Discover Northern California's
#TravelTuesday #Photo-of-the-Week
Continued #4

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 viewable 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!

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#TravelTuesday #Photo-of-the-Week
Getting Acquainted Through Farmers Markets!

Spring Vegetables at Dean & DeLuca, Napa Valley; by Suzi RosenbergSpring Vegetables at Dean & DeLuca, Napa Valley; by Suzi Rosenberg

Having lived in California for so long - which is one of the leading agricultural producers in the United States, if not the world - we've always enjoyed stopping at little road-side fruit and veggie stands along the way as we traveled the back roads and byways. It gives us a chance to meet the local farmers, growers, and producers, to see what's grown locally and what's in season, and to bring home a fresh and fabulous dinner.

Once we started traveling the world, we began to realize that farmers markets, fruit and veggie stands, and specialty markets around the world make for a great way to get acquainted with the real essence of a place - any place. They are a true travel destination in and of themselves!

One of our favorite stops when we are in the Yountville/St. Helena area of Northern California is Dean & DeLuca, innovators in the foodstuffs market since 1977 when they opened their first store in SoHo in the lower Manhattan district of New York. There flagship store introduced a staggering variety of produce and foodstuffs, some of which had never been sold in the United States.

"We were the first to bring in radicchio,” recalls Giorgio DeLuca, “the first to sell balsamic vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes and dried mushrooms. In those early days I went out of my way to establish extra virgin olive oil ... everyone who came into the store got a taste.”

This photo-of-the-week was taken at the store in St. Helena in the Spring, when Northern Californians quite literally stuff themselves with artichokes and asparagus because they're locally-grown and their season is short. We have to get 'em while we can to enjoy them at their best!

Getting acquainted with Napa Valley at Dean & DeLuca!

Dean & DeLuca, Napa Valley

#TravelTuesday #Photo-of-the-Week
Detour to Spud Point Marina!

Spud Point Fishing Fleet; by Suzi RosenbergSpud Point Fishing Fleet; by Suzi Rosenberg

This is a favorite photo-of-the-week because it was so fortuitous. We just stumbled on the opportunity to capture that one red sail in the midst of all that gray and white!

If you're traveling along the Sonoma Coast, one of the places you might not think to stop is Spud Point Marina. After all, it's merely a commercial and sport fishing venue.

But detour to Spud Point and you won't be sorry you did. Stroll along the marina, stopping to read the interpretive signs to learn about the long and venerable history of the Bodega Bay commercial fishing industry. Spud Point Marina is a beehive of commercial fishing activity!

It's also home to the best clam chowder, crab sandwich, and crab cakes I've ever tasted! You'll find 'em at the Spud Point Crab Company, a little shack of a place across from the Marina with a big story. Owned and operated by Tony and Carol Anello since 2004, SPCC is supplied with fresh catches of seafood by Tony and his son Mark, while Carol runs the shack along with daughters, Lisa and Gina.

And this mom and pop shop, where the local fishermen congregate in the wee morning hours for hot coffee and donuts before heading out to sea, has made quite a name for itself - Spud Point Crab Company has won the Bodega Bay Clam Chowder Contest pretty much every year since they opened!

Spud Point Marina: Explore the harbor, learn a little about the Bodega Bay fishing industry, then take the chill off with a steaming bowl of SPCC's award-winning clam chowder!

Spud Point Marina

#TravelTuesday #Photo-of-the-Week
Meet the Poison Dart Frog of Peru!

Poison Dart Frog of Peru; by Suzi RosenbergPoison Dart Frog of Peru; by Suzi Rosenberg

Explore the Amazonian Rain Forests of Peru with a top-notch Amazon guide like we did, and you just might meet one of these little critters: he's one of possibly 175 different species of Poison Dart Frogs that call the Rain Forests of the Amazonian River basin home. They come in a wide variety of colors, ranging from red to blue to golden.

As his common name implies, indigenous Amazonian natives poison the tips of the darts they use in their blow guns by dipping the tips into the toxic secretions of these frogs.

This little guy was only a few millimeters in length and is easily overlooked in spite of his bright colors.

He may be tiny, but he's deadly!

#TravelTuesday #Photo-of-the-Week
Early Saturday Morning, Ocean Avenue, Carmel-by-the-Sea!

Ocean Avenue is the main drag for the artsy coastal town of Carmel-by-the-Sea - leading you, as it does, from California State Route 1 into the heart of Carmel before depositing you at the entrance to one of the top 10 beaches in the United States, Carmel Beach.

But don't turn at the stoplight and head straight for the beach!

Park your car at the Carmel Plaza Shopping Center parking garage at Mission Street and 7th Avenue and take a leisurely stroll along Ocean Avenue, past the Diggidy Dog (a dog and cat boutique), Augustina Leathers, The Club (designer clothing and accessories), and the Carmel Pipe Shop, just for starters.

Ocean Avenue and the streets surrounding it are filled with kitschy shops, art galleries, cafes and restaurants, storybook cottages with manicured gardens, as well as inns and bed-and-breakfast establishments.

Carmel is known for the many little oddities that it has cultivated over the years. For instance, there are no street lights or parking meters; the businesses, cottages, and houses have no street numbers; and a 1920s municipal code that prohibits the wearing of high-heeled shoes without a permit still stands as law.

What you won't find in Carmel is fast-food restaurants, neon signs, boardwalks, or bikini-clad shoppers.

Saunter along Ocean Avenue enjoying the sights and the relaxed ambiance until you reach long, white-sanded Carmel Beach - a coastal gem perfect for romantic strolls, picnics with a view, sand castles, and evening bonfires.

Bonus: Carmel-by-the-Sea is one of the most dog-friendly towns in the country - witness Doris Day's famous Cypress Inn and the Lamp Lighter Inn, where your pet can stay with you; frequent shops with water bowls and treats; and more than 12 restaurants where your pet can dine with you.

Carmel-by-the-Sea: A storybook setting for you and your pet!

For more about pet-friendly Carmel, see Carmel-by-the-Sea with Pets by Carol Martin.

For more photos of Carmel, see our Facebook album, Monterey County: Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Finding the right hotel just got a whole lot easier -

#TravelTuesday #Photo-of-the-Week
Follow the Road to Inspiration Point!

I was looking for inspiration for this week's #TravelTuesday #Photo-of-the-Week when what should I discover but a photo entitled, "Beginning of the Lakeshore Trail and the climb to Inspiration Point in Alpine County, CA." Seemed like destiny to me!

Fellow Flickr member, Matthew Lee High (mlhradio), posted a series of Alpine and Inspiration Point photos in October of 2007. When I ran across them today, I was inspired to share them with you!

Here is part of what Matt had to say about his experiences in Alpine County:

"Lake Alpine and Inspiration Point, Alpine County, CA. Following the little side-trip to Natural Bridges Trail, which only took an hour, I still had a few hours of sunlight left. So, I decided to head on up Highway 4 in the direction of Ebbett's Pass; I did not intend to go all the way to the summit, since the last 30 miles of the road is a twisty one-lane road, and probably partially snowbound at this point. Just past where Highway 4 goes from two lanes to one lane, just beyond the turnoff to Bear Valley Ski Resort, there is a sign that says 'No snow removal past this point'. Sometime in the next couple of weeks, the gate will be closed and the highway will be closed until May or June.

"The trail starts on the northern end of the lake at 7200 feet elevation, and was a little hard to find because the forest service had already covered up or taken down all of the signs for the winter. Just a couple drabs of snow left over at the base of the trail from the storm that blew through two days ago. On the rest of the hike there was no snow, but plenty of damp or wet spots in the trail where the snow had recently melted.

"Lots of big trees here. This is only about 25 miles or so from the Calaveras Big Trees state park, with its groves of massive sequoias.

"Over the years people have gathered up the rocks and created little words or signs or memorials with them. Hundreds of them. Thousands, probably. They were everywhere on the ridge, covering the top like garden plots. Mostly they would be just names or initials or the like, often with parts missing from erosion or used in other structures. But some people took more time, building much larger and more intricate structures."

Visit Alpine and Inspiration Point for the rest of Matt's story!

For more about Alpine County, see Discover Alpine County.

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