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Best Last-Minute Labor Day Vacation Spots Near The Peninsula

Summertime and the living is easy, but fall must come and with it, the year's labors begin anew. If you haven't yet planned a Labor Day weekend vacation for you and yours, here are some last-minute suggestions that just might make you a hero to your loved ones. Three-day weekends can sometimes be the most memorable vacations, if you pick 'em right.
Jay's Timberlane Resort

Jayes Timberlane Resort
8705 Highway 9
Ben Lomond, CA 95005
(831) 336-5479

Everybody loves Santa Cruz, America's "Surf City." Less familiar are the river resorts along Highway 9, above Santa Cruz, cutting through the Santa Cruz mountains through the small towns of Felton, Ben Lomond and Boulder Creek. Here you'll find majestic redwoods in three spectacularly beautiful State Parks: Big Basin Redwoods State ParkCastle Rock State Park and Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. You will also be close to Roaring Camp, an impressive historical park recreating the look and feel of an old miners camp. And the Santa Cruz Boardwalk is within easy driving distance. If Jayes Timberlane Resort is booked solid at the last minute, there are many other possible choices in the towns of Felton, Ben Lomond, Boulder Creek and Santa Cruz.

Related: Great Weekend Getaways Around The Bay

Solvang, California

1639 Copenhagen Drive
Solvang, CA 93463
(805) 688-6144

In the beautiful Santa Ynez valley, north of Santa Barbara, is the lovely town of Solvang, California. Founded in 1911 by Danish immigrants, Solvang is an authentic Danish town in its architecture and culture. Many of the original families remain and the authenticity of this landmark is without question. The buildings are beautiful and the food, especially the pastries, is worth a pilgrimage from afar. While here, be certain to visit the lovely Hans Christian Andersen Museum. Also, take the time to drive to nearby Lompoc to visit the spectacular La Purisima Mission. There are more than a dozen hotels within the town of Solvang, and many more in the adjacent communities. Most of these are listed at the town's website at the link above, so it should be easy to find a last-minute booking.

berkeley city club

Berkeley City Club
2315 Durant Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 848-7800

Nearer to home is the Berkeley City Club, a beautiful building designed by the great Julia Morgan, who also designed the famed Hearst Castle. In fact, she often referred to the Berkeley City Club as "her little castle." Originally the Berkeley Women's Club, the Club remains active as a membership club for local residents but is also a functioning hotel. It is officially listed as a California Architectural Landmark, and deservedly so. Every detail is astonishing. Most impressive is the Turkish-style indoor swimming pool, similar to the one found at Hearst Castle. It is also the home of an excellent restaurant, Julia's. The Club is immediately next door to UC Berkeley and within easy walking distance from the many restaurants, bars and cinemas that serve the local student population.

Related: Your Guide To The Bay Areas Best Beaches

murphy's hotel

Murphy's Historic Hotel
457 Main St.
Murphys, CA 95247
(209) 728-3444

Along Highway 49, you'll find gold country. Along this famous road are many small towns, originally settled by the 49ers of the 19th century who were searching for gold. These towns pride themselves on maintaining their historical character and work hard to provide a great experience for tourists, especially in offering fine food and fine music. A trip to any of them is a step back in time. The many communities out that way include Jamestown, Twain Harte, Angels Camp and Murphys. Any of them will offer an unforgettable experience. If you can, try to stay at Murphy's Historic Hotel, the oldest hotel in California, established in 1856. This gem is an official National Landmark. If it is booked up, check out the alternatives in the many small towns along Highway 49 and you'll be sure to find something.

pescadero creek

Pescadero Creek Inn
393 Stage Road, PO Box 668
Pescadero, CA 94060
(650) 879-1898

Pescadero is a tiny town between San Francisco and Santa Cruz, right along the San Mateo coast. The center of town features a general store, a couple of antique shops and a destination restaurant (Duartes Tavern) famous for its artichoke soup. What makes the town truly spectacular is the quiet and the scenery of rolling hills and redwoods, plus the nearby seashore. If you are looking for something tranquil, you will be delighted. Bring your bicycle!

Charles Kruger is well known in the Bay area as "The Storming Bohemian" ever since he entered the Bay Area cultural scene in the summer of 2009, attending 90 cultural events in 90 days and blogging about it. This project was successful enough to warrant a mention in The New York Times. His coverage of Bay area theatre can be found at

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