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by Bonnie Carroll

Laura & Jack Dangermond

Celebrating the Gaviota Coast and the philanthropists who have led the way in preserving it, the Gaviota Coast Conservancy (GCC) held Coastal Legacy 2019, an elegant afternoon that was the group’s first community-wide public fundraising event held at the Music Academy of the West which attracted over 250 attendees and raised more than $60,000 for the conservation non-profit.

Coastal Legacy 2019 Award Presentation

Political dignitaries attending the afternoon event included Congressman Salud Carbajal, State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, County Supervisor 3rd District Joan Hartman, Former Mayor Helene Schneider and County Supervisor Das Williams 1st District.

Jack and Laura Dangermond, who donated $165M to create the Dangermond Preserve, were GCC’s Coastal Legacy 2019 Honorees. Due to their inability to attend the award was accepted for them by Michael Bell, Director of the Jack & Laura Dangermond Preserve , who gave an impassioned thanks and acknowledgment of the grass roots work GCC has done for decades. Please view this heart warming video from the Dangermond's that was played for attendees https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4w3Qc-k6f4.

The Marilyn Horne House, which was once the center of the Miraflores Estate, created a charming setting where guests enjoyed sips by Oreana Wines, bites from Seasons Catering, and live music performed by a bevy of local artists, while perusing the silent auction tables.

A very entertaining live auction was lead by KEYT3 John Palminteri, and the 'Raise Your Paddle' fun was directed by Geoff Green, CEO, SBCC Foundation. Auction gifts included seductive escape venues and a private group tour of the Gaviota Coast and raised considerable dollars for the charity. The army of volunteers deserve kudos for creating an ambiance that was so warm and welcoming from beginning to end.

Maintaining agriculture, ecological integrity and public access to the Gaviota Coast is GCC’s mission. A dedicated group of concerned activists have been observing, guarding and protecting this area from questionable developers with their eyes on this land. According to Steve Forsell, GCC Board President “to maintain the rural character of our coast, the Gaviota Coast Conservancy actively engages with landowners and developers and finds solutions for permanently protecting privately owned parcels.”

The Gaviota Coast Conservancy mission is to protect, restore and enhance the unique natural, scenic, agricultural, recreational, educational and cultural resources of the open space lands of the Gaviota Coast for the benefit of current and future generations. For Contributions and information please visit: For www.gaviotacoastconservancy.org.

Note: On Saturday, March 14, 2020 1:30-7:00 p.m. there will be a roundtrip narrated tour of the Gaviota coast by bus and train with outstanding views of Vandenberg AFB, the newly created Dangermond Preserve. Cost per person is $125.00 For reservations visit www.Gaviotacoastconservancy.ort/hiddencoasttour.



During my recent visit to lovely a collection of small towns in France, Germany and Switzerland I noticed the Farmer's Markets were already preparing for the Christmas Market season where everything Chrismas can be found, including cakes, cookies, tree ornaments, and a bevy of holiday gifts. I love the farmer's markets any time of year but the holidays are a special treat. Viking has some great holiday trips at affordable cruise prices; go to www.viking.com for details.

Beautiful cakes, baked in traditional ceramics and ginger bread cookies are a favorite of mine. I also found some wonderful holiday inspired gummy candies.


Top places to photograph in Ottawa this fall

Autumn may be the most photogenic time of the year in Canada’s capital, with colourful foliage contrasting deep blue skies throughout the city and in the countryside. Take advantage of this vibrant season to explore some of the best places to photograph this fall in Ottawa. Here are a few great areas to consider thanks to the Ottawa Visitors Burear.

Hog’s Back Falls

Ottawa has its fair share of pretty waterfalls and among the prettiest is Hog’s Back Falls. Located just south of downtown – a short walk from Mooney’s Bay Beach and Carleton University – this cascade is a beautiful place to explore in the fall. Enjoy different vantage points by walking along the paths on both sides of the falls, and make sure to head down the path on the west side to the rocky area at the bottom for a unique perspective.

TIP: If you love to bike, Hog’s Back Falls can be reached by both the Rideau Canal pathway and the multi-use pathway along the Rideau River.

Gatineau Park

A top spot to visit all year-long, Gatineau Park is at its most spectacular in the fall when the forest is a rainbow of colours. Only a 15-minute drive from downtown Ottawa, endless photo ops await in this 361 square kilometer park. Take a scenic drive, explore waterfalls deep in the forest, hike to scenic lookouts or take the path less travelled and adventure to abandoned ruins.

TIP: Take advantage of free family programming as well as free shuttle bus service during Fall Rhapsody weekends each autumn.

Dominion Arboretum

Slip on your comfy shoes, pack your camera and head to the Dominion Arboretum – a jewel of nature near the city centre! Only a short walk from the Rideau Canal’s Dows Lake, the Arboretum is home to more than 2,000 varieties of trees and shrubs that make for some spectacular fall photos. Follow one of the many winding paths and spend an afternoon exploring this beautiful landscape.

TIP: To get a view of the Arboretum from the water, rent a canoe, kayak or other water craft from Dows Lake Pavilion (open until Thanksgiving weekend). Paddle the Rideau Canal – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and enjoy this tranquil experience and a different vantage point.

Mer Bleue Bog

An Instagram-worthy boardwalk, unique wildlife and a picturesque landscape are only a few of the elements that draw people to the Mer Bleue Bog. A short 20-minute drive east of downtown Ottawa takes you to this unique 7,700-year-old bog which has an ecosystem more reminiscent of the Arctic than the Ottawa Valley. The northern boreal landscape is home to regionally rare plants and birds that can be easily spotted along the scenic and universally accessible 1.2 kilometer boardwalk trail. The Mer Bleue Bog is one of several conservation areas in Ottawa’s Greenbelt that feature unique farms, forests and wetlands. Fall colours and activities are worth exploring at each location!

TIP: For the ultimate Mer Bleue experience, hike up the six-kilometre (3.7-mile) forest trail that leads up to a sandy escarpment overlooking the bog’s landscape.

ByWard Market

The ByWard Market is a bustling place during harvest season and one of our favourite spots to photograph in the fall. From pumpkins and wheat bundles to fresh picked apples and artisanal products, this historic indoor and outdoor market is definitely the place to get into the fall spirit.

TIP: Stop by the Moulin de Provence bakery for delicious fall-themed cookies, specialty coffees, or decadent French pastries.

Major’s Hill Park

The views from Major’s Hill Park are stunning throughout the year but there’s nothing like seeing the park’s trees aglow with autumn colours. Grab one of Ottawa’s best fall treats to enjoy as you stroll around the various lookout points and capture the postcard-perfect views of the Ottawa River and Parliament Hill.

TIP: Tavern on the Hill (one of Ottawa’s popular patios) stays open until Thanksgiving weekend. Stop in for a pint and a gourmet hot dog. Perfect selfie spot!

Parc Omega

One of the most spectacular places to visit in the fall is Parc Omega, located a 45-minute drive from downtown Ottawa in Montebello, Quebec. Head out on a Canadian style self-drive safari and explore diverse habitats while getting up close and personal with Canadian wildlife. Seeing moose, bison, bears and wolves with a multihued backdrop is a special fall experience you won’t want to miss.

TIP: To fully immerse yourself in the Parc Omega experience, try one of their cool overnight accommodations in the forest, including a wi-tent (a heated tipi), or stay in a traditional log cabin. Overnight guests get exclusive access to a boardwalk overlooking both the wolf and bear habitats.

Eagles Nest Lookout

Hiking is always a great way to enjoy the fall season, especially when the reward is a lookout like this! Located in Calabogie, about an hour’s drive west of downtown Ottawa, Eagles Nest Lookout is an easy 1.5 kilometers hike that culminates with an incredible panoramic view atop a 120-metre cliff!

TIP: Head to nearby Calabogie resort to refuel after your hike, or stay overnight to check out many other great hikes in the area, like Manitou Mountain and the Skywalk Trail.


In Morrisburg, Ont., about an hour’s drive south of downtown Ottawa, Upper Canada Village puts on an incredible show every fall during Pumpkinferno. An Instagrammer’s dream, this 1-kilometer long path through the historic site showcases over 7,000 hand-carved pumpkins that are lit and arranged in impressive displays. Charge your camera batteries and empty your memory cards – this event is truly one of a kind!

TIP: Warm up midway through the path at the Harvest Barn Restaurant. Hot meals, cider and pumpkin pie are all available for a much-awaited snack.

Looking for other photogenic and fun autumn inspiration? See our suggestions on how you can fall for the perfect pumpkin patch and apple orchard in Ottawa.

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© 2008 Bonnie Carroll, All Rights Reserved