Clam Chowder Festival – Santa Cruz

If you’re looking for some delicious plans this weekend, look no further. Head on over to Santa Cruz and join in on the public chowder tastings at the 31st Annual Santa Cruz Clam Chowder Cook-Off & Festival.

Contestants in the Individual and Professional categories will be whipping up their unique takes on the creamy stew, so be sure to vote for your favorite. Get your fill of Boston and Manhattan chowders along with entertainment on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

Humpbacks Give Kayaker a Close-Up Encounter Off Santa Cruz

Whales Breaching by Kayaker in Santa Cruz

Local Santa Cruz photographer Paul Schraub, on assignment for the Santa Cruz County Convention and Visitors Council, captured this photo of spy hopping whales in the Monterey Bay on Tuesday. (Paul Schraub/Santa Cruz County CVC)

While working on a new marketing campaign Tuesday, a photographer for the Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council captured this amazing image.

Paul Schraub was off the Seabright State Beach shoreline when he shot the photo of two humpback whales breaching next to a kayaker.

Christina Glynn explained, “The photo shoot was commissioned to bring attention to Santa Cruz as a unique location for meetings, retreats and the conference market.” Whale watching is just one of the unique opportunities available when booking your next event within such a biodiverse ecosystem as the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary. Schraub was aboard a small boat operated by Pacific Yachting and Sailing out of the Santa Cruz harbor.

Whales have been observed being particularly active in the past week feeding on an abundance of anchovies off the coast.

SAVOR 2011 Central Coast Tickets Go On Sale!

Sunset magazine has launched ticket sales and posted this year’s website for Sunset’s SAVOR the Central Coast. 

In addition to the main event at the Santa Margarita Ranch featuring celebrity chef Cat Cora – the multi-day celebration, held Sept. 29 through Oct. 2, is set to include a host of new activities:* VIP Reception & Opening Night Event at Hearst Castle (Thursday, Sept. 29) An enchanted evening soiree featuring premium Central Coast wine, tapas, and inimitable coastline views beside William Randolph Hearst’s magnificent Roman-style Neptune Pool.* Sunset Western Wine Awards Gala (Friday evening, Sept. 30). One of the weekend’s most anticipated events, the Sunset Western Wine Awards are recognized as the highest honor for western winemakers.  Hosted on the historic Pismo Beach Pier, the event features tantalizing, locally grown fare paired with wines that have been nominated for a Sunset Western Wine Awards.* Adventure Tours (Friday, Sept. 30). An unparalleled opportunity to explore the unspoiled and diverse majesty of the Central Coast, enhanced by the flavors of a gourmet picnic.  New tours for 2011 include:* Behind-the-scenes Hearst Castle www.HearstCastle.com tour with Sunset travel editor, Peter Fish* Kayak tour of the peaceful Morro Bay Estuary* Afternoon of horseback riding across the Oceano Dunes* Expert-guided hike through rugged Moñtana de Oro State Park*  Tour of the newly-restored Avila Lighthouse with Sunset associate garden editor, Julie Chai* Hot-air balloon ride over the Paso Robles wine region with Sunset president, Barb Newton*  “Berry to Bottle” winemaking experience with Sunset wine editor, Sara Schneider

*  Main Event at Santa Margarita Ranch (Saturday, Oct. 1 and Sunday, Oct. 2)

* The Backyard Farm – Docent-led seminars on raising poultry, bees, goats, growing veggies and, potato towers; making compost, and more. Tours benefit the Lillian Larsen School in San Miguel as part of the national Farm-to-School Program.

* Winemaker Central Seminar Stage – This is a new SAVOR stage dedicated to the fruit of the vine. Seminars will feature unforgettable Paso Robles blends, cool-climate syrahs and a blind tasting of the Central Coast’s best pinot noirs.

* Cat Cora Demonstration – Celebrity chef Cat Cora brings her world-renowned culinary expertise and Iron Chef style to a seminar on “Classics with a Twist.” Visit the pavilion afterward where she’ll be signing books.

* Sustainable Seafood with Cindy Pawlcyn – With restaurants including Northern California favorites Fog City Diner, Mustards Grill and Go Fish, celebrity chef Cindy Pawlcyn brings her contagious passion for sustainable seafood to SAVOR.

* Beer Tasting and Food Pairing Seminar – Sunset magazine Food Editor Margo True picks her favorite Central Coast beers and pairs them with dishes made from local ingredients.

Ticket information

Tickets for the Sunset SAVOR the Central Coast officially went on sale on May 5. Tickets will also be available at Farm Supply stores on the Central Coast beginning July 5. Sunset magazine is partnering with the San Luis Obispo County Visitors & Conference Bureau to launch Sunset SAVOR the Central Coast.

For more event information and ticketing, visit www.SavorCentralCoast.com or call 768-6653.

Become a fan on Facebook , http://www.facebook.com/SavorCC, or follow them on Twitter (@SavorCC). Ticket proceeds and sponsorships are considered donations to the San Luis Obispo County Visitors & Convention Bureau, a 501c6 nonprofit tourism organization promoting San Luis Obispo County.

• About Sunset magazine

Sunset magazine is the premier guide to life in the West, covering the newest and best ideas in Western home design and landscaping, food and entertaining, and regional travel in 13 Western states. Sunset and http://www.sunset.com are part of the lifestyle group of magazines and websites published by the Time Inc. Lifestyle Group.

• About the San Luis Obispo

Visitors & Conference Bureau

The San Luis Obispo County Visitors & Conference Bureau promotes San Luis Obispo County through advertising, marketing, public relations and group sales.  Its member base is comprised of more than 500 tourism industry-related businesses including lodging properties, restaurants, wineries, golf courses and retail stores.

For more information on the VCB, visit www.SanLuisObispoCounty.com or contact Molly Morrison Cano at 781-2531 or mollym@SanLuisObispoCounty.com.

California’s Central Coast Dazzling Travel Deals

For DOZENS of dazzling travel deals on lodging and activities click on:

California’s Central Coast.

The Central Coast is the Original Road Trip!

www.TourTheCentralCoast.com

Los Angeles Times Sings the Praises of One of the Top 3 Destinations in California – the fabulous Central Coast Region

Photo galleries, travel packages, bargains, history, wine tasting, brew pubs, festivals, beaches, and oodles more at:

http://www.latimes.com/travel/destinations/californiacentralcoast/

and http://www.TourtheCentralCoast.com

For a free Visitors Guide to the Central Coast, please email

vgrequest@centralcoast-tourism.com

or get an online version right now at:

http://www.pageturnpro.com/Striker-Media-Group/16164-Californias-Central-Coast-VG/index.html#1

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Travel Planning Online

Here is another great source of travel info for Central Coast vacation planning!

http://www.visitcalifornia.com/Explore/Central-Coast/

California Central Coast Tourism

Now here is a site with everything you need or want to know about planning your next vacation to the Central Coast of California.

It’s got lodging info, attractions, maps, road trip ideas, and more!

California Central Coast Tourism.