It’s a change to write a travel book review about a place to which I have been. California held much promise and did not disappoint. It is a state that deserves to be explored at a slow pace. You’ll get the best from this trip if you take time to venture off the beaten path.
Perhaps, dear reader, I should say that you don’t need to venture off the beaten path. Rather you want a path that has already been beaten by adventurers, prospectors and settlers, and leads you to spots that hold charm, beauty and historic elegance. Karen Misuraca has written Backroads of the California Coast in order to assist you in your quest to find that ideal and overlooked spot.
A travel book would be sorely lacking if it didn’t have a few nice snaps. Garry Crabbe has done a sterling job with the photography for this volume and there are more than just a few pictures – every page has striking views, amazing seascapes, quaint buildings or glimpses of wildlife.
Backroads are a series of books that offer scenic vacation routes for those who want to know more about a particular state or region. Backroads of the California Coast has that same format with the book divided into three parts: The North Coast, The Central Coast and The South Coast. Each of those sections covers the highlights and the must-sees but equally includes those fascinating points of interest that might easily be missed by the untutored traveller.
The North Coast leads you to, amongst others, Muir Woods and the Golden Gate. The Central Coast suggests a visit to Hurst’s Castle which is the once-seen-never-forgotten home of William Randolph Hurst. The Neptune swimming pool is a piece of ancient Rome transported to the Californian hills. There is a dining room of magnificent splendour with crystal goblets and a ketchup bottle.
If you only have time to visit one section of the Californian coast then take the South Coast. This has a real feel of Spanish California with its missions and ranchos. Old San Diego is a place you’ll not want to miss. Yes, there are the inevitable tourist shops but also so much that is truly historic and worthwhile.
Backroads of the California Coast is an attractive guide for the independent traveller. If you are even a little tempted by a trip to California then take my advice and read this book before you go. It’s a journey planner full of inspiration.
Backroads of the California Coast
Author: Karen Misuraca
Published by: Voyageur Press
Price: $21.99US, £13.99
Travel book review by Chrissie Walker © 2018