Event Round-Up: June 15th

It’s officially summer, in case you missed that massive heat wave at the beginning of the week! Time to plan around pool parties, trips to the beach, and picnics at the park! Here are some fun, local events for the next month or so happening in the Bay Area:

Image result for exploratorium

Exploratorium: Self, Made (thru Sept. 2)

A really cool-looking exhibit about self-discovery that is on display for all ages at the Exploratorium all summer. Find out what makes you, you at this interactive-heavy exhibit. Information here.

Walnut Creek: Uncorked (June 20th)

The best restaurants in Walnut Creek offer delicious food, you’ll get to sip wine and walk through downtown, and mingle with the rest of the local community at this annual event. Get tickets here!

Walnut Creek: Music and Movies at the Park (June 21st)

This summer movie and music series will start at Tice Valley Park on 6/21, showing Bumblebee and playing the Rossmorr Band. Music starts at 7 p.m., and the movie starts around 8:30 (at sundown). Bring your family! Information here.

Pleasant Hill: Summer Concerts by the Lake (June 23)

Every other Sunday in Pleasant Hill, you can enjoy free music by the lake from 6-8 pm. On this date in particular, you can take in the sounds of Midnight Flyer. For more info and a full schedule, visit:
https://www.ci.pleasant-hill.ca.us/888/Festivals-Events.

Image result for cal shakes
The Mercury News

Orinda: CalShakes (July 3rd)

Can’t beat a great outdoor venue for some small-time theater. Though the run on A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be over at CalShakes, you could take up The Good Person of Szechwan or plan ahead for House of Joy or MacBeth later in the season. Get more info here.

More apartments to come in WC Transit Village

As you may have noticed, the Walnut Creek BART station has taken on some renovations. There is now a new large 900 space parking structure along with a bus terminal at street level on the southwest side of the Bart station. Now, the loading zone is on the opposite side and getting there is trickier than it used to be as you can’t get in and out of area the way you could before.

Image result for wc transit village
WCTransitVillage.com

This is all part of the transformation to the Walnut Creek Transit Village which is starting to taking shape. In addition to all the construction of apartments and condos on the side streets around Walnut Creek BART (see past blogs), they are building a mixed-use development with 360 apartment units, shops, restaurants and public plazas in the northwest lot next to Pringle Ave. It is supposed to have all the amenities you’d expect from a modern housing development (co-working space, pool and spa, rooftop deck, bike repair lounge, fitness center, etc.). Currently, there is a fence surrounding this old parking space and lots of weeds.

The second part of this project, on the corner of N. California Blvd. and Ygnacio Valley Rd. will have about 240 units and 12,000 square feet of retail space. That is expected to break ground next year. Combined with all the other new living areas around BART, the station really is being transformed into a living/shopping village.

The renderings look beautiful and the BART police station rendering turned out exactly like the finished product. As with any new development, the city requires some sort of art work to be installed and the most recent garage addition recently added their personal touch. We’ll discuss these pieces later in a separate blog post. My son visited me this weekend, hasn’t been in Walnut Creek since last August, and he feels it has really changed in nine short months. Our once sleepy town has grown up and continues to transform.

Art Town: Untitled?

There is a new, and maybe unfinished, piece of art near my office by Walnut Creek BART! You can see in the pictures below that it’s a very interesting structure comprised of multiple circles – some of which have openings among them.

There isn’t really any information online and no plaque at the structure itself, so I do wonder what the origin of this piece is? I want to know if it was designed to look old and rustic, or if it’s just incomplete (or old, and I’d just never noticed it before!). Does anyone know?

Road Trips: Farmer’s Markets

Okay, so I’m cheating a little bit here. Most farmer’s markets aren’t going to take you on an actual road trip. But there are so many good ones around the Bay Area, that it feels like you could totally spend half a weekend day visiting a few different ones and getting lots fresh fruits and vegetables!

Check out some of the main spots you can find markets in our area:

This doesn’t even account for San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland and other Bay Area places that are known for having awesome farmer’s markets. And since we’re on the events angle, let’s throw in this cool Art & Wine Festival happening at Heather Farm right NOW! It continues tomorrow, too. So don’t worry.

If you’re reading this in time, Parkmead is having their annual garage sale until about 12 p.m. today. Not your traditional road trips, but still a fun day out nonetheless!

At what point is it the right time to make a change?

As we or our loved ones age, the inevitable question arises: when is it time to make a change? Owning and maintaining a home can become difficult as one gets older, and it eventually becomes more realistic for someone to move into a senior care facility.

Image result for house for sale

I was recently contacted by Janet Daly of Caring.com, who shared some helpful links for seniors that I want to pass along to you. Janet sent some links to free resources that provide a comprehensive look at senior care communities in the Walnut Creek area.

Everyone wants to maintain independence and quality of life, and you don’t have to move out of Walnut Creek to do so. Here are those links, which also include financial support information, laws and regulations, and more:

Image result for caring.com

On a personal note, my mom had Alzheimer’s and was living by herself in Reno. I had two small children in grade school and had to move her to a home that was certified to care for Alzheimer’s patients. It was in Reno because the difference in price between California and Nevada was more than $2,500 a month. It is not an easy choice to make even if one has the ability to choose. What was most difficult for me was knowing she would never move back home and having to sell her house and belongings that she would not need.

Event Round-Up: May 18th

We’re almost all the way into summer here in Walnut Creek! The kids will be out of school soon, and the days will keep getting longer and warmer, giving us ample opportunities to take advantage of some awesome Bay Area events.

Diablo Symphony – May 19th (Walnut Creek)

The Diablo Symphony presents Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony and Bach’s Double Violin Concerto tomorrow at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek! You can get tickets at the door, preceding the 2 p.m. concert. The Symphony Orchestra will be joined by members of the San Ramon Valley High School orchestra for this performance!

Rooftop History Walking Tour – May 31st (San Francisco)

Real estate nerd alert! This sounds so interesting to me, and if you like rooftops with beautiful views, you’ll be amazed by which buildings in the city might have them. This is a really cool tour to take if you like history, as you’ll get into some of the more exclusive private buildings in SF. Tickets are just $35.

Art & Wine Festival – June 1st (Walnut Creek)

For the weekend of June 1st, you can take advantage of an awesome event right in our own backyard! Pair your wine and beer with food vendors, art, live music, a Kids Zone, and more! It’s time for the Walnut Creek Art & Wine Festival. More info here.

Image result for wine tasting

Walnut Creek First Wednesdays – June 5th (Walnut Creek)

Did you miss out on last month’s First Wednesday celebration? Because they are a great time! You can make up for it by coming downtown on Weds., June 5th to take part in a small street fair right here in Walnut Creek. Get more info here – you won’t want to miss it!

Walnut Creek Uncorked – June 20th (Walnut Creek)

Sip, stroll, socialize. Walnut Creek’s Uncorked event is taking place on June 20th downtown! You can sip wines, eat local food, listen to live music, and just wander downtown with your wine. I’d recommend getting tickets in advance, as this event is popular every year!

Nordstrom’s Trend Event

Every spring Nordstrom has a trend event where customers are invited to a fashion show with giveaways, goodie bags and an all-day event downstairs with makeovers and more freebies.

I got the invite because I went to a fashion consult with the local Pi Phi alumni in March where they had a makeup consult and I volunteered to have makeup done and of course ended up buying a couple $100 of beauty products. That is when Sebastian, Assistant Manager in the C0smetics Department, invited me to the Trend Event. I had to buy the tickets $20 apiece, but then got a $20 Nordstrom gift card. He also reserved two seats up front for me.

I invited Maria, our office Administrator, as a birthday gift and we had a fun day taking in taking in new fashions, having a makeover and buying a few things. Nordstrom does this event every April, so keep an eye out for it next year. It was a fun morning, as they open Nordstroms at 7 am before shoppers come and you get some time downstairs before they open up to the public!

Art Town: “Dogs” and “Cats”

Anyone who knows me knows I love animals. I have a Weimaraner, Bodie, who is my best buddy! We go hiking together all the time, and I can’t wait to get home to him every day. He even occasionally comes into the office.

So, when I saw this utility box, you know I had to stop and check it out! They are simply titled “Dogs” and “Cats” by Ammo Waylon. I couldn’t find much information on these online, but they speak for themselves!

Two sides of the box are dedicated to dogs and two sides dedicated to cats. It sits right in front of Walnut Creek Yacht Club, which has some fun upcoming events and starting their 23rd year in Walnut Creek on May 7th. Check out the utility box when you stop by for either Mother’s Day lunch or dinner with a special fixed price menu (note: they are normally closed on Sundays or May 29th with their annual Rum Dinner); June 26th is not a Wine Dinner – its a Beer Dinner with the special guest founder of Calicraft Brewing. And finally Oysterfest #7 is on August 11th.

Tomatina a lasting WC classic

As we’re all well aware by now, restaurants and stores open and close in downtown Walnut Creek on a weekly basis these days. Downtown is prime real estate, and as such, prices continue to rise and push out smaller, poorer businesses.

Unfortunately, that means some Walnut Creek classics end up falling by the wayside (I still miss places like Taxi’s, for example!). Then, there are the restaurants that have been popular downtown for many years and remain that way even in the face of massive churn.

One of those places – a steady favorite – is Tomatina. It is right there on the busiest corner of downtown, next to La Fogata and Teleferic/Rooftop. They’ve been turning out truly delicious Italian food in Walnut Creek since the 90’s and will hopefully be doing so for many more. They are known for their focus on fresh ingredients and seasonal specials.

The piadine is one of their signature dishes. Many know it as an Italian flatbread sandwich, but it’s so much more. After having one, it is easy to understand why so many always order this dish. It is essentially a flatbread topped with a fresh salad and a protein that you fold and eat. Everything is handmade here, and it shows in their food.

My favorite item, of course, is the piadine, but their pastas are also really good. The piadine is also great to go and take into the movie theater – shhh, just don’t tell Century Movie Theaters! It is also a great place to take the kids – or even your dog – as long as they sit outside the fence next to your table on the patio.

Keep supporting local businesses downtown; especially those like Tomatina that we don’t want to see fall victim to the ever-rising rents in Walnut Creek. They are located in seven Bay Area cities.

Go check out First Wednesdays tomorrow!

Every first Wednesday of every month from May through September, Walnut Creek Downtown will be hosting Walnut Creek First Wednesdays! That means that tomorrow is the first celebration of the entire season.

Walnut Creek First Wednesdays
Credit: WalnutCreekDowntown.com

Walnut Creek First Wednesdays include live music, dancing, food trucks, wine and beer, a Kids Fun Zone, interactive games, free prizes, and a Chef’s Demo – sounds like a mini Bottlerock! To add a little bonus, parking in garages downtown after 5 p.m. on Wednesdays is free.

Tomorrow, the festivities kick off with the band Neon Velvet. You can take part from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Cypress St. Admission is free, and it’s a great way to explore our little downtown that has become so hip in recent years!

I’d highly recommend checking it out. I’ve been to events like this in the past on Cypress St., and it’s always a good time with the family or friends, especially on warm evenings. The Walnut Creek Downtown organization does a great job hosting, so check it out if you are not in the mood to cook!