Take the Jelly Belly Factory Tour

By Jessica Willis

Welcome to the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield, California! On this self-guided tour, you’ll learn all about Jelly Belly’s four-generation candy-making history, the company’s love for former president Ronald Reagan, and the secret behind how those tasty beans are made. Jelly Belly history in brief, 1869 – 2016 (Click here to see photos matching each…

Vertigo Coffee Roasters – Local Delight

By Jessica Willis

As residents of San Juan Bautista, we’re often asked “Do you like living in a small town? Isn’t it quiet and uneventful? What do you do to have fun there?” Yes, no, and Vertigo. Named for Albert Hitchcock’s famous movie of the same name, Vertigo Coffee Roasters is just down the street from the bell…

Tricycle Pizza’s Food Truck Journey

By Jessica Willis

Wood-fired oven inside the original food truck that started it all. Of all the food truck meals I’ve eaten in my life (countless, I assure you), I’ve never witnessed a wood-fired pizza oven in a vehicle. It just sounds dangerous! But Tricycle Pizza in Monterey, California has it figured out. Their oven can safely get…

Sunny Family Fun At Boomers!

By Jessica Willis

One thing I love about California is that so much of our entertainment is outdoors, thanks to the perpetually sunny weather. I’ve seen entertainment complexes like Boomers! before in the Midwest, but usually they’re cramped and sweaty because everything is indoors, allowing them to remain open year round. Not Boomers. This place knows how to…

Odeum – Artisanal European Cuisine

By Jessica Willis

It’s becoming a yearly tradition to dress up fancy and visit Odeum for my birthday dinner. Serving artisanal Mediterranean cuisine in downtown Morgan Hill, this local favorite offers heated outdoor seating or intimate indoor dining near a colorful magenta wet bar. But the real reason to eat at Odeum is Michelin Star-awarded chef, Salvatore Calisi….

Ostrich Land – Wild Muppet Dinosaurs

By Jessica Willis

I still can’t believe we found this place. On my way to Santa Barbara with Brandon and my brother Josh, we planned to stop by Solvang, the adorable Dutch town in the mountains about 45 minutes away. But passing this sign for Ostrich Land USA, we did a hard double-take. A place to feed real…

The Superbowl of Flowers – California Spring Trials!

By Jessica Willis

Every year, bigwigs of the flower industry fly in from all around the world to California Spring Trials (CAST) to ponder the latest floral innovations and genetic improvements. It’s at this week-long plant extravaganza that marketers and breeders proudly reveal their newest and best creations – flowers that are longer-lasting, are available in new colors,…

Water+Leaves, Rescued Honey By The Sea

By Jessica Willis

I visited Water + Leaves on a rainy coastal morning, when Fisherman’s Wharf was bustling with delivery people carting in fresh produce to the harbor-viewing restaurants. This tea bar/coffee shop at the end of the wharf was quiet and clean, with a single barista behind the counter. A bearded man sat in the corner and…

Lolla – Local, Organic, Seasonal

By Jessica Willis

Sourcing locally so you can eat seasonally. ( Here’s something to ponder – what business would you start in a corner space with fantastic natural light, but extremely limited square footage? If you’re Sarah Griss, you open Lolla. Sarah and her brother took over this tiny storefront following a melange of tenants spanning back decades,…

A day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

By Jessica Willis

Watch these sea nettle jellies float around in live action, here on the Monterey Bay Aquarium website! Mesmerizing, isn’t it? Growing up in California, I remember visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium often, dazzled by the many levels and colorful childrens’ areas. Now as an adult, after exploring a handful of other aquariums (like the Shedd…