Congratulations to the 2019 Eureka! Awards winners
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Congratulations to the 2019 Eureka! Awards winners

By Kristen Bonilla 02/28/2019

Visit California’s annual Eureka! Awards aim to recognize the best and brightest of California-based travel writers and content creators. In the awards’ seventh year, an AFAR feature by San Francisco-based writer Susannah Chen was named the Grand Prize winner of the travel writing competition.

The grand-prize-winning article, “This Coastal California Getaway Is the Big Sur You Haven’t Heard of...Yet” won for Online / Digital Feature entry, one of seven categories awarded in the 2019 competition.

Chen’s story draws attention to Elk, California as a “close-knit community of artists and craftspeople” worth visiting now more than ever. The story goes on to profile the best things to do, fun places to shop, top places to eat, and most inviting places to stay in the Elk area, making for an incredibly well-rounded destination story that sheds light on a lesser-known California destination. Winning entries in other categories included stories from outlets like The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle and Aspire Magazine, as well as social and blog content from @Roamaroo and Hej Doll.

California-based editors, freelancers, writers and content creators were invited to submit their best work published between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018 for judging across seven distinct categories. The panel of judges – including this year’s guest judge Lara Kaylor, director of communications with Mammoth Lakes Tourism – selected winning entries based on three important criteria: quality, content and originality. Content suites and articles that inspired travel to the state, provided a new take on a California destination, explored creative California stories, and did so in a well-written and articulated way were best primed to win.

Courtesy of Visit Mammoth, this year’s Grand Prize winner was awarded a two-night getaway to Mammoth Lakes at the beautiful Westin Monache Resort Mammoth; dining experiences at Petra’s BistroJimmy’s Taverna, and Lakefront Restaurant; plus a special Mammoth Made Tour of the best local food and beverage products made right in town. Depending on the season of the winner’s trip, they will also enjoy skiing/snowboarding or hiking and e-biking in the beautiful Sierra Mountains.

Winners by category are as follows:

Print Magazine Feature Entry

Winner: Sarah Feldberg, Aspire Magazine, “Rising from the Ashes”

Based in San Francisco


Print Newspaper Feature Entry

Winner: Sharon Boorstin, The Los Angeles Times, “If You Are Seeking Creature Comfort”

Based in Beverly Hills


Online / Digital Feature Entry*

Winner: Susannah Chen, AFAR, “This Coastal California Getaway is the Big Sur You Haven’t Heard of...Yet”

Based in San Francisco

*Grand Prize Winner


Blog Entry

Winner: Jessica Doll, Hej Doll, “3 Days in Greater Palm Springs”

Based in Cupertino


Broadcast Entry

Winner: Emily Kaufman, The Traveling Mom September in-market tour featuring Sonoma County, Costa Mesa and Greater Palm Springs

Based in West Hills


Digital Influencer of the Year

Winner: Scott & Collette Stohler, @Roamaroo Instagram and YouTube content

Based in Hermosa Beach


Best In-State Placement

Winner: Valerie Stimac, The San Francisco Chronicle, “Geek out on outer space at these 5 spots in L.A.”

Based in Oakland

2018 Poppy Awards

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