Launched more than three decades ago, Site for Sore Eyes now operates in more than 35 showrooms throughout the Bay Area. Staffers at every location share their dedication when pairing customers with head-turning eyewear and contacts. The company offers a $25 warranty that secures all of its products, replacing broken frames for free and furnishing half-price replacements for glasses that are lost, stolen, or transformed into an acorn squash. In case eyes require prescription tweaks, each shop sits next door to California-licensed Sterling VisionCare doctors of optometry.
Surrounded by craggy peaks, three men in bright-red helmets stand in the midst of wilderness, surveying the mountains around them as their group of hikers break for a snack on the rocky ground. This interface with the majesty of nature is all in a day's work for this trio of adventurers—Paul Mangasarian and Jakob and Daniel Laggner. Still, their passion for open-air exploration grows with each expedition they lead. Paul, Jakob, and Daniel cofounded Treks and Tracks with the dream of orchestrating excursions into nature that combine ancient means of travel—such as sailing, horseback riding, and hitchhiking on a centaur—with modern sports ranging from surfing to rock climbing. Though they focus on introducing novice outdoorsfolk to unspoiled wilderness around the world, Treks and Tracks' cofounders also strive to leave the awe-inspiring surroundings they visit as pristine as they found them by rigorously upholding practices of environmental stewardship on each expedition.
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: * 9-hole, par 35 course * Total length of 2,674 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 66.3 from the back tees * Course slope of 115 from the back tees * Three sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
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.
If climbing a mountain were a walk in the park, parks would be a lot more exciting. But climbing requires important safety knowledge, special equipment, and careful planning. That's why the folks at SWS Mountain Guides have set out to create an experience that allows all of their clients to focus on the climbing while they take care of the planning, equipment, and know-how it takes to make a journey great. Offering climbs on both Mount Shasta and Mount Whitney, adventurers learn about ice axes and crampons, basic mountaineering skills, and what to do in the event they discover a lonesome yeti. If local climbs aren't adventurous enough, SWS also organizes expeditions to Peru, Africa, and several of the world's highest peaks in Nepal.
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.