HISTORIC TOWN: If we were a town -- we're not, but if we were -- we'd probably be secretly envious of pretty Mariposa. After all, this sweet spot has not one but several things going for it, and it handles all of them with elegant aplomb. It's located on one of the main routes into Yosemite, so that's a ginormous feather in its civic cap. It's also one of the great Gold Rush towns, another feather. And it happens to have an exceptionally beautiful name, as town names go, and it is that name that is honored every spring with a three-day festival. The 2011 Mariposa Butterfly Festival is scheduled for Friday, April 29 through Sunday, May 1.
MARIPOSAS IN FLIGHT: We'd definitely make plans to see the live butterfly release, but there will be plenty of classic festival touches and kidly activities; a parade, music, and a plant sale are also part of the weekend. And, of course, you'll be on Highway 49, which is one of the Golden State's most storied roads. We love it lots, and we know we're not alone; if time warrants, head up to Jamestown, Sonora, and Columbia State Historic Park.