One of the most engaging early books about 19th-century California is Robert Louis Stevenson's account of his 1880 visit to the Napa Valley, titled The Silverado Squatters.
Small railroads played an important role in the historic development of Northern California. Today one of those railroads, the Skunk Train, continues to flourish as an excursion train between Fort Bragg and Willits on the Mendocino Coast.
When the coronavirus crisis abates, the Shasta region of Northern California will appeal to travelers seeking out the beauty of nature and the historic story of the Northern Gold Rush.
I am rediscovering the California Gold Country as I travel Highway 49 and update my book chapter titled “Rambling California’s Historic Highway 49: Starting with Columbia, the Preserved Gold Rush Town.” This is a chapter in my book Northern California History Weekends, which will come out in a new edition in 2017.
The oldest living things of Earth are the Bristlecone pine trees in the White Mountains of California, east from Bishop.
Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen, CA celebrates the great adventure writer and his visionary chosen home/farm. His house burned, tragically, shortly after its construction. Hike there now to view the ruins and celebrate the beauty of nature.
Silicon Valley's High Tech Heritage is the story of the computer and the technology revolution affecting the world. The story comes alive at the Apple Park Visitor Center and at three great museums in California’s Silicon Valley.
Meander the California Delta and discover the town of Locke, founded by Chinese.
California Gold Rush's richest mine was the Empire Mine. The nearby Malakoff Diggins shows the environmental damage of hydraulic mining.
Mark Twain's comment on California's Lake Tahoe ranks as one of the more felicitous comments that a writer has ever uttered about the Golden State.
In his novel Cannery Row, John Steinbeck immortalized for the modern traveler the sardine canning world of the Monterey, California waterfront.
The east side of California’s Sierra mountain range, with treasures like Mono Lake, Devils Postpile, and the Bristlecone pines, is a delight to explore. Underlying the beauty, however, is the unending struggle over California water.
Yosemite's Wawona is the story of the great National Park's historic hotel and the nearby giant sequoia trees that attracted people to visit the region.
Big Basin Redwoods State Park is where the movement to save California's coastal redwoods began.
The story of Junipero Serra's mission at Carmel, California reflects many of the influences that the Franciscan leader had on the Golden State.
The thrill of a 21-mile ride on an authentic steam train carrying you back to the fabulously wealthy silver mining history of Nevada should be high on your must-do exploration list regarding the American West.
Small museums in the California Gold Country entice as you drive along California Highway 49.
Coastal San Mateo, south of San Francisco on Highway 1, is a joy to drive. It presents lighthouses and historic shipwrecks as well as ethnic history (such as Portuguese farmers), small towns, and appealing beaches, some with tidepools.
Sarah Winchester, the heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune, built a 160-room mansion in San Jose, partly because she was obsessed with the process of building and partly because she had a disposable income of $1,000 a day.
Creating Redwood National and State Parks, preserving the tallest of the tall trees, was a milestone in California's awakening environmental awareness.
I am rediscovering the California Gold Country as I ramble Highway 49 and update my book chapter titled “One Lucky Day at the Sawmill: How James Marshall Discovered Gold at Coloma.”
As I update this chapter on Oakland in my book Northern California History Weekends, I see how this great city preserves the legacy of its favorite literary native son and enlivens the downtown with new energy, such as a new Cuban restaurant.
The story of California skiing is one of the intriguing tales in the history of the Golden State, starting with Snowshoe Thompson.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, wealthy residents set up the 17-Mile Drive and Pebble Beach Lodge as a mecca for the established.
Visiting Leland Stanford's Farm, Stanford University, offers a visitor an engaging view of one of the lovelier campuses in the west.