Valentine’s Day Love Letters to California

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re speaking about love.

Not romantic love, however an equally actual, probably just-as-corny kind of affection — for the state of California.

Dozens of you wrote to me about why you like Carmel-by-the-Sea, Atascadero, Napa, Laguna Seaside or the Golden State as an entire. As is acceptable for this vacation, your proclamations had been candy, passionate and largely unconcerned with our state’s shortcomings.

You instructed me: California is perhaps burning, drying up, wildly costly and slipping into the ocean, however you love all of it the identical.

Truthfully, me too. Take pleasure in.

(P.S. So lots of you wrote that I’ll preserve sharing your submissions within the coming weeks. As all the time, you’ll be able to attain me at

“I attempted to maneuver away from San Francisco throughout the pandemic, again to my hometown Baltimore. I made it one yr and three months earlier than the Metropolis by the Bay referred to as me again.

Each block of San Francisco holds some type of magnificence. Magical succulents, beautiful hilltop views, colourful Victorians, and other people, being themselves in no matter means they wish to be. I’ve felt probably the most intense sense of belonging since I’ve returned. My coronary heart will all the time be in San Francisco. I’m in love with this metropolis.” — Ali Moss, San Francisco

“Having grown up in Minnesota the place winters are fairly chilly, I particularly love winters right here in Escondido. The clear blue sky, ridges of hills surrounding you and the heat of the solar in your pores and skin even with a cool 60 diploma breeze. Add to that the sounds of all of the birds and it’s a magical morning. After 2 years of Covid, taking a deep breath is really a pleasure I get pleasure from each day.” — Mark Vaughan, Escondido

“In 1964, my household moved to Hacienda Heights, and for probably the most half, I’ve been a Cali Lady ever since. Hacienda Heights is nearly the right place to reside. We’re near the seashore and the mountains. On clear days, from the roof, we will see the snow-topped Huge Bear. The freeway entry is fantastic, though rush hour site visitors has radically modified.

I took my first freeway drive on the 57 freeway the day it opened to the general public. There have been no automobiles, so our drivers ed instructor allow us to go 65 m.p.h. What a thrill!” — Mari Turner, Hacienda Heights

“The Golden State nourishes my soul/Her bounties each tactile and visible/

A state so bounteous with tradition and spirit/ Greater than sufficient for simply the residents in it/

Her sunshine pours, heat honey on pores and skin/Feed upon her riches, from barbacoa to vin/

Patchwork quilts of flax and pine/ Deserts, mountains, shimmering shoreline/

California, mi amor, will you be mine?” — Masahana Kato, Los Angeles

“Although I’m grateful to be learning in Europe this semester, I dread spending Valentine’s Day with out you, my dearest Berkeley.

If there’s one factor that this distance has made me notice, it’s that nowhere on the planet can outshine your indeniable strangeness. From the dinosaur man of Sproul Plaza, to the road artists on Durant, to the distinction between the $8 lattes and $1 tacos, no two days in Berkeley will be the identical.” — Jessica Blelloch, Madrid

“My Dearest California,

I attempted to depart you as soon as. It was many years in the past, and also you’d put me in a funk for a similar causes you drive others away — the site visitors, the price of housing, and, for me, lacking my household and a hometown I nonetheless adore.

So I acquired into my automobile and headed for the coast. However earlier than I reached Huge Sur I noticed why I needed to keep. The place else on the planet might I get within the automobile and, in hours, arrive on the white seashores of Carmel? The cobalt blue waters of Lake Tahoe? The neon mustard on the Kelly inexperienced hills of Napa? Although your scope and depth can drive me fully mad, you’re probably the most beautiful, advanced state I do know. I like your geography, your ambition and your open-minded, forward-thinking individuals, which I shall by no means take with no consideration.

California, now we have been via a lot collectively these previous few years — fires, drought, Covid. And but, these unlucky developments have solely made me concern dropping you and intensified my appreciation. As I gaze out my window at the fantastic thing about naked oaks in opposition to a cornflower winter sky, you, my pricey, are my house. Even once you break my coronary heart, I’ll all the time love you.” — Lisa Wrenn, Walnut Creek

A vegan version of the standard hard-shell taco.

At this time’s journey tip comes from Cynthia Nunn, a reader who lives in Santa Maria:

“One in all my favourite ‘staycation’ locations is Cambria, positioned on the central coast. It’s about 10 miles south of Hearst Citadel (San Simeon) and is a gem of a small city. Lynn’s Restaurant options the most effective pies on the West Coast. Lodge costs range by season and it isn’t low-cost however there are a number of small inns which might be price the price ($300+ per weeknight proper on the seashore). There are a number of mountain climbing trails on or close to the water. Cambria is just not precisely the cultural hub of the West Coast however it’s only a very nice small city to spend a three-day weekend exploring.

I reside about 50 miles south of Cambria, so it’s been a favourite vacation spot of mine for a lot of many years.”

Inform us about your favourite locations to go to in California. E-mail your solutions to We’ll be sharing extra in upcoming editions of the e-newsletter.

At a time when environmentalists are sometimes pitted in opposition to agribusiness in California’s water wars, conservationists and farmers are uniting to guard salmon.

Read more from Reuters on an experiment in Northern California that’s a decade within the making.

Thanks for studying. I’ll be again tomorrow. — Soumya

P.S. Right here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Humor with a twist (5 letters).

Jonah Candelario, Lyna Bentahar and Mariel Wamsley contributed to California At this time. You may attain the group at

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Fry Electronics Team

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