The sun is setting overlooking the Bay at César Chávez Park in Berkeley

Look up at César Chávez Park in Berkeley

Originally we came to the César Chávez Park in Berkeley to see the kites. But even the waterfront park is not always a windy place. This park was known for its annual kite festival, organized by Highline Kites. But due to a rate hike by the City of Berkeley, the once beloved annual kite festival at the end of July will be canceled.

Info panel explaining Chavez relationship to dogsA nice surprise were the info panels educating you about César Chávez. One of the stations explains Chávez’s connection to dogs and even has an excerpt of the poem A Dog Has Died by Pablo Neruda. Unlike kites, dogs were plentiful the day of our visit. There is a large off leash area where many friendly furry friends meet up. 

 

Determination chiseled in a stone The highest point in the park is used for the crossroads observation point. Four virtues of César Chávez: hope, determination, courage, and tolerance are celebrated and each has an info panel connecting these to Chávez. The four words are chiseled in stone, appearing like an altar for each of them. 

If you come to find a relaxing place you can sit on one of the many benches and enjoy the view of the San Francisco skyline. But be aware that some dogs might come and say ‘hi’. 

A dog coming to say 'hi'The 90 acre park is located at 11 Spinnaker Way next to Berkeley’s marina. Hours are from 6 am to 10 pm (unless otherwise indicated). 

Have you been to César Chávez Park?

Fourth Street in Berkeley with Holiday light display

See the Holiday Lights on Berkeley’s 4th Street

Stars are hanging from a tree wrapped in lightsA great inexpensive activity for the holiday is walking or driving through the holiday lights display on Berkeley’s 4th Street. Unless of course you end up buying a lot of things in the stores and restaurants of this high-end shopping street.

4th St in Berkeley decorated in Holiday lightsThe canopied shopping district wraps all its trees in tiny lights, then decorates them with stars and colored bulbs. Garlands of lights with blue snowflakes in the middle hang across the streets. 

Until December 31st the lights will turn on at 5pm. During the weekends stop by for some caroling and crafting events. You can even drop off a letter for Santa in front of Peet’s Coffee. Last day for mailing your letter is Wednesday December 20th, 2023. All letters with a return address will receive an answer from an elf!

This Saturday is the annual Artisan Asian Market, 11 am – 4 pm, along the paseo between Warby Parker and Cafe Reville, 1911 4th Street. Additionally, from 5:30 – 7:30 pm, you can wave at the participants of the Holiday Fantasy Parade – You Drive, We Wave

Each Friday and Saturday participating shops will stay open until 7 pm. The holiday lights spectacle is on Fourth Street between Hearst and Virginia Street in Berkeley. 

Where is your favorite holiday light display?

A sandwich board for the Pence Gallery announcing it to be open with a note about the Holiday Market. Admission is free

Shop for Holiday Gifts, Pence Gallery, Davis

Three egg shaped ornaments hanging on a tree branchNow we are definitely in the midst of the Holiday season. Do you have all the gifts already lined up? If not, you might want to check out the Pence Gallery in Davis and their annual Holiday Market. You have until December 24th to shop for unique gifts from local artists. Over 60 artists enchant you with products from soaps to jewelry to ornaments. I found the egg shaped ornaments by Airy Krich-Brinton surprising! Everything is hand-made by local artists. 

Donuts on a wallAdditionally, you can browse their current exhibit: Joseph Bellacera: The Matter of Light, December 8, 23 – February 2, 24 and Adrienne van Summern: Quit Moments, December 8th – 30th, 23. Both exhibits will be accompanied with a reception on December 8th from 6 – 9 pm.

And if you wander upstairs there are some more items for sale. I loved the colorful donuts from Jeff Nebeker!

The front of Pence Gallery with a sign about the Holiday MarketIf you feel spontaneous you can explore the 2nd Friday ArtAbout today! The Pence Gallery with their partners Logos Books and The Artery will hold receptions today! (12/8/23 that is) from 6 – 9 pm. 

Pence Gallery’s Holiday Market is open daily from 11:30 am –  5 pm. Located at 212 D Street in downtown Davis.

Are you in the Holiday spirit yet?

Cherish a Historic Walking Tour, Capitola

Cherish a Historic Walking Tour, Capitola

The most iconic buildings in Capitola are the Venetian Court built in 1924. A group of colorful houses right by the water, near the pier. If you ever wanted to stay in an iconic place right by the water you are in luck, these are vacation rentals. This is definitely the place to be seen in Capitola!

Capitola Trestle on the Soquel Creek walkIf you are tired of chilling out (is that even possible?) you should enjoy a historic walking tour of this charming beach town. From the Venetian Court start by walking north and turn right onto the Stockton Avenue Bridge. From here you’ll be able to see the Capitola Trestle. Built in 1874 trains still cross here several times a week. The red Windmill House with the Silo in the back

Across the street, next to the Armina Winery, starts the Soquel Creek walk. This path along Soquel Creek takes you by the bright red (1926) and its adjacent Silo House. 

Stop by the Historical Museum

When you are visiting on the weekends, make sure to pay a visit to the Historical Museum at 410 Capitola Ave. Right next to it is an example of a beach cottage. These micro rooms put tiny houses to shame! 

Sign for the Capitola Museum with the museum in the backFrom here you can walk to 202 Cherry Ave to see the oldest year-round residence, the Henry Van Syckle House, built around 1887. If you walk over to Hihn Park, this short loop along more historic buildings will eventually guide you to the oldest house in Capitola. The Averon Lodge House was built in 1877 and is located at 919 Capitola Ave. 

The 86 steps up to Depot Hill will get you close to the Esplanade Park. The bandstand marks where the Hotel Capitola once stood. Finally the Six Sisters, 110 – 122 Esplanade, are six, nearly-identical, two-story Victorian apartments.  

You can download a PDF with a map of Capitola and its historic buildings.

 

Are you a history buff?

 

A sign announcing West Cliff Drive Outdoor Market

Shop with a View, West Cliff Outdoor Market, Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz lighthouse with the outdoor marketI love to walk on West Cliff Drive. You can stop and watch the dogs having a great time, or the surfers catching a wave at Steamers Lane.

Market stands at the Outdoor MarketIf you like artisan gifts you can shop this Saturday, October, 28th, 2023 or December 9th, 2023 at the West Cliff Outdoor Market in the lighthouse parking lot on West Cliff Drive. You will also find food trucks. 

If you are looking for some unique gifts this is a great place to shop. I enjoyed browsing and talking to the artists. Admission is free and they will give out tokens to some lucky shoppers that can be used with the vendors!

Sign for the West Cliff Drive Outdoor MarketThe West Cliff Outdoor Market is open from 10 am to 5 pm (in December from 10 am to 4 pm), located in the lighthouse parking lot. 

If you are into scenic shopping you should also check out the farmers market at the College of San Mateo.

The entrance gate of the Evergreen Cemetery

Commemorate Gravesites, Evergreen Cemetery, Santa Cruz

A cross in the foreground overlooking the Evergreen CemeteryThere are three cemeteries named Evergreen in the Bay Area: Healdsburg, Oakland, and Santa Cruz. But only one is owned by a Museum of Art and History. MAH. The Santa Cruz Evergreen Cemetery created in 1858 is one of the oldest in California!

Chinese gate at the Evergreen Cemetery, Santa CruzWhat stands out at the Evergreen Cemetery in Santa Cruz is the 17-foot Chinese gate. It sits on a mountain top overlooking the gravesite. This memorial honors Santa Cruz’s early Chinese workers. It has five pillars inside; four depicting Chinese members of the community and one intentionally left blank commemorating all the Chinese buried here in unmarked graves.

“In Chinese folklore, if something is not settled during a lifetime, you have hungry ghosts, like angry spirits,” said Ow, a former Chinatown resident and major donor of the artwork. “By acknowledging these spirits, we’re kind of like feeding them.”

Entrance to the cemetarySince 2014 volunteers have stepped up and restored the gravestones to their former glory. You can download the self-guided tour, a great way to learn about former residents, the eccentric, the notable, and some sad stories.

Evergreen Cemetery is a peaceful place that invites you to wander and learn about local history. It is located at 261 Evergreen Street in Santa Cruz.

TombstonesOn Saturday, October 28th, 2023 from noon to 4 pm, the Evergreen Cemetery will celebrate Día de los Muertos, a community celebration with traditional music, dance and art.

Have you ever wandered around a cemetery?

 

Other cemeteries I wrote about:

Pay Respect at the Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Bruno

Uncover a museum and cemetery

Be alive in Colma

Locate Shirley Temple Black’s Final Resting Place

Entrance to the Radius Gallery at the Tannery Arts Center showing TEN

Count to Ten Artists, Santa Cruz

A kinetic sculpture by Moto Ohtake at Radius GalleryOne show, two locations, ten of the most notable artists of Santa Cruz, from September 28 till November 5, 2023. I was exploring the Tannery Arts Center in Santa Cruz and stumbled upon the Radius Gallery. They just opened their doors for their impressive exhibit TEN. The curator and I agreed that the playful, movable, kinetic sculptures from Moto Ohtake are amazing. She even set all of them in motion for me!

TEN at Radius GalleryThe other nine artists are:

Thomas Campbell, Linda Christensen, Tim Craighead, Marc D’Estout, Kalie Granier, r.r.jones, Kajahl, Robin Kandel, and Beverly Rayner

The second location is the M.K. Contemporary Art gallery in downtown Santa Cruz. I, of course, had to visit this exhibit. Both locations show all ten artists with different artworks. 

M K Contemporary Gallery shows TENYou can visit the galleries during their opening hours, Wednesday – Sunday noon to 5pm. Or on First Fridays (October 6th, November 3rd) from 5 pm to 8 pm. October 14 and 15th are Open Studios for Santa Cruz North County, which includes the Tannery Art Center. South County’s Open Studios are this weekend, and on October 21 & 22, Open Studio is for the whole county. Check the website for participating studios or pick up a directory. This is a great opportunity to visit and talk with the artists. There are also two artist talks scheduled on October 22nd at the Radius Gallery and on the 29th at the M.K. Contemporary Art gallery. Both talks start at 3 pm.

The Radius Gallery is located in the Tannery Art Center, 1050 River Street #127, Santa Cruz.

The M.K. Contemporary Art gallery is located 703 Front Street, Santa Cruz.

 

Opening hours are ​ Wednesday to Sunday noon to 5 pm and by appointment.

Both exhibits are free.

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?