World Birding Center Locations and Best Time to Visit

The World Birding Center may sound like a single place but, in fact, it is a series of nine locations that stretch out 120 miles across the southern border of Texas. Each unique facility is a gem on the chain that forms the World Birding Center. The World Birding Center ...
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Port of Brownsville Fiesta Cruise with Osprey Cruises

It was a while coming but I finally got to go on the Port of Brownsville Fiesta Cruise with Osprey Cruises. I purchased my ticket at the Winter Texan Expo in McAllen way back in January 2020, then everything came to a screeching halt that March. The cruise finally started ...
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Nuevo-Progreso Tourist Day

Tourist Day in Nuevo Progreso

The border town of Nuevo Progreso, Mexico, honors tourists twice each year. Why? Simply put, tourists are essential to the economy. Early in December, usually on a Friday, they host Welcome Back Winter Texans. On March 21st, regardless of the day of the week it falls on, they host another ...
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photos of Alpaquita Ranch

Alpaca Ranch in the Rio Grande Valley

I had planned to make an alpaca ranch in Mathis, TX, the last stop on last year's fall RV trip. It was disappointing that, in the end, it didn't work out but I planned to visit there on another trip. I was absolutely delighted to discover that there is an ...
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Resaca de la Palma State Park

What is There to do at Resaca de la Palma?

Resaca de la Palma State Park is one of three state parks that are part of the World Birding Center. The park was acquired in 1977 by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and it was opened to the public in December 2008. First, What is a Resaca? A resaca is ...
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Downtown San Antonio Walking Tour

For my recent stay in San Antonio, I purchased a 3-day hop-on hop-off ticket that included the GoRio Cruise. On the third day of my ticket, I decided to walk to the Riverwalk from Tower of the Americas, which inadvertently ended up being a walking tour of downtown San Antonio ...
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Buckhorn Saloon and Museums – Not What I was Expecting!

If you ride the hop-on hop-off bus or look up things to do in San Antonio, chances are you'll become aware of the Buckhorn Saloon and Museums. I didn't really have any interest in the saloon or getting something to eat in the cafe, but I definitely was interested in ...
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copper pot stills with text overlay: Educational and informative tour Dripping Springs Distilling

Dripping Springs Distilling Tour and Tasting

When you visit Texas Hill Country, you can go wine tasting to your heart's content. But did you know you can also visit distilleries, often for a tour and tasting? There are several spread out all across Texas Hill Country so no matter what your plans are while you are ...
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photo of musket demonstration and map of the early mission with text overlay: The Alamo More than a Famous Battle

The Alamo – More than a Famous Battle

When I visited San Antonio in 2018, I knew there were two things I had to experience: the Riverwalk and The Alamo. On that trip, I really had no idea what to expect in San Antonio or from these two attractions. I enjoyed both of them so much that I ...
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Best Places to Eat in Nuevo Progreso, Tamaulipas, Mexico

Just across the border, in the state of Tamaulipas, is the town of Nuevo Progreso. It's an easy 30-minute drive from where I live so I am fortunate to be able to go often. I go to shop, get a pedicure and, of course, eat. Over the past three years, ...
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San Antonio Riverwalk Downtown Reach – What to See and Do

I always feel full of joy and peace anywhere near water. For me, that is especially true on the magical San Antonio Riverwalk. It is easy to see why the Riverwalk is the most popular attraction in Texas. People plan entire trips to San Antonio around the Downtown Reach of ...
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Most Viewed Posts of 2021

Happy New Year! I can hardly believe it's time for my annual Most Viewed Posts article. But I'm a bit of a statistics junkie so I love contrasting and comparing lists from one year to another. I enjoy seeing which posts resonate the most with readers. It's very enlightening and ...
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Wildseed Farms – From Albariño to Zinnias

When I was researching what to do in Fredericksburg and Texas Hill Country, several times I came across Wildseed Farms in the list of top recommended attractions. It sounded to me like it was just a large nursery and gift shop so I didn't put it on my list of ...
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Lost Maples Winery – A Winery in Transition

I have been a member of Harvest Hosts since the beginning of my RV adventures in 2018. The program offers interesting and unique places to stay while supporting small businesses. It's such a win-win program you can't help but love it. My favorite places to stay through Harvest Hosts is ...
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Tower of the Americas – Amazing Views

When I visited San Antonio in 2018, I didn't do a whole lot of research before I arrived. As a result, I didn't really know what I wanted to see and do there other than The Alamo and the River Walk. As I rode around on the hop-on hop-off bus, ...
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outdoor display of flowers on a wagon with text overlay: Natural Bridge Caverns A Sam Amtonio Must-see!

Natural Bridge Caverns – A San Antonio Must-see

If you love caves and caverns as much as I do, then Natural Bridge Caverns should definitely be on your list of things to see in San Antonio. When I lived in Northern California, I visited Mercer Caverns in Calaveras County and Black Chasm Cavern in Amador County. Neither of ...
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five photos from Brownwood with text overlay: Brownwood, Texas Four best things to do in one day

Best Places in Brownwood Texas in One Day

While I was in Abilene, I had a great time visiting with other RVers at the Lolapalooza event. During the week there, I decided to go a slightly different way when I left than I had originally planned. Brownwood, Texas seemed to be a good distance for a stop but ...
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Frontier Texas in Abilene – Where the Old West Comes to Life

Museums are at the top of my list for attractions to visit in a new town. Even the smallest museum can give you tremendous insight into a location. So, when you come across a world-class museum like Frontier Texas in Abilene, where the Old West comes to life, it is ...
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Asian Elephants at The Preserve

When I travel, I'm always looking for "experiences." Even when I go wine tasting I'm always hoping for something extra, like a tour or a food pairing. When I learned about The Preserve and the opportunity to meet their magnificent Asian elephants, I knew I needed to check out this ...
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Best Wineries in Fredericksburg, Texas

Although the Texas Hill Country AVA (American Viticultural Area) covers 9,000,000 acres (14,062 square miles), Texas Wine Country centers near the charming town of Fredericksburg. If you search the Internet for the best wineries in Fredericksburg, you'll find that each article lists different wineries. There are a few, however, that ...
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travel trailer parked in driveway with text overlay: Fall Travel Plans A Conference and an RV trip

Fall Travel Plans – A Conference and an RV Trip

Oh, my gosh. It has been so long since I wrote a blog post I'm not sure I remember how! I just couldn't muster up the motivation to "find" things to write about when I couldn't travel or even go out to most restaurants. However, I have some exciting news ...
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Collage of photos with text overlay: Most Viewed Posts 2020

Most Viewed Posts of 2020

Every year since I started this blog, I have written a "Most Viewed Posts" article for the previous year. Even though I still wanted to do that for 2020, it seemed very different. When travel came to a screeching halt last year, I had to cancel two 2-3 month RV ...
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Texas White House with text overlay: State and National Parks in Texas Honor the Life of Lyndon B. Johnson

Both a State and National Park Celebrate the Life of Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson was the 36th president of the United States from 1963, when President John Kennedy was assassinated, through a full term ending in 1969. As President, he had an ambitious political agenda aimed at reducing poverty, illiteracy and discrimination. He created the Medicare and Medicaid programs and signed ...
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wooden boardwalk with text overlay: Edinburg Scenic Wetlands

Edinburg Scenic Wetlands and World Birding Center – Jewel in the City

In 2003, Edinburg Scenic Wetlands, set in the midst of an urban landscape near the center of the City of Edinburg, was the first of the nine World Birding Centers to open. The 40-acre center is built on reclaimed farm land and is situated next to the city's floodwater ponds ...
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view of park buildings with text overlay: Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park

Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park – World Birding Headquarters

Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park is located in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in a region that is considered one of the most biologically diverse in North America. The diversity contributes to this State Park being just one of the areas in the Rio Grande Valley that make the Valley ...
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The Hidalgo Pumphouse Brings Water to the Rio Grande Valley

Prior to 1909, the semi-arid Rio Grande Valley was dotted with cattle ranches, mostly owned by Tejanos, Mexicans who found themselves on the US side of the border at the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848. Many of the Tejanos lost their land when droughts in the 1880s and ...
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bull in arena with text overlay: Bloodless Bullfights, Santa Maria Bullring, La Gloria, Texas

Bloodless Bullfights will Continue in La Gloria, Texas

UPDATE: The bloodless bullfights have not resumed since the beginning of the pandemic and I have been unable to verify if they will start up again in the future. Bullfighting is one of the best-known, and also most controversial, traditions of the Spanish culture. Supporters claim the bulls live a ...
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large cracked bell with text overlay: Pioneer & Ranching Crafts Day Museum of South Texas History

Living History Lessons at the Museum of South Texas History

Even though south Texas has subtropical weather, that doesn't always mean sunny, blue skies. Such was the case last week when the event I had scheduled for Saturday's post was essentially rained out.* Fortunately, I had planned to attend the Pioneer and Ranching Crafts Day at Museum of South Texas ...
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green foliage with yellow flowers and text overlay: Discover the agricultural side of the Rio Grande Valley Farm Tour

Discover the Agricultural Side of the Rio Grande Valley on a Farm Tour

It surprised me a little bit to learn that the Rio Grande Valley is one of the richest farming areas of Texas. I guess it shouldn't have because I am literally surrounded by farms. The field next door, during the growing season, has either corn or cabbage planted. Sugar cane ...
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rustic white chapel with text overlay: La Lomita Chapel La Lomita Historic District

Tiny La Lomita Chapel Played an Important Role in the Valley

One of the things I love about travel blogging is that it "forces" me to learn so much more about a location or attraction than I otherwise might. That's the case with La Lomita Chapel in Mission, Texas. I knew it was near the Riverside Dreamer so I wanted to ...
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Rio Grane through trees with text overlay: Cruise the Rio Grande Riverside Dreamer

Riverside Dreamer Cruise on the Rio Grande in Mission, Texas

I first heard about the Riverside Dreamer a couple of weeks ago when I attended the Winter Texan Expo in McAllen. Another, yet quite different, opportunity to be on the water! I was very excited by the idea of a cruise on the Rio Grande on the Riverside Dreamer. And ...
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harbor scene with canon firing with text overlay: Black Dragon Pirate Ship Is it just for kids?

Is the Black Dragon Pirate Ship Just for Kids?

From my very first trip to south Texas in 2014 to visit my dad, I was intrigued by the Black Dragon Pirate Ship. Of course, I didn't know then what it was but you can't miss it as you drive by. You pass by it in Port Isabel when you ...
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Crowd watching performer with text overlay: Winter Texans Why do they flock to the RGV?

Winter Texans — Why the Snowbirds Flock to the Rio Grande Valley

What, or Rather Who, are Winter Texans? It might be obvious, but for those who don't know or haven't heard the term, Winter Texans are people, (usually retired) who come to Texas, particularly the Rio Grande Valley, to spend part of the winter then return to their permanent homes in ...
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Schulenburg Historical Museum sign at entrance with text overlay: Best places to visit Schulenburg, Texas

Best Places to Visit in Schulenburg, Texas

Schulenburg is a small city (population under 3,000) in eastern central Texas about halfway between Houston and San Antonio. It is known as "The Gateway to the Rolling Hills." Immigrants who settled the area in the 1800s were of German and Czech descent and their influence can be seen everywhere ...
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Choctaw Casino sign with text overlay: Durant and Ardmore Just a taste of Oklahoma

A Taste of Oklahoma – Durant and Ardmore

One of the destinations on my recent RV trip was southern Oklahoma to visit a friend. I had planned to boondock at a couple of spots in Oklahoma but the weather turned bitterly cold a few days earlier, so I decided to find RV parks instead. I figured they would ...
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Photos from six blog posts with text overlay: Most viewed posts 2019

Most Viewed Posts of 2019

It's that time again when I get to write one of my favorite posts -- the most viewed posts of the year. I love writing these posts for two reasons. Most important, I get to take a close look at what was most popular with and useful for my readers ...
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My First Experience Wine Tasting in Texas Hill Country

When I lived in northern California, a big part of my life and this blog was visiting local wineries and writing about my experiences. I was a little disappointed when I started researching Texas wineries and learned that the closest region to my new home was about a four hour ...
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white church with text overlay: Home of the Painted Churches Schulenburg, Texas

Home of the Painted Churches — Schulenburg, Texas

There are as many as 20 painted churches throughout the Hill Country of Texas and at least 15 of these churches are listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. When you visit Schulenburg, Texas, you'll be able to see four of the most well-known and impressive examples of the ...
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carved entry doors with text overlay: An unexpected delay - car trouble at Apache Pass in Texas

An Unexpected Delay — Car Trouble at Apache Pass

Car trouble. The possibility is always in the back of my mind when I'm traveling. I don't dwell on it but I know it is a possibility. On the Friday before Veteran's Day, I had planned to boondock for just one night at Apache Pass through Harvest Hosts. My car ...
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barrels and a waterfall in front of large grassy field with text overlay: Visit the northern edge of Texas Hill Country AVA Texas Legato Winery

Texas Legato Winery — On the Edge

Staying with participating wineries through Harvest Hosts is one of the ways I discover some wonderful, and sometimes lesser known, wineries. That’s how I found Texas Legato Winery. It is a family owned and operated winery in Lampasas at the very northern edge of the Texas Hill Country AVA (American ...
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Paluxy River in Dinosaur Valley State Park with text overlay: Discover all the best things to do in Glen Rose, Texas

Best Things to do in Glen Rose, Texas — Dinosaurs, Wildlife, History

When I made my trip from California to Texas last year, Glen Rose was one of my stops in Texas (see Oakdale Park below). While I was there on that trip, it rained most of the time. In fact, the weather was so stormy that I extended my stay by ...
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Exotic Resort Zoo — Wildlife Safari Experience in Johnson City, Texas

When I travel, I try to balance seeing some well known attractions with a few things off the beaten path. On my list of things to do while I was in Fredericksburg was visiting wineries, walking around the historic downtown, experiencing the bat emergence at Old Tunnel State Park and ...
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Tunnel entrance at Old Tunnel State Park

Old Tunnel State Park — What’s the Draw of this Smallest Texas State Park?

Although the 16.1-acre Old Tunnel State Park in Fredericksburg is the smallest state park in Texas, it serves a very important function. There's no camping and only limited hiking. It's main function is to protect and preserve the colony of up to 3 million Mexican free-tailed bats and 3,000 cave ...
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a seafood dinner with text overlay: Best places to eat in Harlingen, TX Readers' Coice Awards Valley Morning Star

Where to Eat in Harlingen — Readers’ Choice Best Places

I don't eat out a lot so, when I do, I look for restaurant recommendations from locals-in-the-know wherever I am. Review apps can be helpful but those reviews are often by tourists who may not know about local favorites. Checking out the "Best of" winners in local newspapers is a ...
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typical authentic Texas barbecue plate with text overlay: Authentic Texas Barbecue Where to find it in the RGV

Authentic Texas Barbecue — What it is and where to find it in the RGV

I have to admit, when I was growing up, barbecue was not one of my favorite foods. Barbecue, to me, always brought to mind neighborhood parties with chicken on the grill with burnt on barbecue sauce. Or maybe it was dry baby back ribs, which don't have enough meat on ...
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Yellow daffodils with text overlay: Daffodil Hill Farewell to a Landmark in Volcano, CA

No More Views of Spring at Daffodil Hill in Volcano

I've been reading a lot lately about overtourism but who would think a sleepy little place like Volcano, CA, could experience such a phenomenon? But, indeed it has happened, and to a much-loved local attraction. Daffodil Hill in Volcano has closed to the public indefinitely, which I fear means permanently ...
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large aquarium and bowling lanes with text overlay: Best indoor activities to beat the heat in Harlingen, TX

Indoor Activities in Harlingen – When it’s just too hot outside!

The Rio Grande Valley has wonderful sub-tropical weather which makes for enjoyable outdoor activities -- most of the time. Some days during the summer, though, it's just too darn hot to go outside, except in the early morning. If you are still itching to get out and explore, that's when ...
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brick path with text overlay: Tips for young at heart, active senior travelers

Tips for Young at Heart, Active, Senior Travelers

With my birthday rapidly approaching, I thought it might be a good time to write a post with tips for active senior travelers. While doing research, I discovered that most of the posts out there are aimed at very elderly or infirm travelers. I'm so grateful that I don't fall ...
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travel trailer parked on grass with text overlay: Full-time RVing or a Home Base? What I Chose & Why

Full-time RVing or Home Base? — What I Chose and Why

When I left California for Texas in my RV, I had no idea what the future would be like. I absolutely loved my trip and had dreams of full-time RVing but I didn’t know if that could be a reality. Would I choose full-time RVing or part-time travel from a ...
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View of Port Isabel from Pirate's Landing Fishing Pier

Port Isabel — What to See and Do in this Charming Bayside Town

12 Best Things to See and Do in Port Isabel, Texas Port Isabel is a charming town on Laguna Madre on the very southern tip of Texas where you'll find history, adventure, nature and lots of fun things to see and do. Like many towns, it has had several names ...
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Boardwalk and bird blind

Alligators Find a New Home at South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center The lower Rio Grande Valley in south Texas is a mecca for birders. Two major flyways converge there and bring an abundance of migrating species. South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center is the easternmost of the nine properties that make up the ...
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Sign at entrance of Museums of San Benito

Freddy Fender Museum is Just One of the Museums of San Benito

Moving to Texas has been an eye opener in many ways. For example, I wrote about how surprised I was when I learned the difference between Mexican and Tex-Mex food. And I can't forget learning that alligators are native wildlife here! A few days ago, I went to the Freddy ...
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Entrance to cave at Black Chasm Cavern

Black Chasm Cavern: Amador County Hidden Gem

UPDATE: This post was originally published on April 18, 2017 and has been updated on May 24, 2019 to reflect the change in ownership and other details for Black Chasm Cavern. The operation was sold in December of 2017 and is currently owned and operated by Gold Country Adventures. Although ...
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Texas Mexico Crossing

Visit Nuevo Progreso Mexico via the Progreso Texas Border Crossing

I've been wanting to visit Mexico since I arrived in Texas in November. A friend here in the park where I live is an American born Hispanic and we have been talking about doing this for weeks. Between the weather and conflicting schedules, we just couldn't make it happen -- ...
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Ibis Pond at Estero Llano Grande State Park with text overlay: World-renowned birding

Estero Llano Grande State Park — My First RGV Birding Experience

I have always been fascinated with birds. Years ago, while living in Nevada, I took a falconry class and became a licensed falconer. I put brush piles and water all over my property to lure birds to watch from my living room window. When I moved back to California, I ...
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dolphins in bay with text overlay

Dolphin and Bird Watching on Laguna Madre with Fins to Feathers

One of the drawbacks of traveling solo is that it can be difficult to get into a small tour group. I've been trying for several weeks to get into a dolphin watching cruise on a small boat that only takes a maximum of six passengers. That doesn't sound like a ...
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river with white water and text overlay: best things to do in Amador County

25 Extraordinary Things to do in Amador County from a Local

Beautiful Amador County, with an elevation range of 250 feet to over 9,000 feet, is in the heart of the Sierra Foothills of California and is one of the 10 counties in the region known as Gold Country. All of Gold Country is often overlooked in favor of northern California ...
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bench overlooking lake with text overlay Texas State Parks Annual Pass

Will You Save Money with a Texas State Parks Pass?

Getting a Texas State Parks Pass has been on my list of things to do for a while but I have put it off because the weather has not been very conducive to outdoor activities. We finally have had a few clear days with sunshine so, recently, I went to ...
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orange umbrellas and bougainvillea decorate entryway

Quinta Mazatlan Celebrates the Monarch Butterfly

I have been anxious to get outside and visit more of the amazing nature areas nearby but the weather has been less than cooperative in that arena. Even on the day that Quinta Mazatlan celebrated the monarch butterfly with their Monarch Festival, there was a 30-40% chance of rain. I ...
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Photo of covered bridge with title text overlay: Epic 40-day California to Texas RV Itinerary

Epic 40-day California to Texas RV Itinerary

When I finally pulled away from the home I had lived in for the past four years in Pine Grove, I was both relieved and excited. I knew there were things I would miss but there were also some uncomfortable things going on that I was glad to be leaving ...
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Photo of barrels with title text overlay: Award-winning Rum Desert Diamond Distillery Kingman, AZ

Award-winning Rum at Desert Diamond Distillery in Kingman

When I finally made it out of California and reached Arizona on my RV trip from California to Texas, I was really looking forward to tasting my first Arizona wine. My original plan was to boondock at Stetson Winery but a delay earlier in the trip meant I arrived on ...
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A sub-tropical climate, with average winter lows in the 50s, means year-round outdoor activities. Museums top the list of indoor things to do in Harlingen. #travel #texas #harlingen #museums #birding

Museums and Nature Top the List of Things to do in Harlingen

The city of Harlingen is located in the southern tip of Texas in the Rio Grande Valley and is just 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. In addition to all the dining and shopping opportunities you’d find in any city of its size, Harlingen has an international airport, a ...
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Texas is a diverse state with a mind-boggling number of things to do. Bucket list worthy things to do in Texas by region recommended by travel bloggers. #travel #texas #food #wine #hiking

Bucket List Things to do in Texas by Region

When I moved to Texas a few months ago and started researching where to go and things to do, I was almost overwhelmed. I knew Texas was a BIG state but I didn't quite realize how much there is to do here and how diverse the state is. My new ...
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Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, has more than 1500 animals, representing nearly 400 species, and is known for its success in breeding endangered wildlife.

Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas

Zoos may be a controversial issue for some but I absolutely love them and appreciate what they do. I love being able to see animals I would never otherwise see in the wild and that may, in fact, not exist in the wild in the near future. I won't apologize ...
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The International Museum of Art & Science in McAllen, Texas, has many interactive exhibits that are educational for adults and children alike.

International Museum of Art & Science (IMAS) in McAllen

A couple of weeks ago, I went to McAllen, Texas, to meet up with a group of fellow RVers from RVillage (an RV membership group). I wanted to make the most of my time in McAllen so I looked for something to do in the morning before the meet up ...
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Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting game. Learn about the area while you have fun geocaching with Harlingen Parks and Recreation's Geo-Quest.

Geocaching with Harlingen Parks and Recreation

Geocaching first came to my attention several years ago when I lived in southern California. I love scavenger hunts and solving puzzles so I thought it sounded like fun. I was about to get involved when I decided to move to rural northern California where there really weren't many geocaches ...
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The museums of Harlingen, Texas, the Iwo Jima Memorial Museum and the Harlingen Arts & Heritage museum, top the list of best things to do in Harlingen.

Museums of Harlingen: Early Rio Grande Valley to WWII

When I moved to southern Texas, I started making a list of things to see and do, starting with the closest places first. When I searched things to do in Harlingen, Texas, the museums of Harlingen came out on top. Museums of Harlingen Iwo Jima Memorial Museum The Iwo Jima ...
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This is one of my favorite posts to do during the year. It is so fun to look back over articles and see what was popular and resonated with my readers.

Most Viewed Posts 2018 Edition

This is one of my favorite posts to do each year. It is so fun for me to look back over my articles and see what was popular and resonated with my readers during the year. It gives me food for thought about what to include as future posts. 2018 ...
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The five missions on the San Antonio Mission Trail, as a group, were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2015. They are the largest collection of Spanish colonial architecture in the world. #travel #tourism #texas #sanantonio #missions

San Antonio Mission Trail: Visions of a New People and Culture

When I went on my first day of sightseeing in San Antonio, Texas, I learned that the Alamo is just one of five missions on the San Antonio Mission Trail. The five missions, as a group, were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2015. They are the largest collection ...
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I purchased my hop-on hop-off ticket, added the Rio Cruises River Walk tour, and made my way inside the Alamo to begin my San Antonio sightseeing adventure.

Best of San Antonio in One Day: The Alamo, Pearl & River Walk

By the time I got to San Antonio in mid-November, I had been on the road for 33 days. I had been to some amazing places and had been enjoying remarkably beautiful weather until I arrived in central Texas the week before. For almost a week it had been cloudy, ...
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Walker Honey Farm and Dancing Bee Winery in Rogers, TX, may be a little off the beaten path but well worth a visit for amazing raw honey and honey wine.

Boondocking at Walker Honey Farm and Dancing Bee Winery

I joined Harvest Hosts RV membership program to find some unique and interesting places to stay on my RV trip from northern California to southern Texas. I picked at least one intriguing place in each state and built my RV park stays around them. When I found Walker Honey Farm ...
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When you think of Bakersfield, do you think of a place to visit and explore? No? Me neither! But there is more to do there than you might imagine.

Things to do in Bakersfield in Three Days

When you think of Bakersfield, do you think of a place to visit and explore? No? Me neither! When I was planning my RV trip from northern California to southern Texas, I scheduled an overnight in Bakersfield to break up the drive. At one of my going away parties – ...
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Casa Rondeña Winery has been chosen “Best Winery” seven years in a row by Albuquerque the Magazine readers.Read on to learn why.

Casa Rondeña Winery – I Finally Get Some New Mexico Wine

Although I had cases of amazing Gold Country wine in my wine fridge when I was getting ready to leave northern California, I didn’t bring much with me. I shipped a couple of cases and gave the rest away. Turns out, that was a bit of a mistake. My plan ...
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Piedras Marcadas Canyon in Petroglyph National Monument, Albuquerque, NM, combined my love of and fascination with history, geology and archeology.

Piedras Marcadas Canyon in Petroglyph National Monument

When I began fantasizing about this journey to southern Texas, I planned to leave northern California the third week of September, in time to get to Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta. Since that didn’t happen, I had no real plans of what to see or do in Albuquerque other than ...
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Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, lies at the heart of the Painted Desert and is one of the largest concentrations of petrified wood in the world.

Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert

When I heard that the National Parks’ Senior Lifetime Pass was increasing from $20 to $80, I decided to go ahead and get mine. I was a few years past the time when I qualified but I never really thought I would use it. Other than Yosemite, there weren’t many ...
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I love trains so I knew that combining the Grand Canyon Railway with seeing the Grand Canyon would be the highlight of my trip.

The Incomparable Grand Canyon via the Grand Canyon Railway

My RV journey began with the thought that a travel trailer might be easier than finding multiple hotels that would take my three cats on my move from Northern California to southern Texas. From that simple thought it grew into the idea of fulfilling a life-long dream of traveling around ...
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If my first weekend on the road as an RV newbie is any indication of how things are going to go for the next few weeks, I’m truly going to love this life.

Notes from an RV Newbie’s First Weekend on the Road

If you have been following my blog, you know that just before my birthday I made a life changing decision to downsize, buy a travel trailer and do some long-term traveling while moving in the general direction of southern Texas. Preparing to be an RV newbie has been a monumental ...
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Murphys, CA, in Calaveras County is home to Mercer Caverns, one of four fantastic caverns in Northern Caifornia's Gold Country. Learn about the fascinating history and amazing geology on an entertaining guided tour.

Mercer Caverns: A Top Attraction in Murphys, CA

My friend Joy and her husband were here visiting for a few days from Southern California so I planned some activities for them. We spent the day on Sunday in Murphys attending their Presidents' Wine Weekend event. On the drive to Murphys, Joy wanted to know if we could visit ...
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Although Amador City is the smallest incorporated city in California, covering less than a square mile, it has lots to offer. It has a hotel and four great places to eat. Main Street is also dotted with unique shops, a wine tasting room or two and a museum.

Amador City: Where to Eat, Stay and Play

Although Amador City is the smallest incorporated city in California, covering less than a square mile, it has lots to offer. It has a hotel and four great places to eat. Main Street is also dotted with unique shops, a wine tasting room or two and a museum. If you ...
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When you visit Murphys, it will be obvious why it was voted one of the top ten coolest small towns in America. Take a trip back to the 1800s while enjoying great food, shopping, art galleries, outdoor activities and more.

Things to do in Murphys CA — More than Wine Tasting

If you haven't been to Murphys, you should definitely add it to your list of places to go in California's Gold Country. I have been there for special events like the Chili Cook-off, just to shop, and to stop for breakfast on my way to Calaveras Big Trees State Park. When ...
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Small Town Wine Bar in California’s Smallest Incorporated City

When I learned that another eating and drinking establishment was opening in Amador City, I have to admit, I was a little jealous. They already had the Imperial Hotel and Jamison's Ale House, two of my favorite places to eat in the county. They had Andrae's Bakery, which puts out ...
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Amtrak -- Sacramento to San Francisco -- who knew? Certainly not me. At least not until recently. I've lived here for more than three years and didn't know you could take Amtrak from Sacramento to San Francisco.

Amtrak from Sacramento to San Francisco

Amtrak -- Sacramento to San Francisco -- who knew? Certainly not me. At least not until recently. I've lived here for more than three years and didn't know you could take Amtrak from Sacramento to San Francisco. San Francisco is about a three hour drive and 130 miles from where ...
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My top ten most viewed posts of 2017 include stories about historic places, amazing food and fun and interesting things to do in Gold Country.

Most Viewed Posts of 2017

Last year, when I wrote a post about my most viewed posts of 2016, the blog had only been in operation for just under 10 months. During that time, I wrote 34 posts, an average of over three a month. I didn't meet my goal of at least four posts ...
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The first time I went to Jamison's Ale House and Oyster Bar in Amador City, CA, I knew I would be going back often and would want to share it with you. You'll find things on the menu you won't find anywhere else in the county.

Oysters and Smoked Meats at Jamison’s Ale House

The first time I went to Jamison's Ale House and Oyster Bar in Amador City, CA, I knew I would be going back often and would want to share it with you. UPDATE Fall 2018: Sadly, Jamison's Ale House and Oyster Bar is permanently closed. It was sure fun while ...
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Do you know how to tell if you are purchasing a high-quality olive oil and if it is truly extra virgin? Australia and California make it easier.

Everything You Need to Know to Find the Best Olive Oil

What is the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of Australia? Is it olive oil? Probably not but, after you read this, that might change. I have been wanting to delve into learning more about local olive oil for some time now so when one of ...
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Take a look at this post on Sutter Creek Heritage Days for a glimpse into the history of Sutter Creek, the gold rush era and the old West.

A Glimpse into Local History during Sutter Creek Heritage Days

Sutter Creek Heritage Days I think I saw more of Sutter Creek in a few hours during Heritage Days than I have seen in all the other times I have visited put together. Most people visit Sutter Creek to shop at the many antique and vintage stores or to go ...
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The Roaring Camp Saturday Night Cookout is an evening full of adventure, food, fun, entertainment, education and history for the whole family.

Roaring Camp Saturday Night Cookout Experience

Of all the things I've done so far in Gold Country, one of my favorites is the Roaring Camp Saturday Night Cookout. It is an evening full of adventure, food, fun, entertainment, education and history. Descent into the Mokelumne River Canyon Your adventure begins at the Roaring Camp office on ...
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exterior of Imperial Hotel i Amador City

Imperial Hotel Amador City: Nobody Famous Slept Here

Amador City, population 200, was a booming town during the California gold rush. The Keystone Mine was one of the highest producing mines in the area and as many as 5,000 people lived and worked in the town during that time. Most of the buildings, including what was to become ...
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Dragon Gourmet Mushrooms in Sloughhouse, CA, practices sustainable farming to raise many exotic varieties on their mushroom farm. Farm-to-Fork.

Mushroom Farm Tour — Dragon Gourmet Mushrooms

UPDATE 2/15/22: Dragon Gourmet Mushrooms is permanently closed! Ryker retired in August and sold his equipment. Mushrooms are one of those things that I think you either love or hate. Even if you hate them, though, learning about them is pretty fascinating. When I contacted Dragon Gourmet Mushrooms in Sloughhouse, ...
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Take a motorcar ride in a vintage railroad maintenance-of-way work car in Ione, CA. You'll want to bring your camera for this 6 mile round trip ride into the beautiful foothills of Gold Country.

Riding the Rails by Motorcar in Amador County

When I first saw information about the motorcar ride in Ione, CA, I was intrigued. The stable where I had my horseback riding business was right next to the railroad tracks in Anaheim, CA. I saw lots of high rail trucks on those rails, but these vintage motorcars were so ...
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It's been two decades in the making but Troy and Cyndi Harrell's dream has finally come to fruition. They recently hosted a thank you/open house celebration for their Dog & Pony Ranch in Jackson, California. They officially became residents of Amador County the end of last year but waited for better weather to have the celebration for the completion of their home and luxurious Gold Country vacation rental.

Dog & Pony Ranch: Luxurious Gold Country Vacation Rental

It's been two decades in the making but Troy and Cyndi Harrell's dream has finally come to fruition. They recently hosted a thank you/open house celebration for their Dog & Pony Ranch in Jackson, California. They officially became residents of Amador County the end of last year but waited for ...
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For such a small hamlet, Volcano, CA, has a surprising number of places to eat, sleep and play. Here's the rundown to help you visit Volcano like a local.

Volcano, CA: Where to Eat, Stay and Play

Volcano is located in Amador County in the sierra foothills of Northern California's Gold Country. It is surrounded by natural beauty and steeped in history. For such a small hamlet, Volcano, CA, population 116, has a surprising number of places to eat, stay and play, all within walking distance of ...
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I tried snowshoeing for the first time this week. I love that I can go from wildflowers to snowshoeing in 30 minutes or less in Gold Country. Check it out.

Wildflowers to Snowshoeing in 30 Minutes or Less

When I lived in Southern California, I lived near the beach and loved that I could be in the mountains within a couple of hours. Now, I live in the mountains of Northern California and the beach is only a little farther than a couple of hours away. I live ...
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You can ride the train at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park every weekend April through October. The Wildflower Train is a special event in April.

Wildflower Train: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

I have always been fascinated by rail travel and just love riding a train any chance I get. That hasn't been nearly as often as I'd like, though. I've taken the train from Los Angeles to New Orleans and the Coast Starlight from San Jose to Seattle. Rail travel is always ...
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The Electra Road wildflowers are spectacular this time of year and offer an added bonus to any hike along the road and the Mokulemne River.

Electra Road Wildflowers Take a Hike from Ordinary to Extraordinary

Hiking on Electra Road is not a very traditional hike or much of a challenge, but it is an excellent place to just get up and get outside. The day use area offers clean restrooms, picnic tables, barbecues and a beach for swimming. An added bonus this time of year is ...
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The Sacramento Zoo had a special animal enrichment event in celebration of Valentine's Day. The orangutans made the most of it. Check them out.

Animal Enrichment at the Sacramento Zoo

I have always loved going to the zoo. When I lived in Southern California, I went to the San Diego Zoo and the Wild Animal Park frequently. Even though it was about 90 minutes away, I had season passes some years. When Kelly told me she saw a special animal ...
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The more than 20 murals that depict various aspects of the Rio Grande Valley's history and culture, is one of the main things for which Harlingen is known.

The Murals of Downtown Harlingen

I just got back from a week-long trip to La Feria, Texas. I was visiting my Dad and helping him celebrate his 95th birthday. What a blast we had! He has bad knees so it is hard for him to walk a lot, which meant we didn't go many places ...
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A look back at 2016 and my most viewed posts of the year. There were a few surprises and some things I knew would be there.

Most Viewed Posts of 2016

It's the beginning of a new year and I've been reflecting on the blog, looking back at old posts and setting some goals for 2017. Even though the blog hasn't been in operation for a full year yet (my first post was published on March 7th), I thought you might be ...
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I marvel at the brave women traveling alone in foreighn countries. These days, I'm more interested in exploring what my local region has to offer.

Women Traveling Alone — Are You One of Them?

As a single, female, 60 something, baby boomer, and with the state of the world, I'm no longer comfortable with the idea of overseas travel, especially as a woman traveling alone. Perhaps some of you feel the same way. I read lots of travel blogs, mostly written by young millennials ...
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Did you know that the giant sequoias are the largest living thing to ever have existed on earth? You can visit them at several locations in Gold Country.

Awe Inspiring Giant Sequoias in Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Seeing the giant coastal redwoods (sequoia sempervirens) has always been on my bucket list. You would think that someone who has lived most of her life in California would have checked that item off her list after all these years. Somehow, I have never made it there even though I made many trips ...
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The Saucy Sisters cooking group recently took a foodie field trip to Allspicery, a new spice shop in downtown Sacramento. We were like kids in a candy store.

Everything Nice at Allspicery

Recently, the Saucy Sisters cooking group took a foodie field trip to Sacramento to visit, among other places, Allspicery. When Jan, the organizer of the field trip, told me the Allspicery story, I knew I would want to tell you about it. As a cook, I enjoy experimenting with herbs and spices ...
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A preview of what's coming on the blog in food, wine and travel - a field trip to Allspicery, some wine tasting and a couple of terrific recipes.

It’s All In My Head! – Food, Wine and Travel

It seems I've been on a bit of an unintended hiatus from the blog. I've been so busy doing research, photograpy and coming up with ideas for content that I haven't had (taken) the time to write it down. Now I have so many things in my head it is almost overwhelming but I will ...
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The Saucy Sisters had stiff competition at the 2016 Great Sutter Creek Chili Cook-off and Car Show. Do you think we won again this year?

Sutter Creek Chili Cook-off & Car Show

I love that there are so many local fairs and festivals in Gold Country. My October pick was the Great Sutter Creek Chili Cook-off and Car Show. This annual event is always held on the second Saturday in October so you might want to mark your calendar now for October ...
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Lumberjack Day, held the first Saturday in October, is a day-long celebration of the history and traditions of the logging industry in Calaveras County.

Lumberjack Day in West Point, CA

You never know what you are going to run into when you are traveling around Gold Country. Yesterday I was on my way to a pet sitting client when I saw a sign I remembered seeing a few times in the past week or so. It was for Lumberjack Day ...
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With summer activities winding down, there is still so much to do that it is hard to choose. Here's my list of best Amador County October Activities.

Best Amador County October Activities

With fall just around the corner, one week from today in fact, outdoor summer activities are starting to wind down in Amador County. Even the weather has given us a taste of fall the past few days, but just because summer is winding down doesn't mean there will be any ...
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I had the opportunity to try out a Kodiak Canvas truck tent on a recent horse camping trip. I share the pros and cons of the tent with you in this blog post.

Kodiak Canvas Truck Tent Review

Kelly and I just got back from a horse camping trip to Pt. Reyes National Seashore north of San Francisco. Kelly usually stays in the back of her horse trailer when she camps, but for this trip, she decided to get a tent for her truck. I hadn't heard of ...
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View of crowd from stage at Scofield's Cowboy Campfire - Experience the old American West at Scofield's Cowboy Campfire in Fiddletown, CA, with a chuck wagon dinner and cowboy music from world-renowned performers.

Old West Music at Scofield’s Cowboy Campfire

Back in March I went to see Dave Stamey at The Call in Pine Grove. I had been wanting to see him for years but I kept missing him when I lived in Southern California and he performed there. The Call is just a few minutes drive from my house and a ...
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Amador Flower Farm daylilies come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and bloom cycles. They are easy to grow and are just about the perfect perennial.

Amador Flower Farm Daylilies

I've said it before, but I just have to say it again. I'm discovering that plants from bulbs have the most spectacular blooms. I guess this is becoming more apparent to me as I have more time to explore places like Amador Flower Farm, where the daylily reigns supreme. Although I think ...
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reddish colored iris with text overlay Bluebird Haven Iris Garden

Bluebird Haven Iris Garden

On our way back from Toogood Estate Winery in Fairplay, the Vineyard Vixens stopped at Bluebird Haven Iris Garden. We do have other interests besides wine! Bluebird Haven Iris Garden is located on Fairplay Rd. in Somerset, CA, just a few miles down the road from Toogood in southern El ...
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Volcano, CA is an amazing little town in the Sierra Foothills. It is a living history lesson and is the perfect place for a walking tour.

Volcano, CA: Perfect for a Walking Tour

How Volcano Got its Name When I first moved to Pine Grove in beautiful Gold Country and learned there was a town nearby called Volcano, I immediately wondered if there was an extinct volcano in the area. That, however, is not the case. The town of Volcano sits in a crater-like ...
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My Gold Country Spring Bucket List

If you are like me, you see something fun and interesting to do, talk about it, then forget about it. At least that's what happens to me with a lot of things. I've been doing better so far this year, checking out event calendars at least a month ahead and ...
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We enjoyed a day of natural beauty a camaraderie on our Cronan Ranch trail ride. Cronan Ranch is part of the 25-mile South Fork American River Trail.

Cronan Ranch Trail Ride on Multi-Use Trails

When it comes to getting up and getting out, the one thing I did a lot of in Southern California was horseback riding. My riding buddy, Nancy, was always ready to hitch up and trailer out for a trail ride so we were off on a different adventure almost every ...
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Northern CA's Gold Country encompasses ten counties that lie along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains, reaching into the Sacramento Valley.

Gold Country: What and Where Is It?

Northern California's Gold Country, also known as the Mother Lode, encompasses ten counties that lie along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains, reaching down to the Sacramento Valley. Its name comes from the famous, or infamous, California Gold Rush of 1849 that occurred here. The beauty and scenic ...
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