Go Away With … Frances England

Frances England x 640

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Content Agency
September 13, 2016

Traveling the world is an incredible experience, but San Francisco-based musician Frances England says that there’s also adventure to be found in your own backyard. On her latest CD “Explorer of the World,” the songwriter features songs that include snippets of sounds she recorded when she took walks around her local neighborhoods. To read more about England, check out her website.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. One of my favorite vacation destinations is Maine. We rent a house for a week every summer just outside of Bath. I love how the sea meets the woods in so many beautiful spots in Maine. It’s easy to find a quiet place to yourself and explore the woods, the rocky seashore, the bays and inlets, and the beautiful little fishing villages that dot the coastline.

Q. To someone who was going there for the first time, what would you recommend that they do during their visit?

A. I would definitely recommend getting a fishing license and go clamming. It feels like the right thing to do in Maine. My family and I will clam for hours and hours and then feast on them every night. They are amazing. If you don’t want to catch them yourself, hit J.R. Maxwell’s restaurant on Front Street for the best clam chowder ever! For its size, there’s a surprising big art scene in and around Bath and lots of little studios you can stop by and check out. I also love stopping in the little country stores for homemade treats and interesting local finds. My boys are especially excited to check out the Red Cloak Haunted History Tours. We’ve heard about these from friends: lantern-lit walks throughout Bath, exploring ghosts, history, spirits and mystery.

Q. What untapped destination should people know about?

A. An affordable and absolutely stunning place to visit is Steep Ravine Cabins, about 45 minutes north of San Francisco. There are 10 rustic cabins built in the 1940s and nestled on the cliffs right next to the Pacific Ocean. The views from each are magnificent. There is no electricity or water, but the cabins are very cozy, as each has a wood stove, picnic table, sleeping platforms and an outdoor barbecue. Just a few miles away from Stinson Beach, Steep Ravine is an amazing spot for whale watching. The last time we were there, a whale and her calf rested for more than an hour in the little inlet right next to our cabin, about 100 yards away from us. It was so amazing to see. There are also plenty of hiking trails around, including one that leads down to some very active tide pools. You have to reserve the cabins six months in advance, but if you have a flexible schedule, there are often cancellations, especially during the week. This place is magic.

Q. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your travels?

A. I’m a mom and, like all moms, it feels like there is never enough time to get everything done. In the past, I would often bring work with me to finish up when the kids were in bed or off on an adventure with their dad. But in the last couple of years, I’ve learned that if at all possible, to leave work behind when we travel. I know that’s not a reality for everyone all the time. But, for me, I find it so much more rejuvenating to be present in the moment and really use travel time to escape and explore. It’s not always easy to do, but I find if I can, I come back more energized and ready to go.

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. I don’t really like to be in the car for more than a couple of hours for a weekend getaway so we often go to Santa Cruz, which is about an 1-1/2-hour drive south of San Francisco. My husband surfs and mountain bikes, so it’s the perfect place for him. I love taking my kids to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk — a beautiful, seaside amusement park where we get deep-fried Twinkies, brave the rides and people watch in what feels like one of the most diverse spots in the country. Good times.

© 2016 JAE-HA KIM


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