California is full of incredible, unique places. Even for those of us who have lived here all our lives, there are still secret, off-the-beaten-path spots we’ve never even heard of.
Every summer, we put together a special show about some of those hidden gems.
I decided to host this year’s show from a zipline in Sonoma County, with help from our intrepid producer Suzie Racho. Soaring above the redwoods — with our microphones, headphones and tape recorders — was nerve-wracking.
I’ve hiked through redwoods and tried to put my arms around them. But I’ve never flown above them suspended from a cable or seen the treetop canopy from a 100-foot-high platform. It gave me a different perspective on one of California’s greatest treasures.
Some of This Year’s Hidden Gems
At Nancy’s Airport Cafe, steps from the tarmac in rural Glenn County, the pie is so good that small-plane pilots fly in just for the food.
Madame Ganna Walska, an eccentric Polish opera diva, planted lush gardens near Santa Barbara where you can still walk among plants that predate the dinosaurs. She called it Lotusland.
Want to get giant, fresh and legendary strawberry doughnuts near Los Angeles in the middle of the night? Meet the Donut Man.
Nestled among the vineyards of Napa County, there’s a place dating back to when California was part of Mexico. At 36 feet tall, the Bale Grist Mill’s waterwheel is one of the tallest in North America.
Layers of sandstone form buttes and towering cliffs. Joshua Trees stand guard on the desert floor, and there are way more lizards than people. It’s no wonder this place has been the backdrop for a lot of Westerns. Not far from Hollywood, Red Rock Canyon State Park is a scene-stealer.