The history of wine in the Livermore Valley spans 250 years. Spanish missionaries planted the region's first grapes in the 18th century, and Robert Livermore sowed the first commercial vines in the mid-19th. These early efforts led to America's first international gold medal for wine at the 1889 Paris Exposition, when California grapes beat out bordeaux in the annual race to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
The guides at Livermore Valley Wine & Cycle Tours lead cyclists into this historic, scenic valley in which some 40 wineries currently reside. Rides between them follow moderate routes, letting peddlers soak in views of the canyons and ridges that rise and fall between the clustered rows of vines.
Since 2004, Super Jet Limo's smartly dressed chauffeurs have transported clients in a fleet of stylish town cars. They drive travelers to and from San Francisco International Airport, Oakland International Airport, and Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport. In addition, they facilitate sightseeing tours and provide transportation for special events, such as proms and weddings. In the case of the latter, they'll even outfit limos with customized Just Married signs.
On Flying Dolphins' tours, dolphins don't fly?participants do. They skim the waves or soar high above California on an amphibious flying trike, helmed by an FAA-certified pilot. From their bird's-eye view, riders often catch glimpses of aquatic life, from dolphins and sea lions to elusive whales. Riders can fly over the coast or fly over Lake Tahoe.
The designers of Zip Yosemite, Experience Based Learning, focuses on adventure and safety in building their courses, but they also take care to look after the environment. The company uses Professional Ropes Course Association–accredited builders, who anchor single cables to trees using an environmentally-friendly system. Using this system, the company can string seven ziplines up to 1,000 feet long at heights of up to 80 feet through the aromatic canopies of incense cedars and ponderosa pine trees. Guides take visitors darting down these single-cable paths and across three suspension bridges. Then, they rappel toward the forest floor at one of two rappelling stations. As visitors glide through the forest, they can catch glimpses of wildlife as well as the Fresno Dome and other natural rock formations.
Val Du Vino Winery resides in a nearly 100-year-ol barn at the west end of Murphys's Main Street. The boughs of ancient oaks shade the property, adding to the winery's bucolic beauty. Its quaint exterior conceals a lovingly restored interior with plenty of modern amenities, such as a recently refurnished tasting room and an impressively equipped kitchen. That kitchen serves as the playground of Jeannine Hebel, co-owner, operator, and resident chef at the winery. Drawing on her training in French cuisine, she makes new menus to suit every event that comes through, from simple tastings to full-blown weddings.
The other half the winery's duties??the winemaking itself??belongs to Jonathon Phillips. Phillips selects his grapes by hand from the crops of local vineyards, producing wine only in small batches because he can only carry so many grapes, probably. He shares these creations with visitors as long as stocks last, though members of the winery's wine club are always first in line to get a taste or buy a bottle.
Many people's favorite memories are born at Yosemite as they scale its epic cliffs, spot mule deer among its fields of wildflowers, or feel the mist of waterfalls thundering down from hundreds or thousands of feet above. The expert photographers of YExplore help visitors preserve those memories with shots that truly capture the grandeur of the land, with all its subtle gradations of light and color.
All of Y Explore's guides live in or around Yosemite, and harbor a deep knowledge of the area's geology and natural history. While the crowds line up to ascend El Capitan or look at that one acorn that's pretty big, Y Explore leads its students down paths stamped with far fewer footprints. There, you'll be free to practice the finer points of composition, lighting, perspective, depth of field, and other photographic concepts?resulting in stunning images of landscapes, flora and fauna, and sunsets.