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Archive for california

San Francisco’s Little Giant

By Linda Tancs

The Mission District of San Francisco, California, is nowadays a culturally diverse and trendy part of the city. But were it not for a working fire hydrant on April 18, 1906, it would have likely been lost to the ages. That’s when a disastrous earthquake brought the city to its knees, spawning the Great Fire left largely unquenched by a series of broken water mains—except for a certain fire hydrant on the southwest corner of Dolores Park in the western edge of the Mission District. Against all odds, the lone functioning hydrant (nicknamed “little giant”) is credited with saving the district. Each year on April 18 it receives a fresh coat of gold paint.

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The Pacific Crest Trail

By Linda Tancs

One of the original national scenic trails established by Congress in the 1968 National Trails System Act, the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail generally runs along the high crests of the Sierra and Cascades mountain ranges. Beginning in southern California at the Mexican border, the trail marks a total distance of 2,650 miles through California (passing through five state parks), Oregon, and Washington until reaching the Canadian border. The trail is open to the public from April to September for foot and equestrian travel only. About 200 people attempt to hike the length of the trail each season, generally starting at the Mexican border and ending at the Canadian border. Only a few equestrians have ever ridden the entire trail.

Chrome in Chino

By Linda Tancs

Enveloped in chrome and shiny aluminum, Yanks Air Museum is an aircraft lover’s dream. Located in Chino, California, the facility is a showplace for carefully restored historical aircraft and boasts legends like the P-40 Warhawk and the F-86 Sabre. Its collections range from early aviation (1903 – 1918) to modern jets. The site also has drones, helicopters, vehicles, missiles, model airplanes and aircraft in the boneyard currently being restored to flight-worthy status using period materials.

 

Surfing in Santa Cruz

By Linda Tancs

Santa Cruz proudly claims to be the location of the very first board surfing ever in North America, at the “Rivermouth” break in 1885. A strong surf culture still prevails today, enhanced by the locale’s dedication as a World Surfing Reserve in 2012. An initiative of Save the Waves, the program serves as a global model for preserving wave breaks and their surrounding areas by recognizing and protecting the key environmental, cultural, economic and community attributes of surfing areas. At least 23 consistent surf breaks are sited along this marine protected area, including the world-class breaks of Steamer Lane and Pleasure Point. Not surprisingly, the city hosts a surfing museum overlooking Steamer Lane tracing over 100 years of surfing history in town. Winter is always the best time for surfing consistent waves, and the breaks are rated from “expert” to “beginner.”

Gardens at the Getty

By Linda Tancs

The J. Paul Getty Museum (the Getty) celebrates visual arts of outstanding quality and historical importance at two locales in California. In Los Angeles, the Getty Center houses an international collection of European paintings, drawings, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, decorative arts and photography from its beginnings to the present. In Malibu, the Getty Villa is dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria. What both venues have in common are extraordinary gardens. Just like ancient Rome, the gardens at the villa are integral to the site, boasting fountains, arbors and reflecting ponds designed after ancient Roman models and planted with species known from the ancient Mediterranean. The heart of the Getty Center is its Central Garden, featuring a natural ravine and tree-lined walkway amidst 500 varieties of plant material. The Center has reopened after a rash of wildfires in the area.

Breaking Up in Hollywood

By Linda Tancs

Forget about tea and sympathy. Apparently a better way to get over a relationship is to create art about it at the Museum of Broken Relationships in Hollywood, California. Originally founded in Zagreb, in 2010 it won the EMYA Kenneth Hudson Award as the most innovative and daring museum project in Europe. Exhibits include everything from wedding dresses to an ax used to break an ex’s furniture, accompanied by the contributor’s personal yet anonymous story. Cathartic? Maybe. But remember the immortal words of Alfred, Lord Tennyson: ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Tallest Deck in California

By Linda Tancs

OUE Skyspace LA is home to California’s tallest open-air observation deck, perched nearly 1,000 feet above downtown Los Angeles in the U.S. Bank Tower. As if stunning panoramic views weren’t enough enticement, Skyspace also lures in daredevils seeking a different kind of view thanks to the Skyslide. That’s a glass tube on the outside of the skyscraper spanning 45 feet from the 70th to the 69th floor. Dispensed like a human cannonball, gliders maneuver their way down the glass on a mat to what is hoped will be a smooth landing. Fingers crossed.

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