It's easy to know when you've reached the heart of San Francisco's Castro Street; it’s a place that boldly proclaims that you've arrived. Rainbow flags line the road and a giant art deco marquee that reads "Castro" announces the name of the theater it adorns and lets you know what neighborhood you’re in. Shops and businesses along the street entice customers with quirky names and humorous or provocative window displays. This part of town has a spirit of its own; one that is integral to the larger culture of San Francisco.
Officially a part of San Francisco, yet two and half miles away from the mainland, man-made Treasure Island retains an air of mystery, even in the eyes of many a San Francisco resident. But in the last few years, the island has begun to emerge from ambiguity and is distinguishing itself as a unique neighborhood with some of the most magical views San Francisco has to offer.
There are giants in California. They jut out of soil dampened by fog rolling in from the Pacific and reach greater heights than any other living thing on the planet. They are the coast redwoods: the world’s tallest trees. Many of them grow to be over 200 feet tall and the tallest soar to over 350 feet -- higher than a 30 story skyscraper. When you’re in the middle of redwoods and look up, you won’t be likely to see the tops of the trees and it’s fascinating to realize there’s a hidden world in the canopy above.
The Sacramento sun seeps into my skin, vanquishing any last trace of fog that might have followed me from San Francisco. It's a toasty 95 degrees on this Saturday afternoon, and I've made the trip for the express purpose of attending the famed Sacramento Antique Faire.
Samantha Stones, a front desk associate at the Marin Headlands Hostel, was born and raised amidst the golden hills of Petaluma in Sonoma County, California. At the age of 18, she found herself thirsty for travel and took her first backpacking trip in the UK.