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? 


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?


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

Model train set with a train station

Follow the Trains at Moffett Field

War planes painted on the ceiling of the Moffett Field Historical Society MuseumThere are plenty of different ‘fleets’ at the Moffett Field Historical Society Museum. The model train set in the backroom was the most unusual. 

The Moffett Field Historical Society Museum illustrates the history of the various military and NASA commands at this military base. There are many fascinating exhibits illuminating the long history of the airbase.

A model of the USS MaconFor example: The history of the iconic Hanger One and the rigid airship industry was the most compelling reason to go to the museum. I have always been impressed with the size of the zeppelin hangers you can see from the 101. I learned that the USS Macon that was housed in Hangar One, together with her sister airship the USS Akron, is still the world record holder for helium-filled rigid airships. In 1935 the USS Macon was lost in a storm off the coast off Big Sur. 

On Saturdays you also have the pleasure to check out the train room. The building that is now the museum used to be the recreation building for the Navy. Model train building was a nice pastime. The trains ride through interesting model areas with various levels. And ad for halicrafters TV for the model trains set-up

To enter the base you are required to show a valid ID. Admission to the museum is $8 for adults, $3 for 13 – 17 year olds, and $5 for seniors and disabled persons. Persons that serve active military duty and members of the museum are free.

I highly recommend the Moffett Field Historical Society Museum to any person with an affinity to aviation (and model trains). 

The museum is open Wednesdays through Saturdays 10am – 3pm.

Have you been to the Moffett Field Historical Society Museum?


Experience 50 things to do in Mountain View, CA

Experience 50 things to do in Mountain View, CA

50 Things to do in Mountain View, CAIn 2017 I started my series of 50 things, a challenge to find 50 interesting things to explore in one city. Mountain View, CA was the first city I chose and it was about time to update it. 

Many attractions I had previously mentioned changed. Places closed down, Android figures disappeared, and new gardens came to my attention. It’s clear that this project is constantly  in motion and I will do my very best to keep everything up to date.

Luckily some of my favorite things are still around, like relaxing at Shoreline Park, the in-person festivals, and the farmers’ market on Sundays. 

What are your highlights in Mountain View, CA?

Please let me know if there are any places you would like to see on this list, or have any comments.

Watch the YouTube video of 50 things to do in Mountain View!

Soil & Water garden plot at the Heritage Park in Mountain View.

Plant with Soil & Water, Mountain View Heritage Park

Sign in garden box: Smelling me calms the body - lavender

How did I miss this? A true community garden at Heritage Park is now in its sixth year. Earlier this month I discovered Heritage Park in Mountain View and wrote about the tiny house. But the city also reserved room for a garden project. You can volunteer for Soil & Water every Saturday from 10 am – noon. This is a family friendly event that will teach you about gardening. Once a month Soil & Water will try to offer a kid-focused event. But in any case they will provide easy activities, like watering, for the little ones. Teenagers are also welcome and can earn community service credits. Volunteers will share the harvest. 

View from the entrance of the Soil & Water community garden plot, Heritage Park.

To get started you can sign-up on their website. Due to COVID-19 the number of volunteers is limited and masks might be required. If you plan on helping, you should also bring gloves, a hat and a water bottle.

Heritage Park is at 771 N. Rengstorff in Mountain View.

If you like to expand your garden volunteering you can help out at the SCU Forge Garden, Wednesday 10 am – 1 pm, Friday 9 am – 11 pm.

Seed Share at Martial Cottle Park, San Jose

Exchange Seeds at a Seed Library

Seed packages and instructions from the Mountain View Library seed exchange.

Libraries are a great resource, not only for books. For example our library, in Mountain View, offers language lessons, movies, events, and my favorite program, Discover & Go. They also have a seed library. You can donate seeds or check out their inventory. Currently they have leeks, peas, basils, and ornamental flowers. Like Mountain View, a lot of local libraries offer a seed exchange program.

Shelves with seeds and growing instructions at the Mountain View library

These programs prevent the loss of seed integrity, and preserve genetic diversity. In addition they promote self sustainability. You can become a gardener with little to no start-up cost.

To participate you don’t have to exchange seeds, but you are encouraged to collect seeds from the ones you acquired and share again. 

The basic rules for seed sharing are:

Take what you need

Plant what you take

Learn to save seeds

Share what you save

Seeds and information materials from the seed share at the Martial Cottle Park in San Jose

The last Saturday in January is National Seed Swap Day. This day celebrates the beginning of the new gardening season. Unfortunately the UC Master Gardeners canceled their event at Martial Cottle Park in San Jose for this day. But you can always stop by their seed library in front of the park’s demonstration garden. 

Does your library offer a seed library?

If you would rather buy seedlings, please support Valley Verde in San Jose.

Immigrant House at Heritage Park in Mountain View

Admire the Tiny House at Heritage Park, Mountain View

The entrance to the Immigrant House at Heritage Park in Mountain View and an information signage in front.

Heritage Park at 771 N. Rengstorff opened in 2016 to show off Mountain View’s history as a farm town. The grand jewel of the 1.2 acre park is the 1880s-area Immigrant House. Once thousands of these tiny houses were homes for the immigrant workers of the Valley of Heart’s Delight. With a footprint of about 400 square feet it is basically a tiny bedroom and a kitchen area. Immigrant House is Mountain View’s last such cabin.

Interior of the Immigrant House, a kitchen setting.

Thanks to the Kiwanis Club, a grant from Google, Santa Clara County, private donors, and the Friends of the Immigrant House, the Immigrant House moved twice and landed at its permanent location. Currently, due to the pandemic,  there are no guided tours for the inside of the house. But you can take a peak and see the lovely decorated interior. The front room shows a table with two stools, a shelf and a kitchen cabinet. The bedroom has a tiny bed.

The oven was also used for cooking. The information signage in front briefs us that the cost of rent in the 1930s and 1940s was $11 per month. A whopping $161 in today’s terms. To put this in perspective, lists the farmworker wages between 1929 and 1933 to $1.90 a day.1 Assuming a 6-day workday, monthly wages are about $46. This means rent would have been roughly 1/4 of their income, and clearly counts as affordable in today’s terms.2

80-year-old windmill at Heritage Park, Mountain View.

Other amenities of the park are the 80-year-old windmill, bees, and a community garden. The 130 trees originate from the previous owners and include 30 different varieties. There are tree identifiers placed next to them. Hopefully the annual Harvest History Festival, celebrated in September, can resume this year.

It is great to see the historic significance of the workers of the Valley of Heart’s Delight in the focus of this park. 

Have you been to Heritage Park?

If you’d like to peek into local history I’d also recommend the Los Altos History Museum. They have another tiny house example of this time period, a tank house.


1“As the Depression deepened, the growers slashed wages and laid off workers. Between 1929 and 1933, wages dropped from $3.50 to $1.90 a day.”

2Affordable Housing: Affordable housing is generally defined as housing on which the occupant is paying no more than 30 percent of gross income for housing costs, including utilities.

Android Lawn Statues surrounded by caution tape

Hope for Reconstruction of the Android Lawn Statues, Mountain View

Foam sculpture of a donut, partly destroyed.

The Android Lawn Statues were always an interesting excursion to show visitors. On my last visit, about a week ago, this place looked appalling. Caution tape was around the perimeter. The figures, which are larger than life sculptures of each new Android operating release, were either busted or completely removed. Named after sweet treats and candy, like Kit Kat and cupcake, these Android figures are made from foam.

Oreo Android figure wrapped in caution tape.

After the 2018 pie release, Google decided to go on a more boring route. The releases are now designed by numbers, starting with 10, which has an Android head peeking out of the zero.. For 11 and 12 you can see a virtual 3-D model. Interesting maybe to a nerd to find some inscription on the back – but unfortunately, it lost its cute appeal.

The lawn statues garden is located on 1981 Landings Drive; the Google merchandise store used to be steps away. Google decided to close down the store and now only has an online version. 

Hope is on the horizon

Hope is on the horizon
Google's Charleston East building is still under construction.

Google’s Charleston East (Google’s futuristic new campus) is almost here and they promised to open the first floor to the public. Watch this video by Tech Insider (​​ The circus-like canopy shape introduces another interesting office building to Silicon Valley, joining Apple’s spaceship and Nvidia’s triangular headquarter. Or like the Bjarke Ingles Group architects call it: “smile-shaped clerestories”. In a report from the Mountain View Voice in February of last year, Charleston East’s public access could be revised to just allowing non-Googlers to enter on the west side of the building. Amid security concerns the tech giant might also put a, none the less pretty, wall around its campus.

Funny also, that the Android Lawn Statues have a neglected Facebook page, with a link to an Android fan site, but no official Google page.

I understand that these are office buildings and there is no responsibility to share anything with the public. Nevertheless, visitors to Silicon Valley long to see evidence of the high tech giving back to the community – even if it’s only in the form of some large foam statues. 

Have you been to Mountain View? Here is my list of 50 things to do in Mountain View.

The Plaza Green at Mountain View's City Center Plaza.

Chill Out in Downtown Mountain View’s Plaza Green

Colorful Adirondack chairs at Mountain View's Plaza Green.
Yellow Adirondack chairs, and in the background holiday decorations.

I’ve been driving by the Civic Center Plaza and admired the bright Adirondack chairs for a while now. The other day I made a point to chill out on the Plaza Green. After my visit to the farmers market I stopped and lounged in the chairs. There is some turf to tie this idea together, and some tables to put down your drink. Perfect to meet some friends and get some Bean Scene treats. If you prefer a regular table and chairs, they are closer to City Hall. Ideal for your outside lunch. Right now there are still Holiday decorations out. I people-watched two women having a photo session, but otherwise this was a highly social distancing experience.

I am not sure where the pieces for the giant chess game are, but on the city’s website it looks like they used to have Bean Bags and Connect Fours, in addition to Jumbo Chess. Maybe while they have the concerts on the plaza in the summer?

City Hall, Mountain View and a Jumbo Chess mat.

Mountain View is making a huge effort to block off parts of Castro and have outside tables for the restaurants there. I hope they’ll stay with the european-style concept.

Mountain View’s Plaza Green is located on 500 Castro street.

By the way, Los Altos has had a pop-up park, the Third Street Green, since 2016.