"The first thing you should do is take the two-hour open-air tram tour. In two hours you're going to see all the major sites of the valley. You're not stuck in an enclosed bus. You're in a nice, open-air tram. An interpreter is at the front telling you all kinds of things—great natural history information, human history information about the park—and you're going to get a solid overview in two hours. And no fighting for a parking spot, right? It's fantastic."
Brown suggests that once the tram ride is over, you should go explore the park on your feet. The hiking trails are epic, she notes, and offer options for all fitness levels.
"I always tell first-time visitors that they absolutely must take the short hike to Sentinel Dome and Taft Point. They're each about 2.2 miles round trip, so families and children can do them. And you end up getting unbelievable vantage points on Yosemite Valley. I mean, really just all-encompassing, looking down 4,000 feet straight below you at little, teeny, tiny cars in the valley and the Merced River floating through. And you're doing it on foot, right? So that immediately eliminates a lot of the crowds. So stop. Take a few hikes. Get out there and enjoy nature and Yosemite the way it's meant to be seen, which is on foot."
Also in episode 14, Food & Wine Editor in Chief Hunter Lewis explains what California cuisine is, how it took shape four decades ago, and where visitors can experience it today. Lewis and podcast host Soterios Johnson discuss some of the pioneering chefs who made the Golden State one of the best dining destinations on the planet—including Alice Waters, Jeremiah Tower, and Nancy Silverton—and then pivot to talk about the next generation of chefs who carry the torch for intensely local cooking.
After that, acclaimed rock climber Kevin Jorgeson checks in and shares some of his favorite things to do and places to go in his native Sonoma County, including spots in Petaluma, Sebastopol, and Santa Rosa.