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.


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 […]
May 26, 2020

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden – Arcadia

Gorgeous Global Garden … And Peacocks, Too! Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden – Arcadia Visited: May 2020 Thankfully, now that outdoor museums and gardens have opened, Tracy and I can escape our home to visit gorgeous environs, some located very near to where we live.  One such slice […]
August 28, 2019

Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (European Art Edition) – San Marino

Home Sweet Art Gallery Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (European Art Edition) – San Marino Last Visit: August 2019 Since we have already taken an extensive tour of the Botanical Gardens (in a previous post), on this excursion to the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens we’ll […]
August 6, 2019

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition – Garden Grove

Renaissance Man Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition – Garden Grove (EXHIBITION CLOSED) Visited: May 2019 On an evening in Southern California (not Roma, or specifically Vatican City), Tracy asked (quite out of the blue), “Why don’t we visit the Sistine Chapel this weekend?” While I looked on perplexed (quite normal for […]
June 19, 2019

Golden Gate Park – San Francisco

Three Countries In Three Hours Golden Gate Park – San Francisco While visiting San Francisco, my buddy Kim said, “How’d you like to visit three countries in the next few hours?” Not having brought my passport, I didn’t think it would be possible, but Kim told me not to worry.  […]
May 28, 2019

Grace Cathedral – San Francisco

Bay Area Treasure Grace Cathedral – San Francisco Visited: May 2019 During the April 2019 fire at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, I learned that San Francisco and Paris are Sister Cities, and that Grace Cathedral was constructed in Notre-Dame’s same French-Gothic style.  What I didn’t know was that a section […]
April 30, 2019

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (Garden Edition) – San Marino

The Indoor/Outdoor Museum Experience Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (Garden Edition) – San Marino Last Visit: March/April 2019 With the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino (just south of Pasadena) celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019, I thought it would be a good time […]