Love letters to California

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Below are some examples, lightly edited:

“Outside of California, people don't know much about Davis, but I feel very lucky to live in this hidden gem. We loved bikes before we came, but living in the bicycle capital of the United States has completely changed us. Now I ride my bike everywhere (to work, to dinner, to my daughter's activities) and the game-changer is that I feel completely safe doing it. Add in the quintessential college town with our farmers market, theaters, essential coffee shops, local bookstores and record stores, and plenty of boba tea shops, all within walking or biking distance, and you have a magical place.” — Kari Edison Watkins, Davis

“When I was a little girl traveling with my parents from Seattle to Sonoma on Highway 101, I thought the Ukiah Valley and Hopland Valley south of it had to be among the most beautiful places in the world. Now, 70 years later, I still think so. “It’s hard to believe I’m here.” — Leslie H. Smyth, Ukiah Valley

“I love San Diego County. One day many years ago, a friend and I had breakfast on the beach and bathed in the ocean. We packed a few things and drove an hour and a half to Julian in the coastal mountains. I had lunch with a friend there, then continued east, about another hour, into the desert for dinner and an overnight stay in Borrego Springs. Beach, mountains, desert, all in one day. “The changes in the weather, the plants, the animals… even the air smelled different.” — Sandra Zarcades, Rancho Santa Fe

“I grew up in the New York metropolitan area, but in 1989 it was a series of Grateful Dead shows at Oakland's Kaiser Auditorium and the Warfield that hooked me on their homeland. As the song says, “I'll be knocking on the golden door, like an angel standing on a ray of light, rising toward paradise.” In California I feel perpetually bathed in that light. The Grateful Dead took me to the promised land of adventurous, creative and poetic souls, along with stunning landscapes of ancient redwood and sequoia forests, thousand-foot cliffs hanging over the Pacific, stunning granite spiers of the Sierra, and a vast and majestic desert. “California is a land of immense beauty, brilliance and creative possibilities.” — Albert Flynn DeSilver, Woodacre

“As third-generation San Franciscans, we left the city for Carmel 30 years ago to raise a family. Raising a family here was perfection. It has small-town charm, but features a symphony and the Sunset Center that attracts nationally renowned artists. There is a stunning beach and outdoor lifestyle in California. We knew our children's friends and family and, decades later, many are still in touch. Unlike city life, most parents attended their children's sports tournaments and school events at 3 p.m. Finally, we are within an hour or two of the large stadiums, museums, and theaters of San Jose and San Francisco. “It has been paradise.” — Lori Silver, Carmelo



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