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California Dreamin’

This summer, we’re taking some virtual road trips and exploring the country, courtesy of DCG staffers. Depending on where you live, you’ll travel north, south, east, or west through cyberspace to get inside information on both small towns and larger cities. We hope you learn something new and find inspiration for when you feel comfortable traveling again.

The next blog in our series focuses on Northern California. Senior Account Executive Janis Hall takes us for a drive along the West Coast.

Name: Janis Hall

Where I live: San Jose in the summer, Lake Tahoe in the winter.

I haven’t always lived in San Jose, CA, but I did grow up here and after a good seven-year stint in the Washington D.C. area, I finally moved back. The pull of the West Coast was just too strong.

If you are planning to come out here and enjoy Northern California, the first thing you’ll need is a car. Here out West, we like driving. I’m going to tell you how I enjoy this state, from the Pacific Ocean to the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

The Ocean

Starting at the ocean, I recommend a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a walk down Cannery Row (the street featured in John Steinbeck’s novel of the same name), or a drive through Pebble Beach.

For a totally different vibe, go north up the coast to Santa Cruz. Here you’ll find a big open beach, the Giant Dipper (an historic roller coaster), and a wharf where you can get clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. Walk all the way to the end of the wharf and enjoy the barking and antics of dozens of sea lions.

San Joaquin Valley

No brown thumbs here.

Most of the time when people think about Californian industries they think of Hollywood and Silicon Valley, but there is a third, agriculture, which is the state’s largest industry. As you’re driving through the central valley, stop by a fruit stand and get some just-picked strawberries, cherries, or apricots. The valley doesn’t have a monopoly on fruits and veggies though. In my own garden this year, I grew cantaloupe, beans, tomatoes, carrots, eggplant, cucumbers, corn, and pumpkins…so many pumpkins. I lost count of how many pumpkins I had, but it was well over 30.

Bear with her veggies

Garlic. Californians have a love affair with garlic. Most of the time this garlic obsession makes sense; garlic French fries are awesome. We’ve even gone so far as to have a garlic festival where you can wear your garlic clove hat and eat garlic ice cream (it’s actually pretty good).

The Mountains

Personally, I think Lake Tahoe is best enjoyed in winter. Summer is pretty good, too, when it’s not on fire (like it is while I’m writing this). We have hiking, camping, boating, mountain biking, and beaches.

There probably isn’t anywhere I’d rather be in the winter than Lake Tahoe. This is when I make being on East Coast hours work for me. When it’s 5:30 p.m. in D.C., it’s only 2:30 here, which is plenty of time to grab my skis, run up the hill, get a few runs in, and enjoy one of the most beautiful views on the planet. If skiing or snowboarding isn’t your thing, there’s sledding, snowmobiling, or just relaxing in a comfy chair next to a warm fire.

View from Heavenly Ski Resort, overlooking Lake Tahoe

Whatever you do though, if you are going to be out past sundown, bring a hoodie. They don’t mention it in the brochures, but it gets cold here at night. When the sun goes down, so does the temperature.

P.S. The Pacific Ocean is also very cold.

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