March 28, 2014 |
You might know Claremont as that town with five liberal arts colleges and two graduate schools within its city limits. What you might not know is that it boasts a vibrant downtown, called Claremont Village, where more than 150 mom-and-pop restaurants, boutiques, art galleries and music venues create a relaxed atmosphere for all ages. If that weren't enticing enough, the Metrolink/Transit Center drops off passengers just a baseball toss away. The tab: A king bed at Casa 425 begins at $195.
March 21, 2014 |
The village of San Simeon, just across Highway 1 from the sprawling 80,000-acre Hearst Ranch and the entrance to Hearst Castle, is an overlooked gem on California's Central Coast. Whether you stop for a wine tasting or spend the day sightseeing, kayaking, windsurfing or hiking, this sleepy hamlet offers plenty to do. The tab: $330, including meals and one night at the Pelican Inn & Suites in nearby Cambria. The bed I snagged a last-minute booking at the Pelican Inn & Suites for $159 (6316 Moonstone Beach Drive; 
March 14, 2014 |
Welcome to Borrego Springs, Calif., population 3,400, in the middle of nowhere (actually, about 150 miles southeast of L.A.). Throw away the smartphone; this is a place to unplug. This designated Dark Sky Community offers breathtaking views of the stars at night. The days aren't too shabby either, as my husband and I learned on a late February getaway. Be sure to stop at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center (200 Palm Canyon Drive;  767-4205, http://www.parks.ca.gov/?
March 7, 2014 |
My wife and I were in need of a bit of tranquillity in October, so we headed to the Mendocino Coast in Northern California for a weekend of standup paddle boarding. The coast's rugged beauty, flat-water rivers and scenic headlands honeycombed with sea caves and archways make it ideal for paddling on your own or on a guided tour with Standup Paddle Mendocino (Van Damme Beach State Park, Little River, Calif.;  937-0700, http://www.standuppaddlemendocino.com . Guided tours $60 to $75)
February 21, 2014 |
With a population of about 1,500, the 2-square-mile town of Summerland, Calif., epitomizes the cliché "Blink and you'll miss it. " Do your best not to blink as you drive through because this sleepy beach community six miles from Santa Barbara is home to an array of mom-and-pop antiques shops, a handful of local eateries and the sorts of views that make you want to do the good kind of nothing all day. The tab: a king bed at the Inn on Summer Hill begins...
February 14, 2014 |
Really, River's End is a bit of heaven, where the beautiful Russian River meets the sea and the Sonoma coast in big rocks and crashing waves. A gourmet restaurant with drop-dead views is perched above the placid estuary of the river, separated by a sandy bar from the wild ocean beyond. After dinner, I had to walk only a few steps downhill to a knotty-wood cabin with a soft bed and a picture window instead of a TV. I stayed just one night, which cost me about $250 for dinner ($85) and the cabin ($162)