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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.

Blast into Placerville's Past

The stained-glass windows gracing the lobby in Placerville’s Cary House Hotel (www.CaryHouse.com) tell of wagon trains crossing the Sierra Nevada, prospectors panning for gold, and fruit orchards bursting into bloom. Placerville began with the Gold Rush. As the rush slowed, the farms and timber continued, but this foothills town, a two-hour drive from Oakland, never lost sight of its history. From its 1857 origin as a stage stop and Wells Fargo office, the Cary evolved into a cozy hotel whose guests enjoy wine-tasting and Wi-Fi amid quaint Victorian décor.

Nebraska Worth a Visit

Californians, confess: You’re so weary of crowds, condescension, and fennel-infused hipper-than-thouitude that you yearn to run screaming to a simpler place where history meets wildlife meets world-class, free-admission museums. You want to wave at strangers while driving straight spotless roads through serene structureless landscapes sprawling clear to the horizon under caramel- and Aqua Velva–colored country skies.

Blast into Placerville's Past

The stained-glass windows gracing the lobby in Placerville’s Cary House Hotel (www.CaryHouse.com) tell of wagon trains crossing the Sierra Nevada, prospectors panning for gold, and fruit orchards bursting into bloom. Placerville began with the Gold Rush. As the rush slowed, the farms and timber continued, but this foothills town, a two-hour drive from Oakland, never lost sight of its history. From its 1857 origin as a stage stop and Wells Fargo office, the Cary evolved into a cozy hotel whose guests enjoy wine-tasting and Wi-Fi amid quaint Victorian décor.

Nebraska Worth a Visit

Californians, confess: You’re so weary of crowds, condescension, and fennel-infused hipper-than-thouitude that you yearn to run screaming to a simpler place where history meets wildlife meets world-class, free-admission museums. You want to wave at strangers while driving straight spotless roads through serene structureless landscapes sprawling clear to the horizon under caramel- and Aqua Velva–colored country skies.

Tuscon Thrives With Arts

Thanks to hundreds of millions of dollars and a decade of art therapy, the Tuscon arts scene rivals Santa Fe's.

Make Your Way to Sausalito

The ferry ride to Sausalito—ranked by National Geographic Magazine as the third-best city boat trip in the world—offers unrivaled views of the Bay in all directions and sets an expectant tone for a day trip to Sausalito.

Santa Cruz in the Off Season

A winter trip to Santa Cruz takes in the sights, from Seabright Brewery to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.