Mountain View is not only a huge part of Silicon Valley, it also has the NASA Ames Research Center. To show off what they are doing to the public there is the free NASA Ames Visitor Center. It is at the main gate of the NASA Research Center and is open Tuesday to Friday 10 am – 4 pm and Saturday and Sunday noon – 4 pm. Currently they have construction going on and you can only park behind the center.
If you ever wanted to see a moonstone or wondered how the researchers work in space (think nerdy tiny house) this is the place for you! There was also a great photo opportunity to pose as a couple of astronauts.
The friendly guy at the counter offered to show any of the movies, e.g. several about Mars, or a tour of the International Space Station, for me since it was slow and no one else was around, but I had to decline because I was pressed for time. Maybe something to come back for?
Have you seen any of the movies at the NASA Ames Visitor Center?
One of many things I am thankful for living in such a beautiful area are the farmers markets. Mountain View has an especially large market located near the Caltrain station, on Sunday mornings from 9 to 1. Lots of stands that grow what they sell.
A few bakers and butchers and the olive guy. Someone that will sharpen your knives while you shop. You can also buy some lunch or coffee and sit down for a while. The kids usually like the entertainment, the balloon guy and the music.
I especially like the vibe. People coming together enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables, getting their flower bouquet for the week, sampling some new fruits or old varieties. The sellers proud of their offerings are very knowledgeable.
Here is a list of all the farmers markets in the area:
The Berlin Wall was almost 28 years a divider between East German Berlin and West Berlin. An 87 mile separation between a city and it’s people.
The fall of the wall on November 9th, 1989, was one of the most amazing and greatest historical incidences of my lifetime. After the peaceful revolution, an inner movement for freedom, the border to the West was opened and almost a year later the German Reunification was concluded.
Today, probably the best use of it, makes up the East Side Gallery, in Berlin, the longest open air gallery in the world.
But if you don’t have time and/or means to go to Germany, you can view part of the Berlin Wall in Mountain View in front of the public library. Generously donated by the Golzen Family.
Can you remember where you were when the wall came down?
I love food shopping, especially a store I’ve never been to. Here in Silicon Valley, there are Indian, Japanese, Middle Eastern, and a ton of other fascinating grocery stores.
Sometimes you step into a place and knowing the smells you can easily be transported to their homelands for a while.
Being German, if I ever felt like Rollmops, a German hang-over treatment (herring rolled up with pickle and onions), I’d know exactly where to go! (JL Produce, Mountain View). The German butcher Dittmer’s also has, besides meat, a lot of other German specialty items. The Milk Pail, while not an international market, has a great selection of cheeses.
The other day I discovered Mollie Stone’s Market. This is more your traditional/organic market with a great Jewish product selection. I came in and thought jeez, they have their own song? Yes, and turning the corner I saw the puppets that sang it. Entertainment for your little ones while you shop.
What is your favorite international grocery store in the Bay Area?
What foods are you missing from your home country?
*Like always, no affiliations with anyone, unless otherwise noted.
I have to admit it: I am a coffee snob. I remember when we drove across the country (east to west) in the late ‘90s it was hard to find a good coffee place. The free refill came as a light brown water that did not serve its purpose of waking one up.
But I also snub the coffee chains, mainly because they took away business from beloved independent cafes.
But in a place that runs on coffee, where a programming language got named after this invigorating drink, it makes utter sense for me to promote some independent coffee places here in Silicon Valley.
The best coffee is served in a runners store called zombie runner, in Palo Alto
For this quirky location alone you should check it out!
Red rock cafe is a great community place. They hold various events like coffee tastings , kids storytimes, and comedians. During the week it looks like 50 one-man offices. Find this place right on Castro St. in Mountain View.
Clocktower, also in Mountain View, roasts their own. This is usually one of my go-to gifts for coaches or teachers (they need coffee too!)
What is your favorite independent coffee place?
(I am not affiliated with any of these places unless otherwise noted.)
Oh it is the season! Close your eyes and smell the burn.
So yes, BBQ season is upon us with the major holiday of Independence Day taunting you to cook and eat the perfect hot dog.
In most parks around here, if you are a small group, it is first come first served for the tables and grills. With larger groups you have to plan way in advance and make reservations.
My favorite gathering spot here in Mountain View is Cuesta Park with huge grass fields to play in and picnic tables to hang. If you like a view with your hot dogs, I’ll recommend the Half Moon Bay State Beach. You can set-up right next to the ocean.
The other day I saw a big white bird landing on a tree. “Is this a stork?” I asked amazed. Where I am from the big white birds are called storks. “No, an egret. “ someone from my group replied. “They are nesting right now where I work.”
Oh yeah, I knew exactly where she works! Google closes off Shorebird Way from April to October for the egrets to nest.
I went there to see and boy what a spectacle! Some are building a nest, some trying to find a mate, some appeared annoyed finding me looking at them! Their gobble is too cute. I think it is a mixture of what would come out of a chicken paired with turkey.
And then I DID see a stork!
Have you ever heard the gobble ofegrets?
Do you know of any other breeding spots for egrets?
You probably heard about the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. A lot of memories, from punch cards to the old mac computer.
This is definitely the place to take your in-laws – they’ll remember all the times they used to program with the punch cards and every time they made a mistake they had to do all over again. This is impressive, but if you have a 11 year old with you, not too much.
Also, there is the Intel Museum, a free museum about what gave Silicon Valley it’s name. Here are the most enthusiastic people working I have ever met in a museum. I tagged along for a bit while the guide explained everything about semi conductors to a bunch of 5th graders. Believe me, everyone learned something cool.
You have to call to make sure they are not booked for some event, and yes the recording starts with the well known jingle: (408-765-5050).
If you and your 11 year old are lucky, the Digital Game Museumwill have an exhibit somewhere near you. Right now they are only open Saturday’s from 10 to 4 in their Santa Clara location. Here, your parents might recall how they played pong and then moved up to more innovative and challenging games.
This weekend you can make your own forthcoming. Go to the Maker Faire May 20 – 22 in San Mateo to get some ideas. This is great fun for all ages.
Will you go to the Maker Faire? What is your favorite digital recollection?
Well, you only have to invest your time, of course. I found there are many adult fitness playgrounds in public parks around where I live. Rengstorff Park in Mountain View has some gym type equipment, for example a chest press or an exercise bike. If you are feeling young and spirited you might even consider the skate park near the pool. Or the tennis and racquetball courts. In fact, the park is so large that a pick up soccer or basketball game would be possible, even on crowded days.
The exercise options of Sylvan Park, also in Mountain View, and of the Hillview Community Center (Los Altos) are more old school.
With places in both to do sit-ups and pull-ups, here your choice would be which location you prefer and which material. While in Los Altos the bars are blue and steel, in Sylvan Park they went with wood.