Kite flying at the kite flying area at Shoreline Park in Mountain View.

Fly a kite

Family flying a kite at the kite flying area at Shoreline Park in Mountain View.

Did you know that there is a kite flying area at Shoreline Park in Mountain View? Since it is close to the Bay it always seems to have a nice breeze. Perfect for kites of all abilities. 

Kite at the Shoreline Park kite flying area in Mountain View.

I recently saw a traditional bird, a long cylinder with ruffles, and what looked like a miniature hang glider kite in rainbow colors. The more professional hang glider kite was doing constant loops and making some humming noises while cutting through the air. The other two were just pleased to be aloft. 

While on a midweek afternoon this seemed to be an activity for middle-aged men, on a recent weekend trip I saw little kids flying kites with their parents. 

Sign for the kite flying area general use parking at Shoreline Park in Mountain View.

Since the golf course is open again, you can drive into the park. The kite flying area is your first possible right turn with plenty of parking. (And there is a handicapped port-o-potty.)

When was the last time you flew a kite?

Bliss in the moment by James Moore on the Bay Trail, Palo Alto.

Take advantage of your bike

May is National Bike month. If I could name one thing that shelter-in-place has a positive impact on is the streets are emptier and therefore easier to ride a bike.

A lot of first time riders, with their parents are confident enough to ride on the streets these days. There are also multiple levels of bike trails around.

To spice things up you could challenge someone, friends or family, to an interesting goal. How about: Burn 6 tacos in a week? Or: Ride 100 miles in May. Record your trips and register with https://www.lovetoride.net/usa/signups/new, you even will have a chance to win attractive prizes, e.g. a new bike!

Suggestions on bike trails:

Bay Trail

Bay Trail near Palo Alto.

The San Francisco Bay Trail is a 500 miles walking and cycling path that spans all nine Bay Area counties. 

East Bay

The Bay Bridge Trail is a 4.4 mile round trip from Oakland to Yerba Buena Island over the Bay Bridge.

https://www.baybridgeinfo.org/path

North Bay

Lime bike at South San Francisco.

The Paradise Loop is a more challenging ride, this 38 miles loop starts in Tiburon.

https://bayarearides.com/rides/tiburonloop/

Peninsula

On Sundays, between 9 am and 3 pm, a 3.8 mile stretch on Cañada Road in Woodside is closed off for non-motorized activities.

https://parks.smcgov.org/bicycle-sunday

Marin

Bike in Santa Cruz.

The Tennessee Valley might be closed right now. Please check before you go.

https://www.nps.gov/goga/planyourvisit/tennessee_valley.htm

Do you have a favorite bike ride?

Map of the Stanford Dish loop.

Run around the Dish

It is vital these days to exercise.  A lot of public parks and open space preserves have been closed off, due to the excessive use and therefore people not being able to keep the 6ft required distance. 

We were lucky two weeks ago when my son and I decided to hike the Stanford Dish it was still open. As of April 3rd, they closed access to the Dish. 

The Stanford Dish

I have to confess I put the Stanford Dish hike in my 50 things to do in Stanford without ever being on the path. I am glad I did this hike before it got closed off. The path is concrete, which allows for wheelchairs and strollers, but keep in mind the alleviation changes dramatically – my health app said I climbed 22 floors that day!

Old radio telescope, Stanford Dish hike.

I always wanted to do this 3.8 mile loop passing the old radio telescope visible from 280. I was surprised that there are actually two radio telescopes! We parked at the Stanford parking lot, which is free. Be sure not to park in the residential area, because they will ticket.

The Dish is (usually) open from sunrise to sunset. No dogs, accept service dogs, or bicycles are allowed.

Stanford Dish

Have you hiked the Dish loop before?

Do you know of any hikes that are still open?

Front of the egg vending machine at the Glaum Egg Ranch in Aptos, advising you that you will need 4 crisp dollar bills.

Vend your eggs

Easter will be April 12th, this year. There is a confusing tradition that links bunnies to eggs, which  I don’t understand or even feel qualified to explain. But for now let’s just focus on eggs. 

The Barn, egg vendor and eggs sold here sign of the Glaum Egg Ranch in Aptos, CA.

Before the shelter-in-place order I went to Aptos to see the egg vending machine at the Glaum Egg Ranch. I believe it is still open, but in these days and times anything can change. Are we even allowed to drive that far? I think not. 

Please take this as a virtual tour and when you have the chance of freely moving around again consider this as a fun activity for young kids. It is not the vending of the eggs that I refer to here, it is the show that is offered after you vend. You can see this demonstrated in this YouTube video (be my first subscriber to my new channel!):

Succulents in egg shells at the Barn, Glaum Egg Ranch, Aptos.

To see the show you need four crisp dollar bills and you will be rewarded with 18 eggs and a show. The barn store will be happy to provide you with wrinkle free money. By the way the barn store is open Mon – Fri 8am – 4pm and Sat 8am – 2-pm. There you can get a lot of products around eggs. One was succulents in little egg shells, such a cute idea! They also have interesting gift ideas mostly food related.

Chicken dressed up in their Easter outfits - part of the show at the Glaum Egg Ranch, Aptos.

I wish you all a Happy Spring!

Have you ever vended your eggs?

50 things to do in Cupertino

Explore 50 things to do in Cupertino

Since Tuesday we are officially ordered to ‘shelter in place’. So I like to take this time to introduce you to my series: ‘50 things to do’. I try to find 50 things to do in a city nearby. It is an interesting challenge and I enjoy discovering every aspect of a city.

Bowling balls at Homestead Bowl, Cupertino.

In my latest ‘50 things to do’ I discovered Cupertino. Most of you might know Cupertino as Apple’s headquarters, but this is not all this city has to offer. I was really surprised to see how many interesting options for sports they have. From disc golf to archery, hiking in the hills, and yoga in the park. This city also has two bowling alleys and an ice rink!

aquarium at the Cupertino library

There are some cool outings for kids, too, like the 16 feet wide aquarium in the library or the Deer Hollow Farm at Rancho San Antonio. If you like to explore local history you’ll be able to enjoy a few fascinating finds.

If you have any suggestions of places that I might have missed I’d love to hear from you!

Are you ready to explore Cupertino (virtually)?

Taste of the award-winning goat cheese at Hartley Farm, Pescadero.

Taste some goat cheese

Goat shop sign at Hartley Farm in Pescadero.

At Hartley Farm in Pescadero there is not only a shop for goat cheese and their accompaniments, like habanero jelly, you can also look at the goats that give their milk for this deliciousness. This award-winning cheese converted my husband, who’s goal for 2018 was not to eat any goat cheese, to agree to buy a tub to take home with us. 

We came here to see some farm life, inspired by the movie documentary: Our biggest little farm.

Mother goat with her three recently born baby goats.

Currently there are 106 baby goats. I’m not sure if the count is correct, because we saw three baby goats in the pen with the pregnant goats, and the mom licking them clean. So, I guess we missed the birth by mere minutes.

Two week old baby goats at Hartley Farms, Pescadero.

It was a delight to see the two week old goats play in their playpen. Not all 106 of them, just about ten in each of the two pens. 

You can also peek into the milking station and the place where they make the yummy goat cheese. 

Are you a goat cheese lover?


Citrus for all seasons, descriptive poster at Quarry Lakes, Fremont

Sample some citrus

Growing citrus at the Rare Fruit Grove, Quarry Lakes Park, Fremont.

I wrote about Quarry Lakes Park in Fremont before (Hike around a quarry). A nice park where you can walk around the quarry lakes. But there is more than just bird watching, boating and fishing. A friend told me you can pick your own lemons there. It gets more sophisticated than that, you can sample the fruit from over 100 different rare fruit trees! 

Quarry Lakes Rare Fruit Grove sign. Please sample
But no collecting
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The Rare Fruit Grove is located at the north east side of the lake in the peninsula, reaching into Horseshoe Lake. You can pick up a brochure of the various fruits that can be found right by the entrance. Please only sample, so others can enjoy this, too.  The orchard brochure lists all the names, descriptions, when to harvest, and how to use it.

There are also several other scavenger hunts you can do: 

Quarry Lakes Botanical Scavenger Hunts. QR codes and paper maps.
  • Palms and Cycads 
  • Subtropical Plants
  • California Natives
  • Oak Trees
  • Conifer Trees
Screenshot of Google maps of the Quarry Lakes scavenger hunt.

Either read in the QR code which opens up Google maps, find it by GPS coordinates, or check out the paper map and go hunting. It’s a fun way to learn about trees and plants.

Quarry Lakes parking is $5. 

Have you tried some of the citrus or other fruits at the rare fruit grove? 

Disc golf basket at Stevens Creek County Park, Cupertino.

Throw some discs around

I’ve been to the San Jose disc golf course at Hellyer. My technical skills for this sport are nothing to write about. But I was pleasantly surprised to find another course at Stevens Creek County Park in Cupertino.

A disc golf basket surrounded by trees at the Stevens Creek County Park in Cupertino.

This 12 hole course is well maintained by the Silicon Valley Disc Golf Club which established the Villa Maria course in 2018.

View from tee number 5 at the Stevens Creek County Park disc golf course, Cupertino.

Therefore this course is a fairly recent addition to the area. You have to pay the $6 parking fee at the bottom and then head up to the Villa Maria Orchard. There are restrooms nearby and picnic tables. The course itself has a decent elevation and is technically challenging because of the trees. I found reviews at DG Course Review  that warn people about poison oak, but overall it got a 3.5 out of a 5. The phone holders at the tee off were a big hit. Film yourself teeing off – how Silicon Valley!

Tee off at the disc golf course, Stevens Creek County Park, Cupertino.

If you are a regular you might consider joining the club to support the sport. But if you are just trying it out, it’s free, and there are no green fees, just parking fees. You just have to get yourself a disc golf set at your local sports store (around $20).

Have you tried disc golf?


Labyrinth at Eaton Park, San Carlos.

Hike up to contemplate

Stairs of Eaton Park, San Carlos.

We did pick the easy route, parking on the highest spot for Eaton Park in San Carlos. But if you are feeling adventurous, and in great shape, you might want to start with 72 stairs and climb your way up to this amazing view point.

Views of San Francisco at Eaton Park, San Carlos.

On a clear day you can see San Francisco!

Labyrinth at Eaton Park, San Carlos.

With a view like this it is hard to focus on the labyrinth in front and look down to follow the path. Nevertheless, this too is very satisfying. Start with a specific question or just follow the path and see where it leads your thoughts. For more ideas on where to find labyrinths in the Bay Area, you can click on the article:

Follow the spiral/spiritual path

A great viewpoint in San Carlos.

Would you walk the labyrinth or just enjoy the view?


The iris garden at the Three Creeks Trail in San Jose.

Bike by some irises

The water tower with the 3 indicates the entrance to the Three Creeks Trail in Willow Glen.

The Three Creeks Trail is a relatively new addition to the paved trail system in San Jose. It connects to the Los Gatos Creek Trail and the Guadalupe River Trail.

I love to find these small, hidden gardens. When we recently checked out the Three Creeks Trail in San Jose we came by the Iris Garden.

Snow Flurry, a white iris, in the iris garden on the Three Creeks Trail in Willow Glen.

This is a tribute to Ruth and Clara Rees who successfully crossed varieties of irises in the Willow Glen neighborhood. ‘Snow Flurry’ was created as a white iris with “broad, ruffled paddles, clear hafts, several buds in each spathe, good branching and excellent blue-green foliage.”

After some more research I found out that Clara really hit the jackpot and in 1939 grew “the most important iris ever created”.

Snow Flurry became the parentage of all modern TB irises. The iris garden used to be a much larger development in Willow Glen, and this little strip is all but an homage to them; honoring the botanist and flower lover Clara Rees.

Have you noticed the iris garden along the Three Creeks Trail? 

Resources:

https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/07/18/iris-gardens-return-to-the-reopened-three-creeks-trail http://www.historiciris.org/photos/snow-flurry-lm.html

https://www.historiciris.org/articles/notable-clara-rees.html

https://cbris.org/

https://theamericanirissociety.blogspot.com/2018/12/clara-b-rees-queen-mother-of-iris-world.html

https://theamericanirissociety.blogspot.com/2012/02/clara-and-ruth-rees-san-joses-iris.html

http://wiki.irises.org/Main/Bio/HybridizerReesClara