The Seven Seas Park in Sunnyvale became the latest addition in 2016 of inclusive play parks for all ages. This little park has even a splash park, a dog park, and a half basketball court. One of the fun discoveries is the wind chimes that line the small round path around a grassy field.
The sound sculptures stand man high and have mallets to invite you to play. I could not find any information about the artists. If you know who contributed this musical adventure, please let me know.
The landscape architects, SSA, did a beautiful job creating a nautical themed inclusive park. This park won the “Project of the Year” award in 2016 by the American Public Works Association.
Parking can sometimes be a challenge. Due to COVID-19 playgrounds might still be closed off. Check before you go and follow the recommended safety procedures.
Have you played the sound sculptures at Seven Seas Park?
If you enjoy funky interactive sculptures you should also check out the Wind Walk in San Mateo.
Anywhere by the Bay is a great spot for birdwatching. We walked the other day at Baylands Park in Sunnyvale. While we were pondering about which turn to make, a biker stopped and asked if we were looking for the birds? We weren’t, but our sense of adventure told us that we should follow his advice and turn right. “There are tons of birds!”, he said.
He was right. Once we crossed the levee a swarm of birds started their tree hopping, hoping we would not catch up with them. In the water were ducks and seagulls, and I believe a pair of egrets. I am not an avid birdwatcher, but it is fun nonetheless to see so many different kinds.
My favorite birds were black on top and white on the bottom with bright orange feet. If someone knows what they are, please let me know in the comment section below!
In the summer month an increased algae bloom can make the Baylands Park a bit smelly. The ponds are part of a solar salt farm. As the algae dies off, it produces hydrogen sulfide, H2S, which has a characteristic odor of rotten eggs.
I did enjoy the weeds on our path covered in little feathers. A spontaneous art installation!
But honestly I can’t complain too much. We are very privileged going into this pandemic and have a nice place to hang out and wait this out.
I hope everyone is safe and healthy!
It is also very important to support local businesses right now. Since July 22nd Mountain View has closed off most of Castro St. for vehicular traffic and made it a great place for outdoor dining!
The 100 to 400 block on Castro is now a pedestrian zone, with the crossing streets, Evelyn, Villa, Dana, California and Mercy, still open. The city opened up additional short term parking in City parking lots and garages behind Castro. The Castro Summer StEATS is a pilot program to see if it revives the downtown area.
All is done with social distancing in mind. Circles on the floor show where the assigned tables should go, signs on the street lead you to the hand wash stations, and all waiting staff are wearing masks.
Finally the city is taking advantage of the weather and provides us with a piazza experience! The last time I visited I noticed a lot of children playing in the street. What a lovely accomplishment to enhance city living! Bravo!
What is your opinion about the Castro Summer StrEATS?
Actually the city is asking, please take 7 minutes of your time and fill out the questionnaire:
Hiking is always a great pastime in the Bay Area. These days, with the continuing of shelter in place, hiking is a well deserved alternative from your walk around the neighborhood. We went Tuesday to Rancho San Antonio, a hilly terrain in the Los Altos Hills mountains. My health app recorded a 24 floor climb and almost 11,000 steps!
There are multiple hikes and different levels of difficulty. As a COVID-19 safe measure, the most narrow paths are one-way. Please check out the map before you start. They no longer offer printed maps, so you might want to take a picture. When we were there on Tuesday the bathrooms were open again. Of course this might change without much notice. Bring plenty of water since the water fountains are all taped up.
Deer Hollow Farm is currently closed, but on our way we saw wild turkeys, a few deer, and some lizards, so a short hike with your young ones is still a lot of fun. Plus they put up signs of encouragement from the farm, e.g.: “You goat this!” or “Sheep your distance!”
If you are up for a longer hike you will be rewarded with gorgeous views of the Bay.
It’s now been over 100 days in shelter-in-place. All of our summer plans have been scratched, or as we like to think of it: postponed. Even though we just sit at home every once in a while it is great to swap out walking around the block for going to the beach. You can’t really sit on the beach here, but walking along it and smelling salty air is worth the drive.
One of our favorite go-to spots is the path near the surfer museum in Santa Cruz. A long standing tradition after the walk is to stop by Marianne’s ice cream on Ocean St. Right now, you have to order on one side and pick up at the next window, or place on online order. Masks are required. I’m not sure if they give you a taste. With 80+ flavors I know it is hard to decide which to choose. Marianne’s ice cream has been around since 1947 – a true institution.
Marianne’s is open everyday from 10 am – 9 pm.
What’s your favorite ice cream place?
Have you ever been to It’s It Ice Cream in Burlingame? I wrote a post about it: Scream for Ice Cream
Let’s hear it for your favorite ice cream parlor in the comment section.
Montalvo’s new exhibit “lone some” almost feels like a self fulfilling art and is on point during a pandemic where here in the Bay Area we have been under shelter-in-place order since early March. On 25 independent sites around the Bay, including San Jose’s Museum of Textile and Quilts and at Montalvo’s public park, artists have created talking points about isolation and loneliness.
Also on bus stations from Atherton to Redwood City there are messages to inspire the lonely viewer. Part of this series are posters from Modesto Covarrubias titled: Hear, There and Everywhere. These mantras, prayers, poems, and lyrics are supposed to summon the meaning of isolation and might help you to work through your predicaments. If you would like to connect with the artist and offer your thoughts, or favorite song about loneliness, you can call (408) 777-2103 and leave your input. You might also find billboards as part of the series around the Bay Area.
In the park at Montalvo there are messages etched in 4 x 4 mirrors by Alyson Provax. One for example reads: “You can’t deny that longing for the past.” The social distance signs at the park feel like part of the “lone some” exhibit with directives like: “No sitting, gathering, or picnicking.” Signs of times, food for thought.
Lone some will be on display until July 31st, 2020. A map of the widespread exhibit can be found on Montalvo’s website.
When you play NeMO-Net, a single player iPad or phone game, you will help NASA map out the ocean floor and assess the health of coral reefs around the world.
First I downloaded the app to my phone, got a username assigned, and then was greeted by Sylvia Earle, an Oceanographer from NASA’s NeMO-Net. NeMo-Net is a game created for us to learn about corals, how to identify them. NASA’s ultimate goal is to teach their supercomputer to learn with us and to create a global dataset to classify reefs.
The game begins with a tutorial on how to zoom, rotate, and paint corals and other shallow marine environments in 3D. While you paint you listen to some meditative music, headphones are highly recommended! If you finish painting a coral with 90% accuracy, you are invited to Guam. From there you can start learning about different corals and help NASA to map the ocean floor.
It is a very relaxing game, kind of like paint by numbers while you do some good. So, if you need to chill for a bit I challenge you to a game of NeMo-Net. The game play took a bit getting used to; the hand gestures are unfamiliar to me since I don’t play 3D games. Plus I had to get my reading glasses since the font is very tiny!
It wouldn’t be NASA if the implications of this game did not have anything to do with space. Indeed, the technology could be used to identify life on other planets or examine ancient Martian life.
A few years ago I wrote about The Pole Field at Byxbee Park in Palo Alto (Walk the trails between Bay and posts). Since my radius of wandering is limited right now, I recently went back there. Speaking of limited, parking is only allowed in the lots, no street parking. But this was no issue in the middle of the day on a weekday.
There were only a few people walking and running. The most interesting method of movement was presented by three motorized unicyclists in full gear on a hot day.
I did come for the art and the joy of exercise. Foraging Islands by Watershed Sculpture was installed in 2018 and is an ecological sculpture absolutely fitting for the Byxbee Park and its idea of intersecting nature and culture. With the help of a multitude of volunteers gathering nearby materials, they established a dam-like temporary public art installation, a perfect habitat for insects and rodents.
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.
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.
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.)