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Archive for california

The History of Computers

By Linda Tancs

As its name implies, the Computer History Museum recounts the history of computers. Located in Mountain View, California, the facility presents stories and artifacts of Silicon Valley and the information age. In addition to oral histories provided by computer pioneers, the museum’s vast collection, from calculators to the internet, explores artifacts like analog computers, mainframes, supercomputers and robotics.

Folk Art in Los Angeles

By Linda Tancs

Around 1894 Italian immigrant Sabato Rodia arrived in the community of Watts in South Central Los Angeles, California. He distinguished himself there by building a series of 17 major sculptures out of steel covered with mortar and embellished with mosaic tiles, glass, clay, shells and rock. Completed in 1954, the so-called Watts Towers are an icon of the community, the world’s largest single construction created by one individual and a paramount work of folk art. Designated a Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Monument, the works are also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, are a National Historic Landmark, a State of California Historic Monument and a State of California Historic Park. Public guided tours are available on weekends.

The Grove of Titans

By Linda Tancs

Deep in the heart of Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park in northern California you’ll find the Grove of Titans, a collection of old-growth coast redwood trees named for their remarkable size. The trees may be ancient but their storied locale isn’t, having first been shared with the world in 1998. Notables there include the coast redwood with the widest branch (El Viejo del Norte) and three of the 10 largest coast redwoods at over 30,000 cubic feet. You’ll find the grove along Mill Creek Trail.

The Heart and Lungs of a City

By Linda Tancs

Griffith Park has been called “the heart and lungs of Los Angeles.” Covering over 4,500 acres, it’s one of the largest municipal parks in North America and is the largest historic landmark in Los Angeles, California. It’s also the go-to park for a hike to the Hollywood Sign. The easier trek is the Mt. Hollywood Trail, which has two starting points of different lengths in the park (6 miles or 3 miles). A more challenging route is the Brush Canyon Trail (also part of the park), which offers a side trip to the Bronson Caves, more popularly known as the Bat Cave from the Batman TV show of the 1960s. The journey ends behind the Hollywood Sign with panoramic views of the city.

A Special Place in Eldorado

By Linda Tancs

The Eldorado National Forest is located in the central Sierra Nevada, less than two hours from Sacramento, California. Its mountainous topography is broken by special places like the Mokelumne River Canyon, arguably the star attraction of the Mokelumne Wilderness. The 105,165-acre wilderness has a long history of use by both Native Americans and European settlers. Ranging in elevation from 3,960 feet to 10,380 feet, it features old growth virgin forest at all elevations and a varied plant life. Geologically, it’s prized for prominent volcanic peaks and ridges overlaying massive granite features. In fact, the granitic valleys and highlands of the Mokelumne are part of the combined masses of granitic rock that have been uplifted by tectonic action to form the 400-mile-long Sierra Nevada range. The canyon is generally free of snow this time of year, but snowcaps typically linger into June in the higher elevations.

Peanuts in California

By Linda Tancs

Charles M. Schulz created Peanuts, one of the most beloved and best-known comic strips in history featuring Charlie Brown and his cohorts as well as Snoopy and Woodstock. His life and work are showcased at the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, California. Among its many permanent exhibitions is a re-creation of Schulz’s working area in his studio at One Snoopy Place in Santa Rosa. It contains the drawing board he used almost from the beginning of his career, his desk and shelves and walls displaying his personal books, gifts, photos and memorabilia. As an added bonus, just across the street from the museum is Snoopy’s Home Ice (a skating rink) and Snoopy’s Gallery and Gift Shop, a mecca for fans.

Danish Heritage in California

By Linda Tancs

If a trip to Denmark isn’t in the offing, then you can experience the next-best thing in Solvang, California. The city bills itself as “a little slice of Denmark in Southern California.” And for good reason. You’ll find five windmills as well as replicas of Copenhagen’s Hans Christian Andersen statue, the Little Mermaid and the Rundetårn (round tower). The reason for all this Danish goodness (including traditional treats like aebleskiver) derives from the city’s founding by Danish immigrants in 1911. You can learn more about the town’s heritage at Elverhøj Museum of History & Art, which is built in the style of a large farmhouse of 18th-century Denmark.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

A Feast for the Eyes in Exeter

By Linda Tancs

Situated in the San Joaquin Valley near the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Exeter is a small city in California with a burgeoning arts community. That’s because the city’s brick buildings downtown serve as outsize murals painted by professional artists from around the country. The art commemorates the history and cultural heritage of the region. You’ll find portraits of cattle ranching down Rocky Hill, the estate of a founder of the city, a scene depicting the agrarian lifestyle of the local Yokuts Indians and so much more. Take a self-guided tour or arrange for a docent-led experience with the chamber of commerce.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

A Close-Up in Los Angeles

By Linda Tancs

Los Angeles is ready for its close-up with the opening of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Billed as the world’s premier institution dedicated to the art and science of movies, its six floors feature exhibition spaces, education and special event spaces, a conservation studio and a year-round calendar of screenings. You might especially enjoy the Oscars® Experience, which simulates the experience of walking onto the stage at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and accepting an Oscar. The museum is located on Wilshire Boulevard.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Whale Heritage in California

By Linda Tancs

Dana Point may have some of the best beaches in Southern California, but that’s not the only reason you’ll have a whale of a time there. In January the locale became the first Whale Heritage Site in the country. Established by the World Cetacean Alliance (the largest marine conservation partnership), whale heritage sites recognize outstanding destinations for responsible and sustainable whale and dolphin watching. Dana Point bills itself as the whale watching and dolphin capital of the world, with more wild dolphin per square mile than anywhere else. And whales are viewable year round. This time of year you may see gray whales on their round-trip migration between Alaska and the warm waters of Mexico. Head to Dana Point Harbor for a watching tour.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

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