Escaping the Halloween Madness

DSC02920If you want a change of scenery this Halloween so you don’t have to be around to answer the door for all the ghosts and goblins trick-or-treating, consider Maui.

Last year, while it rained in Walnut Creek, I was enjoying warm sunshine while watching the World Series at the beach bar with many fellow Giants fans.

We also had a great time people-watching at the Lahaina parade! Lahaina is a small town about 15 minutes from Ka’anapali – it’s an oceanfront former fishing village across the channel (in which dolphins and whales tend to migrate!) from the island of Lanai.

People in costume start to congregate on the sidewalk to watch the parade, which has the mayor, a marching band and many more people dressed up.

And just like back home, kids get candy from people standing on the side of the street.DSC02901

Once the parade is over, you can grab dinner at one of the local restaurants – Kimo’s is always a favorite, especially as the sun sets over Lanai (note: reservations for dinner need to be made days in advance for a busy night like Halloween).

After dinner, you can meander the main street (which will be closed off to traffic) to people-watch.

The costumes range from G-rated to PG to the occasional R. Take a look at the pictures below!

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Another fun fact is that October and early November are off-season for Hawaii, so flights are reasonable. A direct, round trip ticket on Alaska Airlines between Oakland and Maui is only about $400. It’s a great time to visit and a great place to get away!

Halloweekened is Coming!

Fall is a great time of year. With the change in weather and light, I tend to cook more and want to snuggle up to a good book or movie. As the holiday season approaches, it’s fun to decorate your house with pumpkins and wreaths, but Halloween has always been my favorite.

I happen to live on a street that is flat and shaped like a horseshoe, so it’s a great place for kids to safely trick-or-treat. Many of my neighbors decorate their homes – some quite extensively! Our street gets about 300 trick-or-treaters on average.

Of course, one of the best parts of Halloween is seeing the costumes. Below I am sharing some of my favorite costumes from a few years ago (it rained last year).

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This year, with Halloween falling on a Saturday and fair weather predicted, I’m expecting record numbers! I’m hosting a few friends for chili and drinks, where we will hang out in the driveway around the fire pit and pass out candy. In our neighborhood, it isn’t uncommon to see parents walking their Disney princesses and superheroes around the neighborhood, pulling a red wagon with a six-pack stashed in the back for socializing with the neighbors.

On a related note, Daylight Savings Time ends with the hallowed eve this year, so remember to turn your clocks back before you go to bed.

Happy Halloween to all, and to all a spooky night! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog: what to do if you want to escape the neighborhood and find a fun getaway this Halloween…

Chili Cook-Off Results

On Saturday, October 10th, the Parkmead Community Association held their first Chili Cook-Off. Eight chili recipes were entered and the big crowd of tasters judged them while enjoying beer and cornbread.

Kids crafts and ping-pong also filled the area, and to ensure safety, Lee St. was blocked off for the event.

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First place in the cook-off went to Adam Neilkie for his classic pork and beef recipe. Yours truly took second place with Willie’s Chili, which is a traditional beef concoction with a secret added tang. Michael was awarded third place for his chili dish. These chili recipes and the rest were devoured within two hours!

The combination of food, drink and perfect weather made for a memorable afternoon. Neighbors of all ages came by to join in the fun, making it a true community event. Because of the success of our first Chili Cook-Off, this may become an annual affair; bring your chili next year to spend a day in the sun with your neighbors and to test your chili against the best!

Walnut Festival 2015

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On Saturday September 19th, the 78th annual Walnut Festival kicked off with the Twilight Parade, which wen through downtown Walnut Creek on Main Street.

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Following the parade, a carnival opens at Heather Farms Park, with over 30 rides and many other attractions. The 4 day event run from Thursday, September 24, through Sunday, the 27th.  This celebration of the arts will provide many hours of family fun, with kid zone, live music, beer garden, great food, and a showcase of local artists, and craftsmen

images-2The Walnut Festival has a long history in this city, dating back to 1911, which the first festival took place.  The original festival was a celebration of the grape harvest, and was called the Grape Festival.  Wine grapes were a major crop in the area until prohibition, when most of the grape vines were replaced with Walnut Trees, changing the event to the Walnut Festival in 1936._8469241

For more information about this fun festival click here.  Hope to see you there next year!

 

Making progress on the Newell Pathway!

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Per my earlier blog post on September 9th , we began work on the new Newell Ave. pathway on September 12, 2015.  After years of rain and wear, the pathway had become very eroded and dangerous.  The new pathway will allow the kids in the neighborhood, dog walkers, & pedestrians to walk to school without trudging through the potholes and mud or by-passing them by walking in the street.
To repair the pathway, the area had to be excavated with a rototiller, replaced with compacted decomposed granite, and sprayed with water.  We had many members of the community donate and volunteer their time to this project.  Thank you to all of those who came out to help.  Special recognition goes to Chris Hockett & Adam Nelkie who coordinated the effort with their knowledge, resources and sweat equity.  Chris’s company Cal Engineering & Geology, Inc., donated $200 to buy everyone lunch – thank you!
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Chris Hockett to the left in the yellow vest.  Myself & Richard West as volunteers, I primarily directed traffic and it was great hear all the positive comments from the drivers – stating they would like to help!
We have completed about one half of the pathway, but the project is not yet complete.  We still need more donations and volunteers to finish the part from Magnolia to Olympic and from the Freeway to mid-Newell.  To help, please contact parkmead@parkmead.org.
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And, remember, kids play and walk to school here, so please Drive Slowly!

Beautiful New Listing 144 Mt. Etna, Clayton

Life can be crazy sometimes!

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I met Sonya in January as she was getting relocated to CA from Oklahoma (can you say sticker shock), but she was very focused and bought a home in Clayton in March. As life happens, after 8 months at her new job, a previous employer contacted her as the VP was retiring and they could not think of anybody better to fill his shoes. They made an offer she could not refuse. I get a call to say I am moving, come list me.
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First Open House today from 12-4! This home is move in ready and beautifully staged by Cathy Lee. Priced at $525k: 1587 sq. ft. duet boasts 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, views of Mt. Diablo and Clayton schools.

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What do you think of the home?

 

Block/Pool Party ~ Parkmead Community Association

Join us Sunday 8/30  Noon – 3 pm for our annual block party.  

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Located at Dewing Park and featuring the acoustic music of Dave Andre of the Smoking J’s, request your favorite 70s – 80s – 90s songs, while taking a dip in the pool or enjoying our BBQ’d hot dogs and hamburgers.  For Parkmead Community Residents only, bring a dish to share, drink a beer, relax and enjoy the day!  Look forward to seeing you there!

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First Showing Open House 1-4 pm 712 Buena Vista

All the Bells & Whistles!  

Charming duet situated in Walnut Creek School District is now ready to show.  2 car garage, perfect size yard, walk to Bart, LarkeyPark  or quick access to 24/680 ~ what more could you want!  A picture is worth  1000 words, so here you go!

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Broadway Plaza Concert Series

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Ok, as I write, I realize I missed the first concert “Petty Theft” thinking it was this Friday night.  For the past few years, I have made it to at least one of the concerts.  Held at Stanford’s parking lot from 6-8:30 pm, with music at 7:00, I have always had an enjoyable evening.  Bring your own picnic, wine and treats or grab something to eat or drink from the event sponsors.  Either way what a great way to spend a warm summer night in Walnut Creek.

 

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Picture from a concert a few years ago – lots of dancing a must!

Future line ups include (note Thursday nights) :

August 13: The Unauthorized Rolling Stones

August 20: Journey Revisited

Beatles Band, Food Trucks and Downtown Walnut Creek!

firstwednesdayWalnut Creek’s downtown has ample amounts of activities: dining, shopping, people watching and celebrating. One way to engage in all of these is to join the Walnut Creek Downtown’s First Wednesday. Recently extended through June of 2016, the first Wednesday of every month, come celebrate, eat dinner and enjoy downtown Walnut Creek from 5pm – 8pm. Located on Cypress St. between N. Main and Locust. The roadway becomes pedestrian friendly, food trucks adorn the curbside and entertainers keep the energy alive. Come taste the treats of Ceviche & Co or Lexie’s Frozen Custard to name a few.

 beer-and-wineBeer & wine are also available for purchase along with cotton candy and snow cones –  mid-summer treats!  cotton candysnoconeEnjoy a few residents of Lindsey Wildlife experience and flora and fauna from The Ruth Bancroft Garden.

This Wednesday July 1st come out and celebrate while dancing in the streets to the Rubber Soles, a Beatles Tribute band. If this isn’t tempting enough, there will be shiny vintage cars from the ’50’s and ’60’s to gaze upon. Hope to see you out there!

~cheers