California Fall Highlights: From Yosemite & Autumn Foliage to a Norman Rockwell Exhibit

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Every October the California tourism industry meets with the media to showcase all that’s new in the Golden State. This year was no different and the range of new attractions and events on tap for northern California is more than enough to get people out and about rain or shine the next few months. Here’s a round up of some of the region’s news:

Yosemite National Park’s brilliant autumn foliage will be at its peak the next two or three weeks, said John Poimiroo, who produces a website devoted to California fall colors. Despite this week’s storm that put a damper on some of the colors, “it’s been a spectacular season so far. Leaves turned early and the colors have lasted a long time,” he said.

Yosemite will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the national park movement through 2014 with symposiums, art exhibits, film festivals, concerts and more. In the midst of the Civil War — on June 30, 1864 — President Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant Act to protect Yosemite and Mariposa Grove, a move which marks the creation of the U.S. national park system.

Some people may not think vibrant nightlife when they think of Monterey County but it’s there, says the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Attic, a watering hole that drew John Steinbeck and other local residents five decades ago has reopened.

The owner is the original owner’s grandson and bar goers sip drinks in the same place where Steinbeck and Doc Ricketts imbibed in a newly expanded space on Alvarado Street. Just a short stroll away Restaurant 1833 in a historic adobe attracts a lively crowd for cocktails.

San Francisco’s Pier 39 has a new thrill ride that combines ups and downs of a roller coaster (a simulated one) with an interactive shooting game. It’s called the 7D Experience and it’s all done in a digital theater with surround sound, 3D effects and laser technology. For the Halloween season this October, zombies are part of the action.

The surfing movie “Chasing Mavericks” is being released this week and Santa Cruz is gearing up for a potential visitor bump as a result of the publicity. The movie tells the true story of local surfer Jay Moriarty, one of the youngest to compete in the big wave competition at Mavericks near Half Moon Bay on the San Mateo County coast.

Sacramento’s newly expanded Crocker Art Museum will show “The American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell” an exhibit of more than 50 paintings and 300 magazine covers of the American artist known for his Saturday Evening Post paintings of quaint American life. The show opens Nov. 10 and ends Feb. 3, 2013.

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