Isabelle Marie (Toby) Smith

The world and the written word intrigued Toby Smith (1930-2016), a Sonoma County journalist who made a dream avocation of traveling to inns up and down the Pacific Coast and throughout Mexico and writing about their wonders and their room for improvement. Smith, whose given name was Isabelle Marie, was for 60 years the wife and travel partner of late Press Democrat reporter Ray Smith. As a young woman, the native of New Jersey studied journalism at Washington State University, then wrote for the newspaper on Whidbey Island, then for magazines in New York and for the former Santa Rosa News Herald. For several years, she produced a magazine, Golden Gate North. Smith did a good deal of freelance writing, and she brilliantly melded her love of travel and journalism by motoring from the Pacific Northwest to southern Mexico with her husband, staying in bed-and-breakfast inns and writing about them in a newsletter that she published. Her articles appeared also in Travel & Leisure, Travel-Holiday, Diversion and other regional and national magazines. Smith's extensive travels throughout Mexico inspired her well researched 1985 book, "Romantic Inns of Mexico," published by Chronicle Books; she updated and republished her guidebook in 2000. She and her husband were active for years in the former Sonoma County Press Club. Toby Smith volunteered as a docent at the Charles M. Schulz Museum and belonged to Friends of the Sonoma County Museum and the American Association of University Women.

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Place of residence
Santa Rosa
Significant title:
Romantic Inns of Mexico
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