America's B-Sides - Page 2

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Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks
The Yosemite Valley contains some of the most spectacular scenery on earth—and everybody knows it. The B-side alternative lies just south of Yosemite's borders in the contiguous Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. Yosemite's well-known redwood trees and godlike peaks are reproduced here, but without the touring masses. And because of the ruggedness and haughty height of eastern Sierra Nevada peaks, including Mt. Whitney, no road connects west to east, so vast areas of both parks are inaccessible to casual sightseers—perfect for hiking and backcountry trekking

Sonoma Valley and Mendocino
Napa Valley produces some of the United States' premier wines—and it's a good thing, too, because after trying to negotiate heavily trafficked Hwy. 29—its main thoroughfare—on a summer weekend, you'll definitely need a drink. For a far more relaxing outing, head several miles west to Napa's wine-producing twin, Sonoma Valley. The scenery and the wines are just as pleasing, and the valley also boasts Jack London State Historic Park, an 800-acre swatch of green that preserves the writer's Wolf House home and ranch. To further escape the tour buses, head north of Sonoma to Mendocino. There are some great wineries here, too—Fetzer, Parducci, and Weibel to name a few—plus the secluded Orr Hot Springs (707-462-6277), a clothing-optional paradise at the end of a dramatically twisting road.
Maryland's Western Shore
People in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area traditionally seek summertime fun along the ocean beaches of Maryland's Eastern Shore, a hangnail of land sandwiched between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. But Maryland's western shore, the mainland border of the Chesapeake Bay, has its own summertime appeal—minus the dreaded trip across the congested Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The western shore's Calvert Cliffs State Park is a fossil-hunting bonanza, a rocky beach at the base of 100-foot-tall clay-colored cliffs. Fifteen million years ago, all of Calvert County lay underwater. When the waters receded, traces of ancient fish, plants, and other aquatic organisms remained petrified in stone. True, Calvert County's beaches will never be confused with any beaches along the ocean, but, hey, as the Rolling Stones sang on the B-side of their 1969 release, "Honky Tonk Women," "You Can't Always Get What You Want."

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