Finding fall foliage in California

Finding fall foliage in California
AspenGroveAutumn – Hurry to Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains to see the aspens in all their autumn finery. [Photo by Dennis Benston]

 

As I write, the forecast for the weekend shows temperatures in the 90s.

What gives? Isn’t it autumn?

I, for one, am so very tired of high temperatures and humidity. I want cool, crisp, dry days and nights that compel us to put on sweaters and scarves and drink hot chocolate (or hot toddies, if you prefer). Believe it or not, there are some locales in our state that are seeing color and feeling the cool, and the best way to find them is to visit www.CaliforniaFallColor.com.

The founder of this website is John Poimiroo (slogan: Dude, autumn happens here, too), owner of a tourism marketing firm in Eldorado Hills (northeast of Sacramento). He likes reminding would-be leaf-peepers in California that autumn happens here from the top down — that is, the season of color arrives first at the higher altitudes — not latitudes as in the East. Poimiroo’s website tells you where to go and when to go so you don’t spend a lot of fruitless hours in the car. The site also carries foliage bulletins and some spectacular photos from voluntary leaf-spotters throughout the state.

Even the dogs get into the spirit of Halloween at Big Bear Village where more than 100 merchants hand out candy and goodies during the annual trick-or-treat event. [Photo by Dan McKernan]

Even the dogs get into the spirit of Halloween at Big Bear Village where more than 100 merchants hand out candy and goodies during the annual trick-or-treat event. [Photo by Dan McKernan]

If you’re looking for a unique way to spend Halloween weekend (trick-or-treat day falls on a Saturday this year) consider Big Bear Lake. At nearly 7,000 feet, the evenings are sure to be bracing, and Big Bear Village is going all out for the wee (and not-so-wee) Superheroes, ladybugs, pirates and princesses.

The village streets will be closed to traffic and more than 100 merchants “will hand out thousands-of- dollars-worth of candy and other goodies,” according to Dan McKernan, director of public relations for the town.

Halloween festivities in Big Bear Village run from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

You also can start the trick-or-treating early and celebrate with the animals at the Big Bear Alpine Zoo. From 1 p.m. to 4p.m., kids can in costume and gather goodies, watch the animals receive their Halloween treats, visit the pumpkin patch and play games for prizes.

For the over-21 crowd, the Monster Bash at the Cave features drink specials, concert-ticket giveaways and $1,200 for the best costume.

For more information or to request a free visitor’s guide, visit www.bigbear.com or call 800-424-4232.

 

Aspens in the San Gorgonio Wilderness area are a welcome sight for hikers who come to see the color from lower and warmer climes. [Photo by Rob Whipple]

Aspens in the San Gorgonio Wilderness area are a welcome sight for hikers who come to see the color from lower and warmer climes. [Photo by Rob Whipple]

Speaking of autumn travel … I don’t get it, but according to a poll by 5W Public Relations, a New York search-marketing company, prospective travelers at this time of year check out information on Las Vegas more often than for any other destination. The desert city accounts for 65 percent of the total number of searches. This doesn’t prove that all these people are actually going to Las Vegas, but it is an indicator of how many people are considering it.

San Diego, Boston, San Francisco and Key West, Florida, together account for only 2 percent of the searches.

That’s OK. We’d just as soon have the beaches to ourselves now that the summer tourist crush is over.

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