Entries in ‘California’ Journal

Fast Raft Monterey Bay Boat Tour in California

Friday July 18, 2014 at 6:06 AM | 0 Comments

sealions, "Monterey Bay" California

California sea lions in Monterey Bay

There’s nothing I like better than being out on California’s Monterey Bay on a sunny day. So when the folks at Fast Raft asked if I wanted to join them for a Monterey Bay boat tour, I was on that RIB (rigid inflatable boat) faster than a dolphin swimming in a sea of sardines!

Most visitors to Monterey, California are not aware of our National Marine Sanctuary and how accessible this body of water is to the general public. There are plenty of things to see and do in Monterey, including a trip to our world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. Visitors will hear sea lions barking from Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf, but the best way to explore Monterey Bay is with a Fast Raft Eco-Tour.
 


 
 

"rib" boat, "Bodo" "Norway

Riding a RIB in Bodø, Norway


 

Rigid inflatable boat

I’ve had the good fortune to travel by RIB in Bodø, Norway, along the world’s strongest maelstrom, Salstraumen, in the Arctic Circle. I’ve spied green sea turtles and Spinner dolphins along Hawaii’s Napali coast on board a RIB and I have explored the waters of San Francisco bay, gliding under the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge with Bay Voyager in a rigid inflatable boat.
 

"Fast Raft" "Monterey" "California"

Explore California’s Monterey Bay on Fast Raft


 

Fast Raft rigid inflatable boat

While RIB’s vary in size, these rigid inflatable boats carry between 12 and 6 passengers, in addition to a captain. In the case of Fast Raft, our female captain also happened to be a trained biologist. Captain Kate Spencer was able to point out abundant marine life, sea birds and even spotted several whales this particular morning in Monterey Bay.
 

"California sea lions" "Monterey"

California sea lions in Monterey Bay


 

Monterey Bay nature tours & whale watching

Due to the small group size of Fast Raft boat tours, six passengers, in addition to the captain, the Monterey-based company is able to create custom tours on the coastline of Monterey, exploring Point Lobos or Elkhorn Slough. Price start at $140. per person. Check the website for details.

If You Go:

Fast Raft Eco-Tours (800) 979-3370

32 Cannery Row, Suite F2

Monterey, California 93940
 

Article, photos and YouTube video by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Fast Raft.

Celebrating Independence Day in USA

Friday July 4, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 5 Comments

"Fourth of July" parade

Celebrating Independence Day in USA

To some people the Fourth of July means barbecues and fireworks displays. To others, July Fourth means street parades, military celebrations and commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, celebrating independence day in the USA. Our neighborhood brings out the barbecues and picnic tables after our two minute bike parade. However you celebrate independence day, give thanks for living in the USA.
 
 

kids, bikes "July Fourth"

Kids on bikes, July Fourth

 
Getting ready to celebrate Independence Day in Northern California
 

"Fourth of July" parade

Families celebrate Fourth of July

 
Fourth of July celebrations include American flags and parades
 

kids on bikes

Kids on bikes celebrate July Fourth in Northern California

 
Celebrating Independence Day in Half Moon Bay, California
 

horse

Celebrating Independence Day in Half Moon Bay, California

 
How do you celebrate independence day in the USA?
 

Napa Valley Festival del Sole

Thursday July 3, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 1 Comment

"Jamieson Ranch" horse

Jamieson Ranch hosts Napa Valley Festival del Sole

As I have stated many times on this luxury travel blog, I feel blessed to live in Northern California with its endless possibilities of beauty, musical talent, fantastic food and wine, creative artists and wellness practitioners. A wonderful example of these opportunities coming together in one location is Napa Valley Festival del Sole. This annual 10 day summer celebration takes place in numerous venues throughout Napa Valley, California with over 100 wineries participating in this July event.

 

"Cici's Italian Butterhorns" "Taste of Napa"

Cici’s Italian Butterhorns participate at Festival del Sole: A Taste of Napa

 
Festival del Sole Taste of Napa

I had the pleasure of attending A Taste of Napa last July. Festival del Sole guests are treated to nibbles, bites and sips from Napa Valley wineries and culinary creators from Northern California. One of my favorite finds from A Taste of Napa was Lafayette, California-based Cici’s Italian Butterhorns. This mother-daughter duo makes delicious handmade Italian treats.
 

 
Festival del Sole concerts

Concert goers will appreciate the high caliber of musicians and singers drawn to Napa Valley for the opportunity to perform at Festival del Sole. With concerts ranging from Joshua Bell, to the Russian National Orchestra performing in 2013 and a series of young artist concerts sponsored by Bouchaine Vineyards, chamber music afficionados to opera lovers will leave on a satisfied note.
 

"Russian National Orchestra" "Lincoln Theater" "Festival del Sole"

Russian National Orchestra takes stage at Napa Valley Festival del Sole’s Lincoln Theater


Festival del Sole Gala

The annual Festival del Sole Gala at Meadowood Napa Valley is an elegant enchanted garden affair. I have yet to attend this swank gala, as it is a hot ticket at Festival del Sole with a live auction at the end of the evening to benefit Festival del Sole and various local arts education programs. The sold-out gala requests ladies dress in white attire, while gentlemen are required to wear summer dinner jackets.

Festival del Sole lodging

As mentioned above, Napa Valley Festival del Sole is a much anticipated summer event in Northern California. You’ll want to make your Napa Valley hotel reservations in advance, as this is not the festival to drink and drive. I stayed at Napa River Inn when I attended Napa Valley Festival del Sole. Additional hotel partners include properties in Calistoga, Napa, Rutherford, St. Helena and Yountville.
 

"Grape Crusher" sculpture

Napa Valley Festival Sole blends wine, food, music & arts

 
Insider Tip:
While Napa Valley Festival del Sole is not an inexpensive affair, there are several free concerts and events open to the general public – reservations recommended. For additional insider tips follow Northern California Travel Writer @Nancydbrown on Twitter and Festival del Sole @Napafest.

If You Go:
Napa Valley Festival del Sole (888) 337-6272
www.festivaldelsole.org

Article, photos and video courtesy of Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. Cici’s Italian Butterhorns photo provided. I was a guest of Festival del Sole’s Taste of Napa Valley, the Russian National Orchestra performance at Lincoln Center and Jamieson Ranch dinner. All opinions are my own.