PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA

John Poimiroo

California Rambling: Banking on recreation

Christmas week is the busiest of the ski season. It is so important to ski areas, that industry insiders say the Christmas holiday season contributes as much as a quarter of a ski area’s annual revenues. So, this dry December has been disappointing to every California ski area other than possibly Heavenly and Northstar. As […]

California Rambling: A season of magical moments

On a Christmas eve in the 1980s, a reporter from National Geographic magazine, assigned to do a story on Yosemite’s famous holiday performance Bracebridge Dinner, sat alone at a side table beside one of the Ahwahnee dining room’s 24-foot-tall windows. Outside, the black oaks surrounding the hotel were barren of leaves. Grasses on the valley […]

California Rambling: Traveling back 20 years

On a recent trip, I traveled back 20 years to a simpler time, a more innocent place. My trip was to New Zealand to attend a travel writers conference. I returned home with 11 stories and a renewed appreciation for that beautiful, welcoming nation.  I say I traveled back in time, because, although New Zealand […]

California Rambling: Snowmaking makes season sooner and longer

Snow began falling three weeks ago at Lake Tahoe.  You say you missed it?  Well, you had to visit Heavenly Mountain Resort or the Northstar California Resort at night, to see their snowmaking machines begin spraying snow into the air as manmade powder. Manmade snow is not a new idea, though it seems remarkable in […]

California Rambling: Capital to capital

As state capitals, Albany, N.Y., and Sacramento have a lot in common, but also a lot that sets them apart.  These bi-coastal capitals of the third and first most populous states in the nation are worthy destinations, not just for government workers, but for anyone fascinated with America’s story. Must-see destinations in both cities are […]

California Rambling: Harvest time

The soft light of an autumn dusk gilds the curving edges of emerald rows of vineyards that appear to be raked across the Napa Valley. As the sun sets behind the valley’s purple-black western hills, a backlit sky glows in steadily changing tones of yellow, gold, orange, pink and lavender. This is harvest in California. […]

California Rambling: The overlooked season

Further evidence that autumn is California’s overlooked season occurred soon after the Labor Day weekend, when merchants began displaying Christmas decorations. So few Californians are aware of autumn, that hardly anyone noticed. I did, and it bothered me. It bothered me not because merchants saw less commercial value in autumn than jump-starting the holiday spending […]

California rambling: Teaching kids to fly

If you want your kids to fly in life, take them to the Aerospace Museum of California. There, in a modern structure that resembles an airport hanger (at the northeast corner of McClellan Park, formerly McClellan AFB), California’s event-filled aerospace history is retold while inspiring interest in science, technology, engineering and math among youth. Over […]

California rambling: Birds of prey

Who here hasn’t seen a turkey vulture?  They are, after all, our county’s most conspicuous bird — soaring, swooping and riding thermals in spectacular displays of aerodonetics as they patrol. California’s other vulture is not so easy to spot. If you want to see a California condor, don’t look to the skies. Go to Boise, […]

California Rambling: Play ball!

“Play ball!” echoed across Raley Field on a mild Sunday afternoon recently as an American summer ritual played out in relaxing breaks, punctuated by bursts of power and threaded with the physical elegance and cadence that is particular to the sport of baseball. Minor League Baseball’s (MiLB) Sacramento River Cats were playing the Round Rock […]

California Rambling: El Dorado Musical Theater

You are likely to settle into your seat at a performance of the El Dorado Musical Theater (EDMT) expecting something less than what you’re about to hear. After all, kids will be performing. But then, EDMT’s young performers begin singing and the hall resonates with their practiced voices. The thought then crosses your mind that […]

California rambling: Dog-friendly travel

There was only one thing missing from “National Lampoon Vacation,” the 1983 film satire of an American family on their summer vacation… the family dog. Admittedly, in the movie Aunt Edna’s nasty and unfortunate mutt, Dinky, did join the Griswold family on the way to Los Angeles to visit the supposed Walley World amusement park, […]

California Rambling: The social fabric

Social connections used to have tangible permanence. An example is seen at the Folsom History Museum through Labor Day, where an exhibit of story-telling quilts is being displayed a hundred and more years after they were created. After seeing the quilts and reading their stories, a visitor to the Folsom History Museum could well ask, […]

California Rambling: English for dogs

Despite what you’ve heard, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Just ask Teresa Gary of Cool. In her new book, “English for Dogs,” this former high school English teacher describes “50 words every well-mannered companion should know.”  Terry believes you should start training these words, “the minute your dog joins your household!” And, […]

California rambling: An English B&B at Clear Lake

If Kate and William’s wedding inspired you to visit England this year, considering the rate of exchange, you might want to stay in Lakeport, instead. As there, you’ll find a welcoming little piece of England at the Lakeport English Inn. Bed and breakfast inns are often thought of as an English invention, though they have […]

California rambling: A noble race against the weather

At the time on May 15, the cancellation of Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California, which had been planned to circle Lake Tahoe one and a half times, seemed like the punch line of a very bad joke… “and the good news is that Tahoe got 4 to 6 inches of new snow.” […]

California Rambling: A family affair in the air

As Rick Indrebo banked his German-built Grob 103 glider toward the landing strip at Crazy Creek Air Adventures in Middletown, a pair of turkey vultures turned similarly, gliding on air currents above Lake County.  The Cameron Park pilot is ranked among the nation’s best competition glider pilots, though on this trip – as on many […]

California Rambling: Sacred Stones

“Actually, what matters about the monastery is precisely that it is radically different from the world. The apparent pointlessness of the monastery in the eyes of the world is exactly what gives it a real reason for existing. In a world of noise, confusion and conflict, it is necessary that there be a place of […]

California rambling: National Park Week

This week is National Park Week, a week to celebrate America’s natural and cultural heritage. In California there are 19 national park units, a lot to celebrate. Yosemite is the best known of our state’s national parks. It’s considered to be one of America’s crown jewels. There are 394 national park units, including such truly […]

Annual Camellia Cup sailboat race results released

Charles Witcher’s 13-foot Banshee class dinghy, “Ghost,” was an apparition that could not be touched as he sailed to four first-place finishes to win the 45th annual Camellia Cup Regatta on Folsom Lake April 9. In the 40 years that Banshees have competed in the Camellia Cup, Witcher’s win was the first regatta championship by […]

California Rambling: The Bilbao effect

It was late in the day when the phone rang in Switzerland. The only person in the office picked it up; he happened to be world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava. The caller, unaware of the time difference, explained that Redding was searching for someone to design a footbridge. Despite his celebrity, Calatrava was not put off […]

California Rambling: Three Stages earns an ‘A’

There was a giddy question mark in his voice as Dave Pier, the executive director of the region’s new performing arts center, Three Stages at Folsom Lake College, completed his introduction of New York City’s Joffrey Ballet in early March.  It seemed almost as if he couldn’t truly believe that a ballet company as renowned […]

California Rambling: Alternative camping

As disposable income and time became available to Americans in the 1920s, camping became established as part of our collective leisure experience. At first people packed into the backcountry by horse or foot or camped in tents or trailers. Today new forms of alternative camping are gaining popularity, all with economy, comfort and character in […]

California rambling: Passport Weekends

Passport Weekends has become – in its 20th year — the springtime equivalent of Apple Hill for El Dorado County winemakers. The two-weekend series of wine tastings and food pairings now attracts thousands of wine tasters to many of the 26 wineries that belong to the El Dorado County Winery Association (EDWA). Because El Dorado […]

California Rambling: Tea party

There’s been a lot of talk in California about tea parties of late, but not the political kind. Tea is experiencing growing popularity across California as the bicentennial of the War of 1812 approaches, whose most lasting effect — some claim — was to have coffee overtake tea as the national hot beverage. Tea rooms […]

California rambling: Family ski memories

Our family’s annual winter vacation was always to the same magical place, Yosemite National Park. It was the early 1950s and skiing had not yet become widely popular in California. The Winter Olympic Games at Squaw Valley would change that in 1960, but until then, Yosemite and its ski area, Badger Pass, were as if […]

California Rambling: Mountain lions

A dead deer is not unusual in El Dorado County, but when a fresh deer carcass was found half eaten in our El Dorado Hills neighborhood one morning a couple of weeks ago, then dragged away by some animal to be finished an hour later, the first thing that came to mind was “mountain lion.” […]

California rambling: Holiday movies take to the road

Movie theaters will be filled this week with people seeking romance, laughter and adventure, but those experiences need not be limited to the dark, popcorn-perfumed, sticky-floored confines of a theater. Go to the movies, then bring them to life by traveling to the following destinations. Tron: Legacy, Disney’s film about a boy transported into a […]

California Rambling: Napa reborn

Sometimes it takes a disaster to make things right. Visit Napa and you’ll see what I mean. For years, Napa was prone to flooding. As George Webber, Napa’s humorous walking tour historian explains, “We experienced what many called the 100-year flood in 1986, followed by 100-year floods every couple of years soon after.” Napa has […]

California Rambling: Old West Christmas

Mary Stewart had a difficult life as a young widow living near Fair Play during the California Gold Rush.  Christmas just made it tougher. She’d lost her husband in a mine explosion and was left with two children, Totty, 5, and Benny, 4. To put food on the table, Mary worked long hours washing miners’ […]

California rambling: An early start to ski season

Snow guns have been blowing machine-made flakes onto El Dorado County slopes for weeks, now, making those born to ride anxious to get back on their boards. Though, the beginning of this ski season began much earlier. Our mountains average 400 inches of natural snow each winter, though if you’re in the ski industry, you […]

California rambling: Dry Tortugas

Mere mention of the Dry Tortugas evokes exotic images — a powder blue sky above a turquoise sea, old sailing ships anchored beside low-lying tropical islands, balmy trade winds, a massive stone fort guarding sea lanes, sandy sun-baked beaches, and sea life crawling ashore and colorfully flirtatious amidst the swirling fans of coral reefs. On […]

California Rambling: The New Crocker

Sacramento again has an art museum befitting its status as CaliforniaÕs capital city. On October 10, The Crocker Museum officially opened a 125,000-foot expansion that provides, for the greater Sacramento region, a significant museum capable of displaying the CrockerÕs impressive collection of California and world art. The Crocker has, over 125 years, built a large […]

California Rambling: Another world

Democrat columnist ÒThe sea is as close as we come to another world.Ó Ñ Anne Stevenson At the entrance to the Monterey Bay AquariumÕs Outer Bay exhibit hall, hundreds of sardines swim incessantly within a ring-shaped tank above Anne StevensonÕs statement, as if circling it for emphasis. Their silvery bodies and constant movement form a […]

California rambling: Rutting in the redwoods

Democrat columnist The silence of CaliforniaÕs redwood forests is broken each September and October when the elk rut Ñ one of our stateÕs most vocal, public and violent courting rituals Ñ occurs. In a series of screeching calls that can echo for miles, bull elk announce themselves, hoping to attract the attention of female elks […]

California Rambling: Californias colorful fall

Democrat columnist California is better known for its palm trees (all but one of which arenÕt even native to the state) than its change of seasons. However, our golden state has the longest, most varied and some would say the most spectacular fall color season to be seen anywhere in the nation. You just have […]

California Rambling: National Park adventure

Democrat columnist This summer, a crew of youthful, El Dorado County videographers are on a ÒNational Park AdventureÓ to illustrate reasons why more members of their generation should visit national parks. The local RMA Productions crew, comprised of director Rich Alvarez (22, Shingle Springs), producer Chris Muller (20, Shingle Springs), videographer Dane Cook (19, Cameron […]

California Ramblings: Travel isms

Democrat columnist Whenever a Julia Roberts film debuts, thereÕs buzz and anticipation. She is, after all, one of the sure things in the motion picture industry, a take-it-to-the-bank megastar. And so, as the buildup to her latest film, Eat Pray Love, gained momentum over the past two weeks, it caught my attention, not so much […]

California Ramblings: Hells Canyon

Democrat columnist North-Central Idaho is a hell of a place to visit. Remote, wild and lightly populated, its austere landscape of ancient, grassy, basalt mountains, eroded by time, contain numerous wilderness areas, a vast national recreation area and two of AmericaÕs greatest rivers, the Salmon and Snake. Their wide, green-blue waters surge through the two […]

California Rambling: Vintage golf

Democrat columnist What goes best with wine? Ask Californians and theyÕre likely to say, ÒGolf.Ó Just about anywhere you travel here, youÕll find two things in commonÉ golf and wine. CaliforniaÕs sun-kissed climate has made the ÒGolden StateÓ the ideal place for grapes and birdies. Start your golf and wine sojourn at the 36-hole Mountain […]

California Ramblings: The purpose of museums

Democrat columnist The purpose of museums often eludes us. We think of them as necessary places to store the great works of nature or mankind, but as is demonstrated at the Birth of Impressionism exhibit, now showing at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, museums have a greater purpose than being warehouses. Museums tell […]

California Rambling: Whitewater rafting brings smiles

Democrat columnist ItÕs impossible to find a bored whitewater rafter. I tried. I looked at hundreds of photos taken by Hotshot Imaging of Lotus recently and found rafters who were smiling, laughing, gasping and screaming, but not one was yawning. ThatÕs because few outdoor activities generate as many thrills and excitement as easily as whitewater […]

California Rambling: El Dorado Welcome

Democrat columnist El Dorado CountyÕs position as one of CaliforniaÕs premiere tourism destinations was elevated this past weekend with the opening of CaliforniaÕs newest Welcome Center. Tourism is El Dorado CountyÕs largest industry, second only to government in employment, and employing 1,500 more county residents than the third place health and social services sector. The […]

California Rambling: Amgen Tour of California

Democrat columnist If I asked my wife to name any of the players on the Sacramento Kings, I doubt she could. But ask her to name professional cyclists and sheÕll rattle off Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer, then mention Mark Cavendish, Fabian Cancellara, Dave Zabriskie and others, while including whether they are better as a […]

California rambling: Wine Country: El Dorado County

Democrat columnist Each spring, the El Dorado Winery Association (EDWA) holds its annual Passport Weekends. Over two weekends, 26 family-owned wineries in the association hold food and wine pairings. That event has passed this year, but the opportunity to visit El Dorado CountyÕs wineries and taste the fine wines produced here is always available. After […]

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