Friday, September 18, 2015

Hippie Tree

If you're looking for a really short hike that leads to some of the best views in the Bay Area (and an awesome rope swing) then look no further. Hippie Tree in Tiburon is the perfect spot to have a picnic and take in the view.

The hike (which is more of a short walk) starts on Gilmartin Drive in Tiburon, just above where the double yellow lines are painted on the street. After a few minutes you will find yourself at a huge Eucalyptus tree with amazing views of the Bay and a swing.

The kids loved taking turns on the swing (which was a little too high for our youngest to attempt without one of us sitting with her).

While I could easily spend an afternoon having a picnic and enjoying the views, here are a couple other options for day trips in the area;

Continue down the road to downtown Tiburon and catch the Ferry to Angel Island, where you can hike or ride bikes around the island. We had so much fun on our hike with the kids to the summit of Mt. Livermore.
Muir Woods in nearby Mill Valley is a great place for a family hike. Get there early, since parking fills up quickly.
Marin Headlands is a short drive down the road and a beautiful place to spend the afternoon. Make sure to hike down to the Pt. Bonita Lighthouse.

Details: To get to the Hippie Tree, you can simply type it into google maps! As you head up Gilmartin Drive, you will want to park just before you see the double yellow lines painted in the road. The trail starts a few yards up the road.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Temescal Alley

Weekends almost always go by too fast, but one trick I have learned to make them seem longer is to plan something for Friday night. Whether it's a movie in the park, a picnic outdoors or a pint of beer at a kid-friendly brewery, it seems to erase the workday and makes me feel like I gained an extra day of fun. This past weekend was the First Friday of the month which means it's time for Oakland's First Friday events! It's been a while since I participated in the very popular art murmur in Uptown Oakland, but we do frequently take advantage of the more kid friendly First Friday's event at Oakland's Temescal Alley.

Walrus is a tiny store packed with lots of great home decor items.
This girl can entertain herself with anything :)
Temescal Alley sits in the heart of Oakland's Temescal neighborhood and is a collection of about a dozen boutiques housed in century old buildings, some of which used to be horse stalls for the historic horse-drawn trolleys. While there are certainly a number of shops that have been there for years, there seems to be a steady change in the offerings, making every visit unique.

Crimson has a beautiful selection of plants, succulents and gardening goods.
Marisa Mason is one of my favorite shops to peruse. Beautiful jewelry and I'm in love with these ceramic tumblers!
While the shops are open throughout the week (hours vary by shop), the First Friday blockparty is one of my favorite times to visit with the kids. The event goes from 6-9pm and features a nacho bar from the popular Dona Tomas mexican restaurant (which backs up into Temescal Alley) and live music as well as a relaxed bring your own alcohol policy (you can usually buy a beer for a few dollars and shops often offer free drinks to customers). 

We usually indulge in some nachos and beer, followed by ice cream or soft serve from Curbside Creamery. The kids love running around and listening to the music.

Someone recently mastered the art of pouting for attention :)
Oh worked! Attention received...everything is better now.
If you happen to visit during regular business hours, then you get the added bonus of The Cro Cafe being open for coffee and neighboring Doughnut Dolly for a sweet treat.  Otherwise, most vendors are open late on First Friday.

What are your favorite Friday night activities? 

The details: Temescal Alley is located on 49th street in Oakland, just above Telegraph Avenue. Check out their store directory for specific hours. If you're looking for a heartier meal, plan ahead and make reservations at neighboring Dona Tomas or Pizzaiolo, or if you are visiting during mid-day, pick up a fried chicken sandwich from the famous Bakesale Betty (just around the corner) or grilled cheese and soup from The Sacred Wheel.