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Steinbeck Country embraces, celebrates famed author

By Irene Middleman Thomas

19 January, 2014 Click here to see the story in the News Tribune

Pinnacles National Park, where your spirit can soar like the condors

Few places on earth shelter such a symphony of geological features, flora and fauna

10 January, 2014 Click here to see the story in the Chicago Tribune

Salinas Valley "Steinbeck Country" Celebrates the Author

By Irene Middleman Thomas

6 January, 2014 Click here to see the story in the Kansas City Star

The World's Salad Bowl!

Watching Wildlife and Savoring Artichokes in California's Salinas Valley

1 January, 2014 Click here to see the story in Veg World

Discovering Pinnacles, Americas' Newest National Park

If you're looking for a spirtual experience, this is the place to be

2 January, 2014 Click here to see the story in the Washington Post

Monterey Bay Area is California Unplugged!

South of San Jose, it's ideal for grand adventures

20 December, 2013 Click here to see the story in the Des Moines Register

Food Riot Roundup

The Bakery Station

2 December, 2013 Click here to see the story by Wini Moranville

Great Food - Artichokes!


27 November, 2013 Great Day KCWI Des Moines, Iowa

Salinas' Steinbeck Center

A Lover of Words on Display

13 October, 2013 Click here to see story in the Sacramento Bee

A Wine Trail in the Santa Lucia Highands

River Road Wine Trail Above the Salinas River

7 October, 2013 Click here to see the story in USA Today

Pinnacles National Park is Ready to Rock!

Newest National Park Provides Rocky Adventure

31 May 2013  Click here to see the story in USA Today

Phil's Fish Market is #1 on BBC's Travel section:

Moss Landing Gem Named Best Beach Restaurant!

18 April 2013 Click here to see the story in BBC Travel

Salinas Named Top 10 Wine Travel Destination in the World

Wine Enthusiast Magazine Names Monterey County as Undiscovered Gem

15 January 2013 Click here to see the story in Wine Enthusiast

River Road - Not So Secret Wine Tasting

San Francisco Chronicle Article by Christine Delsol

24 January 2010 Click here to see the story in The San Francisco Chronicle

Salinas411 Video Channel on YouTube!
SALINAS, Calif. - Check out these behind-the-scenes videos featuring Salinas' interesting secrets.

Old Town Ambassadors Hit the Streets
SALINAS, Calif. - Who says "there's nothing to do in Salinas?"  A new program in Old Town Salinas is helping both locals and visitors to the area.  Click here to see the story from KCBA Fox 35 News

New Ambassadors Help Educate Oldtown Tourists

5 Young People Make Up Ambassador Group

8 July 2009  Click here to see the story by KSBW8 News

Destination Salinas Aims to Improve City's Image to Visitors

9 July 2009
Click here to read the Californian article by Sunita Vijayan

Did you know famed author John Steinbeck used to get his rejection letters at the old post office on Gabilan Street in Salinas? If you didn't, don't fret.

A new program called Destination Salinas has been formed to answer just those kinds of obscure trivia questions and to welcome tourists to the city.

The effort is spearheaded by Trish Sullivan, founder of First Fridays Art Walk in Oldtown Salinas, who says the idea stems from constantly hearing complaints that there's nothing to do in Salinas.
"I would be walking around downtown and I'd meet people from all over the world, all over the country and all over the state," said Sullivan on Wednesday. "If you go into any store or restaurant, you would hear a person ask: 'Is there somewhere to eat or stay?' And 95 percent of the time, you'd get a local person who would say: 'You don't want to stay in Salinas, you want to go to Monterey' .... That was like a big wake-up call."

She answered that call by establishing Destination Salinas Tourism and Information, with the help of groups including local businesses and historians.

A visitor center run by the group, site of the first bank in Salinas, is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily at 4 W. Gabilan St. It is manned by five volunteers who are called Oldtown Ambassadors. The center, which opened its doors about two months ago, provides services including guided tours and a history of the city.

Every day, the volunteers dressed in khaki shirts ' roam the streets of Oldtown Salinas, putting a friendly face on the city for locals and tourists alike.

"We meet a lot of people from Europe, Russia, Barcelona," said 16-year-old Abby Molina, an Everett Alvarez High student.

A guestbook started just two weeks ago is already on its way to being completely filled with notes by "guests" visiting from Los Angeles to New Zealand.

For volunteers Jasmin Leon, 15, a North Salinas High student, and Andreina Hernandez, 20, a Hartnell College student, it has been a learning experience. Having grown up in Salinas, Leon and Hernandez said they were surprised to learn how much history the city has to offer especially in the old buildings that still exist in the Oldtown area.

Of the five volunteers, Leon and Hernandez are the only ones getting paid as part of the youth program through the One Stop Career Center.

Sullivan said her immediate plans are to expand the Ambassadors program and solicit more sponsorship for the "Real Salinas History Tour," a self-guided tour that uses a cell phone.

Eventually, Sullivan said, she hopes to apply to the state for a welcome center.

On Wednesday afternoon, Leon, Molina and Hernandez walked through Main Street searching for tourists who had the signs of "looking lost." Just 15 minutes later, they bumped into a family from San Francisco in search of places to eat and shop.

"It's a cool job to get paid for," said Hernandez, beaming. "It's relaxing, enjoyable and we're learning at the same time."

Contact the author at svijayan@thecalifornian.com

Historic Salinas Postcards Released

Scenes of the Past - Postcards Capture Salinas History

10 September 2008 -- Click here to read the Californian article by Dave Nordstrand

Much of Salinas' past can be squeezed into a 4-by-6-inch frame, be it a farrier shoeing a bony horse or a fleet of proud buildings lining Main Street.

Of course, you have to drift back 100 years or so to capture the moment, but a set of images newly printed on postcards makes that kind of time travel a snap.

The images are culled from the Monterey County Historical Society archives, and they're being sold under a joint agreement between the Society and Artistas Unidos, a group of Salinas-area artists.

"People in Salinas are constantly looking for Salinas postcards to send to friends, and there have been none," said Trish Sullivan, Artistas Unidos director.

Now there are.

Already five of the cards depicting historical Salinas are available and sold at several businesses, and more are scheduled for printing.

One shows downtown Main Street circa 1920.

You see the Bon Ton Café, the Pia Building. You see the Army Store and autos featuring spoke wheels and running boards.

Dominating the scene, though, is the Bardin House, one of the first hotels in Salinas and later to become The Franciscan Hotel.

The building burned in 1945, but when it stood it occupied the space where the National Steinbeck Center and a city-owned garage sit today.

In another scene, this one from 1890, a blacksmith in leather apron and sleeves rolled over his biceps shoes a horse.

The image is from inside Lacey's Blacksmith Shop, which preceded Lacey Garage near Market and Monterey streets.

Others show:Historic Cominos Hotel Main Street Salinas

  The Hotel Cominos, 150 Main St. Built in 1873 by Carlisle Abbott on the site of the Half Way House, the first building in what was to become "Salinas," it was originally called the Abbott House.

The Cominos survived the great 1906 earthquake only to be torn down following the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake.

  An electric float, also called "The Popular Hat of Salinas." Built by Chinese Freemasons, it was featured in the Rodeo Parade. As the story goes, "Big Hat" was the 1931 theme for the event.

  Another postcard shows a circa-1915 south-looking view of Main Street. You see electric lights originally strung across the street for the California Rodeo Big Week in 1911.

In the distance, where Main Street makes a slight turn at San Luis Street, stands Bardin Hospital, built in 1906.

The historical postcards go for $1.50. So far, they're sold at Rooms in Bloom, 248 Main St., and at Super Max Discount Foods, 935 W. Alisal St., Sullivan said.

Plans are to get them into many other outlets.

One idea is to issue the images on stationery. Another is to tap into the extensive collection of Historical Society photos and to issue a series of 12 postcards in a year, then switch to a different set, keeping history fresh and collectible as the weeks and years tick by and the present tends to forget the past.

DAVE NORDSTRAND is a staff writer for The Salinas Californian. His column appears Wednesday and Saturday in Central Coast Living. Contact him at dnordstrand@thecalifornian.com


Destination Salinas Opens Shop

Salinas Welcome Center - Tourist Info Station a Reality

15 July 2008 -- Destination Salinas gets space in Oldtown Salinas!

See articles in The Californian and Monterey Herald about the Salinas License Plate Frames:
A Lot on Her Plate by Marie Vasari, July 22, 2008 & Ride With Some Salinas Pride by Jose San Mateo, July 23, 2008

Destination Salinas : License Plate Series
Salinas, July 1, 2008: NEW IMAGE FOR A NEW TOWN JULY 1, 2008.  Destination Salinas license plate holders celebrate Salinas ’ culture and delight in our community.
Celebrate a new image for Salinas !   Destination Salinas , founded by Trish Sullivan, has made a commitment to help our city rediscover our cultural and historical assets.  Locals tend to forget the treasures in their own back yard, and many people living in Salinas – even natives – are unaware of the fascinating history and cultural richness of Salinas .
“I’m proud to be a resident of Salinas , so I feel this is something I can do to demonstrate that I love living here!  The main asset we have to share is that Salinas is authentic.  We have kept our identity as a hard working city, saved many of our historic buildings, and artworks, and added more – such as the murals all around town.” Sullivan states.
“In Salinas I know all of my neighbors – not just next door – down the street and around the corner, too!” she adds, “When I hear someone say, ‘there’s nothing to do in Salinas,’ I quote John Steinbeck: ‘There’s always something to do Salinas.’  And even though he said it tongue-in-cheek, think about the Western Stage, Ariel Theater, National Steinbeck Center , First Fridays Art Walk, our six Farmer’s Markets, live music at three restaurants I know of on the weekends: Casa Sorrento, Hullabaloo, and Las Comadres, not to mention the Rodeo, the Airshow, and Passport to Cherry’s.” 
Sullivan is noted for founding the successful First Fridays Art Walk in Oldtown Salinas, which is marking its three-year anniversary on September 5, 2008.   She currently provides facilitation for the Salinas Arts Congress which is an innovative forum for local citizens, artists, and arts professionals to “harness the power of the arts in our community for the good of Salinas ,” as Mayor Donohue puts it.
 The Fresh Air Art Gallery , on the 200 block of Main Street , is another inventive program Sullivan founded for local artists to show and market their work. The open air gallery provides an opportunity to welcome community participation and raise awareness of the incredible talent right in our back yard at the Mid-Week Marketplace in Oldtown Salinas, every Wednesday night 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM. 
‘When I first started the First Fridays Art Walk, I was shocked at the numbers of attendees who had never been the John Steinbeck House.  Then I began talking to more people, and realized that many had not even been downtown for 10 or 20 years.  I kept hearing people exclaim: ‘I didn’t know this was here!’ about one of our many fun boutiques.  That is when I realized that we need to raise the awareness of our community about the good things we have going,” Sullivan says.  ”The license plate holder is one little step towards community pride.”
Another step is the historical walking tours planned over the next few months during the Art Walk.  Several dedicated professionals are volunteering to lead these free tours for residents.  The local historians and tour guides will provide accounts about the architecture and history of Salinas , as well as information regarding the public art and stories about John Steinbeck.  “You won’t want to miss these if you live in Salinas ,” states Carol Robles, a local historian.  “A tour is a great way to get in touch with the history of Salinas , and learn some fun and interesting stories about the place we live.”
A historical postcard series will be released in the near future.  The Salinas Historic Postcard Project is collaboration between the Monterey County Historical Society and Destination Salinas to share photographs from the archives of the organizations’ Boronda Adobe location with the public.  “We started with images representing the notable hotels of Old Salinas, the Bardin House, Salinas Hotel, and the Cominos,” states Mona Gudgel, the executive Director of the Monterey County Historical Society, “subsequently there will be photographs of historic parades, an early Rodeo celebrity and much more.”
Celebrate Salinas with a Real Salinas License Plate Holder and help spread the word! Plate holders are available at the Salinas Chamber of Commerce 119 East Alisal Street, Salinas . For more information call 831-758-9126 or 831.594.1799.


For More Information Contact:

Destination Salinas Toursim & Information
222 Main Street
Post Office Box 548, Salinas, CA 93902
Tel: 831.435.INFO
FAX: 831.435.3646
Internet: Trish@Salinas411.org


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