California Dreaming: Tom and Tracy’s California Journal

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From The Maitai Vault

What’s great here in the Golden State? There are some stops in California that demand extra time and energy to explore.  Others require just a quick stop.  That’s what we’re here to do.  From magnificent museums to gorgeous settings to events unique to our great state…and even a fork in the road…this section gives you a unique cross section of California, and the places you should spend some time exploring while visiting.  My most recent posts are at the top as we keep adding places that we travel, and add additional information to spots we revisit more frequently.  Hopefully this will give you some ideas on what to see in our great state.


June 18, 2022

Ojai Deer Lodge & Ojai Olive Oil Company – Ojai

Remi’s Ojai Outdoor Outing Ojai Deer Lodge & Ojai Olive Oil Company – Ojai Since losing Frankie to cancer in October, we try to do something exciting with Remi every weekend (at least more interesting than walking around the block).  In mid-June 2010, Tracy and I brought these two corgis […]
April 14, 2022

Dodger Stadium Tour – Los Angeles

“It’s A Beautiful Day For A Ball Game” Dodger Stadium Tour – Los Angeles Visited: April 2022 Although I unwisely became a San Diego Padres fan while in college at San Diego State (please don’t let your children suffer a similar fate), in my younger years I lived and died […]
March 9, 2022

Fort Point National Historic Site – San Francisco

“The Pride Of The Pacific” Fort Point National Historic Site – San Francisco Visited: February 2022 So you say you didn’t know there was a fortress constructed in the mid-19th century to help defend San Francisco against hostile warships? Well, neither did we until our recent getaway to The City […]
February 11, 2022

The Spot & Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve – Carpinteria

Legendary Burger & Coastal Seal Sanctuary Hike The Spot & Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve – Carpinteria Visited: February 2022 Very early on a recent Saturday morning, Tracy informed me she was in the mood for a hamburger … but not just any hamburger. She wanted us to drive 90 minutes […]
February 4, 2022

Will Rogers State Historic Park & Ranch – Pacific Palisades

I Never Met A Park I Didn’t Like! Will Rogers State Historic Park & Ranch – Pacific Palisades Visited: December 2021 It’s hard to believe as a native Angelino, I had never gone to Will Rogers State Park. Truthfully, I had never given it too much thought.   It was time […]
January 12, 2022

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County – Los Angeles

A Walk Through Prehistoric Times Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County – Los Angeles Tracy and I were in the mood for dinosaurs (despite Tracy being married to one), and with Jurassic Park being out of the question, we did the next best thing … we hopped in our […]
October 5, 2021

Filoli Historic House & Garden • Woodside

A Colorful Step Back Into HistoryFiloli Historic House & Garden • Woodside Visited: May 2021 Following our Oregon/Northern California trip, Tracy and I decided to make one last stop at a gorgeous spot she had been yearning to visit when the flowers bloomed in spring. Located about 25 miles south […]
April 13, 2021

Historic Original Farmers Market – Los Angeles

Going To Market! Historic Original Farmers Market – Los Angeles Visited: March 2021 (Twice) It had been quite some time since Tracy and I had visited the venerable Original Los Angeles Farmers Market, so on a rather chilly March morning we headed out to 3rd & Fairfax to visit this […]
March 6, 2021

Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine – Pacific Palisades

A Literal Dream Come True Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine – Pacific Palisades Visited – February 2021 Elvis Presley became enamored of this little piece of paradise on his visits to Southern California. Memorial services for both George Harrison and Tom Petty were held here. There are even some of Mahatma […]
November 30, 2020

Mendocino To Eureka: Beaches, Redwoods & Mansions

Our Annus Horibilis Mini-Vacation (Part Two) Mendocino To Eureka: Beaches, Redwoods & Mansions Day Two: Don’t Step On The Glass, Motorcycle Down, Oh … DEER!, Watch Out For That Tree, Confusion Reigns, What Info?, Land Of The Giants, Picnicking With A Mass Murderer?, Another Aztec Defeat, Signs Signs Everywhere Are […]
November 12, 2020

Northern California Coast Road Trip & A Winery For The Ages

Our Annus Horibilis* Mini-Vacation Northern California Coast Road Trip & A Winery For The Ages In the year Tracy, borrowing a phrase from Queen Elizabeth, calls “Annus horribilis,” we made the decision to join our friends and longtime traveling partners Kim and Mary for a four-day vacation from Covid and […]
October 17, 2020

Hollywood Forever Cemetery – Hollywood

Cemetery Of The Stars Hollywood Forever Cemetery – Hollywood Visited: September 2020 We last strolled through the grounds of Hollywood Forever Cemetery in 2014, a cemetery that I had been “dying” to see at the time, so recently Tracy and I returned, along with friends Jeff and Cecilia, to see […]
September 29, 2020

Bowers Museum – Santa Ana

A Gem of a Museum! Bowers Museum – Santa Ana Visited: September 2020 When Tracy and I heard that the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana was going to open back up, I immediately hopped online to secure early timed-reservations for the second day. It had been nearly nine months (seemed […]
August 1, 2020

Lotusland – Santa Barbara (Montecito)

Magical & Mystical Gardens Lotusland – Santa Barbara (Montecito) Visited: July 2020 For the past couple of years, Tracy and I have talked about traveling to Lotusland, a 37-acre estate and botanic garden located in the Montecito foothills near the city of Santa Barbara. Lotusland actually features more than 20 […]
July 7, 2020

Descanso Gardens – La Cañada Flintridge

Completing The San Gabriel Valley Garden Trifecta Descanso Gardens – La Cañada Flintridge Last Visited: July 2020 Due to the Covid-19 shutdown of museums, restaurants and virtually everything else, I, like most people in the world, became stir crazy. So when gardens started opening back up, we jumped at the […]
June 13, 2020

Getty Center (The Getty) – Los Angeles

Artful Los Angeles Icon  Getty Center (The Getty) – Los Angeles Last Visited: January 2020 In January 2020 BC (Before Covid), Tracy and I popped over to one of the area’s most prestigious museums, the Getty Center, early on a Sunday morning.  It’s located on a 900-foot hilltop that sits […]