Since opening to the public in 1926, Benbow Inn has entertained Hollywood elite, foreign dignitaries, and traveling motorists alike with a wealth of both outdoor and indoor pursuits, nestled amid the towering redwoods that share the banks of the Eel River. Early on, the Inn’s prime spot near the Avenue of the Giants made it a popular stopover for tourists traveling up the coast or searching for a more impressive Christmas tree. The sprawling complex’s tranquil gardens and majestic mountain setting provide an ideal respite from the road for weary travelers. Though the hotel’s long-held commitment to upkeep and service has earned it a place on the National Register of Historic Places and a four-diamond rating from AAA, its real treasures lie outside its Tudor walls. Visitors while away the time with such activities as swimming and boating on the river, perfecting pitches on the 9-hole Benbow Valley Golf Course, or hiking through the redwoods of the Kings Range while longing for prehensile tales from which to swing.
In addition to hotel rooms and cottages, Benbow Inn hosts campers on more than 100 pull-through and back-in sites at its RV Resort, which won the Best of The West Award in 2004. Here, travelers enjoy the peace and quiet of their spot in the woods, which balances the rusticity of the outdoors with such creature comforts as cement patios, picnic tables, and full hookups, including cable TV.
Course at a Glance:
While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, Judi Sheppard Missett decided to step away from tradition by offering an experimental class that allowed her students to simply dance without the judgment of mirrors or the constraints of rigid technique. In these sessions, she began infusing popular dance moves with specific fitness workouts to forge a distinctive blend of cardio exercise, strength training, and dance instruction. Little did she know that this “just for fun” class was the prototype for what would become the national fitness sensation known as Jazzercise.
Today, Jazzercise takes its aerobic techniques from a variety of sources that include jazz dance, hip-hop, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, and kickboxing. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers—with the exception of those marked as cursed by jazz-hand palm readers—are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background.
Five miles north of the resort, a web of hiking trails meanders through the conifer forests and wildflower meadows of Mount Shasta, whose summit towers 14,162 feet above sea level. Hikers can take to the Black Butte Trail—a moderately steep climb—which originates on Everitt Memorial Highway amid an aromatic cluster of pine and cedar trees. About halfway up the rocky 2.5-mile trail, Black Butte unveils a sprawling, westerly view of Mount Eddy, and at this relatively level vista point, hikers often set down their wooden walking sticks and jugs of water to marvel at the Shasta valley glistening below. Within the small clapboard structure that houses the Sisson Museum, permanent exhibits showing off collections of Native American basketry and antique mountaineering artifacts illuminate Mount Shasta's eclectic culture. Families walk through the fish hatchery adjacent to the building, peering into the long, narrow ponds harboring rainbow and brown trout before moving on to the property's three kids' fishing ponds. There, amid rolling coolers and green mesh nets, parents bait hooks for jumping children eager to reel in shiny silver trout, and volunteers stroll the dirt perimeters taking photos of little ones' catches.In downtown Mount Shasta, The Goat Tavern indulges an eclectic crowd with hearty burgers and a beer list scrawled on a chalkboard. Tattooed motorcycle crews sit alongside couples in cardigans on the outdoor dining deck, which is perched above the area's main drag. Waitresses parade through, balancing dishes laden with spicy chicken sandwiches and piles of fragrant garlic fries.
Shasta Glide 'n Ride's tour guides time their running commentary, broadcast through headsets, to the whir of Segway wheels propelling patrons through scenic stretches of the paved Sacramento River Trail. First, riders hone Segway skills during a brief session that includes hands-on training, an instructional video, and tips on how to garner the best mechanical performance by impersonating a mother robot. With new Segway knowledge in hand, tours embark from the parking lot at Turtle Bay Exploration Park. Roadsters obediently bend to their riders’ whims as they zoom across the nearby Sundial Bridge and through sunning flocks of wildlife to the tune of tales about the Gold Rush and Old West. Available cooling vests enable comfortable treks, even on days with 100-degree temperatures or hot-cocoa downpours, and modern technology allows Segways to slice through fog or light rain. Patrons can also design their own tours atop rental bikes and pedal through local flora and fauna for hours at a time.