Fitness + Outdoors
The rolling green hills, the bicycles, the wineries … if Tuscany had an American counterpart it would be found an hour and fifteen minutes north of San Francisco in Sonoma's Dry Creek Valley. The mostly flat back-roads of the valley make exploring by bike easy, even for those with little or no road-biking experience. Bring your own iron horse or rent a bike from Wine Country Bikes in Healdsburg. John Mastrianni, a former competitive cyclist, has run this shop for three years and will properly fit you with a new Trek Pilot road bike or the more casual Trek Hybrid. Pedal along West Dry Creek Road, where picket fences, multiple wineries, and shady trees line both sides.
THE EXPERT: Richard Jepsen, lead instructor at OCSC Sailing School: “Sailing has the social construct of a picnic with friends.”
WHY DO IT: Because it combines the exhilaration of conquering the sea with the sights and sounds of a relaxing day at the beach. Who wouldn’t sign up for that?
Who says you have to drive to Tahoe to get away? The Marin Headlands provide their own sort of seasonal inspiration along this three-part, seven-mile loop on majestic Mount Tam (pick up a Mount Tam trail map at boredfeet.com).
Part 1: Beginning halfway up the slopes of Tam’s western flank, take the Matt Davis Trail from Pantoll Ranger Station to Stinson Beach. Gobble up spectacular, bluff-side Pacific panoramas and hear caroling brooks as you whorl toward sea level.
Awe-inspiring beauty like Yosemite’s doesn’t come cheap: You pay for it with cash and with crowds. But there are ways to ameliorate that. To start, avoid the hordes of summer tourists by going in the shoulder months. April and May are the perfect time to see the national park’s gushing waterfalls (nps.gov/yose).