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Off the Beaten Track

On your trip to California, you can head to the beaches, the Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood and Disneyworld. Of course, you’ll have a lot of fun at these places and they are certainly worth visiting. However, if you are looking for something different, here are a few ideas for how to see California off the beaten track.

One bizarre thing that is definitely worth visiting is the L.A. Pet Cemetery which takes up approximately ten acres in Calabasas, Los Angeles, where at least 40,000 ex-pets now live. The bizarre park was created in 1928 by two families, the Rollins and the family of Dr. Eugene Jones, who thought that there was a need for a designated space for respectful and hygienic burial of pets. As stated on the park’s website the “understanding professional staff gently guides clients through the process of making arrangements for a final good-bye. Burials and cremations are tailored to suit the personal preferences, religious beliefs, and financial considerations of every pet owner.”

For a bit of spooky fun, the Winchester Mystery House is located in San Jose, California. Building the mansion was a project undertaken by the widow of gun magnate, William Wirt Winchester, Sarah Winchester. It was under construction for a solid 38 years and is, apparently, haunted. What is more likely is that Sarah Winchester was not very sane of mind, as she thought that haunted by ghosts killed by Winchester rifles, and the only that would appease them was constant building. The building of the house went on day and night, up until the very day that she died. Building began in 1884, and the mansion once was seven stories tall, though the earthquake in 1906 took it down to four stories. This is a must-see sight as the house never had a blueprint!

Alcatraz Island is not perhaps first on the list of sights to see in California but for anyone that does decide to go there, it will be unforgettable. Also known simply as The Rock, it is located in the middle of San Francisco bay and once served as a lighthouse, then a military fortification, then a military prison, and eventually, and most famously, a federal prison. Now it is a historic site taken care of by the National Park Service. You can take a ferry out to the island from near Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. Famous inmates of the island include Robert Stroud, Al Capone, George Kelly and James Bulger.

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