Packing with purpose: Combining travel with philanthropy

Hoping to nurture my high school daughter’s creativity – as well as her AP art grades – I presented her with the 175-pencil Prismacolor set.

Prismacolor is to pencils what Butter is to nail polish. With colors like violets in Imperial, Blue and Lake, it’s a premier brand. Imagine my dismay when Leyna returned from her Learning Community class trip to Havana – sans Prismacolors.


Flying south for the winter: Antarctica trips are not just for the birds

Photos Courtesy of Dave Hadden
Los Altos residents Dave and Joan Hadden watched the scenery from the large boat and a smaller Zodiac.

Standing on the beach with hundreds of thousands of penguins is “the experience of a lifetime,” according to Gail Cheeseman, co-founder of Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris with her husband, Doug, a retired zoology professor who taught at De Anza College.

The Cheesemans’ 45-year-old son Ted has been on at least 20 expeditions to Antarctica and is a partner in the company.


Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers

Natalie Elefant/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident Natalie Elefant noted the vibrant street performances as a traveler in Cuba.

The U.S. restored diplomatic relations with Cuba late last year, enabling Americans to import $100 worth of cigars and rum or $400 in total goods. It’s a small step between the two countries marked for decades by Cold War hostility, but a giant leap for travelers.

Two local residents – Peter Biffar of Los Altos Hills and Natalie Elefant of Los Altos – traveled to Cuba in February. They offered insight on what tourists can expect when they land in Havana.


Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience

Eren Göknar/ Town Crier
Cavallo Point Lodge comprises former U.S. Army buildings, like the Mission Blue Chapel, repurposed for guests seeking a luxurious getaway.

It used to be a place where batteries of soldiers lived, with officers’ quarters on the right and enlisted men on the left. Now it’s a resort where you can recharge your batteries.

The luxurious Cavallo Point Lodge and Healing Arts Center & Spa sits on 55 acres of sprawling National Parks land at Fort Baker, the former U.S. Army post at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge in Sausalito. Renovated turn-of-the-century buildings dot the horseshoe shape around the old parade ground, where pomp and circumstance once reigned. History buffs can download a guided tour.


Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new

Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon public recreation space, above, features an elevated pedestrian bridge.

Seoul, South Korea, is a study in contrasts. Having grown quickly, the city is a mix of old and new.

Using public transportation, visitors can travel from the 531-year-old Changgyeonggung Palace to the 10-year-old Cheonggyecheon public recreation space and stream in 20 minutes. The palace, a large pavilion surrounded by columns, is famous for its early Joseon architecture. Visitors can watch the changing of the guard. The stream, carved from a former highway, is in the center of town and boasts a busy pedestrian bridge above.


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