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Marina Del Rey: LA’s playground

Los Angeles is one of those places that everyone wants to visit someday, to glimpse some stars on Rodeo Drive, visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame, or enjoy the original Disneyland. Note: I originally wrote this article several years ago for Hipmunk, a hotel booking engine which no longer exists. This is a revised and…

Watersports in Marina del Rey, California

If you’ve read my blog at all, you know I tend to go for the more off-the-beaten-path, lesser-known destinations when I travel. Even when I go to a relatively popular place, like, for example, Romania, I seek out sights that the tourists don’t visit, like the painted churches of Moldavia. Or, visiting South Korea, I…

Carmel mission graves

California’s overlooked mission history

We often forget that California history goes further back than the “49-ers,” the gold prospectors who hurried to California once gold was discovered in 1848. The first European settlers in California were not “49-ers;” they were Spanish. California belonged to Spain from 1769 to 1821, and then to the Mexicans until the US got it back in 1848 after winning the Mexican-American…

view over Lake Tahoe

A quick trip to the Sierra

Old Sacramento You’ve probably seen it in a hundred cowboy films: a main street lined with wooden buildings, fronted by a wooden sidewalk shaded by a roof. The storefronts say “Bank” or “General Merchandise” in formal, old-fashioned lettering. Cowboys stumble out through the swinging doors of the saloon. Women of ill repute beckon from a…