One of my favorite holiday movies is “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the Frank Capra film in which George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, wishes he’d never been born and is shown by an angel the tragedies that would have befallen others had he never come to Earth.

George lives in the fictional town of Bedford Falls, N.Y.  The charming holiday scenes in the movie show a quaint, snow bedecked downtown with Christmas decorations strung across the main street – just the kind of place you’d like to visit during the holiday season.

People who know me know that world travel and adventure are high on my list. But I also like to seek out little adventures wherever I am.

So, I was delighted to find a little “Bedford Falls” in my own backyard in Central California. The people of Visalia have somehow managed to keep their downtown quaint and nice, and it’s a pleasure to visit during the holidays, because it’s full of interesting stores.

And it has those old fashioned Christmas decorations strung across the main street, just like in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Visalia also boasts a number of good restaurants, the best of which is the Vintage Press, which was in full holiday regalia when we visited.

More on that later. What I wanted to suggest now was just that you do a little investigating and experience travel and adventure wherever you can. You might be surprised at what turns up in your own backyard!

Here’s a little clip of Visalia: