Tucson tales: SunLink ties Fourth Ave business with university

sunlink

By Chris Ledermuller, Staff Writer

Dana Marschz, Steve Coogan’s drama teacher in “Hamlet 2,” counsels one of his students by saying, “[Y]ou’re going to have a magical life. Because no matter where you go, it’s always going to be better than Tucson.”

Ouch! To add insult to injury, the 2008 comedy film that hatchets Tucson was not even filmed in the city, but in Albuquerque, N.M.

Serving as the brunt of a feature-length pop culture joke did nothing to help the reputation of Arizona’s second-largest city. The film intoned that Tucson is “where dreams go to die.”

For anyone seeking outdoors adventure, authentic history, a pedestrian- and bike-friendly urban core, adventurous food, great microbreweries, lively music, fine arts or a college town atmosphere, Tucson is a dream come true.

In the end, Tucson laughs last and laughs best. The city is a cauldron bubbling with hipness, yet has flown under the radar of the new or old media cognoscenti who can call something cool and have the street cred to make it stick. Tucson has laid the tracks — figuratively and literally — to stake its claim to greatness.

In July, Tucson joined the U.S. urban rail renaissance with the inauguration of SunLink, a modern streetcar line connecting downtown, the Fourth Avenue business district and the University of Arizona. It is barely 4 miles long, but SunLink makes up for its narrow reach by putting riders within footsteps of cultural attractions, vibrant businesses and scholarly resources.

First, it is important to distinguish a streetcar like SunLink from light rail. Casually, “streetcars” or “trolleys” and “light rail” are thought of as one and the same, but similarities end above the steel wheel.

Light rail, such as Los Angeles’ Metro Rail lines or the San Diego Trolley, typically has stations spaced about a mile apart, has higher speeds to serve longer-distance travelers and has exclusive rights of way.

Streetcars, on the other hand, are more like city buses on tracks. They travel at lower speeds, have closely spaced stops or stations, and the tracks are shared with motorists and cyclists. SunLink’s fares are $1.50 for a single ride or $4 for an unlimited-ride day pass — identical to the buses of the streetcar’s operator, SunTran.

Fares are purchased from vending machines at the stations and loaded on SunGO cards. The cards must be validated on readers aboard the streetcar and presented to roving fare inspectors as proof of payment. The SunGO cards are also valid on SunTran buses.

Streetcars serve as a movable urban amenity rather than a utilitarian mode of transportation. SunLink, like the modern streetcar systems in Portland, Ore.; Seattle; Tacoma, Wash.; and Washington, D.C.; showcase distinctive neighborhoods or business districts — and prime the pump for attracting residential, commercial and retail development.

Tucson leaders hope SunLink serves as the catalyst for more residences, businesses and shops along the route, though that would just be icing on an already rich cake. There’s plenty to see, hear, taste, touch and experience at every SunLink stop and the three destinations along the line.

 

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Reddit Tumblr Email

Savor Santa Barbara cuisines with 54 epicure.sb events

Savor Santa Barbara’s cuisine, libations and culture with epicure.sb this month.  Restaurants, tasting rooms, museums, hotels and more have come together for the month-long celebration.

This annual gastronomic event returns for its sixth year with a new theme: epic-scoop.  Visitors can now experience the bounty of Santa Barbara County as a local would, with 90 offerings including 54 events and 26 special menu’s – and all of this over 31+ days.  With so much to do, pack your bags and stay awhile with 13 epicurean inspired hotel packages.

Grab your fork and spoon, as we are giving the epic-scoop to access special offerings, exclusive prix fix menus, secret menu items & libations, specialty tastings, VIP experiences, behind-the-scene exclusives, cultural performances, and much, much more!  Below is a highlight of recent offerings, for a complete list go to epicuresb.com.

  • Isabella After Hours: Foodie Film Series (Oct. 24) – Enjoy a food-based movie on a large projector screen at Isabella Gourmet Foods, complete with homegrown movie snacks, including locally made popcorn, candies, chocolates, beverages and more.
  • Junior Chef Classes (Sunday’s in Oct.) – Hey, kids! Let Williams Sonoma at La Cumbre Plaza show how fun and easy cooking can be. Kids will learn to make delicious recipes, with plenty of tasting along the way.
  • Featured Dish & Cocktail at Four Seasons (Oct. 1-31): Experience the best of Santa Barbara cuisine at Bella Vista, featuring a special Uni appetizer with indigenous Santa Barbara ingredients.  After, head to Ty Lounge for a libation inspired by Santa Barbara’s Spanish heritage, the Peña Flamenca.
  • Savor the Sauv (Oct. 1-31) – Mention “epic-dish” at Grassini Family Vineyards for a special tasting flight of library and reserve Sauvignon Blancs along with a Meyer Lemon truffle, paying tribute to a local fruit flourishing on Santa Barbara’s hillsides.
  • Sideways 10th Anniversary Hitching Post Wine Flight (Oct. 1-31): At Hitching Post II, local favorite and featured restaurant inSideways, enjoy a flight of 3 signature Highliner Pinot Noirs that commemorate the wine in the cult film that helped put Santa Barbara County wines on the map.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Reddit Tumblr Email

Let the Kidvasion of San Diego begin all October

Kids are free in San Diego again this year! During the entire month of October, kids eat, stay and play for free throughout San Diego.

Take advantage of great deals at over 100 participating partners and get ready for the ultimate family vacation.

↓ Browse through the offers below and plan your Kids Free in San Diego vacation.

San Diego Museum Council's Kids FreeKids Free in October Badge

San Diego Museum Council’s Kids FreeKids free admission to more than 30 museums
Ride to San Diego with AmtrakKids ride free on Amtrak Pacific Surfliner
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Reddit Tumblr Email

Mendocino County puts the fun in fungi this fall

As the flavors of fall arrive in Northern California’s Mendocino County so does the annual crop of coveted candy cap, chanterelle, porcini and morel mushrooms.

Straddling historic Highways 1 and 101 with nearly 2,500 sq. miles of live oak, pygmy forests and stately redwood groves, the region is a natural hotspot for some 3,000 mushroom varieties.

The annual haul is nothing short of historic, nurturing nirvana for local mycologists, chefs and fungi foragers.   Add to the mix a cache of artisanal chefs, 95+ wineries, a formidable craft beer and hard cider scene and the annual salute to Mr. Fungi sprouts into action November 7-16, 2014 www.visitmendocino.com/mushroom-wine-and-beer-festival866.466.3636.

Visitors can tap into a variety of adventures from mushroom hunts by horseback, foraging excursions, Pinot and porcini menus, educational seminars, art exhibits and the annual Skunk Train trek and cook-off deep in the depths of the Noyo River forest.  To cap the event, regional hotel properties and restaurants are offering special menus and packages throughout November.

 FUNGI FORAGING

Pack a pair of boots and a sense of adventure as mushroom foraging season hits full stride this fall.  During the festival, guests can track and taste Mr. Fungi in a variety of formats.  Top excursions include:

Ride with the Hunt – Mushroom Hunt at Richochet Ridge Ranch 

“Mushroom Hunt” horseback rides every day during the festival.  Equine, wine & hotel packages also available. Ricochet Ridge Ranch, Fort Bragg; 707.964.9669www.horse-vacation.com.

Hunt for the Wild Mushroom Mountain Bike Ride

Put the fun in “fungi” with daily bike tours through the local forests in search the magical mushroom.  All levels, rentals available.  Nov 8/9 and 15/16.  Mendo Bike Sprite, Fort Bragg; 707.962.4602;www.mendobikesprite.com.

Mushrooms at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

Join staff mycologist Mario Abreu for a series of mushroom workshops and walks at the Botanical Gardens. Daily.  Fort Bragg; 707.964.4352×16www.gardenbythesea.org.

 Pygmy Forest Ecological Staircase Hike & Educational Hunt

Daily tours from beach to bluffs traversing 100,000 years in geology on each of the five terraces.  Forage for fungi enroute.  Jug Handle State Reserve, Caspar; 707.937.5804www.jughandlecreekfarm.com/staircase-trail.

Mushroom Exploration Tours

Join local mycologist Adrienne Long for all things mushroom at the Stanford Inn before heading out to the forests and meadows for a full immersion.  Daily.  Stanford Inn, Mendocino; 707.937.5615;www.stanfordinn.com.

 

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Reddit Tumblr Email

Great America package offered by Hyatt Regency Santa Clara

Hyatt Regency Santa Clara is winding down its summer offerings with the Great America package, which is available through Nov. 2.

Designed for those who want the ultimate in convenience to one of California’s best amusement parks, the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara’s Great America package features a guest room for up to four people; two general admission tickets to Great America*; one kid’s welcome pack upon check in; complimentary guest parking; and late 2 p.m. check out.

The special rates start at only $159.  *Additional general admission tickets are available for $40 at the hotel’s front desk.

In addition to the hotel’s Great America Package, the neighboring amusement park also winds up their 2014 season with the Halloween Haunt from now through Nov. 1.  For more information on Mazes & Scare Zones as well as Live Shows and the Fright Lane, check outhttps://www.cagreatamerica.com/things-to-do/halloween-hauntfor deals and full list of activities.

The Great America package is available based on availability. Reservations must be made in advance.  Rates will vary according to dates of travel and certain restrictions apply.

For reservations and additional information, visitsantaclara.hyatt.com or call (408) 200-1234 or toll free (800) 233-1234 and click on or ask for the “Special Offers.”

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Reddit Tumblr Email

Silver Dollar City offers National Harvest and Cowboy Festival

 cowboy

The adventure-loving culture of the Great American Cowboy and the best elements of the classic West flavor the fall harvest features as Silver Dollar City presents a new high-action Wild West Show, the return of a stunt-packed Western stunt show, top craftsmen from around the country and live bands, all part of the National Harvest & Cowboy Festival. 

The Ozarks’ leading fall festival famous for fine craftsmanship and fall harvest activities runs through Oct. 25 at the Branson, Missouri theme park.

The new Silver Dollar City Wild West Show captures the excitement of the legendary Wild West shows of the 1880s, presenting a trick riding troupe, a horse-riding female sharpshooter, trick roping and bullwhip artistry, comedy canines and Native American hoop dancing. 

Hosted by rodeo rider and roper A.J. Silver, named Act of the Year by the International Rodeo Association, the show features Nakotah LaRance, 6-time world champion Native American Hoop Dancer whose skills were showcased in Cirque du Soleil’s touring show “Totem.”

Western action continues with the returning Western stunt show “The Pinkerton Man,” with high-flying action and special effects, including dramatic 3-story falls, high-slide rappels, hero fights and pyrotechnic effects and explosions, with professional stunt men and women leading a cast of 14, plus live animals.

A major focus during the National Harvest Festival is craftsmanship, as the park features 125 top craftsmen from around the country, including Best of Missouri Hands juried artists and a showcase of Western artists, all joining the 100 demonstrating craftsmen of Silver Dollar City.

Featured festival crafts include weaving, jewelry making, stained glass, basket making, gourd carving, leather crafting and painting.For its 50 years of craftsmanship, Silver Dollar City was named “The Home of American Craftsmanship” by the U.S. Congress.

Guests can experience the thrills of the Old West with a ride on the park’s Western-themed world-famous wood coaster Outlaw Run, named Best New Ride of 2013 worldwide in an industry poll conducted by Amusement Today magazine, winner of the Travel Channel’s Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination in Episode 2, and recently named one of the 12 biggest game-changers in the history of theme park attractions by CNN.com.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Reddit Tumblr Email

Carnival Cruise Line sale for National Cruise Vacation Week

Carnival Cruise Line is offering a great promotion during National Cruise Vacation Week.

Great rates + 2 Category Upgrade + $50 Onboard Credit per stateroom ($25 onboard credit per person) and 50% Reduced Deposits (50% per person non-refundable deposit is applicable to sailings outside of final payment due date).

Offer available through Monday, Oct. 13.  For details click here.

For more information on Carnival Cruise Line, or to book a cruise, please clickhere.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Reddit Tumblr Email

Mushroom madness in Mendocino County

As the flavors of fall arrive in Northern California’s Mendocino County so does the annual crop of coveted candy cap, chanterelle, porcini and morel mushrooms.

Straddling historic Highways 1 and 101 with nearly 2,500 sq. miles of live oak, pygmy forests and stately redwood groves, the region is a natural hotspot for some 3,000 mushroom varieties. The annual haul is nothing short of historic, nurturing nirvana for local mycologists, chefs and fungi foragers.

Add to the mix a cache of artisanal chefs, 95+ wineries, a formidable craft beer and hard cider scene and the annual salute to Mr. Fungi sprouts into action November 7-16, 2014 www.visitmendocino.com/mushroom-wine-and-beer-festival; 866.466.3636.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Reddit Tumblr Email

Alaska Airlines offers coast to coast sale for $69

unnamed

 

Alaska Airlines Coast to Coast Sale

Islands to the Atlantic

We’re sending people on adventures across state lines with this country spanning sale. From the beaches of Hawaii, through the style and culture of Portland, all the way to Sunny Tampa, our affordable flights go all over the place.

Take advantage of this sweeping flight sale and get yourself on a plane. You can have the trip of a lifetime before this year is over.

Flights From:

Lowest Fares Guaranteed.

one way from
$59*
San Jose
to
Reno
one way from
$69*
Portland
to
San Francisco
one way from
$79*
Salt Lake City
to
San Diego
one way from
$79*
Los Angeles
to
Mammoth Lakes
one way from
$149*
Seattle
to
Tampa
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Reddit Tumblr Email