Free desktop wallpaper for September 2012: A birds-eye view of Napa Valley from a hot air balloon.
September 2012 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper: Napa Hot Air Balloon Rides

This is the August 2012 offering for our desktop calendar series – always free and available for iPad and iPhone too! Get your August 2012 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper! This photo of the Napa Valley was taken from 2,000 feet, during an early morning hot air balloon ride.  September is the start of harvest season in California wine country […]

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A look at Cavallo Point Lodge, a LEED-certified property in Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Fog over Cavallo Point Lodge, Sausalito

Earlier this year, I wrote a story for USA TODAY’s Green Living Guide about LEED-certified hotels.  As I did my research, I was pleasantly surprised to find that one national park property, the Cavallo Point Lodge in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, had reached Gold certification. I resolved to check it out in person as […]


My second hot air balloon ride involved gorgeous views of Napa Valley – and luckily, no trees.
Hot air balloons above Napa Valley

This week, I’m serving as a paid spokesperson for Hilton HHonors’ Seven Tickets to Paradise Sweepstakes. The contest, open to Hilton HHonors members through Aug. 31, features seven prize packages to destinations ranging from Bali to Palm Springs to a location of your choice. I previewed one of the prizes, the “Your Ticket To Dine,” in Napa […]


Winning: Downtown Napa, Revitalized

by Chris on July 24, 2012

Downtown Napa has been on the rise for the past few years. A look at some of the restaurants and hotels that are fueling the change.
Storefronts of Downtown Napa

This week, I’m serving as a paid spokesperson for Hilton HHonors’ Seven Tickets to Paradise Sweepstakes. The contest, which is open to Hilton HHonors members, features seven prize packages and ends on Aug. 31. I previewed one of the prizes, the “Your Ticket To Dine,” in Napa Valley this past weekend.    Napa Valley has been […]


The final piece of my Four Seasons LA stay: The Four Seasons at Westlake Village.
Four Seasons Westlake Villlage

For my final Four Seasons LA stay, my husband and I got in our car and started driving west out of the city, all the way to Westlake Village which straddles Los Angeles and Ventura county. While I’ve driven up the Pacific coast to Malibu and Brentwood, I had never been as far inland as […]


California Dreaming: Beverly Wilshire

by Chris on February 23, 2012

My tour of Four Seasons hotels in LA continues with a night a the Beverly Wilshire, otherwise known as the “Pretty Woman hotel.”
The exterior of the Beverly Wilshire, Los Angeles, California

Many people don’t know that the Beverly Wilshire, made so famous as the hotel in Pretty Woman where Richard Gere wooed bubbly prostitute Julia Roberts, is part of the Four Seasons portfolio. The company has managed the legendary property, which has housed everyone from Elvis Presley to Warren Beatty to John Lennon to Barack Obama, since […]


California Dreaming: Four Seasons LA

by Chris on February 21, 2012

California Dreaming month continues with some LA luxe. A look at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills.
Four Seasons LA

California Dreaming month continues with a look at some Los Angeles luxe, appropriate for Oscar Week. When I was in southern California last month for the LA Times Travel Show, I partnered with the three Four Seasons properties in the Los Angeles area, spending a night at each one so I could compare and contrast […]


Bedding Down: The Luxury Bed and Breakfast

by Chris on February 13, 2012

A lodging trend that I’m happy to see more of: The luxury bed and breakfast. A few examples, found in Napa Valley.
luxury bed and breakfast, Miliken Inn & Spa, Napa

One of my favorite lodging trends in recent years: The appearance of the luxury bed and breakfast, one that has the sensibilities of a boutique hotel with the personal touches that you’d find in a small establishment. I have very definite ideas on what a good bed and breakfast looks like, which come from too […]


California Dreaming: Big Sur

by Chris on February 9, 2012

California Dreaming continues with a look at the gorgeous Big Sur.
California Dreaming: The BIg Sur

My California Dreaming series continues with a look at Big Sur. This stretch of coastal California has inspired writers, travelers and thinkers for more than a century. Authors such as Henry Miller and Jack Kerouac found inspiration in the forested coast, which was sparsely populated until the famed Route 1 became a state highway in […]


California Dreaming: Carmel by the Sea

by Chris on February 6, 2012

My California Dreaming series opens with a visit to Carmel by the Sea in Monterey County.
California Dreaming

“California Dreaming/On such a winter’s day.” One of the best things about moving to the West Coast has been my newfound proximity to California. At the Los Angeles Travel Show a few weeks ago, I learned that California is the number one state that American leisure travelers want to visit. It seems to be for […]