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Best Places for Fall Colors

Specials & Packages:
Wine and Harvest Specials

How I Became an Innkeeper: Martine Inn

CABBI Cookbook Recipe: Apple Cranberry Crisp

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How I became an innkeeper

Martine Inn

Martine Inn

by Don Martine

In 1972, I purchased part of the Parke, Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Company family compound. It was in disrepair and scheduled for demolition. All the lighting fixtures had been removed, most of hardware removed, and anything else considered of value had been removed and sold.

Ten years of trying to repair, improve, and maintain two buildings with over 11,000 square feet had turned into a money pit.  I considered demolition, nursing home, retirement home, apartments, and the bed and breakfast.

The location was on Monterey Bay and only 1,500 feet from the new aquarium.  Hotel rooms were in short supply, and the building architecturally significant. The idea was to attempt to restore the buildings and provide visitors with the experience of staying in a wealthy family’s home between 1880 and 1920.

Two and a half years of building plans, a financial plan, planning commission hearings, architectural board hearings, city council hearings, coastal commission hearings, liquor license postings, and bank meetings finally led to all the permits required and a $1 million loan.

Then I faced the challenge of finding all the furnishings, fixtures, and hardware to restore the stripped building. Construction started in May 1984, and I acted as the general contractor. Literally thousands of decisions had to be made: room décor, the style of antiques purchased, type of linen, type of food service, staff, installation of a commercial laundry, installation of a commercial kitchen, etc.  

I opened the Martine Inn in August 1984 with eight rooms finished and by Christmas of the same year, I had finished 20.

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CABBI Black Bear Inn

Best Places for Fall Colors

Kit Carson LodgeThe aspen trees in California’s High Sierra put on a spectacular show in the fall, turning to gold and crimson. One of the best places to view the show is along Highway 88 between Silver Lake and Hope Valley. The aspen leaves begin turning in late September and typically continue through the end of October. Kit Carson Lodge at Silver Lake provides a perfect jumping off place for viewing the fall colors. Blending elegance with rustic beauty, the historic resort features a gourmet restaurant, art gallery and canoe, kayak and motor boat rentals for skimming across the lake rimmed by a blaze of colors.

Another stunning fall foliage drive is Ebbett’s Pass Scenic Byway: a winding, 61-mile stretch of highway beginning at the Calaveras Big Trees State Park near the town of Arnold. Nestled amid the giant sequoias, the big-leaf maples, dogwoods and other trees begin to turn colors in October. The peak time for fall colors is usually early November, and will generally last until Thanksgiving. Just off the Scenic Byway, the park-like setting at the Arnold Black Bear Inn offers a beautiful fall color display as well. Dine among the trees this fall with a custom-designed dinner menu featuring roasted butternut squash and garlic bisque.


In autumn, the college town of Chico is ablaze with a spectrum of fiery colors: deep reds, oranges, gold and yellow. At Bidwell Park, which is one of the largest urban parks in the U.S., visitors can hike or bike among the 3,600 acres of oaks and sycamore trees. You can also stroll along Chico’s many tree-lined streets to take in the autumnal colors while fallen leaves crunch underfoot. The leaves typically begin turning in October and peak in early-to-mid-November. Tucked along one tree-lined street, The Grateful Bed is a gracious Victorian inn serving seasonal recipes such as pear frittatas and baked Cranberry-walnut apples.


autumn in the vineyardsIn Napa’s wine country, the vineyard-draped hills are awash in color in the fall. Clusters of ripened grapes awaiting the crush stand out against the leaves as they turn crimson and gold. Take a drive along the winding vineyard roads to savor the fall colors, the fine wines and the buzz of activity at harvest time. In the heart of Napa’s wine country, the posh Mount View Hotel & Spa beckons guests with seasonal packages and specials. Located in historic downtown Calistoga, the inn is within walking distance of several great restaurants, shops and tasting rooms.


See fall colors of a different kind in Moss Landing on the Monterey Bay. Instead of changing leaves, vast colonies of pickleweed--a succulent plant that grows in coastal salt marshes-- turns from deep green to apple red and then yellow and brown in the fall. The changing color is due to an excess of salt that the stems absorb in late summer. The waterfront guest rooms of the Captain’s Inn in Moss Landing provide fantastic views of the color-changing pickleweed, along with the fall bird migration and other wetland wildlife.





Wine and Harvest Specials and Packages

During Napa's wine harvest months of September and October, take advantage of The Inn on First’sNapa Harvest Midweek Special.” The special includes a one-night midweek night stay (Sunday-Thursday) in the largest available suite with a whirlpool tub for two, gas fireplace, a split bottle of sparkling wine and homemade truffles. The special features your choice of a private 90-minute horse ride through the vineyards or a gourmet lunch on an antique train that runs on 25-miles of track in the heart of the Napa Valley. Guests also receive wine tasting passes that save over $100 in tasting fees. Receive all of this for the low price of $555 for two people, a $250 savings. Extend your stay a second night for an additional $250, adding another $100 savings.

Through the month of September, the Tallman Hotel in Lake County is offering a “California Wine Month Package.” The package includes two nights in the historic hotel, dinner for two at the Blue Wing Saloon Restaurant, four bottles of Blue Wing Saloon wine (sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and syrah), a private tasting at Lake County Wine Studio, an assorted wine case from Lake County Studio, and a five-hour guided wine tour with up to six other wine enthusiasts, courtesy of Limousine Connection. The package price is $795 per couple.

Amador Harvest Inn in Amador County's fabulous Shenandoah Valley Wine Country is offering a Third Night Free with a two night stay. Book any two nights, Monday through Thursday, now through October 31st, and receive the third night free. The Amador Harvest Inn is located a few steps away from Deaver Vineyards Tasting Room, where you'll experience some of the best, award-winning wines in the region. The inn is also within walking distance to several other wineries.



CABBI cookbook recipe

Babbling Brook InnBabbling Brook Inn
Apple Cranberry Crisp
Makes 6 to 8 servings

5 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into wedges
1/2 cup cranberries (or raspberries or raisins)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick plus 2 and 2/3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granola
1 cup packed brown sugar
Ice cream or whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Fill a greased 8x8-inch baking pan with cranberries and apples. Put flour and butter in a bowl. Rub butter into flour with your hands until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add cinnamon, CABBI Cookbookoats, salt, granola and brown sugar; combine well and sprinkle over fruit in pan. Bake for 40 minutes, until top is browned and apples are tender (check after 30 minutes and cover with foil to prevent burning, if needed). Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

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