I was up in northern California visiting my mom during the Christmas/New Year’s break. She lives in the small town of Manchester on the Mendocino Coast. Now this is truly northern California as Manchester is about a 3-hour drive north of San Francisco. Whenever my uncle phones her he jokingly asks, “So, how is Oregon?” The terrain is quite different from southern California. The area is covered with dense forests of redwood trees rather than open desert terrain. There are some hiking opportunities in Mendocino County, but after a while I think one would miss the challenging rugged trails of southern California. In any event, one can manage to stay active by walking along the coast or along country roads, or go for a bike ride and brave the traffic on Highway 1. During my two-week stay I explored the coastal Stornetta Public Lands, hiked in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park and Mendocino Woodlands State Park, and of course I couldn’t pass up a tour of Anderson Valley Brewing Co. If you plan on driving through this area, then I recommend visiting these places.