Why Sebastopol Is the Perfect Bohemian Small Town

Gravenstein Apple Fair in Sebastopol
(©Michelle Feilieacan/Sonoma County Farm Trails) Gravenstein Apple Fair in Sebastopol

Just about an hour north of San Francisco by car, the under-the-radar town of Sebastopol in western Sonoma County makes a compelling day trip. The community-minded town has great food, wine and art, all three of which can be enjoyed in a former apple processing plant turned giant maker hub in the middle of town.

Handline in Sebastopol

The Best Restaurants in Sebastopol

Founded by Sebastopol native Lowell Sheldon, Handline is a locavore’s paradise, with a menu that include sustainably-sourced beer battered fish tacos stuffed inside freshly milled corn tortillas, and locally harvested mushrooms in green garlic butter, fresh corn and summer squash blossom salad.

Local farmers and ranchers are also on display at Ramen Gaijin, where house-pulled noodles in a brothy soup serve as a great starter. But the black sesame ice cream is what really makes it worth the visit. To keep it more casual, Hole in the Wall serves California comfort food, including a villager’s style soup with slices of golden and red beets, cabbage and potatoes topped with Angus short rib and sour cream, along with a selection of savory and sweet crepes.

Tacos from Handline restaurant in Sebastpol, California

The Best Places to Drink

With a bespoke line of organic ciders sources from apple orchards around the area, Horse & Plow offers a sweet alternative to wine. Served up in a polished tasting room outfitted with two glass bottle chandeliers and a wood-burl bar, cider (and wine) flights freely flow on tap. For more traditional Pinots that are characteristic of the region, Freeman Winery offers balanced, elegant cool climate wines, by one of the few female Japanese winemakers, Akiko Freeman.

 Freeman Winery in Sebastopol

Where to Shop

Vintage picks curated for hipsters, theme parties and festivals are abound at Aubergine Vintage Emporium, where the inventory runs the gamut. This is the place for anything from tribal jewelry to second-hand designer jeans to homemade quilts. For gift ideas to take back home, it doesn’t get sweeter than Beekind, a honey store owned by a beekeeping husband-and-wife team that sells food treats, candles, body care and medicinal products of all kinds.  

Gravenstein Apples

The Best Things to Do in Sebastopol

The Barlow, where a collection of creative eateries, breweries, wineries and artisans coexist, is partially responsible for securing Sebastopol’s position as the arts and culture hub of western Sonoma County. Every third Thursday, the 12-acre outdoor market district comes to life for an evening of music and local performances.

You can hang with a treat from Sub Zero Ice Cream, keep up your juice cleanse at The Nectary or shop for adorable trinkets at Littlefour. While vineyards have replaced many of Sebastopol’s vast orchards, the Gravenstein Apple Fair continues to celebrate the city’s founding produce. No worries if you miss the festival, Gravenstein Apples are available throughout the summer and fall at the Sunday Sebastopol Farmers’ Market.

How to spend a day in west Sonoma’s artistic enclave

Neighborhood Guide: San Francisco's Hayes Valley

Marine Layer, known for its ultra-soft tees
(Courtesy Marine Layer) Marine Layer, known for its ultra-soft tees

Independent boutiques, open-air coffee vendors and yummy eats await you in this trendy neighborhood that stretches along Hayes Street. At the heart of this community you’ll find Patricia’s Green, a small park that buzzes with people and features rotating public art installations. Some of the city’s most beloved performing arts groups, including the San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Ballet, also call Hayes Valley home.

 Amour Vert, a boutique selling chic and eco-conscious clothing

Where to Shop

Pick up unique home decor items, gifts and clothing made by local artists at Gather, then head over to Timbuk2 for custom messenger bags, totes or backpacks crafted at its factory in the Mission District. Nearby, Marine Layer is known for its soft, locally designed casual wear—this location also has a mystery T-shirt vending machine offering shirts at a discount. Shoppers looking for high-end threads will find dapper menswear by French designer Emile Lafaurie at SEAN, fine European lingerie at Alla Prima and stylish, eco-conscious staples at Amour Vert.

Cappuccino at Ritual coffeehouse in Hayes Valley, California

The Best Places to Drink in Hayes Valley 

Right off of Patricia’s Green Park, Ritual serves up locally roasted and meticulously sourced espressos, pour-overs and lattes from inside a re-purposed shipping container. This square is also home to Biergarten, a Bavarian-style outdoor beer garden where you can people watch and try a rotating menu of draft brews from around the world. California reds and whites are poured alongside vermouth and small bites at Fig & Thistle, an intimate, dimly lit space with a rustic-chic ambiance.

 

Dinner

Carnival-inspired comfort food is the main attraction at Straw. Menu highlights include a donut burger that has been featured on the Food Network, mini corn dogs with raspberry dijon and a cotton candy of the day. Try to get a seat in the Tilt-A-Whirl booth.

The romantic, French-influenced Jardinière offers European twists on Californian cuisine for those with finer palates, as does Plaj, where you can find innovative Scandinavian dishes made from seasonal and local ingredients. Sweet tooths should pop into Miette Patisserie, a charming bakery crafting gourmet confections, cakes and some of the city’s best macarons; an added bonus: the macarons do not contain any artificial ingredients or food coloring. 

Fried chicken and waffles at Straw restaurant

The best places to shop, eat and drink in one of San Francisco's hippest neighborhoods

The Best Ice Cream and Cold Treats in Paris

Gérard Mulot ice-cream
(Courtesy Gérard Mulot) Gérard Mulot ice-cream

Cool down while taking in the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and shopping along the Avenue des Champs-Elysées with a cone from one of our favourite ice-cream shops.


Gérard Mulot ice cream

Gérard Mulot Sorbets

Gérard Mulot makes the hot weather bearable with fruity sorbets and creamy ice-cream flavours including pistachio, chocolate and vanilla. All the ingredients going into making these delicious icy treats are French, making them all the more bon. 76 rue de Seine (6th), 01 43 26 85 77

A parfait

Hugo & Victor Parfaits

For a French-style sundae drop in at Hugo & Victor for the newest monthly parfait. Every month the pastry shop serves up a new concoction like "Parfait Herbacé" with verbena sorbet scooped over a bed of granola then topped off with Chantilly cream and an original zesty sauce made with sage and mint, decorated with an organic lemon macaron. 40 blvd Raspail (7th), 01 44 39 97 73

Angelina ice cream treat in Paris

Angelina's 'Mont-Blanc'

Angelina is known around the world for its "Mont-Blanc" and this summer the pastry specialists have transformed the dessert into an unforgettable sundae. Vanilla ice-cream, crunchy meringue, candied chestnuts and lashings of whipped cream make this sundae a sinful pleasure. Senoble have also created dessert-flavoured ice-creams with cheesecake and Ile Flottante on the menu while Nitrogenie—the shop that mastered the art of making the frozen treat using liquid nitrogen—has frozen the sweetest desserts as well, this time the Aussie pavlova.

Nubio Vegan Ice Cream

Our vegan readers are not forgotten about either in the French capital with Nubio and famed ice-cream shop Berthillon joining forces to bring you the Végane range of ice-cream. Gluten-free and with no added sugar, the ice-cream is made with almond milk and flavoured with almonds, dates, cashews and granola. 4 rue Paul Bert (11th), 09 84 35 51 13

Nubio ice cream in Paris

A summer treat can only mean one thing: ice-cream.

The Hottest Shows in Las Vegas Right Now

Blue Man Group
(©Lindsey Best) Blue Man Group brings a show appropriate for all ages.

There’s a reason Las Vegas earned the nickname "The Entertainment Capital of the World." Smoking hot production shows, the most sought-after musicians and insane illusions make Sin City a mecca to visit time and again. 

Boyz II Men

Must-See Musicians

Where else in the world can you hit one resort to find the smooth sounds of Boyz II Men and drop by another for the brother-and-sister act from Donny and Marie Osmond?

Fans swoon for Philadelphia-born baritone Nathan Morris and tenors Wanya Morris and Shawn Stockman and their catalog of ballads including “I’ll Make Love To You,” “On Bended Knee” and “One Sweet Day” at the Mirage.

Marie’s a little bit country while her big brother Donny is a little bit rock and roll at the Flamingo. The duo relives their on-stage antics that mimic their variety show from the ’70s.

Criss Angel

Magical Moments

Fans of all ages can enjoy the wide assortment of illusions peppered up and down the Strip. Don’t be fooled by the plaid suit. Mac King’s afternoon show at Harrah’s strikes a perfect chord with the youngsters, who often end up on stage helping the goldfish-producing magician with his acts. 

David Copperfield has a knack for making cars appear and disappear at the MGM Grand, or even getting half the audience to simply vanish and re-emerge on stage. Any connoisseur should add this show to the dance card.

Fans of magician Criss Angel can see his “Mindfreak” act up close when he performs with Cirque du Soleil at the Luxor. This show runs the gamut from sleight of hand tricks to 3D special effects.

One stays silent. The other is the showman of the duo. Together, Penn & Teller keep audiences in stitches and disbelief, even as they tell you exactly how a trick was done. That finale will keep fans scratching their heads. Stick around to meet the duo in the lobby following every show at the Rio.

Cirque du Soleil performance

Big Productions

Le Rêve: The Dream brings an over-the-top aquatic wonder conveys the surreal nature of dreams, all playing out at Wynn in a theater in the round. The show’s finale features a dance and light spectacular with 172 high-powered fountains, 120 individual LED lightning fixtures, 16 fire-shooting devices and sensuous dance sequences. 

Head over to the MGM Grand for from Cirque du Soleil that combines acrobatics, martial arts and puppetry.  A brother and sister become separated and head on their own journeys to reunite. The KÀ Theater features a stage that tilts perpendicular to the audience for daring escapes by the cast as they simulate climbing a cliff. The archery scenes and the adorable sea creatures make this a show worth seeing.

Whoever thought that a trio of blue men who create a visceral theatrical experience in a nonverbal production could become so endearing? Wild drums made from plumbers pipe, a marshmallow tossing extravaganza for the ages, art made on the fly from vibrant paints and some flagrant abuses of Twinkies make Blue Man Group at the Luxor unforgettable.

Can't figure out what to see in Las Vegas? These nine shows never disappoint.

The Best Pies in America

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©Gabriele Stabile/Momofuku Milk Bar
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Lord of the Pies
Courtesy Emporium Pies
'Lord of the Pies'

Emporium Pies hits the mark with its award-winning take on apple pie. Ten tart Granny Smith's are soft baked into housemade caramel and topped with cinnamon streusel on top of its heavenly, flaky crust. 

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Apple pie
Courtesy The Blue Owl Restaurant and Bakery
'Levee High Caramel Pecan Apple Pie'

The Blue Owl Restaurant and Bakery makes a dessert-lover's destination out of historic Kimmswick, Missouri. One of the restaurant's biggest draws is the famed "Levee High Caramel Pecan Apple Pie." The pie begins with 18 hand-peeled and sliced apples, finished with rich caramel pecan topping.

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Banana cream pie
©Emeril's
'Banana Cream Pie'

Emeril Lagasse shares his banana cream pie at Emeril's New Orleans and Emeril's New Orleans Fish House in Las Vegas. Topping the graham cracker crust are nine pounds of bananas and piped-on whipped cream, all topped off with shaved chocolate, confectioner's sugar and a fresh mint garnish.

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A whole pie
Courtesy Achatz
'Michigan 4-Berry Double Crust'

Achatz Homemade Pie Co. makes it's local and nationally acclaimed "Michigan 4-Berry Double Crust" pie with locally grown ingredients. Each bite is filled with Michigan tart cherries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries.

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Slice of pie on a plate
©Sam Holden
'Baltimore Bomb'

"The Baltimore Bomb," served by Dangerously Delicious Pies, is music to chocolate lovers' ears. Melted and swirled in is Baltimore's Berger Cookies along with fudgy, chocolate icing all in a sweet vanilla chess filling.

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Sweet Potato and Bourbon Pecan Pie
Courtesy Red Truck Bakery
'Sweet Potato and Bourbon Pecan Pie'

The Red Truck Bakery in Marshall, Virginia, got the presidential seal of approval for it sweet potato and bourbon pecan pie on March 14—Pi Day—in 2016. President Barack Obama praised the pie as a favorite in a Facebook.

 

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Pumpecapple Pie Cake
Courtesy Three Brothers Bakery
Pumpecapple Piecake

The Three Brothers Bakery in Houston takes pie to the next level, rather three levels of pies baked inside cake. Think pie for July Fourth, Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled into one majestic confection. Pair apple pie with spice cake, award-winning pecan pie in chocolate cake for the second tier followed by pumpkin pie in a pumpkin spice cake. Feeds up to 80.

 

 

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Pies on a table
©Gabriele Stabile/Momofuku Milk Bar
'Crack Pie'

Courtesy of two-time James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Christinia Tosi, her bakery Milk Bar produces the addictive toasted oat crust pie with the dense and gooey filling that has received worldwide recognition. Available online or at 11 locations; New York (8), Toronto, D.C. and Las Vegas.

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Chocolate Haupia pie
©[puamelia]/Flickr, Creative Commons
'Chocolate Haupia Pie'

Ted's Bakery has been a fixture on Oahu's North Shore since 1956. Ted's has a wide selection of pastries to choose from, but what brings people in and coming back is the chocolate haupia pie; Dark chocolate custard cream filling compliments an additional layer of creamy coconut pudding topped with whipped topping.

 

 

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Lemon pie from Durham, North Carolina
Courtesy Scratch
'Shaker Lemon Pie'

Scratch in Durham, North Carolina, is open for breakfast and lunch and pies are always ready to go. The bakery's noted "Shaker Lemon Pie" is a lemon chess pie made silky from buttermilk and cornmeal with—of course—pastry made from scratch.

What is it about pie that tantalizes so?

Maybe it's that first dip of the fork into the flaky crust to pull filling like apple, cherry or blueberry, or maybe it's just about the flavor combinations. These pies hail from all corners of America, representing traditional to ultra-creative in filling and size, but all with one thing in common: these are the ones travelers can't get enough of.

Late-Summer Fun in Seattle

Clockwise: Courtesy Charles Smith Wines Jet City, Washington State Fair, Christopher Nelson/Bumbershoot

With no end of fun things to do, Seattle is the place to spend late summertime soaking up the sun, music and festivities.

End of Summer Bash!: Riesling Revolution
8/26
They don’t call Charles Smith the “rock star winemaker” for nothing—Smith was a band manager before he changed his career course and became of the Northwest’s most successful vintners. No surprise then that he’s bringing together two of his greatest passions—wine and rock music—for this blowout event at his Georgetown winery, Charles Smith Wines Jet City. The bash kicks off at 4:30 pm with tastings of Rieslings from 18 (mostly regional) wineries, including his own K Vintners jet City Riesling, which is only available from the Georgetown venue. The fun continues into the night with more wine, Georgetown Brewing Co. beers, food trucks, burlesque shows, and live music from alt-country rockers Calexico and headliners Seattle-based indie-folk band The Head and the Heart. This is one party you won’t want to miss, so get your tickets in advance.

Bumbershoot
9/1-9/3
This three-day festival of music, comedy, art, film and all-around good times has been Seattle's most eagerly awaited late-summer event for 45 years. Headlining acts including Weezer, Solange, Lorde, Spoon, Flo Rida will share the Seattle Center stages with dozens more national and local musicians covering the gamut from folk to rap in addition to stand-up stars such as Judah Friedlander, Margaret Cho and Jermaine Fowler. Other entertainment includes a short-film festival, pinball arcade, laser show and modern dance performances. 

Washington State Fair
9/1-9/24
More than a million fun-seekers of all ages will pour through the gates of the Puyallup fairgrounds—35 miles south of Seattle—over the course of this 24-day extravaganza. Expect all the usual sights and sounds of a good old-fashioned fair: farm animal shows, rodeos, midway rides, live music and, of course, food-on-a-stick. Save some energy to rock out in the evening too—the grandstand concert series lineup features country greats Melissa Etheridge, Hank Williams, Jr., Jason Aldean and other top performers like The Beach Boys and Washington state's own Modest Mouse. 

The season is coming to an end, but not without a few last hurrahs.