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Kristin Luna

A Revamped Redding?

Let's be honest, Redding has not historically been the hippest of destinations.  But what was once written off as a rural wasteland has now evolved into a hopping little city that serves as a convenient jumpoff point for Mount Shasta escapades. Here are our recommendations for the next time you happen to be passing through.

5 Tips for Making Holiday Travel Less of a Nightmare

If you're not from California, chances are you're one of the projected 8.1 million travelers who will be heading home by plane this holiday season. Which means--sorry to break it to you--you'll likely be spending more time than necessary sitting in the airport or on the tarmac, dealing with weather delays, air traffic, mechanical issues or overbookings. But your experience doesn't have to be miserable. Here are a few tips that will hopefully make your holiday travel a little less painful.

A Little Bit of History and R&R All Rolled Into One

You needn't pack your Outback and hightail it all the way to the farthest reaches of the Lost Coast for a refuge from the hustle and bustle of San Francisco living. In fact, as little as an hour's drive east will land you in the remote and rustic Lockeford, a blink-and-you'll-miss-it kind of place encapsulated by cherry tree orchards and wide expanses of nothingness. This classic Delta town has just one of everything--one bank, one market, one antique store and one perfectly charming inn. And the inn in itself--chock full of history and quirks of its own--is enough of an excuse for a weekend jaunt to Lockeford.

Bad Santas

If you caught sight of thousands of red-and-white-clad local folk donning Santa apparel and belting out boisterous (and sometimes naughty) Christmas carols Saturday afternoon, it wasn't because someone slipped a roofie in your drink. Santas from all walks of life--big Santas, small Santas, heavily-bearded Santas, clean-shaven Santas, Santas in shades, Santas with elf companions--joined holiday forces in the spirit of SantaCon 2008.

The Nutcracker Debuts

Hundreds of little girls donning party dresses, tutus and patent leather shoes descended upon the War Memorial Opera House Thursday night to see young Clara make her way through a magical world of mice and soliders, Arabians and Russians, Spaniards and Chinese, in the San Francisco Ballet's opening night of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker.

Even five years after Artistc Director Helgi Tomasson's makeover of the production, the set and costume design are still breakthaking. The Chronicle's Rachel Howard proclaimed the production "one of the best "Nutcrackers" in the country and, by my estimation, the most visually elegant."

All Aboard!

It's been one strange year for the travel industry. First, gas prices rose to an all-time high, topping out above $5 a gallon here in California. Then, they were the lowest they have been in years, but thanks in part to a recession (and perhaps a heightened awareness of the environment), people have been driving less, thus keeping the supply-and-demand factor in favor of the consumer. Air travel became increasingly more difficult, what with the ridiculous addition of fees--baggage fees, paying-for-exit-row-seat fees, purchasing-tickets-via-phone fees, sky-high fuel surcharge fees, anything the airlines could come up with really. And long-distance buses...well, who takes those anyhow? They're crowded, slow and unreliable.

Northern California Hotels Make Holiday Travel More Affordable

It's true there's no place like home for the holidays...but sometimes you just want to get away from it all before the chaos ensues (or rather family togetherness--or in-laws--becomes just too much to bear). The current state on the economy has put a damper on many people's travel plans, but hotels are beginning to take note of this by significantly lowering their rates to an affordable level and creating packages that allow you more bang for your buck this holiday season. Check out these amazing opportunities before it's too late.

‘Tis the Season: A Shopper’s Cheat Sheet for Travelers

Christmas is just two-and-a-half weeks ago and you haven’t even started your shopping? Not a problem. But the more important issue at hand is what do you buy the chic jetsetter who has everything? Lucky for the last-minute shopper, we have a few suggestions that will meet all your gift-giving needs.

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