Travel Buzz

Travel with Purpose
Building homes with Habitat for Humanity in Guatemala, saving coral reefs in the Bahamas and giving soccer balls to kids in Nicaragua, are just a few of the charitable adventures Marin residents embarked on for fun this year. As we learned of these trips, we were inspired to create Marin Travels with Purpose; to offer a place for adventurers to share information such as photos, helpful hints and travel itineraries in case any readers want to follow their leads. Our first post is from the Schumacher family—Peter, Liz and kids who traveled to Nicaragua this summer along with the Tan-Alpers—Jonnie, Liz, kids and extended family—to explore a new country and bring soccer balls and school supplies to children in the area, via the Jean Brugger Foundation. For their story go to

Sand Dollar Search!
Get ready for winter beaches. The best season to find intact sand dollars is definitely winter, post-storm, after they have washed ashore. These creatures are in the spiny-skinned class of marine animals known as echinoids. Their relations include the sea lily, the sea cucumber, the starfish and the sea urchin. When alive, the local species, Echinarachnius parma, is covered with tiny movable maroon spines. Like its close kin the sea urchin, the sand dollar has five sets of pores arranged in a petal pattern. Check with the lifeguard or an official when collecting them—it’s illegal at some beaches. Click here 60 for our story on super seasonal seascapes.

Going Green?
Pebble Beach Golf Links paired with the Inn at Spanish Bay took top honors in Golf Digest’s “Top 75 Best Golf Resorts in North America” ranking, released September 8. Virtually every hole at the famed course has been strengthened in preparation for the 2010 U.S. Open Championship next June, making this the year to visit the course and resort in peak conditions. To get a sneak peek, consider the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Tournament February 8–14, 2010.

Da Buzz
Free vacation(s) Turn those tweeting and video making skills into a trip to the islands. Marriott is offering 50 free Hawaiian vacations to mark 50 years of Hawaii statehood as well as one “super ono” group vacation. Create a video on how much you love Hawaii, and win a tweetup on the islands for you and 11 of your closest friends. To enter, go to

Bonus miles Tropical Villa Vacations is offering 25,000 bonus Hawaiian miles for guests who reserve one of the agency’s exclusive Wailea Beach Villas for stays over the Christmas or New Year’s holidays (minimum reservation value of $10,000, excluding taxes, required). It gets better: with new reservations for fall visits (now through December 18, 2009), guests receive 15,000 bonus miles.

60 Years of Skiing
Some may still remember the excitement of Squaw Valley resort’s opening back on Thanksgiving Day, 1949. To celebrate 60 years of operations, Squaw Valley is opening the ski season with an outdoor screening of an anniversary movie on the KT-22 Sundeck and live music at Olympic House. To kick off the season, local ski-lebrity Jonny Moseley, a former Squaw Valley ski team member, will be hosting his first “ski-free day with Jonny.” Plus, a few more surprises — bring your camera.

Don’t know how to ski? No problem: just be sure to get yourself to the 10th annual learn-to-ski-and-board weekend, December 12–13 (snow permitting). For $25 you get an all-day beginner lift ticket, group lessons and gear rental. Nine area resorts are partaking in the event including: Alpine Meadows, Boreal Mountain Resort, Diamond Peak, Granlibakken, Homewood Mountain Resort, Mt. Rose–Ski Tahoe, Northstar-at-Tahoe, Squaw Valley USA and Sugar Bowl. Reservations are not required.