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    Second Most Populous City in Orange County

    Santa Ana is one of the densest populated cities in Orange County, CA. It is ethnically diverse, with a large Hispanic and Latino demographic. It is also the home of John Wayne Airport, expect traffic and all things that come with dense populations.


    One of the Safest Cities in the U.S.

    With one of the lowest recorded crime rates of cities with over 100,000 people, Irvine has been listed as having one of the lowest crime rates in the United States.


    Private Library

    The Mission Viejo Library is privately owned, and is one of the nicest libraries in the area. Enjoy quiet reading nooks among the rustic architecture and stone fireplace.


    Affluent Area

    It's normal to see multiple Hummers driving down the road, many of them custom vehicles with custom lift kits resembling something out of an action flick. The neighborhoods are manicured to perfection, and no pedestrians in sight for the most part (except runners or dog walkers). You need your own car to get around here, but there are plenty of nice little restaurants and upscale shops to pop into.


    Clark County is Conservative

    Once you cross the bridge from Portland into Vancouver, WA, expect the conservative vibe to go up about 5 notches. Having lived in Orange County, CA (also fairly conservative) I can say that Clark County has a similar feel, but with greater income disparity.




    The Moosalamoo National Recreation Area is absolutely wonderful. It is a huge wildlife park with a variety of walking trails and beautiful routes for driving. Well worth staying a day or two to experience this.

    Must go place for anyone visiting Chicago. We came during winter where it was host to a massive indoor winter wonderland! There are heaps of places to eat, drink, as well as buy your typical merchandise. There was an amazing fudge shop which was to die for. Would love to come back during the summer holidays to enjoy some of the outside activities.

    Nigel Wells

    Located in the heart of Downtown Vancouver, this park is home to the Farmer's Market on Saturdays and Sundays, and also features a fountain at Propstra Square that can be waded in and is made to look like rocks & rapids. During the summer months there are constant free attractions in the park, including live music and concerts, Movie Night in the park, Pub in the Park, and even a Hawaiian Festival. It's a very nice spot to sit and take in all that Downtown Vancouver has to offer.


    The Bowers Musuem was one the places I visited every time I hung out with grandma, who lives in Santa Ana. Some of the most amazing exhibits that I've seen have been at the Bower's Museum. Voted Best Museum of Orange County, I have to attest it certainly is worth checking out. The grounds are beautiful, the museum features culturally diverse exhibits on rotation, and a Kidseum for the younger crowd.


    The Opera House at Boothbay Harbor was built in 1894. It is a gorgeous building and well worth a visit, but the real attraction of course is the very large number and variety of acts and shows that are performed here. There are individual folk singers, jazz performances, all kinds of famous and infamous groups. If you know you are coming to Boothbay Harbor, book a show in advance. You won't be sorry.


    Places To Eat

    Low Bar

    A bar for the nerdy at heart! If you have grown tired of sitting at a pub watching whatever sport is playing on every screen, listening to pop music on repeat, surrounded by sports memorabilia, this place is for you and every other Sports Bar weary patron. This small but thriving establishment is next to Tommy O's. Expect to see movies like Shrek playing on the flat screens, music from Foster the People playing, and a nice nerdy vibe. The staff here aim to please, are friendly, and want to ensure you are happy with both your meal and drink order. Order at the bar (they don't have waiters) and try the Jo Jo's (corn meal crusted potato wedges).

    I find it a challenge to eat out with my many food sensitivities. When I came across the Jerusalem Restaurant in Downtown Vancouver I was pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere and thrilled with their fresh, authentic, and tasty cuisine. Family owned, Papa is in the back every time cooking up meals and running the place. The best falafel around, and certainly the most authentic! Enjoy this cute little place with it's interior made to look like a rustic Israeli cafe inside and music to match. Prices are moderate, $7-14 per order and some are big enough to share.


    This is the best kept secret in Vancouver for foodies! If you love (as I do) authentic banh mi sandwiches, then this place is for you. Vietnamese food at its finest, with pho soups, noodles, and rice plates in addition to their deli items. I go for the banh mi and coconut steamed buns (although I really shouldn't eat them). Expect fast & friendly customer service, great food, and a casual dining atmosphere. Their prices are a frugal foodie' dream, with banh mi sandwiches at under $4.


    Susty's Vegan Cafe is great. Good food, presented like a real cafe, not like so many vegan cafes


    Open from 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. this is a second location to the Original Olamendi's and serves the most authentic Mexican Cuisine you will find in Rancho Santa Margarita. I love their potato tacos, but I've also had their tacos and found those to be winners too. I will note that the service is not great, expect to wait for your food and sit on plastic chairs - but all worth it I assure you.


    Traveller Tips

    Pretty town to stroll around

    Just strolling around Woodstock will give your spirits a lift. It is a very pretty town. The shops are attractive, there is a large variety, cafes are great.


    Avoid Rush Hour Traffic

    If you find yourself driving around Santa Ana, know that during the week the morning rush hour starts at 7:00 a.m. and ends around 9:30 a.m., and the evening rush hour begins as early as 3:30 p.m. and ends around 7:00 p.m. Rush hour in these parts is hectic and can cause an unwary driver to get stuck in lanes you don't wish to be in, and other hazards.


    Lots to do at Hampton Beach

    If you like to be busy, mingling with the crowds, shopping etc Hampton Beach is for you. It feels frantic, and that is how a lot of people like it


    Take the Train Here

    If given the chance, take the train to this historic little spot. This train station is right up against the historic Los Rios District, and walking distance to many gourmet restaurants and cute boutique shops. The Mission San Juan Capistrano is right there, you get off and walk around this lazy town and hop back on the train.


    Upgrade Rental Car to 4WD

    We found ourselves out in the boonies in Duvall, WA. We got to our location no problem, going down the gravel road was easy, but our little economy 4-banger wasn't going to make it up. We had to take a running start and made it up the hill after two attempts, but stopped all traffic behind us. This area is full of windy, steep, and dark roads, that are treacherous at night in the rain. Watch out for hair pin turns!



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