A Peaceful Retreat on Catalina Island, California

When lifeís stresses and strains get too much for you, head over to Catalina Island and youíll find a peaceful retreat thatís bound to have you relaxed in no time. The island, is only approximately 22 physical miles from the mainland, but in terms of lifestyle and sheer population, itís a lifetime away. With only 2 ports on the island, one into the main town of Avalon, and the other into the more secluded side of the island at Two Harbors, and only two ways onto the island, via the water or helicopter, thereís very little noise from vehicles. Relatively few cars exist on the island and most visitors either get around on foot or bicycle.

Despite being such a small island, there are things to do here on the days when you feel like doing something a little more energetic than watching the sun move around, and when you first arrive on Catalina Island you should visit the local Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau which will give you all the information you need about whatís on, where to find it, and of course ideas of where to stay and eat if you havenít already made reservations. In the peak months however, you should always at least reserve your room before venturing across to the island. Although you may be lucky to arrive and find a room free, itís not likely during high season because of the limited amount of accommodation available.

Two of the most popular places to visit on Catalina Island are the Catalina Island Museum which charts the history of the island through itís various stages from the more recent history through the Hollywood era (the island was one of the first main Hollywood film sets) right back to the Native Americans. Just about 2 miles out of Avalon youíll find the Wrigley Botanical Gardens which will delight anyone who has an interest in flora and fauna. William Wrigley (as in the chewing gum empire) once owned the island and you could even stay in his mansion which is now converted into a bed and breakfast establishment.

Catalina Island may not sound very exciting when compared with the attractions of Los Angeles and San Francisco, but for anyone needing to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, itís a perfect beach oasis.

Discover Yosemite National Park, California

California had been a fully-fledged state for about a year before Yosemite was discovered. These days the park isnít quite so secluded but itís still home to some of the most stunning scenery to be found in the world. Although it can’t boast the huge canyon panorama’s of the Grand Canyon, or the fabulous powerful waterfalls famous at Niagara, Yosemite has something that ís quite unique in that it has so many different natural environments within the one area ñ from amazing mountain top views, to crystal streams, natural water features, glaciers and meadowlands, Yosemite has something different to show at almost each turn in the road.

The first place you need to stop at is Yosemite Village. If you’re planning on staying overnight in the park, this is also the area you’ll probably be sleep as almost all overnight park guests prefer to stay within this 8 square mile area. The Village is where you’ll find a good map to help you locate all the park highlights (invaluable if you don’t have much time to spend in the park!), as well as tell you whatís happening around the park that day. If you want to take advantage of any of the shuttle buses that operate between the Village and some of the park’s highlights, this is also the place you need to be.

If you want to get more in touch with nature, whilst not getting to far off the beaten track (and there’s plenty of opportunity for that too!), then plan to explore the eastern side of the park where there are stricter restrictions on transportation with cars not being allowed into the area. Here you can ride the shuttle bus into the area and then enjoy some hiking or alternatively cycle in, without the sound of constant car engines interfering with the sounds of nature.

Yosemite isn’t just for summer, and although some of its finest views such as the meadow will be covered over, itís also a winter playground for those who love snow sports. If you plan on visiting the park during the winter months however, make sure you check what parts of the park are accessible and open, and what facilities youíll find there. Youíll also find that the type of accommodation will be more limited during the winter months so book in advance around any main holiday periods.

Even if you only have a day to spend at Yosemite National Park, you’ll see things that will provide memories to last a lifetime, whether it’s the Yosemite Falls (North America’s highest falls), the huge redwood trees of Mariposa Grove or the alpine beauty of the Tuolumne Meadows.

Get a Taste for Romance in the Napa Valley, California

The Napa Valley area of California is synonymous with good quality wines, but itís also a great place for a romantic vacation with a touch of class! Itís also within easy driving distance of San Francisco.

The vineyards in the Napa Valley are a wonderful place to explore, many of them open their doors to the public ñ some owners even allow wine tasting (so check in advance whatís available if this is something youíd like to take part in) evenings ñ and give visitors an opportunity to see where and how the wine is nurtured and matured. Some vineyards also offer a restaurant service, accompanied by good wine of course, and because they arenít commercial restaurants, they usually only cater for small numbers making it a special romantic experience.

You donít have to like wine to enjoy a romantic vacation in the Napa Valley. This part of California doesnít attract as many visitors as either the larger cities, or even the nearby Yosemite National Park, and the kind of visitors who do choose the Napa Valley are usually those who are looking for a little peace and quite on their holiday. Because of the tourist demographic, you are unlikely to encounter large groups with families and loud teens looking to party ñ both of which could ruin a time when you want to spend quality time with your partner!

That doesnít mean however that the Napa Valley is without its own form of excitement. Thereís more to this area than watching grapes grow, and wandering around musky wine cellars! The scenery of the Valley is one of itís major features, and the perfect way to celebrate a special occasion such as an anniversary would be to take a hot air balloon ride over the area. There are a number of different options available to you, but most of them start at the crack of dawn so be prepared for an early start to the day. Once the balloon rises, and the Napa Valley spreads out below you, the tiredness will soon be forgotten however! Make your reservation for the trip of your choice before you leave home, balloon trips are quite popular and especially in peak vacation times have their places booked out quickly!

If you are in the process of planning a vacation for you and your partner, and want to go somewhere romantic, take a closer look at the Napa Valley. It could be just what youíre looking for.

a vacation for you and your partner, and want to go somewhere romantic, take a closer look at the Napa Valley. It could be just what youíre looking for.

Discover the Highlights of Northern California

When people think of California, they usually think of Los Angeles and movie stars, or alternatively, Palm Springs and golf courses. But there’s a lot of fun to be had up north too.

San Francisco is probably the most well-known city in northern California, and offers a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy. From trolley cars to Ghirardelli chocolate and onto Pier 39, there’s no limit to the amount of fun to be had in this cosmopolitan city. With shopping galore, sea lions down on the beach, restaurants enough to satisfy even the most varied of taste buds, and history that includes earthquakes and the infamous Alcatraz prison.

If you’re looking for a more peaceful trip to the area, Yosemite National Park offers something for the inner nature lover in all of us. Whether you want to enjoy the scenery from a hotel room window or camp out in a tent to enjoy nature up front and personal, you’ll find what you’re looking for at Yosemite. Even farther up north is the amazing Redwood National Park, with its gigantic trees and serene atmosphere. Here you’ll gain not only a true appreciation for the beauty and diversity of this world, but will also find a new perspective on life!

Itís not really possible to mention northern Californian highlights without mentioning the Napa Valley area. For the wine aficionados of the world, Napa Valley is heaven on earth. There are wine tasting parties and open houses almost year-round ñ just make sure to call ahead or check on the Internet to see what the latest information is. The Napa Valley also has some amazing landscapes to appreciate.

For history buffs, the northern California is a gold mine of Spanish missions, gold rush exhibits, and railroad museums. If you’re interested in how California evolved into to what it is today, you’ll love exploring all of the museums and exhibits dedicated to this time period.

Whatever youíre looking for in a vacation, whether it’s wild nights or wildlife, or high living or high summits, youíre sure to find it in beautiful northern California.

Things to do with Kids in San Francisco, California

Want to have a little bit of fun with your kids while in San Francisco, California this summer? Thatís not hard with so many wonderful attractions, all you need to do is figure out which ones are perfect for your child.

Most children delight in seeing things that are just unbelievable or disgusting and they can find all sorts of ìoddî items over at Ripley’s Believe it Or Not Museum. Imagine their faces when they see a two headed cow or a cable car made entirely out of matchsticks. These are just a few of the weird things they have in this two floor museum,

If the museum isn’t to their liking maybe theyíd like to walk over to the Golden Gate Park. Try burning off some of that energy they have by taking them to the childrenís playground. There are swings to swing on, a carousel to ride as well as many tubes to slither through. The adults may enjoy a picnic at one of the benches, followed by visiting the De Young Museum. Before you leave, make sure you all get a chance to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. This will be something they can tell all their friends once they get home.

Older children, and boys in particular, should be fascinated by a trip Alcatraz ñ and even if the ex prison itself isnít of interest, theyíre sure to at least enjoy the boat trip to get there!

If you don’t think your kids will be scared, a visit to the Wax Museum down at the Fishermanís Wharf is a good way to spend some time. Your child will get to walk through the chamber of horrors, meet King Tut and all his glory and walk back through the history of sports and entertainment. Each figure looks so like the real thing itís freaky.

Back in the outdoors Pier 39 is a great place to take kids, and in particular, a visit into the Aquarium of the Bay where they can not only admire the many varieties of sea life on display, but can walk through an arch where the fish swim overhead! Less gentle entertainment can be found at the Riptide Arcade and nearby Turbo Ride.

San Francisco is a great place for adults to spend a vacation, but itís also a city that has something for everyone ñ including the kids!

Info for Taking a Mexican Day Trip whilst in San Diego, California

So going to California may sound like a great vacation place, but to add a bit of vitality and exotic excitement to your holiday, how about taking a short day trip across the border into Mexico? If you are in the San Diego, a detour into Tijuana, Mexico is easier than you might think ñ you can even take the San Diego Trolley down to the border from where you can walk across.

One of the most important things to remember is that this is legally leaving the US and so you MUST have your passport, or other forms of ID (including photographic) with you otherwise youíre going to have problems getting back into the US! Although you canít use your driverís license in place of a passport, you can use this as photographic evidence along with other proof of nationality. Whilst you are in Mexico make sure that you keep your official papers in a safe place and never unattended.

The US/Mexico border is open 24 hours a day, so thereís no closing time, but if you are relying on the trolley bus to get you back to central San Diego, you need to find out the time the last trolley runs each night and ensure you cross the border at least an hour before that ñ depending on how many tourists have spent the day in Mexico, and how many of them have paperwork problems on their return, it can take over 45mins to clear customs ñ better still, aim to catch the one-before-last trolley so you have a fallback plan if something goes wrong at the border patrol!

If you have a hire car for your California vacation, you wonít be allowed to take this across the border so be prepared to park it on the American side of the border and then either walking or taking the shuttle bus across. If you have your own car, you have the option of taking your car into Mexico, or parking it on the US side of the border. If you take your car, note that you will need to allow for more time to clear customs and immigration at the US border on your return into America, than you would if you were on foot.

Make sure you get a map with local information on it before entering Mexico. Find out which areas are ìsafeî and tourist friendly, the areas to avoid, and where you can go for help if you get into some kind of trouble. Most tourists to Mexico have a great time and return to the US unscathed and wanting to return another day, there are however, those who donít. As long as you stick to the tourist ìrulesî and take warnings issued by the US government seriously, youíll have a great time and be one of those people who long to return to Mexico another time.

Nori Castillo Skydeck Advisory Board

Nobel Laureate Oliver Williamson joins SkyDeck Advisory Board

SkyDeck is fulfilled to report the extension of Nobel Laureate Oliver Williamson to our Advisory Board.

Oliver Williamson is Professor of the Graduate School and the Edgar F. Kaiser Professor Emeritus of Business, Economics, and Law at the University of California, Berkeley.

He is a person from the National Academy of Sciences and is a related of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society. He has been conceded 13 advantaged degrees. He has been a Fulbright Professor, a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, a Distinguished Senior U.S. Specialist, Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, and a John von Neumann Lecturer. He was conceded the 1988 Irwin Award for Scholarly Contributions to Management, the H. C. Recktenwald Prize in Economics for 2004, and was named a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association in 2007.

Educator Williamson was allowed the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2009.

Caroline Winnett, SkyDeck Executive Director, says that “Educator Williamson’s work will be of valuable preferred standpoint to the new organizations at SkyDeck. The usage of his work in return cost budgetary issues will convey a structure for working with new organizations that has never been researched. We are eager to have him oblige us at SkyDeck in impelling risky new organizations at Berkeley.”





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SkyTeam Transcense wins Grand Prize

SkyTeam Transcense wins Grand Prize at LAUNCH

We are pleased to report that Transcense brought home the excellent prize and $25,000 at LAUNCH the previous evening! The SkyTeam was one of 15 groups that made it to the finals, and they conveyed their contribute front of pressed house in the Andersen Auditorium at the Haas School of Business. The seventeenth Annual occasion was facilitated by the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and was the perfection of a thorough four-month educational modules to refine client fragments, create deals designs, and characterize measurements.

Excited that Transcense won the Berkeley LAUNCH rivalry the previous evening. It’s a collaboration. From the organizers, buckling down on empowering access to amass discussions to 400M hard of hearing and nearly deaf individuals, yet in addition the resolute help and input from our group of clients. At long last, the mentorship of the most recent three months of splendid SkyDeck counselors and coaches helped all of us en route, sharing their experience so we could settle on the correct choices. Everything comes down to an extraordinary planning among other enthusiastic business visionaries taking care of genuine issues. We couldn’t be more regarded to having been working with them. There’s this vitality accross all Berkeley entrepreneurial spots that is very one of a kind to here. Glad to be a piece of it. – Thibault Duchemin, Transcense Founder and CEO

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