LOS ALAMOS, CALIF.
Los Alamos Old Days Celebration
When, where: Sept. 24-26, various downtown locations
Highlights: The 64th annual event honors this Santa Barbara County town's Old West heritage with Civil War reenactments, a parade, live music with dancing, a classic car show and food and craft booths.
Cost: Most events are free.
Carmel Authors & Ideas Festival
When, where: Sept. 24-26, Sunset Community Center
Highlights: Writers and thinkers convene for a weekend's worth of lectures, workshops and book signings with big-name intellectuals such as Po Bronson, Eric Schlosser, Condoleezza Rice, Philip Zimbardo, Tobias Wolff, Reza Aslan, Michael Krasny and Raj Patel; David Brooks hosts the opening reception. The event is limited to 750 attendees.
Cost: Tickets start at $550.
Info: (831) 626-6243, http://www.carmelauthors.com
Montana Master Chefs
When, where: Sept. 30-Oct. 3, the Resort at Paws Up
Highlights: This food-and-wine event takes place at an upscale wilderness resort, so activities include not only elaborate tasting dinners with prominent epicures (including "Top Chef" contenders) but also outdoor excursions such as river rafting, naturalist-led hikes, horseback riding and mushroom foraging.
Cost: Rates start at $4,323 a couple for a three-night stay, all meals and wine tastings, a Champagne welcome reception, wilderness activities, airport transfers and on-property transportation, but not taxes or gratuities.
Info: (800) 473-0601, http://www.montanamasterchefs.com
Rosarito Beach International Mariachi & Folklorico Festival
When, where: Oct. 2-3, Rosarito Beach Hotel
Highlights: The hotel's inaugural celebration of Mexican music and dance features concerts by expert players, including the Grammy-winning Mariachi Divas, and a two-day U.S. versus Mexico competition between young performers.
Cost: Tickets start at $10 per individual event; an all-event package is $40; children younger than 12 receive a discount; proceeds benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Rosarito.
Info: (800) 343-8582, http://www.rosaritobeachhotel.com
— Avital Binshtock