I lived in San Mateo for three years and loved it. While residing there I was working in the book publishing business and my main beat was Berkeley, Stanford and the San Francisco colleges.
I liked Northern California...it has it's own culture and lifestyle that is quite different from Southern California. One of my favorite trips is to drive up Route #1, Pacific Coast Highway...between Santa Barbara to Carmel. If you have never done it...it is definitely one of the must see trips in California.
These are a few sample images. More if you're interested.
Late Afternoon, Carmel Valley
Carmel Valley Tree