California dining days
It's California Restaurant Month -- time to check out that far-flung restaurant with all the buzz. Regions from Shasta Cascade to the Temecula Valley wine country are getting in on the action with prix-fixe meals, discounts and wine specials. Some specifics:
Free ski shuttle
Good news for those taking advantage of this stellar snow season: A free ski shuttle is now ferrying visitors among nine North Lake Tahoe resorts. The pilot program, which runs on weekends and holiday weeks through March 31, aims to get skiers and snowboarders out of their cars and reduce travel hassles. Participating resorts are Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Northstar California, Homewood Mountain Resort, Sugar Bowl, Donner Ski Ranch, Boreal, Soda Springs and Royal Gorge. For the schedule and details, go to www.laketahoetransit.com.
If you're headed to Vatican City, pack your patience and pick up plenty of euros. Because the tiny city-state within Rome failed to comply by Dec. 31 with stringent new Bank of Italy measures to combat money laundering, all electronic payments and credit cards have been blocked for the time being, according to AP and Corriere della Serra. That means tourists are scrambling for cash for admission to the Sistine Chapel and other Vatican museums. As if those lines weren't long enough already.