Isabella Corsetry a Sacramento Maker

Isabella  Erin Bray croset designer and maker Credit Jim CoatsErin Bray, Isabella Corsetry designer and maker, was a stay-at-home mom who fell in love with period costumes and architecture. Her passion inspired a foundation collection of extraordinary modern-day and traditional corsets. You don’t have Isabella Corsetry Credit Barbara L Steinberg 2016to be a dedicated tight-lacer, but “waist cinchers” can trim up to 10 inches. Endless combination of fabrics, trims, buttons and bows, patterns are drafted by hand and cut based on real customers. All finish work is under Erin’s careful watch. The well-loved and most popular Josephine “under the bust” corset is ideal for daily wear.

Isabella Corsetry
2311 S St, Sacramento
(916) 612-4075

Open by appointment




Susan Sipe Rabinovitz a Sacramento Maker

Susan Rabinovitz Little Relics Photo by Evan E. Duran for Submerge MagazineIf less is more, the same is true at Little Relics Art & Jewelry Gallery. Susan Sipe Rabinovitz forges diminutive wearable art – bracelets, earrings, rings, pendants – using 14th-century goldsmith techniques. A bench jeweler, a hammer and torch are the tools of her trade. “My inspiration comes from Jean Miró a pre-cubist, abstract artist, Midtown Little Relics Artisan Jewelry Credit Barbara L Steinberg2architecture and my daughters.” A Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts graduate, Susan put herself through school making earrings for Nordstrom. Now, she sculpts precious metals and jewels into custom-made keepsakes and, also, does repairs.

Little Relics Art & Jewelry Gallery
908 - 21st Street, Sacramento, CA
Monday-Saturday 11am to 6pm
Sunday 11am to 4pm 

More about Little Relics: Socially Respons
ible Bling featured in Submerge magazine


21st Annual Flyway Festival celebrates return of millions of migrating birds to San Francisco Bay Area

Birdwalk-7597-1 Courtesy of SF Flyway Festival
For this year's Flyway Festival, organizers welcome a team of staff from the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Nathan Hawkaluk - Deputy Refuge Manager, Heather Bartlett - Wildlife Refuge Specialist  and Julie Mahler - Rural Resident of the Yukon Flats will give a talk at the Wildlife Expo, Building 221, 880 Walnut Ave. on Mare Island in Vallejo, CA both Saturday, February 11 and Sunday, February 12 at 1:00pmentitled:  "Alaska’s Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge: Feeding the Flyways, Sustaining the Residents". The Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge is located in the interior of Alaska at the far northern end of the Pacific Flyway.
 
The speakers note that "Each autumn, millions of migratory birds that nest and raise their young on the Flats disperse, spreading across much of the globe to be shared and enjoyed by countless others who appreciate wildlife and wild places. This is the legacy of the Yukon Flats today – and tomorrow. Come learn from Refuge staff about how these migratory birds connect Alaska with California and the San Pablo Bay. Get a glimpse of what it’s like to live, work, and be part of a community in the Far North and learn how Alaska’s public lands support conservation in your backyard."
 
Jenny Papka, Native Bird Connections (1)Native Bird Connections, a wild bird rehab and education center based in Martinez, CA will once again give its “standing-room-only” live bird shows both Saturday and Sunday at the Wildlife Expo from 11:30am-12:30:pm. Digital presentations include information about the surprising nesting of osprey in San Francisco Bay, not known to have occurred in the 20th or 21st centuries until about the year 2000; how to identify birds and use binoculars; why Ladybugs matter; backyard bird feeding tips and the history of the Mare Island Naval Hospital which will be combined with a visit to the grounds of the hospital founded more than 150 years ago, closed as a Navy hospital in 1957 and now the campus of Touro University.
 
For the second season “re:sound migration”, an experimental sound art project created by Vallejo resident and sound artist Jen Boyd, will feature a number of other sound artists with a theme of birds and nature during the Flyway Festival. Performances take place Saturday, February 11 at the Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve Building A-168 from 3:30pm-7:00pm. Visit re-sound.net for more details and a full list of all the participating artists.
 
Host and sponsoring organizations
Once again, Mare Island Heritage Trust, the nonprofit sponsor of the Festival, welcomes Vallejo Watershed AllianceVallejo Sanitation and Flood Control DistrictFriends of San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, San Francisco Bay Joint Venture, Napa Vine Trail Coalition, Vaca Valley Volks, Marin Audubon Society, and Sierra Club Solano Group. Lennar Mare Island LLC has generously contributed the headquarters building where the Flyway Festival Wildlife Expo takes place on Mare Island in Vallejo.
 
Heron Courtesy of SF Flyway FestivalRegional guided and self-guided outings scheduled in Contra Costa, Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties - The annual migration celebration offers a range of guided and self-guided outings throughout the “north shore” region of the San Francisco Bay Area including birdwatching, natural history and recreational hikes led on Mare Island. Many of the hikes and outings are oriented to beginning and intermediate birders. Hawk watching outings led by experienced hawk specialists from the Sonoma Land Trust, West County Hawkwatch, the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, Solano Land Trust and Napa Solano Audubon Society are expected to enjoy enthusiastic turnouts. Skaggs Island, the former US Navy communications facility and now a part of San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge is not normally open to the public except during escorted outings like the total of six, two each day, scheduled during the Flyway Festival.
 
One of the most popular attractions this year, will be the three guided outings which are planned by the Friends of the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge on the newly restored more than 1200 acres of tidal wetlands at Cullinan Ranch, opened to the Bay’s waters for the first time in more than 150 years in the first part of January 2015. There is also self-guided walking and even a guided kayak and canoe access outing to this new marshland, as well as to a number of other National Refuge lands for birdwatching and hiking. Self-guided hiking and birdwatching can be done on California Department of Fish and Wildlife property in southern Napa County at the Green Island Unit and a number of Units of the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties. Sunday, February 12, 10:00am-2:00pm Solano Land Trust will offer a hawk watching hike in Lynch Canyon Open Space led by hawk expert Larry Broderick, West County Hawkwatch. The Solano Land Trust also offers a hike in the Rockville Hills Preserve which does require pre-registration. Two guided hawk watching hikes will also be given by Larry Broderick, West County Hawkwatch, hosted by Sonoma Land Trust, on the Dickson Unit of the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Saturday, February 11 at 10:00am and repeated at 12noon. Visit the Sonoma Land Trust website for details and to register (not required).
 
Mare Island Nature, Birding, Historic, Cultural, Recreational and Scenic Outings - For the 9th year the Flyway Festival welcomes the Vaca Valley Volkswalkers’ American Volkswalk Association sanctioned 6k to 11k walks on a designated route throughout Mare Island.
 
Mare Island outings will include guided walks Friday, Saturday and Sundayby local Audubon Society hike leaders and Mare Island Heritage Trust field guides. Hikes and driving birding outing on the Island include access to the Navy’s first ammunition depot in the Pacific founded in 1857 located in an area of the island designated as the 215-acre Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve which will be open daily during the Festival from 9:00am-sunset with a “Very Informal” almost full moon party Saturday evening February 11 6:30pm-8:00pm for those interested in viewing the moon and sky from a telescope. Digiscoping with phones and cameras should be good in the Preserve with nesting great blue herons and possible osprey sightings. Other guided outings on Mare Island include beginning birding walks on the San Pablo Bay Wetlands Trail. Docent led history tours of the Mare Island Naval Cemetery will be offered both Saturday and Sunday from 12noon-2:00pm
 
St. Peter’s Chapel, home to the most Tiffany stained-glass windows in a single site in the West, will be open for tours Saturday, February 11, and Sunday, February 12, 11:00am-3:00pm. The Mare Island Museum will be open Friday, February 10, 10:00am-2:00pm and Saturday February 11, 10:00am-4:00pm. Both require a $4.00 admission donation.
 
Flyway Festival Art Exhibition and opening reception
Artists and photographers will show original art work that depicts local wildlife, wetlands, marshes, and native habitats from San Francisco Bay to the ridgetops of Mt. Tamalpais and Mt. Diablo. The show is open to all ages and skill levels and the deadline for art entries has been extended to Monday, February 6. Artists’ work will be available for purchase at the Art Show beginning with its opening reception Friday evening, February 10 at 5:00pmand continuing through the two-day show, Saturday and Sunday, 9am-4pm.
 
Most Festival activities are free. Some require preregistration. For more information and directions, call or text Myrna Hayes 707-249-9633 or Sarah Cain 510-579-1008 or visit sfbayflywayfestival.com.
 
Digital photos available prior to and during the event. Call or text Myrna Hayes at 707-249-9633 cell or e-mail myrnahayes@mac.com
 

World of Flavors in Sacramento

Babylon City Market 2016 Credit Are You That Woman10Babylon City Market
1745 Watt Avenue, Sacramento; (916) 486-777
Six years young, this Mediterranean specialty market, bakery and café features halal meats, dairy, produce, spices, and traditional Iraqi breads prepared right before your eyes. You’ll swoon over fresh-baked samoon stuffed with chicken shawarma, pickled onions, garlic and tomatoes. Kabobs, falafel, chicken tikka, and hummus are all available to eat-in or takeout.  
Baking Samoon Bread Babylon City Market 2016 Credit Are You That WomanAre You That Woman Tip:  Ask about the anise cookies.


Woodland a dining destination: Restaurant Week 2017 and beyond

Sunflowers WoodlandIn California, every season is splendid and bountiful along Yolo County's back roads. Part of the Central Valley, this agricultural heartland is situated between coastal foothills and the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. Rolling hills, verdant valleys and mountains overflow with a profusion of vineyards, orchards, pastured livestock and row crops. All the best, the finest and most delicious ingredients take center stage at local restaurants and cafes.

Taste of YoloVisit Yolo is way ahead of the "foodie" curve and I will cease to refer to use that descriptor here and now! They are inventing their own culinary fiefdom. Nowhere is this more evident than historic Woodland, your new gourmand destination.
Historic Woodland
’s up-and-coming restaurant scene is skyrocketing! Just remember you heard it here! Culinary stars are creating locavore magic showcasing regional meats, fish, nuts, honey, olive oil, organic produce and local wines and craft beer. Beyond the creative and tasty offerings, I was most impressed by a true sense of family throughout the Woodland community. There’s no happier way to dine than with family and friends. Are You That Woman Tip: Housed in historic buildings, Woodland pairs dining with extraordinary architecture.

Lamb Loin Chops Celery Root Gratin seasonal Veg of the day (Capay Organic) featuring Frantoio EVO from Buckeye CreekFather Paddy’s Public House
435 Main Street, Woodland, CA
(530) 668-1044
While approaches may vary, at Father Paddy’s house recipes are a true collaboration.  Owner Pat Redmond and Executive Chef Justin Severson have created a fresh, honest, common sense approach. “Comfort food with a flare!” said Pat. Less than a year on Main Street, Justin and Pat found what works between their flavors. During Restaurant Week, your taste buds will understand why! Paddy’s red carpet presentation includes local Lamb Loin Chops with Buckeye Creek Blueberry Balsamic Reduction, Celery Root Potato Gratin, and seasonal veggies. Take a deep breath, Pastry Chef Anya Redmond reinvents eat, drink and be merry. Dessert is an Irish Toddy-inspired parfait of Meyer Lemon Cake, Tullamore DEW (legendary triple distilled Irish whiskey) and Henry’s Bullfrog Bees Honey Mousse. Are You That Woman Tip: Savor Whiskey tastings and Father Paddy’s primer in the Whiskey Vault!

Maria's Cantina Chef William's Cochintia PibilMaria’s Cantina
306 – 6th Street

Woodland, California
(530) 402-1540
Kellie Morgan dipped her toe in the restaurant world. She’d never owned a restaurant. “I had a concept and wanted to bring it to life. Good food. Good ambiance – a fun place,” she says. “Hiring Executive Chef John Gamboni was the final key.” Maria’s Cantina clearly hit the mark. Feeling lucky to be in the center of fresh agriculture, Head Chef William Jeffries utilizes as much local product as possible. For Restaurant Week, a traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork dish from the Yucatán Peninsula, Cochinita Pibil with an Achiote Glaze served over Poblano Jícama slaw with Cilantro Vinaigrette, garnished pickled red onions and micro cilantro. Plenty of Cantina chips and salsa beside a “damn good” house margarita, it’s a palate fiesta! Are You That Woman Tip: The fine art of sipping tequila spoken here. A tequila menu sports more than 30!

Chef de Cuisine Benjy, Braised Boneless Beef Short Ribs with oven roasted marble potatoes with honey glazed parsnips, turnips, and rainbow baby carrotsMorgan’s on Main
614 Main Street
Woodland, California
(530) 402-1275
The dynamic duo of Morgan and Gamboni wanted to bring something different to Woodland. “It wasn’t a big jump from Mexican to Morgan’s,” Kellie remarked. So they successfully made that leap of faith and delivered a great steak house! Originally the historic Cranston Hardware, the restaurant and the new “Big Bar” are Uber chic. Chef de Cuisine Benjy Head celebrates the feast of Yolo’s Restaurant Week with SunFed Ranch Braised, Boneless Short Ribs with oven roasted Marble Potatoes, Honey (Del Rio Farms) glazed Parsnips, Turnips and Rainbow Baby Carrots (Capay Organics). “Timing is unique for the season. Root vegetables are more bountiful, so we selected what’s available,” says Benjy. 
Are You That Woman Tip:  Shared plates included Pull Apart Bread and Bowl of Bacon a combination of candied lardons and spicy chicharrón con carne. Yes, everything’s better with bacon!

Mojo CocktailMojo’s/Kitchen428
428 – 1st Street

Woodland, California
 (530) 661-0428
“People are rediscovering Woodland,” Christy Hayes says with pride. “It’s a family vibe, local vibe—easy to make a connection.” And people are connecting at Mojo’s/Kitchen428. Kismet came calling to help Christy reinvent the historic Jackson Building once home to local landmark Morrison’s Restaurant and where she once tended bar.  Casual Mojo’s Lounge and stylish Kitchen428 share the same farm-to-fork philosophy under Executive Chef Efrain Hernandez’s culinary prowess. “The art of food fascinates me,” said Efrain. “I especially love working with seafood—in my region of Mexico I grew-up with fresh fish.” Christy and Efrain combine efforts crafting changing menus.  Come restaurant week, they celebrate Yolo and Sacramento counties winter harvest featuring Sacramento Grilled Sturgeon, Capay Organic Roasted Rainbow Carrots and Sautéed Swiss Chard, and Dragon Gourmet Oyster Mushrooms Beurre Blanc. Are You That Woman Tip: Ask about monthly Cocktail for the Cause. Proceeds (50%) from in-house crafty potions are donated to local charities.

Savory Cafe Housemade FettuciniSavory Café
722 Main Street
Woodland, California
(530) 668-4009
When it comes to family and farm-fresh, Juan and Toby Barajas embrace the mantra at Savory Café.  The brothers inherited their culinary acumen from their mother and grandmother along with an appreciation for sourcing local products. After navigating the family’s Knights Landing restaurant, Las Maracas, they wanted something different and, in 2015, acquired Savory Café. In slower winter months, they break from regular dinner service Thursday-Saturday. During Restaurant Week, their triple-threat lunch specials include a 10-ounce Grilled New York Steak with Brown Butter Sauce, Riverdog Farm Frites, Del Rio Botanical Greens and Citrus Vinaigrette; a Chicken Piccata with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Riverdog Farm Bloomsdale Heirloom Spinach and roasted Nantes Carrots; and house-made Pasta with Fried Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Butternut Squash, Brown Butter and garnish of Pomegranate Seeds, Pecorino Cheese and aged Balsamic Vinegar.  A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Chef Toby proudly admits, “I’ve always loved cooking!” Clearly, it shows! Are You That Woman Tip: Not to be missed, Sunday’s Brunch spotlight Frittata with Lacinato Kale, Leeks, Chicken Apple Sausage, Potatoes and Toby’s Salsa Verde.

Are You That Woman Final Tip:  When it comes to local, Woodland’s dining establishments also feature local and regional wines and craft beers. Cheers!

 

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Mecca for Outdoor Enthusiasts Visit Redding and Shasta Cascade

Web sizeThink alfresco!  From small executive retreats to company-wide conferences, the meeting planner team at Visit Redding can help design and implement outdoor fun for any group and offers an array of complimentary services including event planning, site negotiations and familiarization tours.

 “Our team is at the ready to help with all the meeting and event details. We are focused on the needs of your group and offer rejuvenating, educational and inspirational outdoor ideas to make your meeting a memorable one,” explains Jennifer Fontana, Industry Relations /Group Coordinator at Visit Redding. Give them a call, their priorities are in order: kayaking, hiking, boating and more.

Get Wet
Is your corporate retreat all wet? It could be! Trinity River Rafting offers groups tours. Collaboration and On water Yoga Courtesty of On Water Yogacoordination is the name of the game as teams paddle together through white-water rapids.  Redding Jet Boat Tours  depart from the famous Sundial Bridge, taking groups on a scenic ride down the Sacramento River aboard a custom-built 26-foot jet boat. At Headwaters Adventure Company, experienced paddlers demonstrate all the right moves to help you enjoy your kayaking and paddleboarding experience on Whiskeytown Lake.  Shuttle Service is available for groups, nine or fewer. Ranger-led tours are offered for small groups by special request through Whiskeytown National Recreation Area.  Or just breathe with Audrey Delong’s On Water Yoga. The Zen of paddleboarding, outings are tailored for private events.

Lake Shaata Caverns Courtsey of Visit ReddingGo Back in Time
Enjoy a scenic 10-minute catamaran cruise to Lake Shasta Caverns National Natural Landmark and one-hour tour of what some geologists consider one of the most beautiful limestone caves in America. Then there’s the Lava Beds National Monument. This land of turmoil, both geological and historical, will make problem solving back at the office seem like a piece of cake. More than 700 caves, Native American rock art sites, historic battlefields and campsites, and high desert wilderness experiences await your group.

ManaBall Courtesy of Visit RedgingWild and Crazy
Redding’s newest contact sport revolutionizes team building experiences. ManaBall provides more than 30 customized and coordinated extreme bubble-ball games. An exciting twist on traditional sports, team players are wrapped in a giant, soft inflatable Bubble Ball with shoulder harnesses and handles inside! Bonding has never been more hilarious.

Sundial Bridge Courtesy of Visit ReddingBefore and After Hours
Located at Turtle Bay Exploration Park, the Sundial Bridge is an architectural and artistic marvel and one of the largest working sundials in the world. Silhouetted above the Sacramento River, the glass-decked pedestrian bridge is illuminated at night. A memorable way for groups to gather, the Bridge Amphitheater and North Plaza offer unique settings for outdoor parties, ceremonies, and receptions.

Wildcard Brewing Courtesy of Visit ReddingDowntown Redding is ready to fulfill all your after-hour needs to shop, dine, and enjoy live music and other entertainment. Savor everything from casual to fine dining, as well as wine tasting rooms, craft beer bars, and dance clubs for after-hours merriment. The Redding Civic Auditorium, convention hotels, and local vineyards also welcome groups of all sizes.

Redding Transportation
Redding Municipal Airport provides commercial airline passenger service via United, with direct flights to San Francisco, and Pen Air offers direct flights to Portland. If you prefer to charter your own plane, aviation services and aircraft hangar facilities are available to make your trip memorable. Car rentals, Amtrak and Greyhound service, buses, taxis, limousines, bicycle rentals, and even pedicabs are another way to see the sites and get around. Shuttle service and group ice breaker from Sacramento International sets an upbeat tone. 

Redding is located at the northern end of the Sacramento Valley, two hours north of Sacramento and three hours northeast of San Francisco.  With more than 300 days of sunshine, Redding is truly your year-round outdoor destination. Nearby scenic lakes, rivers, national forests, state and national parks – Shasta State Historic Park, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area and Lassen Volcanic National Park – make Redding a fantastic base-camp. Redding is conveniently located at the crossroads of Interstate-5 and California state routes 299 and 44.

Roughly the size of Ireland, the Shasta Cascade region is the perfect place to get back to nature, relax and enjoy the great outdoors. Comprised of eight rural counties, this majestic Northern California region is dotted with lakes, rivers and mountains and includes three national parks, six national forests and 12 California state parks.

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Anacapa Island Who Says it's Not for Kids

Anacapa Boarding the boat for our trip to Anacapa Island – part of the Channel Islands National Park – we could hear an infant crying.  Certainly most everyone was thinking, “Oh, great! A baby on a 12-mile boat trip!  Are you nuts?”  The Island Packers' boat, Vanguard, began its slow journey through the calm waters of Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard. Out into the open sea, we started to rock and bob – the infant was asleep within seconds.  The rest of us faced forward, eyes wide open, awaiting a glimpse of the elusive Anacapa Island.  Those of us beyond the rhythmic lullabies of babies could take solace in the postcard-perfect weather – light breeze, blue skies, and warm sun – as we embarked on our half-day journey to a land nearly forgotten by time. 

When considering boarding a 68-foot-long boat to take a 12-mile trip out into open seas, traveling with children under the age of five probably doesn’t come to mind.  However, our group included families with children of all ages and an infant.  With just two miles of trails, Anacapa’s landscape is easy hiking and perfect for younger visitors – even parents packing a baby.  The visitor’s center provides welcome shade and picnic tables for a lunchtime break. The center also has great interpretive displays and houses the original crystal and brass Fresnel lens from the island lighthouse.  The landing cove offers great opportunities for snorkeling, swimming and kayaking – even for the younger set.  The water temperatures are warmest during the summer months, topping out at around 65°. It’s a good idea to monitor exposure to the water or come equipped with dive suits.

Kids and parents will enjoy a thrilling below-water view through Anacapa’s underwater video program. Viewed by television from the island’s landing dock at or the mainland visitor center, this unique program features an interpretive dive through one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, the kelp forest.  Kids can talk directly to the ranger interpreter and ask questions about the watery world below.  This amazing program is available Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in the landing cove of Anacapa Island. It is open to the public free of charge and occurs at 2:00 p.m from Memorial Day through Labor Day.  

Off-shore, California sea lions and harbor seals are frequently seen and heard barking up a storm at overlooks Cathedral Cove and Pinniped Point.  They are often seen during the Channel crossing – bobbing along and seemingly waving as you pass.  Several varieties of whales and dolphins are spotted year-round on trips to Anacapa – and with luck you may find a pod of orca or common dolphin playing in the boat’s wake.

Despite obvious signs of human habitation, Anacapa retains much of its natural rugged beauty.  Anacapa consists of three small islets, East, Middle and West, which are inaccessible from each other except by boat.  Visitation is limited to the East islet and Frenchy’s Cove on the West islet.   Most of island is primarily wilderness set aside for nesting Western gulls and the endangered California brown pelican.   In the spring, kids and adults marvel at the throng of nesting gulls. Later in the season, downy baby gulls wait quietly, or not, for doting parents to feed them.  And undulating brown pelicans soar overhead or line the cliffs overlooking the landing cove on East Anacapa. 

In general, the island has a Mediterranean climate but the weather can be most unforgiving and dense fog is common during late spring.  Calm winds and seas are more frequent at summer’s end.  Consider seasonal changes when planning a trip to Anacapa or any of the Channel Islands.

The closest of the five islands that make-up the national park, Anacapa is only a ½-mile wide, about 5 miles long, with 200-foot cliffs.  Though fairly stark in its natural state, non-native ice plant, a brilliant red, now blankets much of the island.  Originally planted to prevent erosion, the creeping, mat-forming succulent is being removed as part of an environmental rehabilitation of the island.  In the spring, forests of giant yellow coreopsis seem other-worldly.  Other wildflowers – pale pink island mallow, vivid red paintbrush, and tiny island morning glories – create an eye-catching palette of colors across the island.

It’s fitting that Anacapa is the only one of the five Channel Islands to retain its American Indian name "Eneepah,” derived from a Chumach word meaning island of deception or mirage.  I can tell you, this island is no mirage.  It’s a dream come true for kids of all ages – grown-ups too!

When traveling to Anacapa or any of the Channel Islands, remember: 

> Sunscreen, sunglasses, sunhat
> Seasickness Medicine (If you’re at all concerned or sensitive)
> Dress in layers
> Take plenty of water as there is no fresh water on the island
> Pack lunches and snacks
> Comfortable walking shoes
> Camera and binoculars
> Day-trippers can leave items at the Visitor Center but its best to travel light.
> Walk with care
> Take photos not flowers, rocks, shells, or other items found on the island…except trash.
> If you pack it in, pack it out

For families looking for the complete family escape with all the requisite amenities, the Embassy Suites Mandalay Bay Beach Resort is conveniently located near Channel Islands Harbor.  All-suite rooms offer the luxury and comforts of home:  living room, two televisions, two full baths, one king or two queen beds, and sleeper sofas, a refrigerator, microwave oven, coffee maker, and a well-lit dining table.  Translation:  Plenty of room for everyone to spread out and relax.  A deep blue swimming pool, Jacuzzis, ping pong, non-motorized bikes of all kinds to ride along the beach promenade and miles of the most pristine beach just scream “family friendly!” Tons of Family Fun Packages the entire family will enjoy!

Forget the breakfast buffets; mornings at Embassy Suites are a real food fest!  Besides an over-the-top expanded continental featuring fresh fruits and yogurts, full-cooked breakfasts include eggs, bacon, sausage, omelets, waffles, pancakes and more.  And Embassy Suites may have the happiest “hour” on the planet.  The two-hour soiree includes a variety of munchies from chips and salsa and trail mix to fresh vegetables and dip plus a full bar for parents…and kids!  The Surf Room at Mandalay Bay features kid- and adult-friendly game area with pool table, foosball, big screen TV, or you can simply relax on the patio:  The swaying palm trees and blue lagoons will keep you and the kids dreaming of Paradise.

For more information visit:  www.NPS.gov/chis  or www.IslandPackers.com


Benjamin Schwartz a Sacramento Maker

My Sacramento Benjamin Schwartz Credit Alexander TardifStudying film at the prestigious Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, Ben Schwartz returned to Sacramento roots to complete his degree. He started making films and then settled on a 9 to 5 State job. A regular paycheck with benefits seemed like a safer route, but not his destiny.  A chance meeting with British shoemaker was pivotal. Nine years later, his shoes are made for walking.

"I found this book on making shoes, but didn’t act on it for about a year. There were no apprenticeships; it was just a hobby.  A friend suggested having the designs factory made, but we decided to make them ourselves.  In 2014, there Benjamin Shoe Co Credit are You That Woman Barbara L Steinbergwas one prototype when we went online. The idea of work changes when you work for yourself; more hours than you’d ever work otherwise. I sold everything I owned and, with two friends, we “bootstrapped” the business. It’s surprising, in a good way, how much local support we received. We’ve become such a throwaway society, I want to be a model for other small brands being mindful and making things that last."

Benjamins Shoes
1104 R Street, Suite 130
Sacramento, CA 95811
Tues.-Sat. 11am to 7pm
Sunday 11am to 6pm


Whale-Watching California: Gray Whales Put on a Show

CAWW - Douglas Croft_Big Sur Gray Whale

Have a Whale of a Good Time by Barbara L. Steinberg

Each winter California welcomes the return of its official marine mammal, the gray whale.
The annual migration of more than 18,000 gray whales begins high in Alaskan waters.  The giants then travel southward along California's coastline en route to their breeding and birthing waters in the bays and lagoons of  Baja California.  These majestic mammals hug California's shoreline at Point Reyes National Seashore, past the Farallon Islands, travel through Half Moon Bay and Monterey Bay, then follow the coastline past Southern California before reaching Mexico.

The whales travel 70 to 80 miles per day at a rate of three to five miles per hour.  A spout of vaporized water, at times reaching 12 feet, becomes visible to watchers as the whales surface every three to five minutes to breathe.  Their 12,000-mile round-trip trek is the longest known distance any mammal migrates on an annual basis.  During the migration, the whales will travel in small groups and stay fairly close Whalewatching_on_the_Condor Courtesy of Santa Barbara Conference and Visitors Bureauto the shoreline for protection from predators, such as killer whales.  By mid-February, the migration pattern reverses as the whales lead their new-born calves back to the chilly Arctic waters of the Bering Sea in Alaska.

Gray whales—the only whale species to fully recover its pre-whaling population levels—may reach up to 50 feet in length and weigh up to 45 tons.  Named for their gray coloring, the whales have mottled gray skin due to both natural pigmentation, and whale lice barnacle colonies.  When swimming or hovering just below the surface, the whales may appear uniformly white or slate blue.  One of the gray's more distinctive traits is its lack of a dorsal fin.  Instead, a low hump is followed by a series of bumps down the back. 


The initial sighting of the gray whale is exhilarating. The blow—a  puff of steam standing up to 12 feet off the water—will appear; where there is one blow, others are sure to follow as whales tend to travel in groups of two to six. An amazing maneuver the whales perform is spyhoppingA whale may stick its head above water one or more times consecutively—it is believed that the whale is either getting its bearings or using gravity to help swallow.  The most dramatic and exciting behavior observed is breaching.  The whale will leap out of the water and fall to its side or back making a spectacular splash.  This behavior can be perceived as a form of communication to other whales in the area Ventura California Mother and Daughter enjoy Island packers Channel Islands Credit Barbara Steinberg or means of “back scratching” to release the numerous parasites from the whales' hides.


The four-month period from December through March is a celebration for aficionados of marine and coastal biology life as various festivals, cruises and events are planned in conjunction with the gray whale's yearly migratory pattern.

FOR LANDLUBBERS

Point Reyes National Seashore, home of the picturesque Point Reyes Lighthouse in Marin County, has one of the best viewing locations.  In addition, naturalist talks ,”Journey of the Whale,” are offered weekends and holidays during the season, 1:30 p.m.  The Lighthouse Visitor Center is open from 10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Thursday through Monday.  The Point Reyes Lighthouse Observation Deck is a great place to watch for California gray whales as they migrate past Point Reyes Courtesy of National Park ServiceParking is very limited and weekends can be crowded.  Th winter shuttle service runs December 31 through late March or mid-April, operating on weekends and holidays, weather permitting during whale-watching season.  For details on the talks and shuttles, call the Bear Valley Visitor Center (415) 464-5100; open seven days a week. Checkout their Facebook page for updates on sightings.

Ricochet Ridge Ranch, across from MacKerricher State Park on the Mendocino Coast at Fort Bragg, offers horseback riding along the beach where riders often see gray whales and harbor seals.

Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma in San Diego is home to a glassed-in whale-watching observatory featuring whale exhibits and a taped narration, is being renovated but should re-open soon.  The center is open daily 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Interpretive programs are available, call for information. 

Other areas for active viewing include (counties listed from north to south):

Del Norte County:
Klamath River Overlook.  Approximately four miles off U.S. 101 on Requa Road at the top of the mountain that overlooks the mouth of the Klamath River and Pacific Ocean.

Endert’s Beach Overlook.  Approximately three  miles off U.S. 101 on Endert’s Beach Road to the parking lot and viewing area which is a redwood deck built on top of a rock.

Battery Point.  This is accessible only at low tide from the parking area at the foot of “A” Street in Crescent City.

Brother Jonathan Vista Point.  Located on Pebble Beach Drive at Ninth Street in Crescent City.  Viewing area is about 10 feet above the surface of the ocean.

Point St. George.  Located about three miles northwest of Crescent City at the west end of Washington  Boulevard.

Castle Rock, near Crescent City.  The best location for viewing this island is along Pebble Beach Drive north of the Brother Jonathan Vista Point, south of Point St. George.

Humboldt CountyDry Lagoon, Humboldt Lagoons State Park, Freshwater Lagoon,
Redwood National & State Parks near Orick, Gold Bluffs Beach in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park,
McKinleyville Vista Point off  U.S. 101, Palmer’s Point and Wedding Rock,
Patrick’s Point State Park, Trinidad, Scenic drive, south of Trinidad offers a number of spectacular vista points as well as access to beaches such as Luffenholtz Beach.

Shelter Cove
. Take the Garberville/Redway exit off U.S. 101 to the Lost Coast.


Table Bluff. South spit of Humboldt Bay Trinidad Head at Trinidad Harbor, Trinidad.

Mendocino Headlands Whale Watching Credit Barbara Steinberg Mendocino County: Laguna Point at MacKerricher State Park, Jughandle State Reserve, Mendocino Headlands, Point Cabrillo Lightstation Preserve, Russian Gulch State Park, Todd’s Point

Sonoma County: Stillwater Cove County Park and Bodega Head

Santa Cruz County:  Pigeon Point, Greyhound Rock and Davenport Coastline

Monterey County: Monterey Peninsula, Big Sur

San Luis Obispo County:  Montaña de Oro State Park, Pismo State Beach, Morro Strand State Beach, Cayucos State Beach, San Simeon State Beach, and Moonstone Beach Drive

Santa Barbara County:  Santa Barbara Coastline, Channel Islands National Park, and Shoreline Park

Los Angeles CountyCatalina Island, and Korean Friendship Bell and Point Fermin Lighthouse, San Pedro

Orange County: Dana Point

Anacapa Island Packers Credit Barbara SteinbergVentura CountyChannel Islands National Park
Island Packers - The 3‐3½ hour non‐landing narrated whale-watching trips are offered from both Ventura Harbor and Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard. Trips depart almost daily at 9:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. All‐day trips with landing are also available on Anacapa or Santa Cruz islands. Camping is also available on all five islands. Advance reservations are advised and can be made by calling (805) 642‐1393. 

California State Beaches also offer a number of programs and locations for viewing migrating whales.  For details on what programs are offered, contact the state park listed below or visit www.Parks.ca.gov for general information on all state parks. 

Fort Ross State Historic Park - (707) 847-3286
Garrapata State Park - (831) 624-4909
MacKerricher State Park - (707) 937-5804
Manchester State Beach - (707) 937-5804
Mendocino Headlands State Park - (707) 937-5804
Montaña de Oro State Park - (805) 528-0513
Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural History - (805) 772-2694
Patrick's Point State Park - (707) 677-3570
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve - (831) 624-4904
Point Sal State Beach - (805) 733-3713
Point Sur State Historic Park - (831) 625-4419
Salt Point State Park - (707) 847-3221
Sonoma Coast State Beach - (707) 875-3483
Silver Strand State Beach - (619) 435-5184

California Festivals Celebrate Gray Whales

Whalefest MontereyWelcome the grays at Monterey Bay, Point Lobos and Big Sur.  Take part in this two-week celebration with whale-themed art shows, natural history exhibits, and children’s programs at dozens of cultural and natural history organizations, including the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  For more information and a schedule of events, visit.

Intertidal Festival Courtesy of Cabrilio National MonumentWhale Fiesta, San PedroSpecial speakers and presentations are included in weekend festivities at the enclosed whale-watching station at the end of Point Loma in San Diego.  Weekend date to be determined by November. 
For more information, call:  (619) 557-5450.

Oxnard’s Celebration of the Whales - Taking place at Channel Islands Harbor, the celebration will include entertainment and exhibits highlighting the offshore migration of the gray whale.  The event also includes island trips, speakers, and arts and crafts.  

Sponsore by See California
Find more whale festivals at www.SeeCalifornia.com

Dana Point’s Festival of Whales - After an opening ceremony at La Plaza Park with a two-day street faire, this spectacular event will kick-off with a grand display of tallships at the Dana Point harbor.  The Orange County Marine Institute will sponsor a “Whaling & Art of the Sailor” exhibition, and the last weekend will finish with a “wag-a-thon” plus much more.  For more information, call: (888) 440-4309 or (949) 472-7888.  

Mendocino Whale Festival.  Celebrate in the village's galleries and shops with premium wines from Mendocino's top vintners.  Other highlights include chowder tasting, marine art exhibits, music and whale-watching walks on the headlands.  For more information.

Fort Bragg Whale Festival.  Along with dozens of microbrews provided by the Fort Bragg Rotary Club, the area’s top chefs will produce their favorite chowders. A marine mammal art exhibit and crafts fair are also part of the two-day Whale Watching Courtesy of Visit Long Beachfestival. Experience the excitement of whales in motion with a boat excursion at Noyo Harbor.  For more information. 


Little River Whale Festival.
  Savor bites from the kitchens of the town's noted chefs, sips from Mendocino County
vintners, history and birding walks in Van Damme State Park, artist studio tours, fireside talks with local historians.  


Long Beach Whale Watching. Explore the Pacific Ocean and enjoy an up-close and personal experience with the world's largest mammals. Special whale-watching packages offered by the Aquarium of the Pacific. and tours and cruises by Harbor Breeze Whale-Watching Cruises, and Pieroint Landing.
 

Morro Bay Whale Watching is waiting. The Dos Osos is an open-deck pontoon boat, so dress with additional layers. A seasoned crew and interpretive staff provide background and safety instructions. Gray whales visit middle of December through May. Sightings are virtually guaranteed. Other commonly seen marine life includes blue whales, minke whales, fin whales and Pacific white-sided dolphins.


Social networking from California: A Letter

Seeking Dana Smith by Barbara Steinberg

I have shared this story again and again, here it is one more time. This letter was originally published on February 26, 2010. My hopes for 2017, other then the usual: health, happiness, and world peace....would be an answer to this letter. Of course, I have passed another birthday and rounded the corner to 60 and the 42nd anniversary of Dana's supportive words. Maybe 2017 will be the magic year when the answer comes.

Dear Mrs. Smith –

May I call you Dana? Now that I am nearly 60 years old it seems appropriate. I don’t know if you will remember me…though I believe you will. You were my English teacher (freshman and senior years [1970-1971 & 1973-1974]) at W. T. Woodson High School.  This is not the first letter I have written you.  I wrote to you after I graduated from high school and thanked you for coming into my life!  Here I am again.

You and I bumped heads that first year, 1970.  Diagramming sentences and all those English technicalities drove me crazy; I was so bored.  You may have suffered some of the same boredom. 

D. Smith My senior year (1973-1974) with you included media/marketing and writing courses.  What an eye-opener for me!  Those experiences would eventually figure into my professional life in so many ways.  In my senior yearbook you wrote, “I expect to be buying your books soon,” Good Luck, D. Smith.  That was the most powerful and memorable thing anyone had ever said to me.

After graduating, I told you all of this in a letter.After moving to California, I stopped by to say ‘hello’ and let you know what was going on in my life.  You told me that you and your husband (whom I never met) were moving to Kentucky.  I believe you said he was a photographer and planned to open a studio.  Again, this is what I think was said.  I don’t remember if you said where in Kentucky or (specifically) when you were going.

I don’t recall if we spoke again, but I have thought of you often.

I have been looking for you for a long time.  I stopped by and called WTW – the English department, the principal – no one responded.  I contacted the teachers association.  Each time I explained, but no one seemed interested.  I have looked online.Searched through www.WhitePages.com, Google searches, and people-finder websites. Someone from my graduating class knows someone who is currently on staff in the English Department. They were going to do some asking on my behalf, but then I never heard anything more.

I posted the following on Facebook believing that this ‘six degrees of separation’ Mecca would find someone out there who recognized you. Or maybe even find you!

Barbara imageI am still hoping to find Dana Smith who taught English at W.T. Woodson back in the '70s. She was still in Fairfax the last
time I saw her but she said planning to move to Kentucky. Her husband was a photographer (I think this is what I remember).
 December 13, 2009 at 8:38pm

Why is it so important that I find you?  Because I want to thank you…again!  Thank you for seeing something in me when I was only 17-years-old. Something no one else had noticed or nurtured. My life took many paths, all of them leading to my life as a writer and editor.Though I have been writing my whole life, I wasn't professionally published until my mid 30s. For 16 years I was the director of publications for Visit California. Since 2006, I have been a freelance travel writer and marketing California as a travel destination -- passionate about the subject!

I have often talked about what you taught me about the power of marketing. And, ironically, one of the first places I visited in California was the Hearst Castle…all because you had us watch "Citizen Kane" our senior year in a media class you taught.That’s true!  And from time-to-time, I take out my yearbook just to re-read your message.There are a couple of books I want to write, but finding the time is a major stumbling block.Your words of support may bring that to fruition someday. 

I hope this letter reaches you!  I want you to know that after 42 years I still remember and thank you from the bottom of my heart. In the meantime, others will know about the power of few well-placed words. Years later I still remember.


Love - Barbara

PS – Just before my senior year I visited a friend in the UK. Her mother, Joan, was a travel writer. When she explained this concept to me I said, “That’s a job?! I want that job.” I was just 17 years old and was just getting ready to begin my senior year in your class. The Universe and D. Smith saw the writing on the wall.