“Success was called LUCK by those that failed. From observation, nine-tenths of the ‘luck’ came from hard work and judgment.” — Charles Camden 
According to forty-niner Charles Camden, it took hard work and judgment, not just luck, to make his fortune prospecting for gold. These same characteristics in later generations have helped preserve a fragment of the historic orchard that survives around Camden’s house in the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area (NRA) west of Redding in Northern California.
Levi H. Tower (1820–65) purchased land and a lodging house on Clear Creek in western Shasta County in 1851. He expanded the…
That one nation’s hero is another nation’s terrorist is seldom addressed in school history books. Most children learn of the villainous redcoats in the American war of independence. Few texts tell of American-led attacks on the British Isles. Or that the last invasion attempt led to the printing of the country’s first one-pound note. These were unexpected connections I uncovered as I pursued a pilgrimage to Wales (Cymru in the Welsh language) to discover the place of my grandfather’s birth near Fishguard (Abergwaun) in the coastal county of Pembrokeshire (Sir Benfro).
With fewer than three million people, the whole country…
“We had heroes in the Cold War” — Carol O’Neil, State Park Volunteer Historian
John le Carré dismissed Cold War spy heroes as “ A squalid procession of vain fools” in his 1963 espionage novel The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. Volunteer historian Carol O’Neil at the former U.S. Naval Facility on Point Sur State Historic Park in Big Sur, California, 25-miles south of Monterey, would beg to differ. “We had heroes in the Cold War,” O’Neil insisted in an interview on KAZU, public radio for the Monterey Bay area. …
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How to Avoid the Crushing Napa Valley Traffic by Ginny Prior
Stepping out Solo in Paris by Stephanie Levin
Rhine and Moselle Fairytale Cruise aboard AmaPrima by Carol Canter
Spanish Dancers by Erin Deinzer
Wine Country Villages Lost in Time by Karen Misuraca
California’s “Galapagos” — plus Adorable Foxes by April Orcutt
“I would like to write the story of this whole valley, of all the little towns and all the farms and the ranches in the wilder hills. I can see how I would like to do it so that it would be the valley of the world.” [Steinbeck: A Life in Letters]
In The True Adventures of John Steinbeck, Writer, Steinbeck’s biographer Jackson Benson explains that “scene and setting assume a far heavier burden of meaning in his work than in the fiction of most other novelists.” …
Towering three-hundred feet above the Pacific Ocean’s crashing surf, one of the West’s most faithfully restored ghost towns occupies prime ocean-view real estate just 25 miles south of my hometown of Pacific Grove, California.
Inhabited by chickens, a cow, and families with children until less than 50 years ago, the deserted barn, houses, and workshops of Point Sur Lightstation cling to the edge of a great, volcanic rock with spectacular views of the Big Sur coast and marble-topped peaks of the Ventana Wilderness. Lovers of the paranormal claim the lighthouse is one of the most haunted in the country.
Sixty years ago, this month, start-up Fairchild Semiconductor of Mountain View, CA, introduced the first practical integrated electronic microcircuit to a gathering of press and industry insiders at the 1961 IRE (Institute of Radio Engineers) Convention in New York. Popularly known today as a computer chip, Fairchild’s announcement echoed far beyond the plush ballroom of the St Moritz Hotel (today the Ritz Carlton) overlooking Central Park.
Under the title “In Tiny Devices a Revolution,” a photo in LIFE magazine compared Fairchild’s new chip to the size of the letter “D” on a dime. It said “their job is to switch…
With the past year’s rise of remote work and exodus from the Bay Area to cheaper cities, many people have wrung their hands about whether or not Silicon Valley is dead. The truth is that Silicon Valley has gone through many eras of boom and bust over the decades and has bounced back after each of them. The work may be more distributed, but the heart of Silicon Valley is still beating.
Over the past decade or so, we’ve gotten used to new tech startup founders hyping bold promises that they’ll change the world. But none have had the same…
“Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Hail Mary …”
The soft Irish brogue and insistent click, click, click of rosary beads from the seat behind me steadily increased in volume and intensity as our British European Airways (BEA) commuter flight from Belfast, Northern Ireland circled over London. For distraction, I searched for familiar landmarks along the River Thames. Through low, scudding clouds, I glimpsed the pagoda and glistening glasshouses of Kew Gardens tucked into a great curve of the river directly under the flight path to Heathrow.
By David Laws
“What’s in a name?” — Romeo & Juliet, William Shakespeare
Fifty years ago, long before the advent of Facebook, Google, or the later reincarnation of Apple, a front-page article in the tech-industry’s leading newspaper, Electronic News, introduced a new nickname for a cluster of sleepy agricultural communities near San Jose, California.  Known nationwide as the “Valley of Hearts Delight” for its bountiful orchards, the Santa Clara Valley would henceforth be known as “Silicon Valley” after a key material used in semiconductor manufacturing, a booming new industry of the area.
As the fleshpots of San Francisco 60…
I photograph and write about Gardens, Nature, Travel, and the history of Silicon Valley from my home on the Monterey Peninsula in California.