Timewarp to Dickens’ London

Timewarp to Dickens’ London

Dancers at the Dickens Fair, Daly CityHave you ever felt like  you want to escape to a different time or place? Over the next couple of weekends you can visit Victorian London. Dress up in the style of the time period , or whatever dress-up option you prefer, I’ve seen Steampunks besides the Victorian top hats and dresses but mostly just your regular gear. The Dickens Fair at the Cow Palace in Daly City opens its doors every weekend, 10 am – 7 pm, until December 23rd, 2018 for a fairytale like adventure.Performers at the Dickens Fair, Daly City

The atmosphere is a dim-lit street scene. Food and gift shops on either side make it a stroll through the mid 1800s. Check the map to catch lots of performances from singing to dancing, Dickens himself was announced to come by and read!

Of course Dickens’ plays are performed at various stages throughout the exhibit halls. 

Roasted Chestnuts at the Dickens Fair, Daly CityThere are plenty options to sit and watch the crowds moving along. The smell of cinnamon, candied nuts and chestnuts welcome you.

Jewelry made from real roses or self made woven garment are just examples of the unique offerings.  Children can dip their own candles.

Will it teach us the spirit of Christmas? It might.

Man with baby window shopping at the Dickens Fair in Daly CitySo eat, drink, give gifts and be merry! And if you need to escape to a different time to catch the spirit of Christmas Present go to the Dickens Fair.

Where do you escape from/into the Holidays?  

 

Breath in the peace of Shelldance Orchid Gardens

Breath in the peace of Shelldance Orchid Gardens

Last weekend we tried to escape the smoke by going to Pacifica. Of course everywhere in the Bay Area the air was considered unhealthy to hazardous. My heart goes out to the people in Paradise and the neighboring cities who have lost everything! For us the ocean was a relief. Some salty air, waves crashing.

Succulents and Bromelias at the Shelldance Orchid GardensI also was glad that we took the steep road to the Shelldance Orchid Gardens. Only open on Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am – 5 pm. When you enter you will be transported into a different world. I was reminded of the Botanical Garden in Berlin where the tropical plants are. I started my wandering about in the Northwing and was greeted by Spanish Moss. I found a lot of air plants. Immediately calmed, it was quite a magical moment.

cat drinking out of ikebana dish at the Shelldance Orchid GardensI followed the house cat to her claimed water dish, which also was a ikebana arrangement from last weeks class. They have a beautiful reception room for weddings and other parties and of course there are orchids. I was told people even board their orchids here. In the Conservatory you can admire all different kinds of orchids, but if you find a price tag it means it could be yours.

enjoy the flowers sign at the Shelldance Orchid GardensThe owners, Nancy Victoria Davis and Michael Rothenberg are both artists. Committed in helping local artists, they offer an exhibit space in the art gallery room. Davis and Rothenberg have created a lovely place for the community to get together.

Where did you go to escape the smoke?

 

Connect with digital art

Connect with digital art

Sterling Haidt a Los Altos resident is the artist of the current exhibit ‘Abstraction & Connection’ at the Los Altos Hills City Hall. During opening hours you can discover Sterling’s unique view and his techniques used in capturing images. His goal is to evoke a feeling from the imagery and the materials used.

Swirl by Sterling Haidt, at the Los Altos Hills City HallI liked his piece called Swirl, a “macrophotograph of transmitted light through marbleized glass”, which has interesting colors and invoked in me a feeling of playful chaos.  In Haidt’s words: ”My art is about connection, not cognition.” As a retired eye surgeon turned digital artist, his artwork often include medical images, fonts, or mathematical patterns.

Sterling Haidt, ‘Abstraction & Connection’, at the Los Altos Hills City HallMost of the images are near the common area. This felt odd to me for the smell of food didn’t align with the artwork of flowers. The view on the other hand, a window looking out on some redwoods, re-connects the visitor with nature.

On November 30th, 2018, from 10 am – 12 pm,  you can glimpse behind the scene into Sterling Haidt’s inspiraRoom with a view, at Los Altos Hills City Halltion. This event is free and open to the public.

If you are interested in digital modern art, you should consider this event.

Do you like digital art?

 

Go plant shopping at the San Mateo Arboretum Society

Go plant shopping at the San Mateo Arboretum Society

I don’t usually recommend that you go shopping. Unless it’s something with a cause. Doing good while shopping helps everyone. In this case you can snatch a deal on plants in Central Park in San Mateo. The San Mateo Arboretum Society open their doors on Tuesdays, Thursdays 10 am – 2 pm and Sundays 10 am – noon. Starting December 4th, 2018 their winter hours are 10 am – 12 pm.

They have scrubs and flowers and a whole lot of succulents. Most succulents come in an interesting pot.

The real beauties are the orchids. They are in the back conservatory. All of the plants are fair priced and help the Arboretum Society to protect and maintain the horticultural heritage of San Mateo.   

Roses for sale at the San Mateo Arboretum Society.Thanks to these gardeners the Central Park is in splendid shape. They made it their mission to educate the community about sustainable gardening, while creating and maintaining demonstration gardens in Central Park. At their opening hours, between 11:30 am and 1 pm, you can talk to a Master Gardener for advice on your plants.

You can also improve your gardening skills by taking a class. The next classes are a wreath making workshop (December 2, 2018)  and a rose pruning symposium (January 6, 2019). Please check the SMAS website for more information.

Fairy garden at San Mateo Arboretum SocietyAs an extra bonus I enjoyed their fairy garden. A bonsai, some succulents and other plants arranged with whimsical creatures.

Do you have a place to shop for a cause?

 

Discover the Redwood City rose garden

Discover the Redwood City rose garden

Fountain at the Catherine Brennan Memorial Rose Garden, Redwood City Sometimes by wandering around I discover the most wonderful things. The other day, while I looked around at the Red Morton Community Park  in Redwood City I was surprised by the blooming roses. A fountain in the middle with some ram heads spilling out the water. Rose petals decorating some of the water’s surface.  

Rose at the Catherine Brennan Memorial Rose Garden, Redwood City It is a small garden with a large variety of fragrant roses. The Catherine Brennan Memorial Rose Garden was established in 1968. It is named after the woman who proposed developing a municipal rose garden but sadly died two years before the opening.Mosaic art work at Catherine Brennan Memorial Rose Garden, Redwood City

I love the quote I found embedded in a mosaic art work:” A single rose can be my garden…A single friend my world.” by Leo Buscagila.

Have you been to the Catherine Brennan Memorial Rose Garden?

 

More information about Redwood City’s fascinating history of their parks can be found in the PDF:

The Story of Redwood City Parks 1937 – 1987

 

Walk the Great Spirit Path

Walk the Great Spirit Path

Today I pulled into the Bedwell Bayfront Park, in Menlo Park. Originally I wanted to check my phone for directions, but I was intrigued by a park that I had no idea was here. I got out of the car and walked over to pick up a brochure.

I was informed that Bedwell Bayfront Park is in fact Menlo Park’s largest park and it’s the only Open Space preserve on the Bay. Besides birdwatching for at least 105 species, you can see the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration, the largest tidal wetland restoration project on the West Coast!,  and you can hike the extensive trail system. What caught my eyes was the Great Spirit Path. Advertised as an unique art installation – and unique it was!

Station of the Great Spirit Path, Menlo ParkThe creator Susan Dunlap describes it as a “505-ton stone poem inspired by Native American pictographs”. The different stations, each holding a section of the poem were installed along this ¾ mile hike between 1980 and 1985. Knowing now that this is from the 1980’s, it makes sense that some paths are more maintained than others. The sign post got restored in 2015. I also missed out on the Great Spirit Path brochure; (for a pdf) all three possible holders were empty.Station of the Great Spirit Path, Menlo Park

So, for me this was a true adventure. Led maybe by those spirits I might have conjured? After all, some folks around here celebrated indigenous people day just a week prior.

Station of the Great Spirit Path, Menlo ParkIn the beginning I was led by sounds of hammers from a nearby construction site, the sign of the times. Walking closer to the Bay, it was surprisingly calm. I felt understood by the poem and liked the stone interpretations of the Native American signs. No wonder locals named it the “Stonehenge by the Bay.”

The four stanzas of the poem are spread out over a ¾ mile hike. 53 posts depict each part of the poem. With 892 rocks used it is the largest sculpture of its kind in the world!

The poem reads as follows:

Evening good

Weather clear with stars.

I walk with the wind behind me

Inspired, with glad heart.

 

Come,

Discover many animals,

Grass, sun, canyons, and earth.

No hunger, war, no fear,

Making peace and strong brothers.

 

Climb this way,

Over mountain or hill.

Go in four directions –

Up, down, close, or far away,

To places hidden or bright,

Under rain or cloud, night or day,

Reaching to see

Birds, plants, water and trees,

As you walk this trail and cross this path.

 

Rest here.

Talk here.

Flee your troubles to the sky

Holding firm to harmony, virtue and peace,

Barring evil,

Strong with wisdom and healing,

Reaching out with supplication

To the Great Spirit everywhere.

                           Copyright S.C.Dunlap 1985

 

Have you walked the Great Spirit Path?

 

Browse vinyls at The Record Man

Browse vinyls at The Record Man

Records and listening station at The Record Man, Redwood CityOn entering The Record Man store in Redwood City I got greeted by Gary the owner. “What brings you in today?” I replied: “I heard it is an institution.” And I was right. Not only is this a magnificent place to shop for records – they have over a million vinyls – there are ten (!) rooms to wander. Some rooms have record players to listen to your finds.

Records and DVDs at The Record Man, Redwood CityThere is also a store in the back for DVD’s, video games and even comic books. If you like a deal they have their annual parking lot sale in October where each record is $1. To be up-to-date on the parking lot sale you should join the mailing list archives@recordman.com.

Two things that are not for sale are the two paper mache dogs of Nipper, the HMV (His Masters Voice) loPaper mache Nipper at The Record Man, Redwood Citygo of the British record label.

Gary told me after 30 years of reinventing himself as The Record Man, the store has two more years in the current location.

This is indeed an institution! I hope it will survive somehow somewhere in the Bay Area.

Have you browsed records lately?

 

Harvest some community fruit

Harvest some community fruit

One of the apple tree's in the Gentlemen's Orchard at Filoli's in WoodsideVillage Harvest is a great volunteer organization that picks fruit, mostly in neighborhoods, and donates it to local food banks. I went three years ago with my brother-in-law to pick some apples in an old orchard in San Juan Bautista. It was a different sightseeing trip for sure! A Mountain backdrop – we met the couple that owns the place – very enjoyable! This San Juan Bautista event is coming up again, October 13th, 2018 9am – 12:30pm.

I finally got around to help out a second time. This time was even more special: Filoli’s in Woodside Gentlemen’s Orchard. The varieties in this orchard are insane. There are about 400 different apple, pear and grape varieties, plus some more uncommon fruits like medlars, quince, and shan zhas.  I am happy to say if you help picking you are welcome to try the fruit. I enjoyed a variety of apples and the chatting with other volunteers that occurred around the trees. Being greeted by wild turkeys was a highlight too.

Sorting the applesAfter the picking you gather around and sort the apples. You are encouraged to take the ‘bad apples’ home – and yes there will be apple crumble at my house soon. Afterwards we were treated to a walk around Filoli. The three crates full of apples in the entrance of the estate proved that I hardly ate or saw all the apple varieties while I was in the orchard.

One of the three apple crates in the entrance hall at Filoli's in Woodside.If you are a location junkie, like me, you might enjoy the Gentlemen’s Orchard. The people you meet while picking the fruit are very special, with their hearts in the right place. Village Harvest also has neighborhood events, where you pick fruit in multiple front and backyards.

Filoli does tours of their Gentlemen’s Orchard. The next tour is 10/7/2018 from 11am – 12:30pm. Please check their calendar for available dates.

Have you ever volunteered with Village Harvest?

 

Hear the wind blow

Hear the wind blow

To find a windy day in South San Francisco might not be too tough. The real obstacle, if you want to see the Wind Harp, is finding parking. Surrounded by Genentech buildings during the weekdays this area is busy. For Wind Harp visitors Sunday might be the day to go.

Wind Harp, South San FranciscoErected in 1967 by Lucia and Aristides Demetrios the 92 foot metal sculpture stands on top of a hill. If it weren’t for the office buildings surrounding it, one would have a great view of the Bay. Three metal benches invite you to sit and listen to the fog horn like arie.

Wind Harp, South San FranciscoIf you interact with it by let’s say hitting a metal column in a fast pace with a small object, maybe a stone, the sound coming back might remind you of laser guns in Star Wars. This is, of course, information only, not encouragement for you to do this!

My love for large sculptures brings me to the most interesting places.

 

Have you ever played with a wind harp? 

Do you have a large sculpture that you love?

 

Buy art by locals

Buy art by locals

If you missed the Silicon Valley Open Studios this year, but you are still on the hunt to purchase local art, one place to consider is the Community Art show at PJCC. The Peninsula Jewish Community Center in Foster City currently shows art to purchase by 83 local artists until August 26th, 2018.

On a variety of mediums from metal to paper, jewelry, and sculptures you get a great overview of the local art scene.

For me, always a fan of the whimsical, two artists stood out. First, Winnie van der Rijn. Her The 37 ingredients in Wonder Bread- a contemporary still life is a sculpture art, having the ingredients of wonder bread in 37 small glass bottles. Also the necklace creation Second Sight repurposing old glasses caught my eyes.

I also liked the paper art by Marlene Subhashini. She has two pieces showing: Maple Leaf and Sailing Ship. Rolled up paper that form into a picture.

Of course you are encouraged to find your own winner of the show.

Mother with child, from the Grow Justice Mural at the PCJJ, Foster CityI enjoyed a light lunch at the cafe and ate outside at the Mark Hamlin Garden. The Grow Justice Mural at the garden facilitated by Jay Wolf Schlossberg-Cohen, has an eerie current relevance, one of the five panels is showing a mother with a child and the words ‘Human’, ‘Rights’, ‘Stop Profiling’, ‘Immigration Rights’ and ‘Freedom’ on tiles below. Grow Justice is a Jewish commandment to make the world a better place; a goal we should all strive for – no matter what we believe.

If you are Inspired to paint yourself, the PJCC offers classes for young and old.

Do you buy local art?