Attend an event at the Menlo Park library

Attend an event at the Menlo Park library

Me giving a presentation at the Menlo Park libraryLast Tuesday I presented ‘Unexpected things to do in San Mateo County’ in the Menlo Park library. I forgot to mention there that one unexpected things to do in San Mateo County is to go to your local library and attend an event.

John Weaver introducing me at the Menlo Park libraryThere were about 16 attendees. I was very grateful for the knowledgeable audience. We had a wonderful exchange about all the interesting things to do in San Mateo County. From the notetaking I gathered that I also gave great suggestions. As soon as I have 50 things to do in San Mateo County I will publish this on my 50 things to do page and update this post.

Whiteboard announcing my talk and the December events at the Menlo Park libraryLast month was all about storytelling at the library. The December event list includes ‘A Visit with Rosa Parks’ and ‘The American Advertising Calendar Plate’. They also offer regular scheduled programs like knitting and board game meetups.

You can find the adult program here:

https://menlopark.org/543/Adults

Event coordinator John Weaver does an excellent job keeping the events diverse and engaging. Thank you John for inviting me!

Another ‘Thank you’ goes out to my husband for helping me with great suggestions and taking the photos. And to Sharon, who by the way, reads and edits every post, and has always great advice. Both coached me through this presentation.

Have you ever attended a library event?

 

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?

 

Combine admiring the arts and gardens

Combine admiring the arts and gardens

Entrance to the Allied Arts GuildThe roses are in bloom at the Allied Arts Guild . This place has an overabundance of tranquility. The Allied Arts Guild is a little gem in Menlo Park. Not only are the stunning gardens a reason to come here, they also host a group of artists. There are unique shopping opportunities and a cafe.

For your gift shopping needs, I would suggest checking out the artisan shop. It’s a mixture of jewelry, handmade gift items, and high quality donated treasures. Proceeds go to the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford.

Lunch and coffee is served at the Wisteria Cafe. A great place to meet with friends or relax with a drink.

The barn at Allied Arts Guild, Menlo ParkAnd do make it to the back of the property. The wood shop doesn’t sell furniture, but they will restore your best pieces. The smell of dust, wood and polisher will transport you to a rustical heaven.   

To virtual explore the Allied Arts Guild check out their website for an interactive map.

Have you been to the Allied Arts Guild?

 

Support your local bookstore

Support your local bookstore

Bookstores are still a treat for me. There is something special about being able to browse, touch and smell the books. It’s rare that I can resist and not buy anything.

Kepler's Books & Magazines, Menlo Park, store windowA bookstore with a remarkable history can be found in Menlo Park. Kepler’s Books and Magazines, founded in 1955, was the epicenter of counterculture in the ‘60s and ‘70s. For founder Roy Kepler, the exchange and flow of ideas was part of his business. A lot of students and faculty from the nearby Stanford University were patrons and appreciated the idea exchanging approach. In-store concerts from the Grateful Death to Joan Baez made the store popular. But when Kepler embraced paperbacks as an economical vehicle to bring ideas to the masses, it was genius.

 

You can still feel the progressive energy. On my recent visit I overheard an elderly woman who found a book, reading the title: “We Were Eight Years In Power – An American Tragedy. “ And asked her friend ‘Do you think they mean Reagan?’ and then realizes: “Oh, they mean Obama.” Kepler's Books & Magazines, Menlo Park

A staff person asked me if she can help me find anything. I declined ‘I’m just taking it all in’ I replied with a smile.

A few more browses down the aisle, I overheard a man dictating his findings about soccer books including all commas and question marks into his phone.

 

To compete with online stores, Kepler’s concept of a bookstore expanded and has many interesting events to offer, from speaker series to author lectures. The Kepler’s 2020 Project continues to provide an outstanding bookstore and has developed a community meeting space, with events. Let’s hope they prevail.  

 

Is there an independent bookstore near you?

 

Additional Reading:

SFGate: Kepler’s turns another page

https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Kepler-s-turns-another-page-After-50-years-the-2671216.php#photo-2144248

Washington Post: How to save an indie bookstore

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/arts-post/post/how-to-save-an-indie-bookstore-day-1/2012/07/27/gJQAwMN0DX_blog.html?utm_term=.debf6f000da1

 

Immerse yourself in an art experience

Immerse yourself in an art experience

Recently I went to see the teamLab exhibition Living Digital Space and Future Parks at the Pace Art + Technology pop-up gallery in Menlo Park.

20 installations by teamLab, a Japanese new media arts collective, let you truly interact with art.  Some objects react to your touch; in one you can download  a web site app to control multiple plant inspired lights and another one creates a room magically filled with flowers and butterflies that surround you. But my personal highlight was the kids’ section. There are five truly interactive installations. For example your fish drawings, once scanned in, swim away. Try to touch the screen aquarium, it’s interplay!

IMG_3632

The exhibit will run thru July 1st 2016 and is open Tuesdays – Sundays 11-7.

A great new approach to art and very fitting for Silicon Valley.

 

Have you seen other examples of interactive art?