Travelers’ Intercom USA

This item appears on page 30 of the March 2021 issue.

ITN is temporarily accepting brief write-ups about the US. Information on independent travel. cultural and traditional sites and sources of handmade crafts plus little-known natural wonders are welcome. Avoid touting commercial theme parks, casinos or highly publicized touristy sites.

Email or write to Travelers’ Intercom USA, c/o ITN, 2116 28th St., Sacramento, CA 95818.


Consider a day trip to Exeter, a rural community in central California about 50 miles southeast of Fresno, where you can see large, 10x20-foot murals on buildings. They show scenes of farming and fruit-harvesting typical of the San Joaquin Valley during the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s. I’ve visited Exeter many times over the past 60 years, most recently in 2019.

From there, you can drive 20 miles east into the Sierra Nevada foothills and spend half a day in the village of Three Rivers. Have a meal or drink at the White Horse Inn (42975 Sierra Dr.), a favorite meeting place for both locals and visitors since the 1950s, and enjoy different views of the rushing Kaweah River.

Continuing east another 30 miles takes you into Sequoia National Park, where you can walk among giant sequoias, some of the oldest and tallest trees in the world.

San Diego, CA



Paso Robles, in central California, is known for its wineries, but it has also been the site of “Bruce Munro: Field of Light at Sensorio,” an outdoor art installation by internationally acclaimed artist Bruce Munro.

Located at the outdoor exhibition space Sensorio (, “Field of Light” is a multi-acre walk-through installation comprised of an array of over 58,800 stemmed spheres lit by fiber optics, gently illuminating the landscape in subtle blooms of morphing color that describe the undulating landscape. It is a magical experience!

“Bruce Munro: Field of Light at Sensorio” — Paso Robles, California. Photo by Helen Melman

In July 2020, on the drive south from visiting our daughter in San Francisco, my husband and I stopped in Paso Robles for an overnight specifically to see “Field of Light.” We had purchased tickets online ($30-$38) for the earliest entry time, which was then 7:00 p.m. but which varies based on sunset.

When we arrived, masks were required, and we found tents for COVID checks (temperature and symptom screenings) plus restroom buildings. A path from the parking lot led to the gated entrance to the exhibit space.

Inside, guides monitored distancing, the paths were one-way, and the number of visitors had been reduced to 50%. This actually made the visit much more pleasant, as the pathways were not packed.

We were glad we arrived while it was still sunlight and could see the lights and landscape dotted with oak trees, then experience the beautiful sunset over the rolling hills, with the lights beginning to bloom their colors as it got darker. We strolled the entire pathway three times!

We stayed at Adelaide Inn in Paso Robles. It was a 10-minute drive from Sensorio, and the rooms were all accessed from outdoor landings (no inside halls).

We got Egg McMuffins and Starbucks coffee for breakfast the next day (both next to the hotel). For dinner, we recommend Basil (a Thai restaurant) on the main square in Paso Robles (check COVID availability). There were also food trucks at Sensorio.

The exhibition of the installation has been extended numerous times over the last couple years, most recently through June 2021. The website currently says Sensorio is closed due to COVID-19 but that it will reopen.

This makes for a great overnight outing for folks from Los Angeles heading to or from the Bay Area.

Los Angeles, CA