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.


May 10, 2024

Ventura Botanical Gardens – Ventura, CA

Go-Go Garbo’s Glorious Garden Ramble Ventura Botanical Gardens – Ventura, CA Visit: May 2024 When Tracy learned that the Ventura Botanical Gardens allows dogs on Wednesdays and Fridays, we decided this would be the perfect place to take Garbo, our new two-year-old corgi, for her first major adventure. Go west, […]
December 7, 2023

Mercado González – Costa Mesa, CA

Morning In The Mercado Mercado González – Costa Mesa, CA Visited: December 2023 Tracy and I have had Mexico City on our brains since our incredible April 2023 trip, so when Tracy read about the opening of a huge, new Mexican marketplace in Costa Mesa, we took immediate notice. When […]
September 20, 2023

Los Angeles Central Library – Los Angeles

Light Of Learning! Los Angeles Central Library – Los Angeles Visited: June & September 2023 Seven years ago I was quite blown away by a visit to the library, the Richard J. Riordan Central Library to be exact. Its interior was gorgeous, the exterior was created by one of the […]
May 9, 2023

The Nethercutt Collection – Sylmar

Still The Best Museum You’ve Never Heard Of! The Nethercutt Collection – Sylmar Last Visited: March 2023 Who knew that because so many women use a certain cosmetic product line that we would be allowed to visit one of the coolest museums most people don’t even know exists?  Located in […]
January 8, 2023

Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture of the Riverside Art Museum – Riverside

Eye-Catching Chicano Art at “The Cheech!” Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture of the Riverside Art Museum – Riverside Visited: December 2022 Tracy and I have been fortunate to have visited some great art museums throughout the years, but we have also visited some duds. We did not […]
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 […]
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 […]