A relentless icy wind swept in from San Francisco Bay, blowing away the fog to reveal the 19th century three-masted schooner C.A. Thayer anchored offshore. Farther out, Alcatraz Island was circled by seagulls and besieged by an armada of tour boats plowing through the chop.
When I was a little girl, my grandparents gifted me with a beautiful set of Beatrix Potter books for Christmas one year. I could barely wait for everyone to finish unwrapping presents so that I could sneak off to my room with my treasure. The first Potter story I read on that long ago Christmas Day was "The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher," about a determined frog whose fishing trip turned out to be not quite what he expected.
I based my riding route on a pair of roads that bisect the Chianti region, following the recommendations of motorcycling friends. Both were said to offer the best in curving climbs, bella vistas and access to attractive hill towns.
A word, please, about Italian drivers. They were weaned on Ferraris, Alfa Romeos and Lamborghinis. They are expert operators, generally, who seem to think every trip to the supermarket is a Formula One event.
Our captain, the avuncular "Marvelous" Marvin Mullings, pilots our boat, the Always Something, away from a squall and toward a quiet beach - quiet, that is until all the other boat captains of Providenciales, the most-visited of the Turks and Caicos Islands, reach the same conclusion and join us, forming a moored flotilla. Marvin is one-part seaman, one-part showman; he encourages us to attend to his safety instructions while gently inebriating us on rum punch. We then snorkel above a school of small, blue and utterly complacent fish, next climb back onboard for our next destination, Half Moon Beach.
Knott's Soak City in Buena Park announced last week the addition of two new water slide attractions, including a thrill ride that drops guests through a trapdoor from a tower more than seven stories tall.
Staring at the horizon, I might have been looking at a vast canvas where the technique of chiaroscuro, the interplay of light and dark, was used to create a specific mood. One minute sunshine dappled the landscape; the next misty rain enveloped it.
Though The Odditorium serves chiefly as a site for nighttime entertainment – punk bands, spelling bees, children’s art shows and Odd Comedy Tuesdays – it functions as an emporium for deranged objets d’art gathered by the pair of like-minded friends.
For a book lover, vacation isn’t complete without a chance to wander a bookstore’s aisles. The best stores add to the discoveries of a new locale and an introduction to the area with books by local authors and regional guides and histories.
Video: Andy Stephenson describes the family restaurant that his father started in 1958, serving pit cooked Bar-B-Q and country cooking to generations of families from his business in Johnston County, N.C.