I’ve been a Californian for over twenty years having migrated from the Philippines when I was little and I have just come to the realization how  much of California I have not seen or experienced. Most of us will probably not experience our own city, state or country, big or small in its entirety but one can always try. I love travelling–anywhere, as long as I am spending that time with my family and experiencing new things with them. I am easily awed when it comes to nature. There is something about its natural beauty that just takes my breath away. So this summer, my family and I will endeavor to see and experience as much of California. I believe that making memories where travelling is involved does not have to be costly. You just have to know where to look. The library, for example, carries BayAreaParent and other what-to-do magazines that comes out monthly. It has dates/times/cost of events that are taking place in the bay area. Websites like Travelzoo.com has some great travel/entertainment deals, as well. So go out there and explore. Happy traveling! Happy exploring!

June 2010

South Lake Tahoe, California

 

Our first trip to Lake Tahoe was back in April where the contrast between the deep dark blue sky, the vibrant green of the trees and the snow-covered grounds and peaks made for a picturesque spring holiday and where ultimately, I feel in love with South Lake Tahoe. So for our birthdays, it was only fitting that we celebrate our special day here. 

We took advantage of the great weather and found ourselves driving the narrow road to D.L. Bliss State Park. We found out that this park is mainly made up of campsites. We saw campers lounging around in apparent enjoyment of the great weather. Smoke issuing from bonfires and makeshift clothesline is further evidence of people who loves communing with nature this way. After enjoying the scenery and tons of picture-taking later, we parked at Vikingsholm parking lot. We climbed the rocky bluff that precipitously overlooks Emerald Bay. What a breathtaking view! And this is why I love Lake Tahoe. It has the tenacity to inspire without hardly ever trying.

 

 

Morgan and I walked the one-mile gravel path to Vikingsholm Mansion. The path is wide and sometimes we encountered water trickling in the hillsides. There are a few bends leading down to the mansion, so our trek was fairly easy. Hiking up was another story. This trail meets Rubicon trail as you make your way down.

Built in the late 1920’s, Vikingsholm Mansion reflects Scandinavian architecture where it stands grandly just a few feet away from the beach. It is now a museum. Redwood trees abounds. There were geese swimming along the shallows of the lake, which Morgan insisted she must chase. We walked on the pier and watched a family swim the placid lake.  As I stood there taking stock of this lovely place, I felt a calmness come over me. I can’t wait to be back here again.  (Parking fees. Cash only)

June 23, 2010

Coyote Trail, Morgan Hill, California

The nice thing about Coyote Trail is that the trail is paved and flat but with a few exceptional dips. This trail is very popular among bikers, walkers, and joggers. I cannot be precise on this, but along the 3.0 mile marker, there is an air strip for avid miniature airplane flyers, if your starting point is Morgan Hill. We stopped here for a quick snack, enjoying a little respite from the sun. This trail runs about 25-30 miles.

Just before reaching the 3.0 marker, on my right are meadows and mountains. Sans the airplane noise above and cars humming in the distance, this trail makes me feel as though I have been transported in time walking along side Pip, on his way to Ms. Havisham’s. And the rushing water coming from the stream on my left, I am shadowing Jane Eyre on her daily walks by the river on Mr. Rochester’s Thornfield Hall. This trail, somehow, elicits a certain nostalgia which is really odd to explain. I think because I read too much, my mind is addled.  But if you have been here already, you so know what I’m talking about.

June 24, 2010

The Mystery Spot, Santa Cruz, California

Stop in to The Mystery Spot before heading out to the boardwalk. Tour is every 12 minutes and takes about 30 minutes. Fee is $5 per person/$5 parking

June 25, 2010

Henry Coe Park, Morgan Hill, California

Morgan and I drove to Morgan Hill’s Henry Coe Park. I had no idea that the drive up was 10-miles. Just when we thought the end was nowhere in sight, alas, we made it to our destination. On our drive up, we encountered three brave souls pedaling away to their destination dissuaded by elevation or pain. Bravo!

The park ranger was kind enough to let us park and walk the grounds without paying the parking fee. We promised we only wanted to stay for a few minutes. There are campgrounds and hiking trails. There are picnic tables with amazing views. This is a great day trip for the family. Do a little hiking, rest up a bit and have lunch overlooking spectacular views of mountains and trees and to breath in fresh air. After that, on your drive down, you might even see a few deers curiously peering behind a tree or park at Anderson Dam picnic area and watch boaters wreak havoc to the peace and quiet. Birds will literally perch on tree branches hovering below picnic tables, waiting patiently for crumbs. Squirrels play pee-a-boo, in and out of their burrows. Please don’t feed them.

June 25th, 2010

Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University, California

I love this museum for many number of reasons: 1) It’s free; donation appreciated. 2) Their Rodin collection is immense both in the museum and throughout the campus. 3) They have a wide variety in their collection spanning from the Egyptians, Mesopotamia, various Chinese Dynasties, Aztecs, Greeks, African, European, etc. There is a parking fee. If you forgot to bring quarters, relax, the parking machine takes credit cards.

Take your time to really savor this museum. There are so much to see. But with children in tow, it’s a bit hard to sit and stare at a masterpiece. The upstairs galleries showcases oil on canvas, amphora’s, a life-sized portrait of Mr. Stanford, and more paintings from different eras. If you still have time, tour the campus. It will inspire you to add a little bit more to your child’s 529 College Plan.

We were lucky the campus hardly had any visitors and students alike. Had we visited while school was in session, I’m sure the grounds would’ve been bustling with students either on their bikes or on foot, headed for class. This is such a beautiful campus. I’m really glad we took the time to spend our day here.

June 27th, 2010

Uvas Canyon Park, Morgan Hill, California

Uvas Canyon is located in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It was once a territory of the Mutsun Ohlone Indians a long time ago before you and I were born. A friend recommended this place for us to visit. The drive could be long, depending on where you are coming from. As you near the park, you will drive through a narrow one-way share-the-road and Sveadal, a Swedish community. (Parking fee; cash only).

We didn’t explore the park as I thought we would for these two reasons: 1) the air was teeming with bugs; 2) slugs–big humongous slugs. I don’t like slugs, big or small. I find myself convulse with fright at the sight of them. Yes, they are small and harmless and I can easily stump my feet on them, only I don’t. Due to the dense foliage, slugs or any amphibians thrives here. On this particular visit, we found campers happily camping. There were hikers, like us, only they were the types who does not mind giant slugs and bugs. I probably will not come back here even if it’s under the kind request of Roger Federer or Andre Agassi, to accompany them to catalogue slugs for free tennis lessons. There is an amphitheater. Bring bug repellant if you plan on attending a play.

Well, this is what we did in June. It was a pretty busy month for us but very enjoyable. I can’t wait to share with you what we did in July.

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