Palm Springs may be known for midcentury design, gay pride, and quality-of-life retirement, but a mere 30 miles away is a whole other kind of desert outpost. The High Desert communities bordering the northern end of Joshua Tree National Park, at 2700 feet above sea level, are smaller, cooler, and dustier. Towns like Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree, and Twentynine Palms are the last vestiges of civilization before the vast stretch of unpopulated Mojave wilderness to the east.
In a few weeks, I will put what relatively few possessions I have into storage, get behind the wheel of my aging Volkswagen convertible, and drive down I-5 to Los Angeles. It’ll be a straight shot on 378 miles of asphalt nearly all the way. I’ll get off at the Glendale Boulevard exit and pull up to the furnished Spanish-style cottage—with a driveway, front yard and backyard, and lots of working space—my boyfriend and I have rented in Atwater Village.
Former 7x7 executive editor Robin Rinaldi has been hanging around our masthead since 2005. In that time, Rinaldi has become a woman about town and a trusted resource for all things San Francisco. Here she culls a list of 58 miscellaneous “bests” about town, including a few of her own favorites and picks from our staff editors. An SF resident for nine years, Rinaldi is also writing a memoir.
Fancy yourself popular? The new metrics of social networking can measure just how connected and influential you are—and major brands are lining up to put their money where your mouth is.
When it comes to beach weekends, getting there and dealing with the crowds can sometimes take up half your time. Not so with Redondo Beach, a sleepy little enclave just eight miles south of LAX where you can get in quick, avoid the crowds and traffic further north in Venice or Santa Monica, and get busy relaxing.
With the long winter nearly over and baseball season around the corner, itchy Giants fans can head to Scottsdale for the weekend to see a spring training game, indulge in the spa treatments the town is known for, and explore a burgeoning food and drink scene. Nonstop flights from SFO to Phoenix Sky Harbor airport abound, as do Priceline rental cars. You won’t find deep discounts during March, Scottsdale’s busiest month, but if you’ve always wanted to combine your Giants mania with a girlfriends’ or romantic spa weekend, this is the way to do it.
One hour of extra air time past San Diego brings you across the Tropic of Cancer to Cabo San Lucas, where the ocean is a good 10 to 15 degrees warmer than SoCal’s coast, the water clear enough to count your toes, and the sunset so breathtaking it melts your cares away. Well, that and the margarita you’re sipping.
Whether it’s Burning Man, a road trip through Nevada’s Great Basin, or the Grand Canyon, I always have the same response to the vastness of the desert. That is, an overwhelming wave of existential anxiety that soon recedes to pure awe over the landscape. Those not as sensitive as me, however, can skip right to the reverence at Red Mountain Resort, a serene outpost in southwestern Utah built to look like it sprung from the sandstone that surrounds it. A long weekend here will do wonders to clear the cobwebs from mind and body.
We've seen the re-branding of Restoration Hardware over the past few years from a kind of upscale Pottery Barn—all shiny pewter knobs and right-angled dressers—to an aesthetic that can best be described as rustically and fancifully urbane. But Resto's new Baby & Child Gallery in Corte Madera, which opened last week, takes it to another level.
San Luis Obispo, or SLO as the locals call it, has multiple personalities: meeting point between SF and LA, outdoorsy collegiate town, oenophile getaway perched 30 miles from Paso Robles. They all converge into an ideal and easy-to-do weekend for anyone who loves food, wine, mountains, and ocean—which is to say, most of us.
For convenience, base yourself at Petit Soleil, a B&B that’s walkable to downtown and looks like a Motel 6 made over as a Provencal inn. Funky, friendly, and charming, it offers delicious breakfasts like baked eggs and chocolate-chip pancakes along with free wine tastings each afternoon.
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