Stroll Through History, Woodland, CA

Stroll Through History, Woodland, CA

Gable mansion with roses in the foregroundAs some of you know and some of you might suspect already, we moved to Woodland last year. One of the first events we enjoyed here is their annual ‘Stroll Through History’. Besides an open house tour, where generous owners open their door to the public, there are walking and bike tours. Last year we did one walking tour, the bike tour explaining Woodland’s trees, and enjoyed the open houses. We learned so much about our new home town and met really nice people along the way!

Stroll through history walking tourThis year on Saturday October 7th, 2023, the 34th edition of the Stroll Through History invites people to five homes. Among them is the Gable Mansion, Woodland’s signature Victorian. Their sidewalk roses cascade around the fence, enclosing it with beauty. I just recently learned it is in private ownership; it is so grand! Imagine it as an event space. I think couples would love to have such a marvelous backdrop for their wedding celebration. I can’t wait to see it up close myself.

Indoor fireplace and rotisserieLast year I was amazed at the generosity of the home owners to open up their private residences. Some were present to talk about original features, things they changed, and memories. 

The bike and walking tours are free. If you decide to participate in the house tours advanced tickets are $30, but they also offer tickets to purchase at the event for $35.

Do you enjoy a stroll through history? 


Charles Brooks Community Swim Center at sunset

Swim into the Sunset at the Public Pool in Woodland

View at the pool from the entrance to the locker rooms in WoodlandSwimming is one of the greatest exercises, low impact that uses a lot of different muscles. I always liked it, sometimes it takes me a while to remember this. I finally checked out the local public pool in Woodland, the Charles Brooks Community Swim Center. After the kids are back in school, the opening hours are reduced, and you have to make a reservation online to reserve a lane. Charles Brooks Community Swim Center at night

What really surprised me was that they are open not only during the day from 11 – 1, but also in the evening from 7-8. This, I have to admit, is information I am a bit reluctant to share. It really feels like an insider super secret tip. It was beautiful to swim in this heated pool at sunset. Only some of the lanes were taken and two lifeguards were there. 

Locker at the Charles Brooks Community Swim CenterThe public pool is located at 155 N. West Street in Woodland, next to the Woodland High School. Current lap swim schedule is Monday to Friday from 11 am – 1 pm, Monday to Thursday from 7 pm – 8 pm, and Saturday and Sundays from 10 am – 11:30 am. A one time visit is $5 for residents and $7 for non-residents. Residents over 55 swim free (NR $6). Sign up for a one hour slot here. There are also monthly passes and 10 visit passes available. You can only pay with a credit card at the pool. Cash payments are accepted at the Woodland Community & Senior Center during business hours (Monday-Friday 8:00 am-4:00 pm). Lockers are available but you have to bring your own lock.

Do you have a favorite swimming pool?

The entrance to the Bigfoot Discovery Museum in Felton, CA

Search for Bigfoot, Bigfoot Discovery Museum, Felton

The sightings of Bigfoot, or Sasquatch, are so frequent one can’t blame the believers. If you still need convincing or if you are a hardcore fan of the hair-covered humanoid I highly recommend the Bigfoot Discovery Museum in Felton.

Two images of 'bigfoot', one taken from the film and the other enhancedAlmost opposite the entrance to the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains in Felton is the Bigfoot Discovery Museum. It has been open since 2006 and represents the collection and research efforts of Michael Rugg and Paula Yarr. You can see countless images, captured footprints, and the Patterson-Gimlin Film. A map of bigfoot sightings in the Santa Cruz MountainsThe film from 1967 is a one minute footage of an unidentified creature the filmmakers believe to be a Bigfoot. The museum has this movie on an infinite loop along with other validating pieces of proof. I also enjoyed the map of the Bigfoot sightings in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

The Gigatopithecus skull believed to be bigfootThe free museum is a curiosity of a curiosity and well worth a stop on your way to Henry Cowell Redwoods Park. Donations are appreciated. Opening hours are Wednesdays to Mondays from 11am to 6 pm.


Do you believe in Bigfoot? 

Sandwich board announcing all concerts on the plaza in the series

Enjoy Concerts on the Center Plaza, Mountain View

People dancing and enjoying the music on the plaza in Mountain ViewLast Monday was Labor Day and it feels like summer is over. But a few summer activities are still going on. Mountain View, for example, will run its Concerts on the Plaza series until the end of September. The Plaza Green that encircles the City Hall and the Center for Performing Arts is also a great spot for hanging out during the week.  If you prefer to sit and listen to music, you can bring a chair or put on your dance shoes and come on Friday nights from 6 pm – 7:30 pm to the Center Plaza. 

People dancing and enjoying the music on the plaza in Mountain ViewThe last four concerts are:

September 8: The Hitmen (Funk/Soul/Disco/Latin)

September 15: Wolf Jett (Folk/Soul)

September 22: The Groove Foundation (Top 40/R&B/Funk/Rock)

September 29: The Loose Interpretations (A Cappella)

People sitting on the plaza to enjoy the musicAdditionally Mountain View’s Art and Wine Festival is happening this weekend! This is one of the largest festivals in the Bay Area. The Civic Center Plaza features multiple bands from around 11 am to 7 pm and street performers all along Castro Street.

The Civic Center Plaza is located at 500 Castro Street in Mountain View, CA. You can purchase beer, wine, and other drinks at the Bean Scene Cafe. 


Have you visited any of the outdoor summer concerts? 


Tasting cups of olive oil from Séka Hills

Taste Test Some Olive Oil

Séka Hills in the Capay Valley is home to the olive oil mill and tasting room of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation. Séka in Patwin, the language of the Wintun Nation, means blue and describes the blue hills that overlook the Capay Valley.

Olive Oil ice cream at the Séka Hills tasting roomWe started our olive oil tasting journey by enjoying the olive oil ice cream. The richness of this creamy goodness was enhanced by adding a pomegranate balsamic reduction. The olive oil cookie added an extra crunch. Overall an excellent tasting experience!

Tasting cups filled with olive oil, vinegar, etc.Next on our agenda was the free olive oil tasting. Standing in front of the bar, our very knowledgeable sommelier informed us of the certified olive oils and other products. 

You first get a cup of water to clear your palate. Next, warm up a tiny plastic cup filled with oil by rubbing it in your hands. Sniff the oil and explore the aroma of peppery, floral, or fruity.  Then, slurp the oil to emulsify it and release the flavors. We tasted four extra virgin olive oils, two infused vinegars (pomegranate & elderberry), honey, and almond butter. 

Sandwich board about the available beef cuts at Séka HillsYou can also enjoy a lunch or buy some gift items together with your olive oil purchase.

The Séka Hills olive mill and tasting room is located at 19326 Rd 78, Brooks, CA 95606. Tasting room hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 11am to 5pm.

Have you taste tested olive oils before?

A sign in front of The Orb: Low headroom. Do not climb!

Don’t Climb the Sculpture Garden at Google

The Charleston East Google building with a sign restricting access only for Google employees.I stopped by Google’s Charleston East building to see if they moved the Android figures. The building itself is taking shape, but it looks like the inside is still under construction. There are a few signs that remind you that the area is only open for Googlers. At every entrance there are very helpful security guards. When they asked me what I was looking for I mentioned that I thought this building was open for visitors. Since it is not open at all right now, they directed me to the sculpture garden on the East side of the building. 

The Orb and the Go sculptures at the  Charleston East Plaza ArtworksFrom afar you can already see that these sculptures are not the beloved Android figures.  The Orb by Marc Fornes / Theverymany, LLC towers prominently and attracts attention. The ultra-thin aluminum parts structure is made up of 6441 individual flat pieces and 217,847 rivets. It is interesting to stand underneath and admire it. But please don’t attempt to climb any of these sculptures! Even though the information sign says these sculptures are here for you to explore, it means through curiosity, touch and play. Climbing is not part of the play.

Hou de Sousa’s Go sculptureIn front of the Orb is Hou de Sousa’s Go. These double sided black and white disks invite you to flip them manually to create images, or get inspired by the profound questions printed on the disks. In their words “an art machine powered by the public”.



Curious by Mr & Mrs Ferguson ArtOther sculptures of the Charleston East Plaza Artworks are: 

Curious by Mr & Mrs Ferguson Art

Halo by SOFTlab

Quantum Meditation II by Julian Voss-Andreae

Rockspinner by Zachary Coffin

Officially the area will open in the Fall of 2023. You can get there by parking in the Shoreline lot for the Amphitheater and walking to the corner of Shoreline and Charleston.

Do you have a favorite sculpture you interact with?


Chairs on a beach overlooking the wake board cable area

Beach Staycation in Woodland, CA

A person on a wake board at Velocity Island ParkVelocity Island Park is a gem for staycationers. You can rent out a little piece of beach with a small water access. But most of the artificial lake is taken up by the cable towing wakeboard park. Six people on wakeboards can be pulled simultaneously on this circular cable system. You can rent wakeboards and life vests. On a second lake is the practice track and an inflatable obstacle course. In fact this is Northern California’s largest floating obstacle course with 30,000 square feet of blow up slides! You have to be six years or older to book a 50 minute session for the aqua park. Seating area overlooking the wake board cable ride

We went to check out the place and had lunch overlooking the wakeboard riders. A blow-up structure at the aqua parkYou have to order online and pick it up. Lunch fares are pretty standard fish tacos and burgers. But the eating area was really nice and is cooled off with a mist. There is also a full bar to help you chill. This makes it the inexpensive version of hanging out with a vacation feel. No outside food and drinks are allowed on the premises.

You can also reserve the space for an event like a wedding. At night there are sometimes special happenings like foam parties. 

Velocity park is located at near the exit of interstate 5, at 755 North East Street

Woodland, CA

Opening hours vary, it’s best to check out their calendar for information. 

Do you have a special staycation spot?

Sign that reads Woodland Public Library

Explore your local library

Explorer backpacks at the Woodland libraryLibraries offer much more than books to borrow. The Woodland public library teamed up with the Obama Foundation to show off their amazing programs: getting a pass for a national park, getting a  backpack with nature activities, attending book clubs in English and Spanish, and being able to work in a maker space, Square One.

The entrance of the public library in Woodland, CA.Woodlands public library is one of the few Carnegie built libraries that are still being used as a library. I already made you aware of the excellent rose garden, and the kids reading program on Saturdays during the farmers market. But did you know they also have Henrietta, the library cat?

Worktables at Square One, Woodland public librarySquare One, the maker space in the basement, offers laser cutting, screen printing, 3d printing, woodworking, and much more. You must have a valid Woodland library card. And, you have to participate in a workshop in order to use some of the equipment. 

Woodland’s library is doing a great job engaging the community. However, I’m sure if you explore your local library you will most definitely find more than books to keep you busy. 

What programs does your local library have?  

Check out the instagram post the library did with President Obama.

And their amazingly creative tik tok account (especially for updates on Henrietta):


Max Cabello Jr. playing at Jazz and Beyond in Sunnyvale

Dine with Jazz, Sunnyvale

 Max Cabello Jr. band playing downtown Sunnyvale at Jazz and Beyond  I have to say, I’m really impressed with Sunnyvale’s downtown. Murphy Street is now a street block reserved for pedestrians; tables from restaurants take over the sidewalks. The Sunnyvale Downtown Association is doing its part to create a welcoming atmosphere. The series Jazz and Beyond is a 7-week music concert series with jazz or other alternative live music every Saturday evening from July to August. 

Tables for Jazz and Beyond, Murphy St, SunnyvaleLeft and right off the stage there are white tables and chairs set up. You can reserve one of those tables on Eventbrite. Use your phone to order dinner from 20 participating restaurants and get served right there. This is great for a small group with different diets, or who prefer different cuisines. 

We ended up dining at ​Burma Taste and could listen to the music while enjoying their tea leaf salad and other delicacies. If you are more of a dancer there was enough room for a small crowd in front of the stage. All around a good time. 

For August there are still four Jazz and Beyond concerts:

Stage Jazz and Beyond Max Cabello Jr. playing8/5 – The Flow

8/12 – Jim Witzel

8/19 – Legally Blue

8/26 – East Side Funk

*Band line up subject to change without notice.

What’s your favorite downtown in the Bay Area?


Obon festival in Mountain View, CA 2023

Dance in Joy, Honor the Dead, Obon Festival

Geta, Japanese sandals for sale at the bazaarObon is a Japanese festival honoring the dead. The Obon Festivals take place at a buddhist temple, in the summer months between June and August. This festival is usually the biggest event for the temple. Over a period of two or sometimes three days Japanese culture is celebrated with food, music, carnival games, bazaars, and often Ikebana exhibits. Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arrangements.

Lanterns with names of deceasedThe center point of the festivities are the Bon Odori dances. These dances differ by region in Japan and are passed down by generations. Nonetheless, there are also new dances being developed. The Buddhist temples offer classes and videos to learn these dances. Everyone is welcome to join in.

As the sun sets and the festival lights begin to shine, we think of those who have passed on and celebrate the paths that brought us together in gratitude.” 

Buddhist church of America 

Ikebana The origins of Bon Odori are over 500 years old. It is believed that Mokuren, a disciple of Buddha saw his deceased mother and discovered she had fallen to the Realm of Hungry Ghosts and was suffering. Buddha advised him to make offerings to Buddhist monks at the end of the rainy season retreat. When Mokuren saw his mother’s spirit released he danced with joy and gratitude.

Bay Area Obons are from June to August and people travel to these festivals to honor friends and family.

Some upcoming events are:

Sat, Jul 29, 6:00 – 6:45 pm Diablo Japanese American Summer Festival, Concord

Sat, Aug 5, 4 pm Annual BCO Buddhist Church of Oakland Obon Festival

August 5th/6th Palo Alto Buddhist Temple Bazaar & Obon Odori Event

August 12, 2023 Southern Alameda County Buddhist Church 


I’m looking forward to attending the BCO Obon in Oakland on Saturday, August 5th, 2023.

Please dance with joy and gratitude!

Obon in Mountain View, CA 2023


Buddhist Churches of America

Obon Festival Guide: Meaning, traditions and dates

Obon Festival Guide: Meaning, traditions and dates

Bon (festival) Wikipedia