Santa Barbara Food and Wine Tasting

Santa Barbara - La Arcada Plaza The best way to learn about a new city is to join a tour, and if you are a foody, then a tasting tour is a must.

After some research, I decided to go with Taste Santa Barbara Food Tours. They offer two food tours in the Santa Barbara area with the option to make it a private tour.

We decided to go with the private tour for two due to Covid and to customize our tastings.

Brea, CA

Brea Oil FieldsCalifornia is known for the gold rush, which caused many prospectors to head west to strike it rich. But California also experienced a black gold rush when oil (petrol) was discovered.

Brea started as a village for oil field workers, but when the oil boom became the oil bust, Brea became a citrus producer with orange and lemon fields instead of drilling fields.

You can still see some oil drills on the hills above Brea, but they are dwindling. 

Over the years, Brea turned into an important retail center because of the large Brea Mall, several mini-malls, and the recently redeveloped Brea Downtown. 

Denver, Colorado

Denver Skyline - by MattWright - WikimediaAs I was landing at Denver International Airport, I wondered why they call it the mile-high-city? I was expecting mountainous terrain and a lot of green. 

Denver, at first glance, looks like any other major city in the USA, with urban sprawl and a city center with tall buildings. 

But some points in the city are at an elevation of 5,280 feet (1,609 m) which is exactly one mile above sea level.

Interesting fact: The highest city in the US is in the state of Colorado. The city of Alma sits at an elevation of 10,578 feet. 

A brass plaque embedded in one of the steps of the Colorado State Capitol building's Western entrance marks the exact spot where Denver's altitude is precisely one mile high.

Destin, FL

Florida Emerald CoastDestin is a small beach town full of fun attractions and activities. Located on Florida's Emerald Coast, Destin is known for its white beaches and emerald green waters. It is now a major tourist destination, started as a small fishing village. 

The city is on a peninsula separating the Gulf of Mexico from Choctawhatchee Bay. This makes for beautiful beaches and views on both sides, facing the Gulf of Mexico and the bay.

The sand on Destin's beaches (and the rest of the Emerald Coast) is some of the whitest in the world. The sand comes from the Appalachian Mountains and is made of finely ground quartz crystal, giving sugar's appearance. 

New York, NY

NYC Manhattan Skyline - by Fred Hsu - WikipediaNew York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world. It has a significant influence on commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, dining, art, fashion, and sports. 

It is also the most photographed city in the world and home to the headquarters of the United Nations. 
Some even go as far as labeling it the capital of the world.

With its densely packed population, especially on the tiny island of Manhattan, you would think it is a place to avoid – and I did avoid it for a very long time.

I finally broke down and spent a few days in this magnificent city, and I am glad I did.

Cycling from San Clemente to Oceanside

San Clemente to Oceano Bike TrailThe San Clemente to Oceanside bike trail is a 22-mile path that runs along the coast of Southern California. Parts of this trail are paved, and others are packed dirt.

It is a popular spot for cyclists, runners, and walkers of all levels. The trail starts in San Clemente, passes through San Onofre State Beach, and ends in Oceanside.

The trail starts at San Clemente State Beach, where you can park your car and start your ride. The first few miles of the trail are relatively flat, as it winds through the park. You can extend your ride by starting from sports to the North like the San Clemente Pier or the Metrolink Station.

Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach - The Strand

Are you looking for a gorgeous little downtown to spend the evening, with stunning sunsets on a clean beach, great restaurants, safe and happy vibe?

Manhattan Beach is the place! This coastal town sits between Hermosa Beach to the south and Los Angles to the north, with a busy downtown district and great beach activities.  

My favorite thing to do when visiting is to walk along the Strand – a long walkway connecting Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Redondo Beach.

Pedestrians and cyclists use this path, but in Manhattan Beach, the bike trail splits away from the main trail making for a more pleasant and safe walk. As walk the Strand, you can admire the multi-million dollar homes terraced on a gentle slope.

The separate bike trail is actually part of the longer Marvin Braude Bike Trail, which runs along the Santa Monica Bay.

Long Beach, California

Long Beach (LB) is one of the larger cities in California with its own ports, shopping centers, and beaches.

It is located at the southern end of Los Angeles county – bordering Orange county.

The city is known for its waterfront attractions, including the Queen Mary, the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Cruise Terminal, and the Catalina Boat Terminal.

Long Beach also hosts the Grand Prix of Long Beach, the Long Beach Pride Festival and Parade, and