Discover Northern California's
#TravelTuesday #Photo-of-the-Week
Continued #1

What is
#TravelTuesday #Photo-of-the-Week?

When we first started blogging our #TravelTuesday photo series back in January of 2013 at Discover Northern California's Travel Blog, it didn't occur to us that those items - like all the others on that page - would eventually drop off the bottom of the page.

When it did occur to us, we realized we needed to collect them somewhere, so those who weren't around when they originally posted could find them. So here we are!

In case you're wondering, #TravelTuesday is a Twitter phenomenon created by Katy Lynch of Where I've Been, the popular social media app used by over 9 million people on Facebook, MySpace, bebo, etc. to share the places they've been to, lived in, and/or want to go to.

And, of course, Photo-of-the-Week (or -Day or -Month) is a favorite publishing tool throughout the Internet.

Do you have a favorite NorCal story?
From a family visit from years ago to something
you discovered last weekend,
Share it with the rest of us
- we'd love to learn about it!

If you're looking for Northern California lodging, you can't do better than to compare prices with before you book:

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#TravelTuesday #Photo-of-the-Week
Destination - Sam's

View of The City from Sam's patio; by Suzi RosenbergView of The City from Sam's patio; by Suzi Rosenberg

That would be Sam's Anchor Cafe on the historic waterfront in Tiburon, California.

On a warm, sunny day in the San Francisco Bay Area, everyone wants to get outdoors. But - as we all well know - any good outing demands a destination. For San Franciscans, a favorite destination is Sam's patio where you'll not only enjoy the warmth of the sun and the fresh sea air, but also fabulous views of Belvedere, Angel Island, Alcatraz, and the San Francisco skyline.

For an iconic San Francisco outing, grab your bike and take the Blue & Gold Fleet ferry from Pier 41 in The City (bikes are welcome aboard) to Tiburon; bike out Paradise Drive and back, or along the bike path to Blackie's Pasture and back; then reward yourself with a Ramos Fizz or two on the patio at Sam's.

Or ride your bike over the Golden Gate Bridge to Tiburon, then enjoy the rest of the afternoon at Sam's. When you've had your fill of Ramos Fizzes, Sam's burgers, and the sunny views, take the ferry back home again to The City.

Or dock your boat at Sam's private docks. However you arrive, you'll enjoy the weather and the fabulous views...

Like rollerblading in Golden Gate Park, hiking Mount Tamalpais,
or cheering the Giants on at the ballpark, an afternoon on the patio
at Sam's is a San Francisco treat!

Sam's Anchor Cafe

#TravelTuesday #Photo-of-the-Week
Spring Pilgrimage Revisited

Table Mountain in Full Bloom; by Wolf RosenbergTable Mountain in Full Bloom; by Wolf Rosenberg

When we lived in Merced a few years ago, our annual Spring ritual included driving up to Yosemite National Park every weekend from mid-February through late-March if necessary. The purpose - assuming of course that there’s always a purpose: to catch the blooming Dogwood trees at their gorgeous peak!

Nowadays, our annual Spring ritual involves pretty much that same weekly-type drive, but this time we're headed to the top of Table Mountain in Oroville (Butte County). The purpose of this seemingly obsessive behavior? To catch the Spring wildflowers at their peak.

When Table Mountain is in its full glory, it is awash with beds and ponds and lakes and oceans of teeny white shooting stars, golden California poppies, brilliant blue Lupine, and the ever-sweeping yellow of goldfields.

That’s the dramatic draw of Table Mountain – the impossible-to-miss painted patches of color as far as the eye can see – but walking across the open spaces, forced to look to the ground so as not to twist an ankle on the dark and jagged outcrops of volcanic rock, you’ll also spot the treasures hidden amongst the obvious: the magenta of clover, little wild pansies, greenish-yellow stone-crop, yellow Douglas Violets, wild onion . . .

The diversity of flower types is not to be believed. That all these varieties can live and prosper in the same space – some coming earlier, some later, but many co-existing in such glorious beauty – puts a spring in our steps and gives us hope for the future!

Spring's bounty - like seeing newborn lambs bounding on spindly legs through a pasture - is life-affirming!

#TravelTuesday #Photo-of-the-Week
For vintage charm, try the Fall River Hotel in Fall River Mills

Fall River Hotel in Fall River Mills; by Wolf RosenbergFall River Hotel in Fall River Mills; by Wolf Rosenberg

Located in the Fall River Valley, Fall River Mills is a beautiful little agricultural community in Shasta County known for its wild rice, cattle hay, and lavender fields. It's nickname is "Northern California's best kept secret."

Interestingly enough, Fall River Mills was not founded as a result of the California Gold Rush. It wasn't until 1855 that any attempt was made to settle the area - and that was for the purpose of milling timber, not mining gold.

The Fall River Hotel is a must-see in the area if you love historic and rustic hotels in friendly small towns that are everything you could wish for in small town atmosphere: slow pace, courtesy, and real country living. Stop in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner in the cafe/restaurant and have a look around at how life used to be.

Be sure to have a drink or two in the bar
where you're likely to find some real friendly locals to chat up!

#TravelTuesday #Photo-of-the-Week
Surprises at Monterey's Custom House Plaza

Colorful Wind Machines; by Suzi RosenbergColorful Wind Machines; by Suzi Rosenberg

Wolf and I never get tired of visiting the historic parts of old Monterey, especially the Monterey State Historic Park/Old Fisherman's Wharf area. The hustle and bustle from both tourists and locals is always colorful and intriguing.

It's hard to pick our favorite spot in the area (the wharf with its seafood vendors, restaurants, and shops; the historic buildings around the plaza; the adobe house museums with their beautiful gardens along the Path of History), but one of our favorites has to be Custom House Plaza.

The plaza is a beautifully designed massive brick structure with artfully-placed hardscape features, sculptures, and plantings and an upper level of expansive lawns, shady trees, and Bocce Ball courts. It's a lovely place to explore and visit the historic buildings, museums, or shops; hang out for a little people watching; or just breathe in the ambiance of one of California's oldest and most successful settlements.

All of that would be enough to draw us back time and again, but add the myriad of theatrical performances, events and festivals, car shows, and cultural events that utilize number One Custom House Plaza as a backdrop, and we should never be surprised when we stumble upon one more in a long list of happenings on the plaza!

Nonetheless, our reaction is always one of surprise and delight. "Oh look, what's going on here?" "Looks like arts and crafts booths. Let's check it out!" "Be sure to get lots of pictures - it's very colorful!"

That was our conversation during our latest visit to Monterey in search of the usually illusive Blue Whales that were  haunting Monterey Bay in greater numbers than usual recently. In addition to the beautifully kaleidoscopic and kinetic wind machines pictured above. we discovered chromatic clothing and scarves, purses and handbags, works of art crafted from pieces of wood and seashells, jewelry, Redwood signs made to order, metal sculptures of transformer images, and wood slat artwork. It was a wonderful way to spend some time before our Princess Monterey Whale Watching tour!

Spend some time at Custom House Plaza and
discover your own surprises!

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#TravelTuesday #Photo-of-the-Week:
The bells toll for Nicholas!

The Children's Bell Tower; by Wolf RosenbergThe Children's Bell Tower; by Wolf Rosenberg

This is our most touching photo-of-the-week ever! Many years ago a seven year old boy from Bodega Bay was visiting southern Italy with his family when he was tragically killed during an attempted robbery gone very wrong. The boy's name was Nicholas Green, and his parents, Margaret and Reginald Green, donated his organs to help seven people have better lives.

To honor Nicholas and his family, more than 140 bells were sent to the Greens from individuals, families, schools, and churches all over Italy and The Children's Bell Tower was created in Bodega Bay where the Greens had lived before their fateful trip. The central bell was made by the Marinelli Foundry and blessed by Pope John Paul II - it has the names of the seven recipients of Nicholas' organs inscribed on it.

The positive impact that the Green family tragedy and subsequent organ donation had on the country of Italy and, in fact - organ donations everywhere - has been dubbed the Nicholas Effect. Since Nicholas died, organ donations in Italy have more than tripled.

Reginald Green wrote two books (The Nicholas Effect and
The Gift that Heals
), if you're interested in learning more.

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