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:
The San Francisco Bay Trail is a 500 miles walking and cycling path that spans all nine Bay Area counties.
The Bay Bridge Trail is a 4.4 mile round trip from Oakland to Yerba Buena Island over the Bay Bridge.
With all the wildfires going on, (I hope everyone is safe! ) I felt the need to visit a forest. I thought the air might be purer, which it was, and I would find some serenity, which I did. I decided to do a short hike at Huddart Park in Woodside. I was aware of the $6 parking fee, which I paid.
I passed several bikers going up the hills. I was surprised how high in elevation Huddart Park actually is.
The Redwood Trail I picked for my forest adventure is a 0.7 mile hike, a short loop with minimal elevation changes. I liked the markers that point out shrubs and trees – yes, the Redwood Trail has more to offer than just redwoods! I saw big leaf maples, douglas fir and sword ferns to name a few. I very much appreciated the poison oak sign, always confused on where it might lurk and what it looks like.
I also enjoyed the different shapes of the tree barks. One was a puzzle with pieces lying on the floor to complete. The mostly wood trail makes for a nice shady hike.
I crossed a few bridges which would hold a stream in the winter time. Overall, it was nice to be out in the woods.
The sign at the Woodside library announces the library, and right below, the native plant garden. This acknowledgment is well deserved; the space of the garden seems as large as the library itself. You have to enter the garden from the library. The chairs and tables makes it clear that al fresco studying is encouraged here. And the people of Woodside take advantage of the natural office setting.
The manzanita grove to the right immediately delighted me with their dark red bark. The horse smell from next door reminded me that I’m in Woodside. Every place, even the library, has a horse rack in front.
The redwood grove in the back uses its half arch for benches. A great place for a school class to enjoy some lunch. Benches are sprinkled throughout the garden, inviting everyone to take a break.
The native garden is open during library hours:
Monday – Thursday 11 am to 7 pm
Friday and Saturday 11 am to 5 pm
Village Harvest is a great volunteer organization that picks fruit, mostly in neighborhoods, and donates it to local food banks. I went three years ago with my brother-in-law to pick some apples in an old orchard in San Juan Bautista. It was a different sightseeing trip for sure! A Mountain backdrop – we met the couple that owns the place – very enjoyable! This San Juan Bautista event is coming up again, October 13th, 2018 9am – 12:30pm.
I finally got around to help out a second time. This time was even more special: Filoli’s in Woodside Gentlemen’s Orchard. The varieties in this orchard are insane. There are about 400 different apple, pear and grape varieties, plus some more uncommon fruits like medlars, quince, and shan zhas. I am happy to say if you help picking you are welcome to try the fruit. I enjoyed a variety of apples and the chatting with other volunteers that occurred around the trees. Being greeted by wild turkeys was a highlight too.
After the picking you gather around and sort the apples. You are encouraged to take the ‘bad apples’ home – and yes there will be apple crumble at my house soon.Afterwards we were treated to a walk around Filoli. The three crates full of apples in the entrance of the estate proved that I hardly ate or saw all the apple varieties while I was in the orchard.
If you are a location junkie, like me, you might enjoy the Gentlemen’s Orchard. The people you meet while picking the fruit are very special, with their hearts in the right place. Village Harvest also has neighborhood events, where you pick fruit in multiple front and backyards.
Filoli does tours of their Gentlemen’s Orchard. The next tour is 10/7/2018 from 11am – 12:30pm. Please check their calendar for available dates.
Have you ever driven by Tripp Road in Woodside and wondered what the general store was all about?
The old general store, post office, and community center constructed in 1854 by Robert Orville Tripp and Mathias Parkhurst is now a California Historical Landmark.
Tripp also was a dentist and winemaker. The store flourished; it was the only general store and stagecoach stop between San Francisco and Santa Clara.
Today, school groups can explore what it was like in a general store. The Woodside store is also open for the general public, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to 4 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12 pm to 4 pm. I really enjoyed the fact that you can go behind the counters and take a closer look at the packages on display.
The little gift shop in the corner is appropriate – with books from that period and arrowheads. But the best offering are the candy sticks. I have been told that bubble gum is one of the favorite flavors. At 25 cents each they are a true bargain and a welcome souvenir to take away.
The back rooms are a tribute to the lumber industry with large saws on the wall, but also skunk and racoon fur to touch.
As a monument to the engineering of the Hetch Hetchy Project, that brought water 160 miles from the Sierra Nevada to the Bay Area, the Pulgas water temple is a tribute to the ancient architecture of Greece and Romans. The 20 year project finished in October of 1934.
The inscription “I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people.” underlines the importance of drinking water after the 1906 earthquake and the raging wildfires that followed the quake.
I was surprised at how many people were exploring the monument. Some relaxing on the lawn, some horsing around the pool. The reflecting pool, a great backdrop for wedding photography and other photo opportunities was widely used as such.
The water temple is open seven days a week, from 9 am – 4 pm, but on the weekends the parking lot is only available for permitted events.
Currently there is also the 20th Annual Botanical Art Exhibition until May 20th, 2018. I enjoyed the drawings very much, and even found some of the tulips depicted.
The $20 entrance fee ensures the place will be open for the public. They have about 800 volunteers on the estate. Some of these volunteers create the flower arrangements in the house each Monday when Filoli is closed. So, if you come on Tuesdays you can admire the fresh bouquets.
The gift shop sells homemade jams and other products from the estate. The cafe has a wonderful selection of salads and sandwiches. You might also consider a stop here for coffee and dessert.
Water in California is a major topic. Coming out of a drought that gave us wildfires and restrictions on water use, we now have had a lot of rain. This downpour was a huge test for the tallest dam in the U.S., Oroville, CA. My thoughts go out to the people affected by flooding in all of California.
This is probably not the reason why there are two water temples in the area. But if you like the sound of running water and are looking for a peaceful place this might be your next stop.
So far I only visited the Sunol water temple. I was there by myself (except for some city workers next to the field who had their picnic lunch). The water temple was modeled after the ancient Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy, by Willis Polk. Built in 1910, in its early years half of San Francisco’s water supply would pass through it. Today only a small amount is used for San Francisco’s water and sewer needs, the rest flows into the Alameda Creek.
Unfortunately the Sunol Water Temple is no longer accessible, closed until November 2018 for construction of the nearby Sunol Corporation Yard. This can only mean that we all have to explore the second water temple in the area: The Pulgas Water Temple 86 Cañada Road, Woodside, California.
Sunol Water Temple, 505 Paloma Way in Sunol, California