Summer is three months long.
It is our professional opinion that in order to maintain sanity, you must skip town for at least one long weekend per month.
We even wrote you a scrip’.
So You Want to Build a Fire: Mt. Shasta
Mt. Shasta Trinity National Forest got tons of rain and snow this winter: it’ll be beyond verdant, streams flowing and woods redolent of pine and earth.
Hike the Sisson-Callahan trail. It’s 10 miles, offers a little of everything (elevations, vistas, meadows, creeks), and has a unique history: it used to be the road between the former town of Sisson and the gold mines in Callahan. Beautiful, but for some reason not popular, so you’ll get solace.
The other bonus of Sisson-Callahan and Shasta is you can camp anywhere (aka dispersed camping). You just walk into the woods and pitch a tent. Anywhere. Just so long as it’s not private property. Pop into the Ranger Station, say “Hi” and pick up some maps.
You’ll need a California Campfire Permit and a Wilderness Permit. Dispersed campers can build fires until July 1st — after that it’s portable stoves. Designated campsites have fire pits, though. Here’s a little primer on building a cook-ready campfire safely.
Preorder your meals through Fireside Provisions. This service will help you plan your meals and packs them for you so they’re easy to prepare, carry and clean.
So You Want to Sip Wine in a One-Stop-Sign Town: Los Alamos
Los Alamos is a tiny town in the Santa Ynez Valley that was part of land grab in the 1876 U.S. Centennial by two San Francisco boys, Thomas Bell and Dr. James Shaw. It went through an oil boom, and is now home to a few restaurants and tasting rooms.
The recently renovated Alamo Motel is a classic drive-up with a charming grassy area and tasting room in the front (a la Muni Wines). The rooms are super barebones, but some have clawfoot tubs and all have comfy beds. Bring your own toiletries (the Motley has great ones). To step it up, rent a mansion nearby.
The hills surrounding Los Alamos are great for cycling and hiking. Hit the tasting room in The Station (set in one of the oldest train stations remaining of the line), then Casa Dumetz for vitner Sonja Magdevski’s A-grade vino. Her husband — one Emilio Estevez — has Babi's Beer Emporium room next door. The Union Hotel (made famous by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson’s “Say Say Say”) is kitschy and hosts bands at night (note: don’t stay there).
Breakfast all days at Bob’s Well Bread for perfectly flaky croissants, savory eggs in a jar and a fresh bagel with house-smoked lox that’s NYC worthy. Lunch at Bell Street Farm for fresh salads with rotisserie chicken and glasses of vino. Owner Jamie Gluck hosts pop-up dinners on the third Saturday of every month, and he’s an affable chap, so expect to have fun at those. Visit the website to RSVP. PICO, the new spot in the General Store, is for your fine-dining night.
So You Wanna Get Your Learn On: San Francisco
The SF Museum of Modern Art is officially reopen, and sometimes it’s nice to beat the heat with a trip north to catch the tail-end of S.F.’s winter.
The new Zeppelin Hotel is a boutique with comfy beds, young women and — unconfirmed — naked rockstars on room-service carts.
Northern Californians like to think they’re smarter than us. Meanwhile, they’re paying $978 a square foot to live in near-squalor. Nevertheless, there’s plenty for the thinking man and lady to do while upstate: catch the lineup of the year at the Outside Lands music festival, wander the newly opened SFMoma (procure tix first) and head to Oakland to check out the new Fox Theater, for which we have a primer. Get you some culture.
If food festivals are your jam (or jelly), head up for Eat Drink SF, a smorgasbord of the region's best restaurants under one roof. Otherwise, ahead of your SFMoma visit, stop by Merigan Sub Shop for a Widowmaker. Before a show at the Fox in Oakland, stop by Calavera for some braised duck tacos and mezcal. Other restaurants on the list: Little Gem (healthy), Cala (five star Mexican) and Aster (because it’s f***ing delicious).
This is but only one installment of 37 Things a Man's Gotta Do This Summer, our annual compendium of everything worth seeing, doing, eating, drinking and generally making time for in your neck of the woods between now and September