Have 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 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.
The Foster in Palo Alto is a relatively new art space. Featured are watercolors from Tony Foster who chronicles his wilderness adventures in aquarelles.
Foster 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.
Going into the exhibit I decided to take the audio tour withexplanations from the painter himself and wander off bymyself. 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.
On 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.
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.
On 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.
Names 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 have 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.
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 afree 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.
I 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?
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.
The 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.
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.
To 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
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.
Right 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. The 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’.
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!
They have cute signs in front of the coops and stalls to teach and engage the little ones 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
During 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.