Northern California reflects a curious blend of stunning natural landscapes and cutting-edge spirit you won’t find anywhere else. Spectacular scenes abound, from towering redwood and sequoia trees clustered in ancient groves, to the craggy coastlines of Fort Bragg and Mendocino, to the mountain-ringed shores of Lake Tahoe. Then there’s all that intellectual stimulation and entrepreneurship. Northern California is the home of Silicon Valley, the world’s tech innovation hub, prestigious universities like Stanford and UC Berkeley, and the culturally diverse and cosmopolitan city of San Francisco. Oh, and you’ll find some of the nation’s best food and wine here, especially in the renowned viticulture areas of Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino. And fantastic sports teams (Go Giants! Go Warriors! Plus other teams in Oakland and San Jose.)
Residents here — often clad in jeans, down jackets, and flannel shirts—are generally laid-back, outdoor-oriented types who promote preservation and environmental sustainability, at the same time nurturing ingenuity and progressive thinking.
NorCal, as locals call it, nourishes the soul via myriad senses. Even after nearly four decades of living in the southern half of the state, I still often find myself yearning for the scents of a damp redwood forest and the sounds of scampering wildlife in the canopy and powerful waves crashing into the steep cliffs along the coast. The glorious vistas of Sierra peaks near Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Lakes, and the mesmerizing views in Yosemite Valley. The entire region is a feast for the spirit. –Cheryl Crabtree