On the Sideways Movie Trail: A Wine Tasting Tour of Santa Barbara

Far from home, in the Macedonian capital city of Skopje, the American wine-lover’s flick Sideways was providing background fodder at a wine event. For a second, Shawn and I thought we’d been whisked back to the United States, until we spotted the Academy Award winner’s subtitles written in the Cyrillic script, an alphabet made even more foreign afterContinue reading “On the Sideways Movie Trail: A Wine Tasting Tour of Santa Barbara”

Tasting Central California: A Paso Robles Wine Tour

Six decades ago, my grandparents and their then-eight children piled into the family car and drove to San Luis Obispo from Minnesota. My grandfather was to begin a teaching position there. Though the family’s chapter in San Luis Obispo (SLO) ended up being a short one (frankly, I don’t know how they bid farewell toContinue reading “Tasting Central California: A Paso Robles Wine Tour”

Gentle Giant: The Touching Tale of a Dog’s Eternal Devotion

“With eye upraised his master’s look to scan,The joy, the solace, and the aid of man:The rich man’s guardian and the poor man’s friend,The only creature faithful to the end.” George Crabbe If you were to stroll the atmospheric Chippiannock Cemetery in Rock Island, Illinois, you’d likely happen upon the weathered headstones of siblings EddieContinue reading “Gentle Giant: The Touching Tale of a Dog’s Eternal Devotion”

Into the Wild American West: Genoa, Nevada

Named after Genoa, Italy, but pronounced juh-NO-ah, unlike its Italian namesake, the Nevadan town of Genoa epitomizes the American West. Founded in 1851, Genoa is Nevada’s oldest settlement, and it has the distinction of having had Nevada’s first court, hotel, newspaper, and even its first ‘thirst parlor.’ Like nearby Virginia City, which offers similar wild west charm, Genoa, NevadaContinue reading “Into the Wild American West: Genoa, Nevada”

Wine, Surf, & Sun: A Weekend in Sonoma County, California

Taking to Bodega Bay’s beach just before sunset, we had to pinch ourselves that we were really strolling through the golden sand in winter. Between us both, Shawn and I had endured our fair share of brutal Midwestern, Canadian, even Continental-European winters, but this weather, we were told, was even exceptional by California standards. DuringContinue reading “Wine, Surf, & Sun: A Weekend in Sonoma County, California”

A Day at the Virginia City Camel & Ostrich Races

Every September, camels, ostriches, and jockeys from around the world converge on Virginia City, Nevada for the former mining town’s International Camel & Ostrich Races. We attended the quirky event last year, and it’s taking place again this weekend for the 54th time.

A Long Weekend in California Wine Country: Getting a Taste for Napa and Sonoma Wines (Part 1)

“I should like to spend the whole of my life traveling abroad, if I could anywhere borrow another life to spend afterwards at home.” William Hazlitt There seems to exist a syndrome among international travelers and expats. They’ve visited the world’s most far-flung destinations, but haven’t seen much of what their home countries have toContinue reading “A Long Weekend in California Wine Country: Getting a Taste for Napa and Sonoma Wines (Part 1)”