Presidential Sweet

Three-day weekends don't come around often, so don't let this one go to waste. Here are some ways to take advantage of mid-winter fun.

My Weekend Sherpa:

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Chalk it Up: Every winter, two groups reliably make the pilgrimage to Año Nuevo State Park: hordes of elephant seals, and people! Give yourself some breathing room by heading inland to a little-known area called the Chalks, where a 1.5-mile (one-way) path up a fern-filled redwood forest reaches a vista with wondrous views.

Solar Power: Early risers get the best seats in the house for viewing a sunrise from San Francisco’s Lands End Labyrinth. Get acquainted with this wild corner of the city on a 30-minute stroll along the Coastal Trail, detouring via a spur trail to a small plateau where the labyrinth sits.

Joaquin Roll: It’s little wonder why non-profits like BTCEB (Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay) work hard to keep mountain biking legal at Joaquin Miller Park: the terrain is awesome! Just 11 miles from downtown Oakland, Joaquin Miller is ultra-compact, but the vast network of trails and towering coastal redwoods, fern canyons, and trickling creeks make it an option for beginners, experts, and everyone in between.

Cowellbunga!: Just south of Half Moon Bay, the Cowell-Purisima Trail stretches for 3 sea-breezy miles along high coastal bluffs. You can thank the good folks at Peninsula Open Space Trust and State Coastal Conservancy, who put in a 25-year effort to secure this open space for the public. The wide gravel-and-dirt trail gently rolls along the edge of the continent.

Village Visit: China Camp State Park’s Fisherman’s Village once thrived due to the abundance of shrimp. Many things have changed, save for a general store run by the grandson of an early enterprising villager. The Quan Bros. snack shop is a no-frills establishment serving everything from Polish dogs to clam chowder. Dine alfresco at a nearby picnic table with views of San Pablo Bay.

Grape Connection: Just like certain food pairings can enhance wines, walking from vineyard to vineyard can enhance your next wine country experience. Ditch the car and take a leisurely 3.5-mile (round-trip) stroll that connects two historic wineries in Sonoma.


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