To Berkeley and Beyond! Point Reyes National Seashore, San Francisco and Yosemite National Park

CaliforniaMonday 18 April – Saturday 30 April 2016

spaces remain


From a perch high up in the Berkeley hills, you can rest your arms on the sun-bleached rail of a garden gate and gaze down between two brown-shingled houses. Your eyes soar over miles of rooftops, vine-tangled gardens, and silent traffic, past intermittent tree trunks as wide as cars, before arriving at a sumptuous sunset covering the entire San Francisco Bay horizon. Straight ahead, the triumphant goalposts of the Golden Gate Bridge appear almost an apparition beside the fairytale towers of San Francisco rising above quite another idea of civilisation.

Travelling north beyond the bridge, past the vertiginous slopes of Mount Tamalpais, lie the lands, beaches, and cliffs of coastal west Marin. Offering a rare kind of spiritual refreshment, this rugged coastal edge includes the most exquisite coastal preservation achievement in the world, the Point Reyes National Seashore. Pivoting completely around to face east, you can imagine the entire continental United States stretching invisibly towards a sun poised to rise again. The spirit of Berkeley’s vast and verdant hillside garden resides also in its many homes constructed of redwood and shingle, ‘the colour of brown beer, of brown bread, of tobacco, a dog’s eyes, a fallen leaf,’ as Michael Chabon eloquently writes. These iconic houses offer the perfect balance between human habitation and nature. The gifts of early 20c architects most familiar with Ruskinian ideas and ideals translated into a distinct Berkeley dialect, they stand as early monuments to unspoken agreement amongst neighbours about how a good life could be lived; a life not in pursuit of material wealth, but a life of determination to maintain an environment in which the creations and ideas of men and women could exist for the good of all, humans and fellow creatures large and small.

Berkeley has flourished as nowhere else in the world- a place of peaceful revolutions in fine arts, artisanal arts and crafts, literature, education, science, criminal justice, child welfare, conservation, civic, culinary and creative enterprise. From its earliest years of settlement Berkeley has pioneered much of what is best in America. Though often maligned, seen as Berzerkeley for its live and let live attitude, its strong sense of social justice, its emphatic emphasis on food, wine and body, Berkeley has actually pioneered much that is best in America. As context for understanding the unique spirit of Berkeley we explore other bay area landscapes, seascapes and their communities in neighbourin g Marin, San Francisco and beyond to Yosemite in Central California. Each will be seen as sources of empowerment to the particular and rare conscience of Berkeley.

COST £4250 members, £4300 non-members, single room supplement £400, £300 deposit, includes flights London-San Francisco-London, 11 nights accommodation, all breakfasts, five dinners with wine, five lunches, winetasting, all lectures by Nicholas Friend and local academics, all entrance fees, all private visits, all private coach travel during the tour, all gratuities, VAT.