Outer Sunset, just south of Golden Gate Park, is a quiet, atmospheric neighborhood where thick fog frequently obscures the trim pastel houses, Asian groceries and surfers cycling down to Ocean Beach. Until recently, you’d never call it cool. But a hip and quirky micro-neighborhood has emerged, its epicenter at Judah Street and 45th Avenue, with a clutch of locally owned businesses bolstering a sense of community and drawing style seekers citywide. (Read More…)
The San Francisco Patient and Resource Center, or Sparc, is not your average pot club. There’s no peephole or scary-looking security guy, no skunky couches or blackened windows. Instead, a collegiate “community liaison” stands by the door answering questions from passers-by and checking membership cards and paperwork. (There’s no fee to join, but you need a doctor’s recommendation to enter.) And with its minimalist oak tables and benches, and jazz on the stereo, Sparc could easily be mistaken for a Japanese teahouse. Welcome to the medical marijuana dispensary of the future. (Read More…)
It’s been a long time since California’s most glamorous wine region felt like farm country. Today, the area buzzes with Michelin-starred restaurants, new hotels and shops, and nearly 150 tasting rooms. Some may grouse about commercialization — to say nothing of weekend traffic — but this is still America’s best answer to Provence. (Read More…)
“If anybody said this was Malibu, you’d say they were crazy,” says Richard Hirsh, the millionaire clothier-turned-vintner standing in the vineyards of his Cielo Farms estate.
Hidden in these canyons are not only A-list movie stars like Jennifer Aniston and Mel Gibson but also more than 40 vineyards. (Read More…)
Indian artisans are breathing new life into old traditions.
If you close your eyes and block out the visual cues — the red ocher 18th-century buildings, the brightly colored bazaars, the monkeys scrambling maniacally over the dusty rooflines — you would still know you were in Jaipur, India. The country’s center of traditional craftsmanship has a distinctive soundtrack (Read More…)
Could a Northern California backwater become the next Napa?
My first glimpse of Lake County, California, was a flash of silver through the trees. Clear Lake, the second-largest freshwater lake in California, shimmered and rippled in the sharp afternoon sun. Two hours into my drive north from San Francisco, the familiar sights of Napa — winery-lined roads, faux Italianate tasting rooms, chichi shops — had given way (Read More…)
Australia’s answer to the Galapagos Islands makes a giant leap forward.
“People always tell me, ‘Finally I feel like I’m in Australia,’ even if they’ve been in the country for weeks,” Craig Wickham said as we barreled down a red dirt road on Kangaroo Island. Wickham is tall and graceful, with tan skin and a salt-and-pepper buzz cut. He grew up on (Read More…)
Until the early ’90s, Hayes Valley was a seedy neighborhood, best known for prostitutes, drug deals and the elevated freeway that once bisected its main drag. The freeway has since been replaced by a Parisian-style boulevard and village green, and the neighborhood is thriving, its tree-lined streets and alleys peppered with restaurants, bars and — thanks to a 2003 local ban on chain stores — some of the city’s (Read More…)
Long known for its cutting-edge music and art, Iceland hasn’t made much of an impression on the fashion world, Bjork’s eyebrow-raising swan dress notwithstanding. But a nascent style scene is now taking root in the capital, stoked by the city’s pervasive youth culture and a fashion program at the Iceland Academy of the Arts. (Read More…)
For Alex Calderwood, Wade Weigel, Doug Herrick and Jack Barron — whose 79-room Ace Hotel opened in Portland , Ore., last month — good design is about tapping into a city’s lifeblood. “We want guests to wake up in their rooms and feel immediately that they’re in Portland (Read More…)