Travelers: Check out this event


Mystery Writers in the Mausoleum
(by candlelight inside the park’s 100-year-old mausoleum)
7-9 p.m. Wednesday, October 22, 2014
1900 Franklin Avenue, Santa Rosa
Santa Rosa Memorial Park is hosting the second annual Mystery Writers in the Mausoleum 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 22. The free event takes places in the park’s 100-year-old mausoleum. Still without electricity the Odd Fellows mausoleum is located at 1900 Franklin Avenue in Santa Rosa.
Juried mystery writers and dramatists will share stories of suspense, mystery, magic and the supernatural by candlelight. Selections will be read by Redwood Writers’ authors, Sisters in Crime NorCal and FolkHeart Press writers. The evening will also include two dramatic readings by Connie Petty and David Gonzalez. Event highlights also include a Meet/Greet session with authors in the Rose Corridor following the reading.
“This event is a natural for us and for local writers. It’s a great way to showcase some of Sonoma County’s talented mystery writers,” said Laura Neisius, general manger. The mausoleum, she added, will be the perfect setting for spine tingling tales.
The program is scheduled last from 7 p.m. -9 p.m.  Warm wear is advised. For details about this free event, visit

Travelers: Quick Tips

Many publications and online travel sites offer tips to make your next trip more fun, easier, safer…and on and on.

Periodically I offer quick tips that have worked for me or ones that others send to me.

Here are just a few:

When renting a car, check for any damage to bumpers or doors. Look at the windshield for damage as well. If you see any dings or issues, take photos immediately. Even if you rent from a brand name company, issues can occur. Last summer in Boston we rented from Hertz. When we went to the rental car, there were several issues with it from dings, to a bumper dent, to an odd smell inside. We took photos and then decided to talk to the on site supervisor about the car. They apologized and gave us an upgrade. Hertz employees showed exemplary customer service and made sure we were happy with the new rental. It pays to talk to them and not just accept a car with obvious problems.

Wear loose fitting shoes on flights, especially long ones. The pressure change in the cabin can cause your feet to swell, making your shoes tight. Plus, it’s easier going through security if your shoes come off easily.

Noise cancelling headphones can make all the difference on flights. They reduce fatigue and shut out noises, allowing you to sleep.

Bring a small toothbrush and toothpaste in your carry on, especially on long flights.

Bring a small flashlight in your carry on as well. You never know when you may need it in flight, at night in the hotel, or at a dark restaurant.

Travelers: Great Food Event to Check Out

(Yountville, CA, September 24th 2014) — The Jessup Cellars 2014 TasteMaker Speaker Series goes wild on Saturday, October 11th at its Yountville Tasting Gallery with with renowned forager Connie Green and Executive Chef and Owner Sean O’Toole of TORC, one of Napa’s hottest new dining destinations. The forum and tasting’s subject, Foraging ~ Ancient & Modern Flavors from the Untamable World, will explore this delicious culinary adventure on Saturday, October 11th from 6:30pm to 9:00pm
 at the Jessup Cellars Tasting Gallery in Yountville, California.
While Green will showcase a selection of freshly harvested wild ingredients, Chef O’Toole will feature his Chanterelle Mushroom “HUMMUS” with Autumn Tomato and Dill, and House Eurasian “BOAR HAM” Crostini with Wild Mushroom Tartare and Huckleberry paired with select Jessup Cellars wines. The evening also opens resident artist Cynthia Carey’s Foraged & Found Sculpture exhibiton. Tickets are $75 each and available online at Ticket includes interactive forum, meet-and-greet, and wine and foraged food tasting.
“Far, far outside tidy human civilization and agriculture, culinary treasures like porcini, chanterelles, and truffles destined for the French Laundry or NOMA come only from wild places and foragers like me,” says Connie Green, owner ofWine Forest Wild Foods and co-author of The Wild Table. “This ancient craft lingers in our hearts as a legacy from our ancestors and pulls greats chefs like my side-kick Sean O’Toole out of his kitchen at TORC to forage in our great forests.”
Green has been foraging mushrooms, berries, greens and other wild foods for thirty years. As founder of one of the first and one of the largest wild foods businesses in the United States, she has sold ingredients to most of the top chefs in California and around the country including Thomas Keller, Daniel Patterson, Traci des Jardins, Gary Danko, Michael Chiarello, Cindy Pawlcyn, Stuart Brioza and many more.
O’Toole is chef and owner of the recently opened and highly acclaimed TORC in downtown Napa. He has spent more than fifteen years in some of the most noteworthy restaurants in the United States and Europe. At TORC, O’Toole focuses on the region’s bountiful selection of fresh products and his relationships with the people that produce, forage, and glean them. Green has been his foraged food purveyor for nearly twenty years.
About The TasteMaker Series
The TasteMaker Series presents thought leadership forums staged in the Jessup Cellars Tasting Gallery in Napa Valley’s village of Yountville, just a block north of the famed The French Laundry. Each event is integrated with the launch of a thematic art exhibition, bringing together Jessup Cellars wines, food, art and people into fully realized sensory forums. Jessup Cellars Tasting Gallery is located at 6740 Washington St., Yountville, California. To learn more about Jessup Cellars and the TasteMaker Speaker Series visit Jessup Cellars or call 707.944.8523.

Travelers: Sites to See

Let’s face it…when you visit a place for the first time, you probably won’t see it all. Unless, of course, you plan on an extended stay. Even then, you might not see it all.

So, how do you decide what to see and do?

Read some guidebooks, talk to people who love the city where you are going, and think about your likes and dislikes. If you really don’t like art galleries, but the city is famous for art galleries…do you want to spend time touring an art gallery? You might love wandering through gardens and this place has dozens of gardens. If churches are on your ‘must see’ list, check out what each one is famous for and whether it is something you want to visit.

With that in mind, make a list of your top 10 things to do and see. Then, whittle that down to three if you can. These are the three you definitely want to schedule. Look at the best times to visit these, including days and times. Purchase your tickets online ahead of time to avoid standing in lines. After all, if these are sites you really want to see…working out a scheduled visit will make your trip more enjoyable. No sense being disappointed because the lines were too long or you missed the window to purchase tickets.

Once your top three are scheduled, you have time to see things and go places that pop up or that look interesting as you walk through a neighborhood. You can be spontaneous with the rest of the day.

Happy traveling…

Travelers: Oktoberfest in Vacaville

Oktoberfest Returns To Downtown Vacaville!
Vacaville, CA – The 8th Annual Oktoberfest, which is being hosted by the Pure Grain Bakery and the Downtown Vacaville Business Improvement District, is happening on Saturday September 27th from 10 am to 9 pm. Come visit Town Square and enjoy a day of German heritage and fun. Music will be provided by Tony Raymann’s Edelweiss Band and East Bay Mudd that evening. There will also be plenty of German food (bratwurst, currywurst and schnitzel), beers and wines. The event is free to attend.
If you have any questions please call the Downtown Vacaville Business Improvement District office at (707) 451-2100 or visit the web site at
There’s always plenty to do in Downtown Vacaville, “The Heart Of The City”!

Travelers: Have a Great Trip

Some questions for you as you plan your next trip…

What do you do your first day in a new place? Do you leave that day open or do you schedule activities for that day?

Have you looked at maps to know where your hotel or apartment is in relation to sites you want to see?

Are you going to take a guided tour? Or, are you going to do it yourself?

Do you know where the best views in the city are located?

Have you made a list of ‘must see’ attractions or sites?

Do you know the ticketing procedures?

Did you purchase your tickets ahead of time?

Do you know when the most popular and crowded times and days are at places you want to visit?

Are you too scheduled for your time frame?

Have you left your last day open?

Travelers: Food Safety Tips

Depending on the country where you will be traveling, food could be an issue. No one wants to get sick at home, let alone in an unfamiliar city.

Drinking water can pose a big problem when traveling. It’s obvious you don’t want to drink the water in many countries. But, what about countries where you thought it was safe to drink the water? Before you go, research your destination. Is safe water an issue? If you’re not sure, drink only bottled water. Ask your hotel to recommend a brand that is a known safe one. Along those same lines, if you’re unsure…don’t brush your teeth with tap water and keep your mouth shut when taking a shower. Also, avoid ice cubes in drinks.

What about eating street food? If you aren’t sure about the cleanliness of it…avoid it. If you see lots of flies hanging around the food…avoid it. If the food vendor looks like he has unclean hands…avoid it. You might want to stay away from food that’s been sitting in the sun for hours also.

If you’re still unsure about the water…avoid foods that were washed in local water. Salads, fruits, and vegetables might be good ones to avoid. If you can peel it or cook it…you’re probably okay to eat it.

Travelers: Exciting Workshop

Check out this unique workshop…

10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday October 25 or Sunday October 26
Pepperwood Preserve/ 3450 Franz Valley Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95472
Enrollment is limited/pre-registration required.
Master Weavers from California tribes will share stories of their journeys as basketry artists and their unique relationship with the natural environment at Tending the Wild – The Workshop at Pepperwood Preserve in Sonoma County. The one day presentation runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will be offered on Saturday October 25 or Sunday October 26.
The event is designed to provide insights into this one of California’s oldest art traditions. Presenters will discuss the concept of Indigenous Stewardship Methods (ISM) that reflects traditional Native perspectives of land management, including the advantages of periodic burning.
Workshop participants will have an opportunity to learn about and work with the plant fibers California Indian basket weavers use. Attendees will identify, clean, trim and split fibers from juncas, sedge, willow, bracken fern root and redbud. They will also be introduced to special instruments that can analyze historic hand-crafted baskets.
Highlights include presentations by M. Kat Anderson, ethno-botanist and author of the book “Tending the Wild”. Ben Benson, Native Studies educator and Pepperwood Preserve’s Cultural Resources Manager will also participate in the day long program.
The non-profit California Basketweavers’ Association (CIBA), established in 1992 has approximately 1,000 members statewide and provides opportunities for weavers to convene, learn, exchange information and showcase their work.  
Advance registration is required as enrollment is limited. Saturday or Sunday tickets (includes lunch): $60 general, $50 CIBA members, or $40 students currently enrolled at a local university or college. Registration details: www.

Travelers: Simple Travel Tips

You’ve probably read that it’s a good idea to learn a few words and phrases if you’re going to a foreign country. Please is a good one to learn and so is Thank You. Do You Speak English is one that might come in handy. One more that you might want to learn is No Thank You.

Take a couple of extra plastic bags along. They don’t take up room in your suitcase and are so useful in many ways from dirty clothes to wet swimsuits to seashells to muddy shoes. The uses are almost endless.

If you are getting a taxi from your hotel to a restaurant or attraction, be sure to take a business card from the front desk. That way you can show it to the taxi driver when you want to come back to your hotel. Before you leave the hotel, ask the concierge or front desk what the approximate rate will be.

If you bring a hard copy of the city’s map, you can save your phone battery for other uses.

Ask the locals for advice on restaurants, etc.

Do you know where the embassy is located? Is it in the same city as you? It would be a good idea to write down the phone number and address. You never know when this may come in handy.

Scan your passport and travel documents and send one copy to yourself and one to a family member.

Check out the airports on line ahead of time. This might save you some time to know the general direction of the rental car companies, the different terminals, rest rooms, etc.