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Big Sur, Waterfalls, Oakland

Host Soterios Johnson explores Big Sur with Samantha Brown; gears up for waterfall viewing; and chats with chef Tanya Holland

The first episode of California Now features a conversation with veteran travel host Samantha Brown, who traveled to Big Sur and Monterey Bay for her new PBS series, Samantha Brown’s Places to Love. Brown talks about the gorgeous views along Highway One and raves about the area’s iconic destinations but she also celebrates some of the hidden gems in the region and shares her insights about how to experience them.

Next, outdoor expert and author Ann Marie Brown offers essential advice on chasing waterfalls in the Golden State, including what to wear and where to go. Lastly, acclaimed chef Tanya Holland takes listeners on a tour of her restaurant, Brown Sugar Kitchen, and then shares her favorite places to see in the vibrant, diverse city of Oakland.


Samantha Brown, host of Samantha Brown’s Places to Love on PBS

Ann Marie Brown, author of California Waterfalls and many other books

Tanya Holland, Top Chef contestant, and former executive chef of Brown Sugar Kitchen (now permanently closed)


Samantha Brown visited Monterey and Big Sur, situated along California’s Central Coast. Her stops included:

Highway One

The Haute Enchilada, located in Moss Landing

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Nicholson Vineyards

Pezzini Farms

Garrapata State Park

Bixby Bridge

Ann Marie Brown recommends the following California waterfalls:

Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in North America

McArthur-Burney Falls State Memorial Park

Tokopah Falls, an ideal option for families

Potem Creek Falls, a great place to find solitude

Rainbow Falls qualifies as the most unusual waterfall

Roaring River Falls is a wonderful wheelchair-accessible waterfall

And Alamere Falls is Ann Marie’s choice for the most romantic option

Tanya Holland shared some of her favorite places in Oakland and the East Bay:

Brown Sugar Kitchen (now permanently closed)

Swan’s Market

Cosecha Cafe (now permanently closed)

The Cook and Her Farmer

B-Dama (now permanently closed)

Old Oakland

San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge

Oakland’s Architecture

Berkeley Waterfront

Chez Panisse and Chez Panisse Cafe

Tilden Regional Park

U.C. Berkeley


About the Host

Soterios Johnson, formerly the local host of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition on radio station WNYC, moved from New York City to Davis, Calif., in 2016 and is just getting to know his surroundings. By combining his journalistic instincts with his personal curiosity, Johnson will use the California Now platform to develop a deeper understanding of his adopted home.

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