Readers Share Why They Love Living in the Golden State

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Nothing is a better pick-me-up than the sweet emails I receive from readers about why they love living in their corner of California.

We’ve been publishing these notes for more than two years, and together they offer delightful tributes to all parts of our state. We’re adding more, lightly edited, to our collection today.

You can email me your own California love letter to CAtoday@nytimes.com. Enjoy.

“Recently, I had the opportunity to share with my friend’s teenage daughter my favorite spot in California. It’s a peaceful nook in the foothills of Richmond where I used to go to reflect when I was her age. Despite Richmond’s negative image in the news, I loved growing up there. I would go to our backyard and gaze out over the city of Richmond, then across to Mount Tamalpais, the tip of the Golden Gate Bridge, and finally to the panoramic view of San Francisco. To me, those views represented endless possibilities, and they inspired me to explore the world.” — Olga Villanueva, Berkeley

“I grew up in Washington State — a beautiful place, but gray and rainy most of the year. Each summer, my glamorous aunt would come up for a visit — with her acerbic wit and great stories about San Diego. Occasionally, she would also bring my towheaded surfer-boy cousins, who were older than the rest of us, and cooler than anyone I had ever met. My entire life, I talked about moving to California when I grew up. I did, and was lucky to get a room in the beautiful Hollywood Hills home of a friend for my first months (what I would call a very soft landing). I have been in my beloved city for over 25 years now. The weather is perfect, the diversity of the city is valued and unique, and the landscape is like a dream.” — Jeff Jumisko, Los Angeles

“As a native Californian who has lived here my entire 72 years, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. The natural beauty is unbeatable — we have it all. Ocean, lakes, farmlands, deserts, stunning mountains, wild rivers and the vast Central Valley. Rolling hills that are stunningly green in spring, and golden in summer; majestic heritage oak trees; diverse evergreens; towering mighty redwoods. In Sacramento, the flowers take turns on center stage through the seasons, with gorgeous camellias, tulips, azaleas, dogwood trees, colorful crepe myrtles and abundant roses.” — Diana Halpenny, Sacramento

“My introduction to California came in 1965 when I was en route to Japan, and ultimately Vietnam, compliments of the United States Marine Corps. As a young man who had grown up in rural Arkansas, I was apart from my wife and young son for a questionable cause. While housed in bachelor officers’ quarters on Treasure Island, I heard for the first time Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” The song was special as I heard it innumerable times on Armed Forces Radio along with many other homesick Marines. Some 35 years later, my wife and I moved to Santa Monica, and five years later, San Francisco, where we overlook the Bay Bridge from our apartment.” — George Proctor, San Francisco

A family of bears recently hopped into a pool in Monrovia to take a swim, The Guardian reports. Rick Martinez and his partner, Brian Gordon, have spotted bears on their property before, usually to explore the backyard.

Martinez told The Guardian that he expected to see more bear families crossing through their yard over the summer. “This is their land,” he said. “They are used to coming through here. We have healthy boundaries with them. If they’re outside, we stay inside. We let them do their thing, we admire them.”


Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword.

Halina Bennet and Briana Scalia contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.

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