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The Hollywood Hills would be a welcoming spot for a royal visit

SAN FRANCISCO — It is, in many ways, a match made in heaven: California and the royal newlyweds.

The news on Thursday that the just-married Duke and Duchess of Cambridge — Will and Kate, for those of you in the supermarket check-out line — would vacation in California this summer was no doubt exciting for residents, and tourism officials, up and down the state. But really, it should not be a surprise. The royals, after all, have all kinds of things in common with many of California’s commoners, including a love of the outdoors, an adventurous, fun-loving spirit and a fondness for convertibles.

Moreover, California’s sporty ethos should please the couple. According to his Web site, the duke, after all, is a “keen sportsman,” who excelled in several sports at school, showing himself to be “a stylish swimmer, a useful footballer and basketball player, good at clay pigeon shooting.”

The duchess, meanwhile, is also “keen” on sports and lists a variety of favorite activities, including tennis, sailing, swimming, and something called “hill walking,” which could conceivably come in handy in San Francisco.

And while California might have an unemployment rate of more than 12 percent and a $26.5 billion budget deficit, the state still has plenty of tourist attractions for a young couple. (The duchess has never visited the United States, though her husband has.)

But wherever will they go? Here are three possible options for anyone with three days — and a bottomless expense account — to burn.

THE BAY Residents of San Francisco, whose foggy summertime weather often resembles that of the Scottish moors, would be absolutely thrilled with a state visit, said Laurie Armstrong, the director of media relations for San Francisco Travel, the city’s tourism bureau.

“It would still like be a honeymoon,” Ms. Armstrong said, reeling off a list of the city’s cultural gems, including the ballet, symphony and the satirical musical revue, “Beach Blanket Babylon,” which William’s father, Prince Charles, caught a few years back. “We’d show them a grand time.”

Indeed, the city by the bay has more than a few sights, including the Golden Gate Bridge(which is longer than the Tower Bridge); the Coit Tower (which is taller than the Tower of London); and the Palace of Fine Arts (which is, admittedly, not quite as impressive as Buckingham Palace).

The timing of the duke and duchess’s trip — July 8 through 10 — also corresponds with a homestand for the San Francisco Giants, the world champions of a cricketlike game called baseball, which, unlike cricket, generally does not take several days to conclude.

And the duke and duchess could stop into Napa or Sonoma Counties, north of the city, for a wine tasting. Rory Q. Lynch, the director of finance and export sales for the Terra Valentine Winery in St. Helena, said he would recommend a cabernet, and, of course, a driver.

“That’s definitely the way to go,” Mr. Lynch said.

THE HILLS The Hollywood Hills, that is. What with Kate Middleton’s movie-star looks and her husband’s toothy smile, the duke and duchess would fit right into a city that has always had a soft spot for royalty (see Princess Grace, Lady Di, King of Pop).

And the British apparently love Los Angeles, too; they are the second largest group of foreign visitors to the city, according to Michael S. McDowell, senior director of cultural tourism for LA Inc., the city’s convention and visitors agency. (Australians were No. 1.)

What’s the appeal?

“We have it all over London in terms of sun,” Mr. McDowell said. “I can’t think of any reason you wouldn’t want to come to L.A.” (Um, traffic?)

So deep is the love that the city is currently hosting its annual BritWeek festival, which celebrates “British contributions to California.” Those, according to the festival’s Web site, would seem to include fashion, music and, of course, the Beckhams.

THE VALLEY Nothing says “vacation” like Fresno in July. If the royal couple truly wanted to tickle the commoners, they could consider swinging through the Central Valley, California’s 400-mile-long agricultural engine.

Melanie Coventry, community relations manager at the Fresno-Clovis Convention and Visitors Bureau, says Fresno’s biggest draw is where it sits: within a short drive of three national parks, including Yosemite, where the duchess’s hill-walking skills could be put to the test on El Capitan and Half Dome, two of the park’s famed climbing rocks.

“We have some amazing things that have international appeal that would be fun to introduce them to,” said Ms. Coventry, who was born to English parents and is still in possession of a faint British accent. “And I’d be thrilled to see them.” (by: JESSE McKINLEY, NY TIME)


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