Bowl on a lawn

Bowl on a lawn

Pauline explaining lawn bowling at the Sunnyvale Lawn Bowling ClubHave you seen my list of 50 things to do in Sunnyvale? Number 36 on the list (not in any order) is Sunnyvale Lawn Bowling. The club invited me and a group of my friends to come check out the game. Joe, a lawn bowl Hall of Famer, and Pauline were our coaches for a beautiful Sunday afternoon lawn bowling session. We learned all about the Jack (a small white ball) and the bowls that you roll at the Jack.

A game easy to learn – and hard to master. Joe, explaining lawn bowling at the Sunnyvale Lawn Bowling Club

 

Joe and Pauline were constantly helping and correcting us, but in a fun way. This sport is also relatively inexpensive. You have to join a club near you, but they usually let you use their bowls for a while to try out the right size for you. I think every club around the area has a drop-in policy where you can check out the game.

 

There are quite a few places in the Bay Area to try out lawn bowling.

Rossmoor Walnut Creek Lawn Bowling Club

Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club

Oakland Lawn Bowling Club

San Jose Lawn Bowls

Santa Clara Lawn Bowls Club

Sunnyvale Lawn Bowling Club

Palo Alto Lawn Bowls Club

Santa Cruz Bowls Club

San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club

 

who is closest?Our whole group had a fun time, and we all agreed we would love to bowl again.

Thank you again Joe and Pauline for a great Sunday afternoon!

 

Have you ever bowled on a lawn?

Take a watercolor journey

Take a watercolor journey

The Foster in Palo Alto is a relatively new art space. Featured are watercolors from Tony Foster who chronicles his wilderness adventures in aquarelles.

Tony Foster's pop artFoster a trained pop culture artist turned to self taught plein air painter in hope of protecting the wilderness he depicts.

He journals his paintings with diary entries, little map pieces, and found objects or souvenirs. 

I was warmly greeted by Kathleen who introduced me to Tony Foster. His painting supplies are at the entrance to get an understanding on how a plein air painter works – everything has to be light! I also liked the map of the places that he traveled to and painted.

Christ in the Desert Monastery, Tree and Rock in a Blind Canyon by Tony Foster

Going into the exhibit I decided to take the audio tour with explanations from the painter himself and wander off by myself. I did not stick with the audio tour, mainly out of time constraints, but it is another reason to come back and experience the pictures in a different way.

I really enjoyed my visit and was surprised how well the space was used; it seemed like you could meander with pictures forever.

Have you heard of Tony Foster?

Mix-up your museum visit

Mix-up your museum visit

The Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History is really five experiences in one.

 

Mysterious objects at the Heart Room of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and HistoryOn the first floor it has the Heart Room. A lot of knick knacks and mysterious objects that encourage you to start a conversation, with yourself or whoever is listening. You can even make your own booklet, with writer’s prompts, designed by the Young Writers Program.

 

If you climb the stairs to the second floor, you’ll notice the surfboards and some modern art. While it also offers changing exhibits, the floor itself is the home of the history museum. Santa Cruz’s history is well displayed in various sections, from the Native Americans, to the farm workers, to the Hippies, all who shaped Santa Cruz.

 

Toys in the exhibit: Lost Childhoods: Voices of Santa Cruz County Foster Youth and the Foster Youth Museum, Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History The current exhibit: Lost Childhoods: Voices of Santa Cruz County Foster Youth and the Foster Youth Museum runs until December 31st, 2017 and is a must-see! Understanding the system and the people behind the foster program was sad and eye-opening. Nevertheless they leave you with a plan on how to help and take action.

 

Ballooniverse created by Addi Somekh at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and HistoryOn the third floor you step into the Ballooniverse Addi Somekh’s space for balloon art. A small room with huge balloon sculptures. That made me smile. You can even make your own balloon hat in the hallway. On the opposite site is the Secret Garden, an outside area that lets you unwind and refocus.

 

Which experience do you prefer?

I promise you two rose gardens

I promise you two rose gardens

At the Municipal Rose Garden in San Jose the smell is overwhelmingly luxurious.

Roses at the Municipal Rose Garden in San JoseNames like love song, white delight, jump for joy, sparkle & shine, passionate kisses speak to the traditional use of roses as a gift for the loved one.

Here you see a lot of people stopping and smelling the roses, taking pictures and wandering in awe. A perfect location for wedding photos.

 

Only 1.5 miles to the north, up Naglee Ave is San Jose’s Heritage Rose Garden. First I thought it odd to Roses at the Heritage Rose Garden in San Josehave two rose garden so close to each other. But the two could not be more different. There was no one else around when I explored the garden. So close to the street I thought the smell was fuel, but I only had to wait a few minutes to realize the the garden is on the flight path of San Jose airport and most likely the smell was kerosene. In between planes it is actually a quiet place and the amount of roses shows that the purpose of this garden is to preserve them. With almost 3,500 plants and 3,000 varieties from heritage to modern to miniature roses, this is an amazing experience. So, if you are a true rose aficionado this might be the place for you.

Where do you stop and smell the roses?

Hunt for wildflowers

Hunt for wildflowers

We made it out of the drought and one of the perks after a rainy season is the abundance of wildflowers. While the ‘super-bloom’ refers more to fields in Southern California, here in the Northern part are also fast amounts of wildflowers.

Edgewood park in Redwood City is offering a free docent led tour every Saturday and Sunday at 10 am. This popular event draws so many people that they offer a free shuttle from East Palo Alto over to San Mateo.

Wild flower at Edgewood parkI visited on Tuesday morning and walked by myself. It was a stunning hike, which starts out uphill but shady, and you’ll be rewarded with an amazing view of the Bay. Plus, I found more than 20 different wildflowers along the way. Some of these flowers are tiny, which makes me wonder if our store bought flowers are on steroids.

For your convenience, the Edgewood Park also has a web page dedicated to what’s blooming this month, so you can look up the names of the flowers you saw. Happy hunting!
What is your favorite place to see wildflowers?

Spot some hummingbirds

Spot some hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are among the smallest birds in the world. They get their name from the humming sound they create by beating their wings about 50 times per second. I have always been fascinated by them and they give me joy when I spot them.

 

Hummingbird at the Hummingbird trail at UC Santa Cruz ArboretumThe UC Santa Cruz Arboretum has a hummingbird trail where the plants in bloom are sure to attract the little birds. For $5 you can wander the grounds and learn about plants from all over the world. And if you like to see more flying objects, they also have a butterfly walk. Butterfly chart from the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum

 

Where do you spot hummingbirds?

Learn from Executive Order history

Learn from Executive Order history

February 19th, also known as the Day of Remembrance, marks the 75th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 which led to the forced incarceration of 120,000 people of Japanese descent, two-thirds of whom were American citizens.

Shoes and bed of the living quarters in the Japanese American Museum in San JoseTo learn about the incarceration, the Japanese American Museum of San Jose put together an extensive exhibit, not only detailing the different camps, but also showing a rebuild of a living quarter of Tule Lake.

This museum presents the history of Japanese Americans from the gold rush to the resettlement. I was led through the exhibit by Abe, who was an excellent tour guide and very knowledgeable. For only $5 (seniors and students pay $3) this interesting museum about Japanese American history should be on everyone’s must-see-in-San-Jose list.

Will you remember?

Japanese American Museum of San Jose

535 N 5th St, San Jose, CA 95112
Opening hours are: Thursday through Sunday, 12 – 4 pm

February 19th, Day of Remembrance

5:30 p.m – 7:30 p.m
This year under the theme: Stand up to Hate
San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin
640 North Fifth Street
San Jose, CA  95112

Get some old recipes

Get some old recipes

The new exhibit at the Los Altos History Museum is called: Seaweed, Salmon and Manzanita Cider. Until April 16, 2017 you can learn how the Native Americans prepared their food and valued their relationship with nature.

Recipe collection from the exhibit 'Seaweed, Salmon, and Manzanita Cider' at the Los Alto History Museum, Los AltosRight at the beginning they offer some recipes to take home. I came back with inspirations on  Rose Hip or Elderberry Syrup and how to cook Salmon on Redwood Sticks.

Thanks to a wonderful volunteer, I was also shown around the J. Gilbert Smith House.

The upstairs is currently home of the Raggedy Ann and Andy exhibit. Raggedy Ann and Andy collection at the J. Gilbert Smith House, Los AltosThe whole home has been outfitted with things from the early 1900s. The cupboards are stuffed with the packaging of this time. The sleeping quarters are upstairs, with toys and cloth to imagine the life of the former inhabitants.

You can find  the permanent exhibit: Crown of the Peninsula back in the museum on the second floor. This shows the usage of the land from the Ohlone Indians, to the Mexicans, to the early American settlers and orchard growers. What makes this collection most appealing for little children is the First St. model railroad or the signs that invite ‘Try us on’ or ‘Open me’.

Admission is free (donations are appreciated)

Opening hours are: Thursday – Sunday noon to 4

What is your favorite time period in history?

See petrified in wine country

See petrified in wine country

We went to Calistoga as kind of a pre-Christmas treat. One thing I know is that I have to come back! First, I did not get to try out the famous mud bath, (maybe I wasn’t ready for it?), the wine tasting rooms looked cosy and the lunch we had at the Culinary Institute was divine!

What we did do was go and see the Petrified Forest.

Over 3 million years ago a volcano erupted and covered the nearby redwoods in ash. Mineral rich water seeped down and the silica replaced the cells and made huge trees into fossils.

Petrified tree with concentric splits (parallel beaks along the trunk) at the Petrified Forest in Calistoga.We did the self-guided tour that showed us not only the petrified woods, but also some other current trees, like the beautiful red barked manzanita.

This was a fun excursion, and I would recommend it to anyone visiting the wine country. Admission was a bit pricy, adults $12, Juniors $8, but we did have fun outdoors.

If you are looking for an interesting stay they also offer a vacation rental.

Have you ever seen petrified wood?

See a historic farm

See a historic farm

Sometimes I feel it’s worth to remember that we have an easy life. We can go to the store and buy whatever we feel like – even fruit and vegetables that are not in season.

If we just step back in time about 150 years, we can see that it was actually hard work to get food on the table.

The Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont is a great exhibit of early farm life, livestock and local history.

"Mary had a little _ and her _ was white as snow" sign in front of a stall at Ardenwood Historic Farm, FremontThey have cute signs in front of the coops and stalls to teach and engage the little "What came first the chicken or the egg" sign in front of a stall in Ardenwood Historic Farm, Fremontones about the animals inhabiting them. There are a few varieties of chicken, little piggies and some unusual birds. This is a great place to bird watch, over 99 different species have been recorded.  A Guide to the Birds of Ardenwood Historic Farm

 

Monarch butterfly at Ardenwood Historic Farm, FremontDuring the winter month, from December to mid-February monarch butterflies overwinter here. In the summer they offer tractor rides and the train operates between the Ardenwood station and the Deer Park station. You can also see an original Victorian garden and visit the Patterson Victorian house.

There is a lot to see and to do, especially for little kids.

 

Entry fee is between $3 and $6, for special events $8.

 

What is your favorite time period?