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?

 

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

 

Admire the oldest house in San Mateo County

Admire the oldest house in San Mateo County

There is plenty of history surrounding the site of the Sanchez Adobe in Pacifica. An important site for the Costanoan Indians, a supplemental mission farm for Mission Dolores, the home of Don Francisco Sanchez (former mayor of San Francisco), residence of General Kirkpatrick, a hotel, a speakeasy, an artichoke storage facility and finally a museum.

An old method to grind cornAt the Adobe house kids can learn a great deal about the first inhabitant  Don Francisco Sanchez and his living conditions around 1845. A school group will rope a ‘cow’, make adobe bricks, or grind some corn.

Remains of the agricultural outpost for the Mission Dolores can be seen next to the house. They are the only known remains of the many outpost that once thrived in the area. The remains of the Mission outpost

Every third Saturday in September is Rancho Day Fiesta, a celebration of early California living.

General admission is free with an option to donate. Opening hours are Tuesday-Thursday 10 am – 4 pm, Saturday and Sunday 1 pm – 5 pm.

Have you been to the Adobe House?

 

Further reading:

Sanchez Adobe History:

http://www.historysmc.org/sanchez-adobe-history

City of Pacifica – Sanchez Adobe Historic Site

http://www.cityofpacifica.org/about/history/adobe/default.asp

National Park Service – Sanchez Adobe Park

https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/ca/ca34.htm

Costanoan Indians

http://factcards.califa.org/cai/costanoan.html

 

Visit the Apple Visitor Center

Visit the Apple Visitor Center

It’s round, it’s new, it’s a spaceship – well because of its roundness it’s call spaceship – it’s actually a large office building. But you can’t go in, unless you are working for Apple.

Tapple park tote bag, Apple Visitor Center, Cupertinoo get a peek, of the roof line, drop by the nearby visitor center. Yes, a visitor center to get you closer to the Apple headquarters. And while you’re there it’s also an Apple Store, with a few gift shop items, and a cafe.

From the underground parking lot, steps take you to the cafe entrance. Two large glass doors open perpendicular to let in the breeze and the customers. The cafe only seemed to offer espresso drinks and chocolate. In the next room is the Apple Store. I was surprised to see bags and t-shirts, this merchandize can only be bought at the visitor center. Model of Apple Park, Apple Visitor Center, Cupertino

The last room in the complex hosts the augmented reality model. Geniuses hand out iPads which augment the 3D model and you can swipe off the roof of the buildings to look inside. The staff also is very cheerful and answers any questions.

rooftop Apple Visitor Center, CupertinoThe rooftop is the highlight of the center. A serene space that has a view of Apple Park.

If you are looking for nerdy fun, this place should be on the tour. It is open 7 days a week.

Have you been to the Apple Visitor Center?

 

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?

 

Morph your art

Morph your art

Yanling He’s code manipulated images forces us to see usual objects in a distorted new shape. He’s Digital Photography and Video are currently on display at the Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA), in Mountain View. Just stop by at Finn Center’s Mohr Gallery, no admission fee. The exhibit is open Monday – Friday 9 am – 7 pm, Saturday 9 am – 3 pm, until May 6th, 2018.

 

There are three parts to this exhibit:

Part I—Computational Motion Graphics

Part II—Computational Static Visual Art

Part III—Photography

 

Refraction by Yanling He's Photography & Video, CSMA, Mountain View, CARefraction and Water Drops, are series that look like every image morphed into a Christmas ornament. Here are city icons bent to globe shapes, bodies distorted by the force of new curves, and flowers flowing in their new casing.

Some images are printed on interesting materials like metal or wood, showing the original next to it’s code manipulation self. Names like Liquify and Wave express the ideas for the image manipulation. Wave uses metal to intensify the reflection of tree stumps.

 

Curves by Yanling He, CSMA, Mountain View, CAHe’s experimental approach to forms and color is exemplary in the Shader and Curve compilations.

The accompanying video was not working on my visit, but it is available on her website: www.yanlinghe.com

Fraction of a photo by Yanling He, CSMA, Mountain View, CAMy favorite photos were from Fireworks (my image is only a fraction of the original, zoomed in). A close look of water drips on dandelion. There is something enchanting about the fragil spores of dandelions mixed with reflecting droplets of water.

 

 

Have you seen He’s computational art?

 

Off to the races

Off to the races

A beautiful racetrack right by the Bay, Dollar Day Sundays, and some (over 18) gambling excitement. The Golden Gate Fields racetrack Dollar Days, every Sunday until June 10th, 2018, include $1 parking, $1 entry fee, $1 program, $1 mimosas, $1 beer and $1 soda and water.

Betting starts at a minimum of $2.

They welcome newbies and have a booklet to teach you all the important aspects.

Spectator at Golden Gate Fields, BerkeleyThe audience is very eclectic, from college students to families to retired persons. The people-watching is part of the experience. Collections of interesting headwear, the groups gathered around TV screens to follow other races, and the owners and jockeys posing for pictures after the races.

The large amount of smokers surprised me. The place itself felt like a Casino without the one-armed bandits. One can almost smell lost hopes. Tickets on the floor  at Golden Gate Fields, Berkeley

 

But when the race starts and everyone either shouts out the name or the number of the horse they bid on, willing it to run faster, every sad thought is forgotten and you are, at least for these moments, excited in the experience.

Horse  at Golden Gate Fields, BerkeleyWhatever your strategy is for choosing a horse, statistics, names, numbers or looking at the horse prior to the race, there is a lot of luck involved.

Please drink and gamble responsibly.

 

 

Have you ever been to the races?

 

Explore the flowers of spring

Explore the flowers of spring

Nothing says spring as loud and pretty as a bunch of tulips. To experience the flowers in its myriad forms and colors you should go to Filoli.  

Filoli imports 100.000 tulips each year from the Netherlands. They plant them over multiple month, so you can enjoy the blooms until May.

Yellow tulip, Filoli in WoodsideIn the Sunken Garden and, of course, the Dutch Garden, tulips are featured and embedded in fields of forget-me-nots and violets.

But the showstopper tulips are planted in 4000 pots around the estate and shine their beauty up to you.  

Sometimes it feels like a tulip treasure hunt. Yellow and red tulip, Filoli in Woodside

Thanks to one volunteer for mentioning the pool area. Not only did I see the most gorgeous examples, it is also a nice quiet place to relax. 

You can always check what’s blooming on their website.

Parrot tulip, botanical art by Lois Perlman, Filoli in WoodsideCurrently there is also the 20th Annual Botanical Art Exhibition until May 20th, 2018. I enjoyed the drawings very much, and even found some of the tulips depicted.

Bouquet in the entrance hall of Filoli, WoodsideThe $20 entrance fee ensures the place will be open for the public. They have about 800 volunteers on the estate. Some of these volunteers create the flower arrangements in the house each Monday when Filoli is closed. So, if you come on Tuesdays you can admire the fresh bouquets.

The gift shop sells homemade jams and other products from the estate. The cafe has a wonderful selection of salads and sandwiches. You might also consider a stop here for coffee and dessert.

Do you also adore tulips?