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Italy's Pantelleria Feels Like Africa

When Europe starts feeling too homogenized, you head farther and farther south. But Rome’s too frenetic, so you decamp for Sicily, which has marzipan and Mount Etna but after a few days feels too big to be a proper getaway. Another southward leap, just a half-hour by air from Palermo, lands you on the island of Pantelleria. That’s where you know you’ve finally left the modern world behind.

Make Way to Monterey Bay

Too often relegated to a series of blurred images outside car windows zooming along Highway 1 between Monterey and Santa Cruz, Moss Landing perches on Monterey Bay’s easternmost tip. This overlooked fishing village—population: 200—is a gateway to the bay’s wondrous diversity, sporting more adorable otters than Monterey’s famous aquarium and a stronger connection to the land than all of Santa Cruz’s trustafarians combined. For the otters, head to Moss Landing State Beach (www.Parks.CA.gov). To connect with the land, simply look around.

Norwegian Air Simplifies Transatlantic Travel from Oakland

An interesting thing happened after Norwegian Air Shuttle announced that it would offer low-cost transatlantic flights to and from a handful of U.S. cities, including Oakland. The dominant air carriers on the route—Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and American Airlines—ganged up against the upstart European carrier, complaining to the U.S. Department of Transportation that it was bypassing labor laws to offer cut-rate fares.

Nectarines In Season Now

Poems to peaches are common enough. Google “ode to a peach” and there are plenty of hits. But odes to nectarines, their smoother-skinned cousins? They’re fewer and farther between. But they are just as deserving of elevated praise, especially ones from organic orchards like Blossom Bluff, a family farm in Parlier.

Jazeera Market Spreads Global Tastes

Looking for spices from Pakistan, desserts from the Middle East, tea from London and Iran, coffee from Yemen? These culinary treats and much more can be found in Alameda’s newest foodie destination, Jazeera Market (1525 Webster St., 510-263-9058), an unpretentious 1,700-square-foot mecca of international specialty foods on the corner of Webster and Haight.

Toni Hudson of Goods

Toni Hudson, owner of Goods, an eclectic gift shop on Santa Clara Avenue, is a self-proclaimed “accidental shop owner.” A quick chat with the knowledgeable owner and the chic look of the store make it no secret that Hudson’s innate sense of style and business is very good.

Pollinate Farm & Garden Thrives

Ethnic and cultural diversity prevail in Oakland. Take the Fruitvale and Dimond districts, where hip apparel store Oaklandish recently opened next to an old-fashioned butcher shop that’s been there for decades. In the same vicinity, an authentic Filipino restaurant operates near a grocery store that sells almost exclusively imported Mexican goods. That’s Oakland.

Housing Boom Is No Bubble

Anytime a blog post or news story appears that cites the skyrocketing cost of Bay Area real estate, some readers in the online comments section point to signs of a housing bubble such as the one that burst in late 2008. What are the chances that the current run-up in prices will end in another crash, sending prices in many parts of the Bay Area plummeting, with some values in outlying areas dropping by one-half or more?

Italy's Pantelleria Feels Like Africa

When Europe starts feeling too homogenized, you head farther and farther south. But Rome’s too frenetic, so you decamp for Sicily, which has marzipan and Mount Etna but after a few days feels too big to be a proper getaway. Another southward leap, just a half-hour by air from Palermo, lands you on the island of Pantelleria. That’s where you know you’ve finally left the modern world behind.

Make Way to Monterey Bay

Too often relegated to a series of blurred images outside car windows zooming along Highway 1 between Monterey and Santa Cruz, Moss Landing perches on Monterey Bay’s easternmost tip. This overlooked fishing village—population: 200—is a gateway to the bay’s wondrous diversity, sporting more adorable otters than Monterey’s famous aquarium and a stronger connection to the land than all of Santa Cruz’s trustafarians combined. For the otters, head to Moss Landing State Beach (www.Parks.CA.gov). To connect with the land, simply look around.