Labor Day 2012: Things to doLoading
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    Now may be your chance to see a blue whale, the largest animal ever to have lived on earth, can be as long as three city buses, weigh more than 20 elephants and shoot up a spout of water as high as a three-story building with its exhalation.

    PHOTO CAPTION: A blue whale surfaces in front of spectators on a 2011 excursion. More whales than usual have been seen off Northern California this season.

    Read the story here.
    DolphinSafari.com, 2011
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    The National Yo-Yo Museum, housed in the back of a downtown Chico eclectic toy store and boutique, Bird in Hand, is certainly no myth – though some of the yo-yo aces honored therein certainly border on the mythic.

    PHOTO CAPTION: Thad Winzenz demonstrates a yo-yo trick in front of a 256-pound wooden specimen at the National Yo-Yo Museum in Chico.

    Read the story here.

    View the gallery here.
    Jason Halley
  • Napa's downtown is suddenly the place to eat, lounge and be seen.
    Long neglected by tourists who flocked to wineries, Napa's downtown is suddenly the place to eat, lounge and be seen.

    PHOTO CAPTION: Cameron Darlington places fresh oysters in ice at Hog Island Oysters Co. inside the Oxbow Public Market.

    Read the story here.

    View the gallery here.
    Randy Pench | rpench@sacbee.com
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    HIKING OR CAMPING
    "As far back as the mid-1980s I had read of Grizzly Lake, situated beautifully at 7,100 feet, just below Thompson Peak, the Trinity Alps' highest point at 9,002 feet. The only route I recalled was the 17.5-mile (or up to 19, depending on your source) trail from the Hobo Gulch trailhead – a two-day hike."

    PHOTO CAPTION: Grizzly Meadows opens up below Grizzly Falls, center background, which flows from Grizzly Lake, below Thompson Peak, upper right.

    Read the story here.
    Tom Sellers | tsellers@sacbee.com
  • rpench@sacbee.com
    Barker Pass is one of the more accessible trails during prime Tahoe trekking season – roughly June through October. You drive seven miles on a winding road (starting 4.3 miles south of Tahoe City), the last half- mile being a dirt road. The parking lot is mere steps from the signed trailhead. You literally can get out of your car and go.

    PHOTO CAPTION: Laura Menke of Silver Fork, left, and Fritz Heilbron of Sacramento pause to view the scenery along the Barker Pass-to-Twin Peaks hike. This route affords some spectacular views, including of Lake Tahoe, along with some challenging terrain to traverse. Take care with your hydration during this high-altitude trek.

    Read the story here.
    Randy Pench
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    WINE TASTING
    Want to taste some local wine but don't know where to start? It's not a bad problem to have if you're interested in sampling some vino, and perhaps we take for granted the abundance of good wine that's right in our backyard. From hearty petite sirah and zinfandel, to stylish Rhone whites and some of the country's best vermentino, you'll find all that without much travel time.

    PHOTO CAPTION: The accolades keep piling up for Jeff Runquist; his Amador County tasting room leaves no doubt why.

    Read the story here.
    Bill Easton
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    Here is one key thing you need to know to have fun going wine tasting in the foothills and valleys around this region: Nothing. It's wine tasting. How hard can it be?

    PHOTO CAPTION: Lodi is world-class zinfandel country – along with Amador County, El Dorado County, Nevada County and pretty much everywhere around here.

    Read the story here.
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    FIRE UP THE GRILL
    Need a little inspiration for a great dish off the grill? Does the idea of a perfectly grilled steak, grilled lamb or maybe even grilled guacamole have you inviting friends and family for a fun, laid-back summer backyard barbecue? Here's a selection of some of the best photos and recipes from the Sacramento Connect bloggers' netork and The Sacramento Bee.

    PHOTO CAPTION: With summer grilling season in high gear, it's time to consider perhaps the mother of all barbecue meats: ribs -- a juicy, perfectly smoked slab that's as messy as it is tasty.

    View the recipes here.
  • BIBA
    DINE OUT
    If you'd rather not labor over a stove this holiday weekend, The Bee has a plethora of options to help you save your energy while satisfying your craving for something tasty.

    PHOTO CAPTION: Diners enjoy lunch at Biba's, one of the areas most popular eateries.

    Find a restaurant here.

    Read Blair Robertson's restaurant reviews here.
    HU | Sacramento Bee Staff Photo
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