Escapes: Migratory birds headline Galt Winter Bird Festival

12/23/2012 12:00 AM

12/21/2012 9:09 PM


Just wing it

All things birding will highlight the sixth annual Galt Winter Bird Festival, an event so popular that it sells out quickly – so register now.

The festival will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 26 at McCaffrey Middle School, 997 Park Terrace Drive, Galt. Featured will be a variety of tours, a wild-animal show, falconry demonstrations, exhibits, activities for the young ones, and food vendors.

More tours will be from 6 a.m. to sunset, individually priced from $15 to $75 (for the Paddle Tour on the Cosumnes River).

To sign up, go to and click on "Winter Bird Festival" or call (209) 366-7115.


City-organized tours

City Excursions is one of those "best-kept secrets" that everyone should know about.

The 20-year-old program is sponsored by the city of Sacramento's Department of Parks and Recreation, and is organized by tour coordinator Shirley Bittante.

"It's our offering of day trips for active adults," she said. "We go to seasonal and special events, and take in cultural activities."

For instance, in 2012 City Excursions visited Feather Falls Casino in Oroville, and Union Square and the Dickens Christmas Faire, both in San Francisco.

Coming up: Sunday champagne brunch at the Cliff House in San Francisco (Feb. 10), hands-on cooking class in Healdsburg (March 16), food lovers' tour of Fisherman's Wharf (April 20), viewing of the Terra Cotta Warriors of China at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco (May 17), and the annual ZinFest Wine Festival in Lodi (May 18).

Transportation is by full-size motor coach, with various pick-up and drop-off points around the Sacramento area.

"It's a real hit with mothers and daughters," Bittante said. "Nobody has to drive and there's never a problem with parking."

The average price is $85 per person, which sometimes includes lunch. For more information and to register, call (916) 808-8687 or visit

Bittante added, "After the first of the year, we will be offering extended vacations. For example, trips to Russia and Canada."


'Nomadic' Matt's tips

If you're looking for travel deals, money-saving tips and plain good advice from fellow travelers, check out "Nomadic" Matt Kepnes' travel blog,

"As long as you think out of the box and travel like a local, a trip doesn't have to break the bank," he has said.

A sampling of the headlines on recent articles at the site: "Interview With New York Times' 'Frugal Traveler' "; "Cheap Accommodation: Getting Beyond the Hotel/Hostel Dynamic"; and "The Tightwad's Guide to New York City Culture."

In February, Kepnes will publish his book, "How to Travel the World on $50 a Day," in which he promises to show readers how to earn thousands of free frequent-flier points, find travel-discount cards, buy the perfect backpack and save money on food.


Top destinations of 2013

Lonely Planet has been guiding travelers around the globe since the 1970s. Now it's the world's biggest and most prestigious publisher of travel guidebooks.

The company just released its Top U.S. Destinations list, assembled by its editors and the authors of its travel books. Interestingly, the list is not based on the most popular American-city destinations – places that travelers visit the most – but are instead "our picks of where we believe travelers really should consider visiting in 2013."

Hmm. Here's where they think we should go next year:

1. Louisville, Ky.

2. Fairbanks, Ala.

3. San Juan Islands, Wash.

4. Philadelphia, Pa.

5. American Samoa

6. Eastern Sierra (Calif.)

7. Northern Maine

8. Twin Cities, Minn.

9. Verde Valley, Ariz.

10. Glacier National Park, Mont.


Janet Vitt, section editor

(916) 321-1056,

To submit events or news about travel and recreation activities, travel talks as well as organized day trips with costs up to $100, please send information at least three weeks in advance to Traveler, The Sacramento Bee, P.O. Box 15779, Sacramento, CA 95852, fax (916) 556-5625 or email: Priority will be given to events free to the public.


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