoria, British Columbia. ▶ princess.com Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Cruises has three ships that travel to Alaska and offers seven- to 14-day cruises to numerous ports, including the Inside Passage, Icy Strait Point, Hubbard Glacier, Juneau and Ketchikan. ▶ celebritycruises.com


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION ALASKA | CRUISES

AMERICAN CRUISE LINES

American Cruise Lines ship ever to sail in Alaska. The line, which specializes in small-ship cruises on American waterways and has been in business for nearly two decades, began operating in the state in 2012 and is growing in the region. In addition to American Constellation, it will deploy a second ship, the 100-passenger American Spirit, to Alaska in 2019 in what amounts to a major expansion in the state. The Constellation is modern and upscale with cabins that are unusually large for a ship based in Alaska. It offers

furnished balconies with nearly all cabins as well as bathrooms that are significantly larger and more state-of-the-art than what is found on many small ships operating in Alaskan waters. It’s also billed as the only fully stabilized small ship in the region. Small ships such as American Constellation account for a small portion of the cruises offered in Alaska — a region dominated by big ships that often hold as many as 10 to 20 times more passengers. But small ships offer some of the most unusual itineraries around the state.

American Constellation’s seven-night Southeast Alaska itinerary includes stops at Kake and Petersburg — small, offthe-beaten-path Alaska towns that are inaccessible to bigger ships. Its 10-night itinerary adds a stop in little-visited Wrangell. Both 2018 itineraries also include a visit to Glacier Bay National Park, with the 10-night itinerary including an overnight stay — a relative rarity for a cruise ship. Fares for American Constellation cruises in Alaska start at $5,135 per person for a seven-night voyage. Meals, beer and wine with dinner; pre- and

postdinner alcoholic drinks, gratuities, on-board Wi-Fi and tours in some ports are included. In addition to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, Connecticut-based American Cruise Lines operates small ships along the coastal and inland waterways of New England and the Southeast, including a new sister ship to the American Constellation that debuted on the East Coast in April. It also operates several riverboats on the Pacific Northwest’s Columbia and Snake rivers and on the Mississippi River system.


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION CALIFORNIA | SAN FRANCISCO

Great Bay Stay

Things to know before you go to San Francisco

S

By Jennifer McClellan OME VACATION LOCALES ARE for rest and relaxation, but San

Francisco — with its history, art, theater, culture and world-class cuisine — is for travelers looking for a big-city experience. However, that means instead of serene solitude, you’re more likely to encounter clamorous crowds. So, before you go, consider:

ADVANCE TICKETS, RESERVATIONS The San Francisco Travel Association expects more than 26 million visitors to embark on the city this year. Buy attraction tickets and make restaurant reservations in advance.

DON’T RENT A CAR Use a rideshare app such as Uber or Lyft, which both service San Francisco International Airport. Letting someone else drive will save you the headache of finding parking in the city.

IF YOU DO RENT A CAR

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art GETTY IMAGES

Parking in the city isn’t cheap. You’ll pay per day to park at your hotel. Then you’ll pay for space in a lot or at a meter most places you visit. Meters range from 25 cents to $6.50 an hour, depending on the time of day. Pricing at lots and garages varies widely. Spaces fill up quickly, but websites such as

Parkwhiz and Parkme allow you to search for parking near a location. The sites display cost per hour, and you can book online.

KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORHOODS Booking a hotel near Union Square, Nob Hill, Financial District or Fisherman’s Wharf will keep you centrally located to many of the most popular and well-maintained tourist attractions.

PACK COMFY SHOES Flats or sneakers are best because you will be walking a lot. Also, carry a water bottle. It can be difficult to find bottled water while you’re out exploring the city. And, when you do find it, expect to pay $3 or more.

MEMBERSHIP PERKS Some museums and attractions have reciprocal partnerships with Phoenix-area institutions that could save you some cash. For example, if you have a Phoenix Zoo

membership, you get discounted admission at the San Francisco Zoo and the Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39. Bring your current membership card to qualify for discounts.

SAVE WITH PASS PROGRAMS Buy admissions in bulk with a pass program. CityPass includes entry to five attractions, including cable car/ Muni bus, Bay Cruise Adventure and the Exploratorium. Go Card San Francisco lets you build your own itinerary with savings up to 55 percent at many attractions, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, AT&T Park tour and all-day bike rental.

BAGS COST EXTRA A city ordinance requires retail and food establishments to charge customers a minimum of 10 cents per bag for purchases, so bring along a reusable tote to avoid the fee.


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION CALIFORNIA | LOS ANGELES & ORANGE COUNTY

Old Towne Historic District ORANGE COUNTY TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY

WRIGHTWOOD Located about an hour outside of Los Angeles, Wrightwood is a mountain resort town with majestic vistas, sweeping pine canopies and hiking trails. While best known for its ski slopes and mountain views, the town has a rich history and myriad hiking trails that can be traveled on foot or via zip line. For the faint of heart, the Bighorn Mine trail is a nearly 2-mile hike along an old stagecoach route where you will find a stamp mill and mine shafts to explore. If you are a thrill-seeker and opt for the aerial route, there are several zip lining tours offered that will send you soaring through local forests, sometimes at up to 50 mph.

Small-town Charm Tranquil getaways beckon

W

HEN PEOPLE THINK OF California, often what comes

to mind are sunshine, beaches, vineyards, Disneyland and Hollywood. But the Golden State is also brimming with quiet, quaint, quirky cities to consider if you are looking for offbeat locations to explore. From seaside villages to frontier towns, you’ll find pieces of history that have survived cultural shifts, including these two gems: s

IF YOU GO

Known as “The Antique Capital of California,” Old Towne Historic District has more than 40 antiques shops to browse.

Rhinestone therhinestonerose.com

Grizzly Café grizzlycafe.com

CITY OF ORANGE With Disneyland as a backdrop, City of Orange’s Old Towne Historic District hearkens back to a time long since forgotten by its steel and glass SoCal neighbors. Timeless tearooms, sidewalk eateries and antique stores offer respite from the hustle and bustle of big-city life. The district touts its listing in the National Register of Historic Places and also points to its burgeoning food scene that connects the town to its history. Old Towne Orange Walking Food Tours (oldtownorangewalkingfoodtours. com) will take you on a three-block stroll where you will sample a variety of specialties, from one-of-a-kind ethnic eateries to contemporary fine dining spots and retro Americana.

IF YOU GO Best Western Orange Plaza bworangeca.com

The Filling Station Café fillingstationcafe.com ORANGE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION CALIFORNIA | SAN DIEGO

Make the Most of San Diego

Seals in La Jolla EXIES/GETTY IMAGES

Enjoy surf, sand and scenery

SeaWorld GETTY IMAGES

Seaport Village ISTOCKPHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

Balboa Park GETTY IMAGES

By Dawn Gilbertson

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EW PEOPLE WHO HAVE visited sparkling San Diego need convincing about its endless attributes: Beaches for every personality. Nearly perfect, if chilly at night, weather year-round. Marquee attractions including the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld San Diego, Balboa Park and Legoland California. And a thriving dining and craft-beer scene. Here are some tips to make the most of your trip: ▶ Do splurge on a beachfront hotel or vacation rental if your agenda involves little more than sand and surf. ▶ If you are shuttling kids from the zoo to SeaWorld to Legoland, don’t splurge on beachfront accommodations.

Instead, check out a host of Airbnb listings that give families more room for their money. ▶ Do hop on a bus or boat sightseeing tour for an overview of the city’s many attractions and neighborhoods. Popular choices include Old Town Trolley tours, San Diego Seal Tours, Hornblower and Flagship cruises. ▶ Buy your groceries at one of the many local farmers markets. There are weekly markets in Little Italy, Hillcrest, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, La Jolla and Encinitas, among other areas. ▶ If you are a first-time visitor, cruise Seaport Village just for the tourist experience. Then venture to metro San Diego where you will find an assortment of waterfront restaurants to satisfy your palate. For seafood, try Top of the Mar-

ket. If you’re craving scratch-cooking (home-style), stop by Whisknladle. Kids in tow? Jsix is great for weekend brunch. Also, many of the city’s best restaurants are found in metro hotels. Nine-Ten Restaurant and Bar in the Grande Colonial hotel is a local favorite. ▶ Visit Gaslamp Quarter before heading over to the East Village, home to Petco Park (stadium of the San Diego Padres). In the bayfront Embarcadero area of downtown, you’ll find harbor cruises, the USS Midway Museum and the floating Maritime Museum of San Diego. Downtown’s Waterfront Park has some of city’s best Bay views. There are places for picnicking and playgrounds and interactive splash pools for the kids to enjoy. And its a great place to watch the sun set.

Gaslamp Quarter MINDY NICOLE PHOTOGRAPHY/GETTY IMAGES

USS Midway Museum GETTY IMAGES


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

Irresistibly cultured.

Download our free app. Travel like a local, eat like a chef, and vacation like a boss.


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47 CALIFORNIA | CENTRAL COAST

Cruise Central California Coastline

Be wowed by unspoiled, majestic vistas and villages

DID YOU KNOW? Highway 1 at Big Sur is a National Scenic Byway, recognized for its archaeological, cultural, historic, recreational, natural and visual qualities.

VISIT CALIFORNIA

By Sarah Sekula

T

HE FIRST TIME I embarked on the famous Pacific Coast Highway was during a family road trip in the early 1980s. From our San Francisco Bayarea home, we loaded up the Dodge Ram van and headed to Hearst Castle, an opulent seaside mansion in San Simeon. At age 5, I had no clue this was considered one

of the most spectacular drives in the world. The north-south road hugs the coast all the way down to Los Angeles, spotlighting craggy sea cliffs, turquoise water and wildlife galore. In other words, it’s a massive canvas for show-stopping natural wonders. Several decades later, I am traveling those same spellbinding twists and turns, but for a very different type of trip, in a very different type of vehicle: a shiny red 1970 Ford Mustang.

But I’m not the only one in a flashy ride. More than 80 cars in this convoy are celebrating the reopening of the highway, which was closed for 18 months. The section from Monterey to San Luis Obispo was closed after unusually heavy rains in the winter and spring caused mudslides. Now that this legendary stretch is back in business, here’s where to stay, eat and play along the way: CONTINUED


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION CALIFORNIA | CENTRAL COAST

Hearst Castle

SAN LUIS OBISPO

MONTEREY BAY Begin your adventure in the seaside city of Monterey, about an hour south of San Jose, where restored adobe buildings are the norm, redwoods are plentiful and the pristine shoreline is highly Instagrammable. It makes the perfect launching pad for aquatic endeavors. Want to stand-up paddleboard among the seals? No problem. Whale-watching? That’s easy, too. When you’ve had your fill of marine life, continue south to Big Sur, where it’s easy to while away several days, says Santa Monica resident Silvie SnowThomas. “You are in between the major California cities, but somehow you get to drop yourself off the radar,” she says. “There are no big-box stores; there is rarely a cellphone signal. You have no choice but to unwind and connect with nature.” For a dreamy vista, stop for brunch at Ventana Big Sur resort (ventanabigsur. com). Crowd-pleasers include Dungeness crab benedict and Gulf shrimp rolls, topped with lemon aioli, cucumber and swamp dust (a New Orleans spice mix).

VISIT CALIFORNIA (3)

Come sunset, the Hearst Ranch Winery (hearstranchwinery.com) is the place to be in San Simeon. Relax in the tasting room where you can sip wines, hear the soothing waves crashing and yap about the winemaking process. A quick jaunt south is Cambria, an under-the-radar seaside village that is simply irresistible. Just ask Jan and Jim Bahringer who own Fog’s End B&B (fogsend.com). “Although Cambria is a small community, it has an international feel because we get visitors from all over the world,” Jan says. “We love the weather, the ocean and the great walking trails and views.” Kicking back at their historic fourbedroom farmhouse and ranch is worth the trip alone. From the owls to the hummingbirds to Jan’s blueberry soufflé, you will be wowed. Plus, Lily the labradoodle is always up for a snuggle. When you’re ready to venture out, drive down Main Street to pick up olallieberry cream muffins from Linn’s (linnsfruitbin.com). Then make a beeline for Montaña de Oro State Park to picnic on beachside rocks among the otters and hike the Bluff Trail, where bunnies and photo ops are abundant. Next up: Morro Rock at the entrance to Morro Bay harbor. Estimated to be 23 million years old and home to peregrine falcons, it makes quite the backdrop. Another must-see? The nearby elephant seal rookery. Just use your ears as your guide.


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SANTA BARBARA They don’t call Santa Barbara the American Riviera for nothing. This sophisticated respite is one of California’s most elegant seaside escapes. Start the day at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara (ritzcarlton. com/bacara) with a rooftop massage, a meal at The Bistro restaurant and cabana time by the pool. Next stop: Cat Therapy (cattherapysb. com) for quality time with rescued felines and a salt-therapy session at Salt Cave Santa Barbara (saltcavesb.com) to unwind among 60 tons of Himalayan salt crystals imported from Pakistan. When hunger strikes, nosh on gourmet burgers or vegetarian fare while enjoying live music at the family-owned Benchmark Eatery (benchmarkeatery.com) and save time to stop at a few of the 29 tasting rooms on the Urban Wine Trail to indulge in everything from salty chardonnays to savory syrahs (urbanwinetrailsb.com). At sunset, stroll along the beachfront and snooze a few blocks away at The Eagle Inn (theeagleinn.com), a boutique B&B with spacious rooms.

BIG SUR BUCKET-LIST VIEWS

VISIT CALIFORNIA

Bixby Creek Bridge: You may recognize this single-span concrete arch from TV shows and commercials.

VISIT CALIFORNIA

GETTY IMAGES

Point Sur Lighthouse: Established in 1889, this lighthouse is still open to the public.

VISIT CALIFORNIA

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park: Hike past redwoods, sycamores, ferns and take in the 80-foot McWay waterfall.

HIGHWAY 1 DISCOVERY ROUTE

Ragged Point: This landmark observation spot, known as the gateway to Big Sur, towers 400 feet above the Pacific Ocean. VISIT CALIFORNIA

VENTURA End the trip with a bucket-list adventure in Ventura, a beach town about 90 minutes north of Los Angeles. Take a daylong sea kayaking excursion with a local tour operator to explore Channel Islands National Park (nps.gov/chis). Paddle along the rugged coast among impressive kelp forests and sea caves. Need something more chill? Kick back on a sunset sailing cruise and start planning your next California vacation.

PRO TIP: Buffer extra time in your itinerary; sometimes these spots are obscured by fog.


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Magic of Hawaii Island vistas, white-sand beaches and tropical flora are spellbinding

Waikiki Beach with view of Diamond Head GETTY IMAGES

A

CHAIN OF ISLANDS PIERCING the surface of

the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is the nation’s very own tropical paradise, complete with sandy beaches, some of the world’s most active volcanoes and a near perfect climate throughout

the year. The youngest state in the union has a long history and a rich cultural heritage characterized by the aloha spirit. Hawaii is made up of more than 100 islands, but only seven are inhabited. Here are five that 10Best.com editors suggest you add to your bucket list:

THE BIG ISLAND About 10 miles outside of Hilo Bay, overlooking the Big Island’s dramatic north shore, sits the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, a virtual Eden consisting of more than 2,000 varieties of palms, heliconias, ferns, orchids, gingers and bromeliads. A tranquil network of paths leads visitors past the garden’s many attractions, including the enchanting Onomea Falls, Banyan Canyon and Lily Lake.


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION HAWAII | ATTRACTIONS

Taro plants in Hanalei Valley

Kalalau Trail

GETTY IMAGES

KAUAI The famous northern coastline of Kauai is easily recognized by its velvet green cliffs, slender waterfalls and deep valleys leading to the island’s interior. To access this stunning area by land, travelers set out on the 11-mile Kalalau Trail, leading from Ke’e Beach to the delightfully secluded Kalalau Beach. GETTY IMAGES

MOLOKAI Looking to totally disconnect and relax? Head to Molokai where you will find Jurassic sea cliffs towering over the lush jungle that sprouted up after the 1946 tsunami. The beaches are uncrowded and pristine. It’s a stunning place with no stoplights, no high-rises and no chain stores. While that is appealing to some, it is not for everyone. Take note discerning foodies: You won’t find fancy restaurants here. Partying types will be disappointed in the lack of nightlife. And those without a sense of adventure need not apply. What you will find is an amazing reef system, beautiful views and undeniable serenity. GETTY IMAGES

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Stairs of Water on the road to Hana

MAUI If you are looking for white sands, blue waters and quiet time, this is the island for you. There are few things more exhilarating than watching the sun rise or set from the summit of a volcano in Haleakala National Park. You can also snorkel, whale watch and tour some of the island’s coffee farms and plantations. If you are adventurous, travel along a 52-mile stretch that curves around the eastern and southern coast of Maui where you will be rewarded by some of the most remarkable vistas and gorgeous sights imaginable. Waterfalls, gardens and lush vegetation punctuate the journey, which is all about the adventure rather than the destination.

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Pali Puka Lookout

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OAHU One of Oahu’s top attractions provides glimpses into the cultures of Polynesia (Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti, Fiji, Aotearoa New Zealand and Tonga). Each one maintains a separate village, where visitors are regaled with information about celebration and survival in ancient days. Demonstrations, performances, narratives and even a luau are presented, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the spectacle and character of the past. At Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve in East Oahu, visitors can swim up close to Hawaii’s state fish: the humuhumunukunukuapua’a, the reef triggerfish. The volcanic crater is not only home to the humuhumu (for short), but 450 additional fish species, as well as octupi, crabs and eels, darting in and out of big coral reefs. The horseshoe-shaped bay is a great place to snorkel on Oahu year-round.


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION OREGON | OREGON CITY

Above It All Spend the night snoozing in the trees

STEVE LILLIGREN


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Tree Climbing Planet STEVE LILLIGREN; VERTICAL VOYAGES

By Sarah Sekula

C

HANCES ARE, YOU HAVEN’T attempted

to climb a tree since childhood. Well, that’s about to change. A few outfitters around the U.S. will teach you to scale the giants, and some even give you the chance to spend the night in the treetops — an experience that offers wonder, tranquility and a new appreciation for Mother Nature. I’m 75 feet off the ground in a gorgeous tree on a pastoral farm

in Oregon City, Ore. I sway gently in my tree boat (aka a hammock that serves as my makeshift bed), surrounded by gnarly branches decked out with fluffy, green moss. This highly coveted quiet time can be tough to come by, and the experience creates one of those moments you want to remember forever. It’s all thanks to Tim Kovar, who’s in the tree boat to my right. As the founder of Tree Climbing Planet, he’s been teaching people to climb trees for two decades now. You name it; he’s likely climbed it:

banyan trees in Maui, redwoods in California and a 275-foot kapok tree in the Amazon rainforest. While climbing, he’s come eyeball to eyeball with eyelash vipers, helped scientists search for king cobras and woken up to noisy howler monkeys. His love for all things arboreal is contagious. So much so, people travel from around the world to learn from him. “I like to think of our form of tree climbing as inspirational tree CONTI NUED

Vertical Voyages


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION OREGON | OREGON CITY

climbing,” he says. “People are inspired when they get aloft. For some, it’s pure joy; for others, it’s a form of therapy.”

LEARNING THE ROPES First things first: How exactly did I end up lounging among the lichen? Pretty easily, believe it or not. I put on a helmet, gloves and “saddle,” which is a cushioned belt contraption with stirrups attached. I step into the loops and Kovar secures the belt and hooks the saddle up to a pair of metal clips. “Ready to branch out?” asks Kovar, who is always armed with a stockpile of tree puns. Truth is, I’ve been ready since about a year ago when I first heard about the unusual pastime of tree climbing. Now that the time has come, I’m goofy with glee. Using a sit-stand technique, I inchworm my way up. “Want to do a bat hang?” Kovar asks once I’m about 20 feet off the ground. “Yes!” I respond enthusiastically. With that, I flip my legs upside down and let my arms dangle. My inner 5-year-old is out in full force, and I realize this whole experience is about allowing yourself to act like a kid again. After about 20 minutes, I reach my tree boat, roll out the sleeping bag and pillow I brought and head back down.

HEADLAMPS AND HAMMOCKS Looking out onto the 150-acre farm from this vantage point could put anyone at ease. The wide-open pasture is bathed in a pale pink light and squiggles of mountains dominate the horizon off to the left. “Do you snore?” Kovar asks. “Well, sometimes,” I reply sheepishly. “But it’s really more of a gentle purr.” We both laugh. Kovar says not to worry; he has earplugs. There have been times, he says, when one lone snorer in the group of four has kept a tree full of climbers awake. We chat about global travels until around 10 p.m. when it’s time to head back up into the canopy. I turn off my headlamp and make the ascent in the light of the full moon. I nestle into my hammock and snooze until 2 a.m. when I’m roused by the sound of yapping coyotes. I stare up at the twisting branches and smile. I sure am lucky to be right here, right now. And I cannot wait to persuade my 6-year-old niece to try it. Turns out, most anyone can do this. Kovar says he’s taught 5-year-olds to 85-year-olds. With specially designed climbing systems, he even has the abilIty

Tree for All TREE FOR ALL

to coach paraplegics out of wheelchairs and high into the treetops. While it may look like an extreme sport, it’s quite the opposite. “We climb at a slow, almost methodical pace, so as we climb the tree we are also learning about ourselves and our

capabilities,” he explains. “It’s a beautiful thing.” Watching people conquer tree climbing for the first time is quite rewarding, he says. Helping them enjoy nature and reigniting their appreciation for the outdoors is icing on the cake.

“The main reason I do what I do is to help re-educate people about the Earth,” he says. “If I can get people to slow down and reconnect with the environment, perhaps they will walk away a little more aware of their impact on the future generations.”


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Salient Seattle Take in the Emerald City’s sights, sounds and beauty

Seattle’s Space Needle and Mount Rainier GETTY IMAGES

T

HE PACIFIC NORTHWEST DAZZLES in any

season, but the region’s colors stand out in the vibrant autumn months. Some people prefer to spend these often-cooler months cozying up inside Seattle’s hygge-filled spaces that include coffee shops, eateries, museum galleries and music-filled lounges,

while others see this season as the perfect excuse to get outside on the trails and waterways that show off the natural beauty of the region. Because options for how to spend any Seattle day can seem endless, the team at 10Best.com is happy to help narrow down the choices. As cooler days arrive, make your way to some of Seattle’s best places and spaces:

SPACE NEEDLE While we still have jet packs and flying cars to look forward to, the most iconic symbol of that 1960s space-age promise — the Space Needle — stands as Seattle’s most-recognized attraction. Built for the Century 21 Exposition, also known as Seattle World’s Fair, the 605foot structure offers 360-degree views from three main areas. Having recently undergone a $100 million “space-lift,” the structure now features the world’s first and only revolving glass floor. Dubbed “The Loupe” as a reference to the magnifying devices jewelers and watchmakers use, the Space Needle’s rotating glass floor allows for never-before-seen downward views of the distinct architecture and landscape below. Visitors also enjoy completely unobstructed, floor-to-ceiling views of the Seattle skyline and dramatically expanded views of Mount Rainier, Elliott Bay and the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges from both the inside and outside of the upper observation deck. ▶ spaceneedle.com


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION WASHINGTON | SEATTLE

UNDERGROUND TOUR After the Great Seattle Fire destroyed the central business district in 1889, officials decided to elevate the city one to two stories higher than the original street grade, creating deep concrete pathways under the new construction. Once the sidewalks were finished, building owners moved their businesses above, leaving behind a network of abandoned rooms and paths that was often used for storage. It’s this portion beneath — still illuminated by the solid glass that allows light to stream below — that can be explored. The history proves interesting, but it’s the stories and tales of seamstresses, thieves and prominent residents that truly bring the area to life. This 75-minute tour provides a fascinating glimpse into the city’s heritage and legendary lore. You’ll start inside Doc Maynard’s Public House, a restored 1890’s saloon, and continue through historic Pioneer Square to three different sections of the Underground — covering about three blocks total. It ends in Rogues Gallery, a quirky gift shop. ▶ undergroundtour. com

DISCOVERY PARK Situated on Magnolia Bluff overlooking Puget Sound, this expansive urban park — the largest in Seattle — offers 2 miles of beach trails and 9 miles of winding footpaths. Ostensibly a bluff-top reserve, Discovery Park protects a remarkable urban wilderness and provides an excellent spot for nature-watching. The West Point Lighthouse, which began operation in 1881 (making it the oldest in the area), can also be found here. Offering breathtaking views of both the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges, the park’s remote site also includes open meadowlands, dramatic sea cliffs, forest groves, active sand dunes, thickets and streams. ▶ seattle.gov/parks SEATTLE.GOV

GOLDEN GARDENS PARK West of Ballard, visitors find one of Seattle’s best-kept secrets: Golden Gardens beach. Located on Puget Sound, this public park offers extraordinary views of the water and nearby Olympic Mountains. The park includes wetlands, beaches and hiking trails, as well as picnic and playground areas. The park is bisected by the BNSF Scenic Subdivision railway. Golden Gardens offers walks along a rugged coastline, hikes through forest trails, fishing from a pier and a boat launch. ▶ seattle.gov

Apollo Command Module

MUSEUM OF POP CULTURE At the Museum of Pop Culture, visitors can take in a wide range of exhibits, including Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses, celebrating the history of the Seattle rock band through more than 200 rare artifacts, photographs and oral histories. The museum’s sound lab gives visitors a place to make their own music using electric guitars, drums and mixing consoles. ▶ mopop.org BRADY HARVEY/MUSEUM OF POP CULTURE

MUSEUM OF FLIGHT

MUSEUM OF FLIGHT Hands-on informational and historical exhibits distinguish this museum, which appeals to aspiring pilots as well as those whose feet have never left the ground. Displays in the two-story William E. Boeing Red Barn, where Boeing’s first planes were constructed, chronicle the history of flight up to the late 1930s. In the six-story Great Gallery, more than 20 planes hang from the ceiling, causing guests to gape in amazement. Additional sights include a mock air traffic control center, an early Air Force One presidential plane and a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird — the fastest air-breathing manned aircraft ever built. Furthermore, the outdoor airpark lets visitors explore some of the museum’s largest planes. Other amenities include complimentary guided tours, a variety of free films, a café and a museum store. ▶ museumofflight.org


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION WASHINGTON | NATIONAL FOREST

CAPTIVATING CASCADE Tucked inside Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington is Panther Creek Falls. The waterfall is a natural spring intertwining ribbons of water and moss, gently descending the face of a massive basalt wall. Finding Panther Creek Falls requires some navigating, but you won’t be disappointed.

ADAM SAWYER


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

Profile for STUDIO Gannett

GO ESCAPE CALIFORNIA, PACIFIC.pdf  

GO ESCAPE CALIFORNIA, PACIFIC.pdf