When you travel with a father-and-son team of biology teachers, you spend a lot of time examining local flora and fauna, and our recent visit to the coast, valleys, and deserts of south/central California was no exception.
We saw condors and acorn woodpeckers, giant anemones, and the smallest lizard in existence, and learned to identify Indian arrowwood, the creosote plant, and ocotillo. I managed to round out the experience by dragging my husband, Rich, and our son Eric on a nighttime tour of the Hearst Castle, to a date farm, and to the Thursday market in Palm Springs. As we took in the kitsch along Cannery Row in Monterey—on the way to several visits to its fabulous aquarium—I pointed out Doc Ritter's Pacific Lab and the Wing Chong market, landmarks Steinbeck fans would recognize.
As first-time visitors, we of course drove coastal Route 1 along Big Sur and stopped in San Simeon to check out the former Hearst family "cottage." If your schedule permits, try to catch one of the Friday/Saturday evening tours, complete with actors depicting an evening's socializing.
On this California getaway, we also visited a number of hostelries and restaurants that warrant recommendation to Hideaways members.
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