Here’s a fun thing to do in the Bay Area summers: go see live music! I love going to Bottlerock Music Festival in Napa every spring, and if you’ve never been to a proper festival, you really are missing out on a cultural phenomenon.
Sunshine, good music, unique eats and drink vendors everywhere? What could possibly go wrong? Here are some music festivals coming up in the second half of the summer in Northern California:
Stern Grove Music Festival
I encouraged everyone to check out this free festival in San Francisco in a previous blog, and my urging stands! It goes through mid-August!
Festival Napa Valley
This takes place from July 12-21, so you still have time to squeeze it in! Opera, jazz, wine, food, and a gala hosted by Seal. Seriously! Check it out.
From July 25-28, you can enjoy live music in a family-friendly setting on the banks of the Yuba River near Truckee. What a scene! More info here.
Petaluma Music Festival
On August 3rd, you can benefit the Petaluma public school system by attending this one-day festival with four stages of music. Very cool!
This is the big one – the annual 3-day festival extravaganza in Golden Gate Park is worth every penny! This year, enjoy Paul Simon, Childish Gambino, Twenty One Pilots, and more! Visit the website here.
People know Auburn, CA for many things: a gateway to Lake Tahoe and a multitude of ratable rivers and some great local camping spots. My kids know it for the last In-N-Out before Tahoe. I know it as the place where my friends Jane and Troy live!
But, what many may not know, is that Auburn is also home to a great brewery called Knee Deep! I recently stopped there when I was traveling back from Tahoe to meet up with my friends and a have quick drink. I loved it!
They have an extensive list of beers, corn hole, and picnic tables inside and out. There is only snack food, but they do have a food truck that is occasionally parked out front.
The Brewery itself is a family-run independent Microbrewery founded in 2010. It has tasty beer that is unique in its style. They recently won an award for an IPA, and have multiple award-winning beers. And, as a bonus: the tasting room is both pet and kid-friendly!
It’s been cool to see a small, local brewery like Knee Deep gain in popularity so heavily that it’s now sold in 30 different states and six foreign countries! I’d highly recommend stopping by next time you want a break on the way to and from Tahoe, it is just a mile from off the freeway exit of Bell Road – you won’t regret it!
Sky gazers are scrambling to find a spot where they can see the shadow of the moon completely obscure the sun for a few moments on August 21st.
Obviously, I wouldn’t expect you to actually make travel plans this late (you wouldn’t be able to anyway…any city in the path of totality during the eclipse has been fully booked for months!). See what the eclipse will look like in Walnut Creek (or anywhere else) with the peak at 10:15 am Monday.
The eclipse path will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. I know many people who have already left for Oregon to snag first come, first serve campsites. Ironically, Sun Valley, Idaho is in the path for a total eclipse and it is one my favorite spots to ski, not to mention it’s beauty for hiking in the summer. Already a popular tourist hotspot, Sun Valley will be overrun with thousands of tourists hoping to catch a clear glimpse (with eclipse glasses on, of course) of the rare spectacle.
Everybody is getting on the solar eclipse band wagon! In Hopkinsville, KY just two miles from the point of greatest totality, Casey Jones Distillery (makers of Eclipse Moonshine!) have dubbed their spirit the official drink of 2017 Solar Eclipse.
Those who have seen eclipses in the past described them as “magical” and “spiritual.” It will be the first time in 38 years that a solar eclipse passes through the entirety of the continental United States, so it’s an event worth traveling for, but if you are like me – not making special plans and at work – don’t forget to take a few minutes to step outside to marvel at this wondrous celestial event. Don’t forget to wear eclipse glasses!
Hah, get it? It’s officially summer in the Bay Area (if you couldn’t tell by the triple-digit heat…), which means it’s time for you to plan some fun camping trips!
Luckily, we live in one of the most serene, nature-filled parts of the country and dozens of great campgrounds are just a short drive away. That brings me to this list of local campgrounds provided by Placer Title Company.
Some you’ve probably heard of, some you haven’t, but either way you can’t beat the Northern California summer. Some of my favorite areas are Tahoe (of course) and the Redwoods.
On this list, I can’t recommend the Tahoe State Recreation Area, Big Basin or Tuolumne Meadows (Yosemite, so get reservations like…yesterday!) enough. I’ve also found that Desolation Wilderness near Tahoe is an amazing, remote spot for hike-in camping.
If you have kids, Angel Island is a simple ferry ride (also fun for the kiddos!) and close enough to home that you can do an easy one-nighter. Obviously, if you want to be extremely close to home in the East Bay, hit up Mt. Diablo. They have pretty great campgrounds and almost every single one has a great view of the entire East Bay.
I love camping, whether it be in a car or a tent, in the warm NorCal summers. Check out that list, pack your car, and take a weekend off to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Our natural surroundings are some of the best parts about living in California, so take advantage of it soon!
Burger Lounge, the new burger joint on Oak Grove Rd., is making its first foray into Northern California with its Walnut Creek location.
Rooted in San Diego, they are well-known for their grass-fed beef, craft sodas, huge salads, half-and-half fries and onion rings and delicious shakes. The decor is fresh and stylish; I saw lots of people comfortable and conversing.
(Note: if you get there after 11:30 on weekdays, there will be a line out the door)
Burger Lounge also serves wine and local craft beer (Calicraft at the Walnut Creek location). Maybe the coolest aspect of the Burger Lounge mission is that they try so hard to make food that tastes good but is also as sustainable as possible. As mentioned, their burgers are grass-fed and they avoid a lot of the processed ingredients other places use.
I really liked my burger. I got mine to go and it was gone before I hit 680. Overall, I give Burger Lounge FIVE Mt. Diablo’s! Give it a try and let me know if you agree.
Pyramid Alehouse was a long-standing favorite in downtown Walnut Creek, but has recently given way to a new barbecue joint called Sauced.
The owners are cousins (one raised in Pleasanton, one in the South) and imported everything from the South – from the wood used in the restaurant to the menu and drinks. Their goal is to bring authentic BBQ to Northern California, but they did not bring southern pricing to the table.
Where the old Pyramid brewery tanks were is now a huge, open bar and that seating area looks massive with the new layout. They do trivia on Tuesday and Bingo on Wednesday each week, and the dining area also has plenty of space for big groups.
I had the brisket which was served with apple coleslaw (very good) and a slice of corn bread with whole kernel corn (authentic and tasty) plus two drinks. It was rich and I had a food coma for a few hours, but maybe the drinks attributed to the feeling.
The food and ambiance is good; my son ordered a Cubana, which includes a fried pickle in it and two sides, the cost $20. The BBQ I have had outside of Austin, TX would cost much less and is just as good, but we can’t all go to Austin for some down-home BBQ and I am sure our rents are much higher, thus Sauced is local and may be the next best thing if you are hunkering for BBQ.
They do have a great bar area, tons of mico-brews to choose from and a daily happy hour. It is a great place to gather with friends and enjoy a game. Pyramid left some pretty big shoes to fill, considering its popularity, so time will tell if Sauced can keep the seats filled. I do hope they continue the live music on the patio in the summer and would love to hear what you think and if you know of any other great BBQ spots!