Heather Dugan

Race Point Beach in Cape Cod

Provincetown and its nearby beaches are but a ferry ride away from Boston Harbor.  The colorful community at the tip of Cape Cod is known for its gay community and its non-stop party atmosphere during the warmer half of the year, but beyond the town itself lies an array of bike trails and beaches encompassed within the larger Cape Cod National Seashore. Read More »

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The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

In San Francisco, the National Park Service operates the Golden Gate National Recreation area and Alcatraz Island, two of the City’s most popular tourists attractions. But many travelers are unaware of yet another National Historical Park tucked neatly away near Fisherman’s Wharf: the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.

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The sea lions of Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco

Not seeing themselves for the tourist attraction they’ve come to be, the sea lions of Pier 39 simply rolled over, splashed into the Pacific and swam away.

At first no one even knew where they went. One of San Francisco’s landmarks had simply vanished. The protective signs posted around Pier 39 seemed ironic at best. Staring down at the vacated wooden floats from the surrounding docks would have been akin to peering into a football stadium the morning after a big game. Some sea lion debris remained, but the sounds and smells, and the star players themselves, were notably absent. Read More »

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Transamerican Buiding

The Transamerica Building rising above the rest in San Francisco, CA

One of San Francisco’s most prominent landmarks, the Transamerica building rises to a point 850 feet above the surrounding streets. While the futuristic building is an urban eye-catcher from any angle, the natural beauty of the Pacific impacted its design. In the late 1960s, the city planning commission nixed a  requested 300 additional feet that might have compromised views of the Bay from Nob Hill. The 212-foot spire was inspired, also, by nature.  The pyramid shape was designed to allow light and air to reach the streets below, like a towering tree in a city park. Read More »

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Food display window in San Francisco's Chinatown

Food display window in San Francisco's Chinatown

Dating back to the 1850s, Chinatown, San Francisco is the oldest such district in North America and the largest outside of Asia. The first Chinese immigrants arrived in 1848, predating the California gold rush.

Where at first the Chinese faced exclusion in California and the rest of America — their children were barred from public schools and their employment and housing opportunities diminished by targeted legislation – they persevered and created a thriving haven of inclusion and cultural celebration. The sights, sounds, and aromas of present day Chinatown stir the soul, whether drawn in collectively as a sort of cultural potpourri or observed one lively detail at a time. Read More »

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The infamous Lombard Street in San Francisco makes for a great cardio workout while on the road

Walking up the infamous Lombard Street in San Francisco makes for a great cardio workout

San Francisco’s drastic changes in elevation are no exaggeration. Cars systematically park with wheels turned in to the curb. The Metro buses and trolleys run strategically up and down the steepest slopes. Women do not wear high heels without ready transportation available. But it’s a great walking city and navigating San Francisco is excellent exercise! Read More »

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Breakdancer at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco

Breakdancer at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco

The attention span and focus of their audience is minimal. Most passersby are simply looking for lunch or the next ferry to Alcatraz. Street performers, or “buskers,” must relish the act of performing enough to ignore being ignored. Exposing a bit of heart in hopes of an answering smile, a bit of applause and hopefully, a dollar bill or two…  This is not for the faint of heart or those desiring a steady income. Read More »

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