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Trippin' in NorCal, Issue #002, September 2016
September 01, 2016

Trippin' in NorCal:
Tourist Attractions and Insider Secrets

Trippin' in NorCal is Discover Northern California's free monthly newsletter that keeps you up to date with what's new on our website and what's coming up in the way of events, fairs, and festivals.

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Thanks so much for taking the time!

September 2016 Issue #002

If This is Your First Time Here

We're very proud to produce our second edition of Trippin' in NorCal as a venue for providing more value to our readers. Each month we will deliver a new issue to your mailbox that will include

  • New pages, articles, photo galleries, hints & tips, etc., that have been published at Discover Northern California

  • Additional tourist attractions and Insider Secrets to explore

  • Upcoming events, fairs, and festivals for the month, and much much more!

This month's issue continues with:

What's New at Discover Northern California

Discover Our Tips for Whale Watching

Having spent many years whale watching in almost every way imaginable, we have some tips we'd like to share with you. California whaling can be as simple as driving or hiking along the coast, or just picking a spot to sit anywhere along Northern California's coastal roads, rocky bluffs, and sandy beaches.

Whaling cruises are a popular choice as you can go to the whales rather than waiting for them to come to you.

If you're really brave, paddle a canoe or kayak out into the ocean - many people have done it and been real up close and personal. Not sure we can recommend it, though!

You might even be able to do some whale spotting from the air by plane, helicopter, or even in a blimp.

But before heading out, continue reading to learn how to plan your trip, where to go to increase your odds of success, what to look for when you get there, and what to bring along, whether you opt for whaling trips ashore, asea, or aloft. Read More

Discover Vacation Rentals By Owner in Big Sur

A surprising option for accommodations in Big Sur is VRBO, Vacation Rental by Owner. And one that many people don't think about. Why? Maybe because they're afraid. Let me explain.

They might ask themselves, How do I find the right place? How do I know that the rental is as advertised? Can I trust the owner? What if the place is not clean or well maintained? What if it's a scam?

Wow, that's a lot of How do's and What if's! The fact of the matter is, we have so many options available to us in today's world for finding the right place, being sure you're getting what you hope you're getting, and keeping you safe. There's really nothing to be afraid of if you do your due diligence! Read More

Discover Why Sunflowers are Important to Northern California

Sunflowers make me smile! They're so cheery, with their bright colors and big heads full of seeds in the making - there's something magical about the way they always turn their faces to the sun, following its path across the sky!

And apparently, I'm not alone. Pretty much everyone recognizes a Helianthus when they see a large flower head atop a tall hairy stem with sticky leaves. Usually the flowers are yellow, but even if you see one that's red or orange or even pink and white, you still know it's a sunflower.

But have you ever tried to grow sunflowers in your garden? It's pretty easy to do! All they need is full sun throughout the day, the right amount of water, and some sort of stabilization against falling over since the stems are relatively thin and the heads are large and heavy. Read More

September Events, Fairs, & Festivals

In our first newsletter, we listed - by date - every event, fair, and festival in Northern California that we know about, and it was lo-o-o-ong! This month, we thought we'd try something different. We'll focus on three or four of our favorite events, fairs, and festivals here in the newsletter, then give you a link to the much longer version on the applicable events and festivals page. Then YOU can tell US which way you prefer.

September 2 - 5, 2016: Gold Rush Days

Meet historic characters from our country's past, from gold rush miners to Union soldiers, from shopkeepers to celebrities, from Native American chieftains to mountain men in town to kick up their heels.

Visit Tent City to see life as it was in the early days of Sacramento City; let the kids pan for gold; watch the tinsmiths, lace makers, and blacksmiths in Artisan Alley; enjoy the musicians and the melodramas; learn about the squatters' riots and Pony Express relays through reenactments. Fun for the whole family!

September 10 - 11, 2016: Capitola Art & Wine Festival

Probably the reason we love this festival so much is because it's another excuse to visit Capitola Village, a quaint little beach town with historic and colorful architecture that reminds us of a Mediterranean village by the sea!

The Art & Wine Festival combines art, wine, music, and food with over 160 artists and 22 Santa Cruz Mountain wineries participating. A Kid’s Art Area with craft projects and music is located in the center of the Festival. And there's always great entertainment all weekend, including local dance and performing arts groups, street performers, and live music.

It's great fun in a fabulous setting along Monterey Bay! Insider Secret: this year's festival includes local food artisans.

September 17 - October 16, 2016, Weekends Only: Northern California Renaissance Faire

There's plenty of time to catch this faire, as it runs every weekend for five weekends in a row, and each weekend has a theme. Opening weekend offers a Two-for-One special entry fee if you bring the online coupon; Weekend 2 the festival will be invaded by pirates, and the queen's Royal Guardsmen will be on the lookout; Weekend 3 is Royal Masquerade weekend, in the spirit of the grand Masque galas hosted by the royal palace; Weekend 4 celebrates Oktoberfest with German mercenaires and their camp followers; and Weekend 5 finishes with Fantasy Forever, curious creatures and fantastical folk brom ancient mystical creatures to Shakespearean fairies and futuristic time travelers.

The merry village of Willingtown appears as if by magic each year in the shaded glens of Casa de Fruta, where foolishness and fun rule the day with people in period costumes, bawdy banter, swordplay and jousting bring the Renaissance alive.

You'll find a much longer list of September events, festival, and fairs at Events and Festivals

And let us know which way you'd like events, festivals, and fairs presented in our monthly newsletters by emailing us at

Have a MAHvelous September - we're so looking forward to the Fall months! We'll be in touch again next month with more Tourist Attractions & Insider Secrets! In the meantime, visit us at Discover Northern California, on Facebook, Twitter, G+, and Pinterest.

And thanks once again for subscribing to Trippin' in NorCal.

Cheers, Suzi & Wolf

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