Thank You! … for supporting the coat drive

IMG_8135 Walnut Creek is now home to a temporary winter homeless shelter at The Armory sponsored by Trinity Center. It houses up to 30 homeless families while providing transition assistance in an effort to place them back in homes after their stays at the shelter.

As many of you know, I did a One Warm Coat drive that was featured in my latest newsletter. Trinity Center was the beneficiary of those coats, blankets and sweaters, along with a few of the Trader Joe’s gift cards I was giving out to the first 10 respondents. I want to thank all who donated. We ended up with about five large-sized trash bags full of warm goodies.

If you have never stopped by to drop off food or clothing, I highly recommend it. It is an eye-opening and rewarding experience. We were greeted by a group of men sitting in the living room staying warm and eating chips and dip. They kindly offered to carry in our bags of clothes. The staff is kind and grateful.IMG_8136

The Trinity Center is a non-profit based in town here on Trinity. It provides basic human services such as food, showers, laundry, clothing, mail and telephone access.

The City Council of Walnut Creek passed the proposal earlier in the year, to use The Armory on Carmel temporarily through the winter and now it’s officially in operation.

I first heard of the program when it was called Fresh Start and a neighborhood boy asked his mom how he could help the homeless. As a result, Creek Kids Care was born with local kids of all ages having art parties and creating note cards to sell. The money raised was donated to what is now the Trinity Center. What a great story that shows what one small child can set into motion.

 

 

 

 

 

Things to do Around Walnut Creek for Christmas!

ice skating WCLIt’s that time of year again when the tree lots spring up, lights blink on every corner and familiar movies play on every TV: it’s Christmas time!  If you are like me, it caught up to me quickly, as I barely got my tree up, with Christmas Cards still needing to be created – maybe they will be New Year cards (now if I can only my Costco certificate for the print shop I bought 2 months ago).  Thus with only a few days left until Christmas, there is still  a lot of things to do….

Even though Walnut Creek is nestled in the cozy Bay Area where snow is a day trip away, the town gets into a wintery spirit for the holidays. With students coming home for winter break and relatives flying into town for Christmas and New Year’s, families are reuniting all over the Bay Area.  After catch up is played, meals are devoured and egg nog is drunk, here are a few fun, local holiday events around Walnut Creek for the whole family to enjoy:

Walnut Creek on Ice

For just $15, you can enjoy some quality ice skating time right in downtown Walnut Creek. The ice rink, which has been a fixture in Civic Park for many winters now, throws fun events and never gets overly crowded. For more information about Walnut Creek on Ice, visit their website.

Santa visits at Broadway Plaza

A winter classic is taking the kids (of all ages!) to visit Santa Claus, ask for a gift and take a photo. This year, you can head right down to Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek to see him. Make sure to hurry on this one, though; he can only hang around through Christmas Eve, before taking off on his sleigh to deliver his gifts!

091220-N-XXXXX-001 FUJISAWA CITY, Japan (Dec. 20, 2009) Petty Officer 1st. Class James Durrance acts as Santa during a visit to distribute toys to children of the Misono Orphanage. The community service project was supported by the First Class Petty Officer Association of the guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG 63). (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Holiday Train in Blackhawk

Take a little drive to Blackhawk and get a nice meal with the family, before rewarding your kids for their patience with a fun train ride at Blackhawk Plaza! All you need is to make a purchase at the plaza, and you’ll receive a ticket for the train too. Nothing says holidays like a wintery train ride for the little ones.

Volunteer in the East Bay

There are endless volunteer opportunities around the East Bay, especially around the holidays. From helping distribute food, clothing and toys to less fortunate families, to caroling at local senior centers, there are tons of ways to help give back with your family this Christmas. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

Catch a Christmas movie

Everybody has their favorite Christmas movie, but many people don’t realize that they can watch some of the classics from the Century Theaters in Walnut Creek! For example, this Wednesday night the theater will be showing Miracle on 34th Street, and then It’s a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve. What better way to spend some warm, relaxing family time than getting a Christmas classic on the big screen?

Do you have any other fun ideas for this week and weekend around Walnut Creek? Happy holidays!

1077 Wesley Ct. #8 Open House

Wesley CtYou can’t miss this recently-updated top-floor end-unit in Walnut Creek. With fresh paint, new carpet, granite counters and new flooring, this 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom is ready for move-in. Not to mention it’s a short walk to BART, has easy freeway access, underground parking, extra storage and a pool! The list of perks never ends.

Open for a Broker’s Tour tomorrow (Tues. 12/15) from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and then for an Open House this Saturday and Sunday from 1:00-4:00 p.m. both days. Come check it out!

You can see a virtual tour of 1077 Wesley Ct. #8 right here.

Just in Time for Thanksgiving!

FullSizeRender-2Having a bad hair day?

Apparently you’re not the only one…This wild turkey, spotted near Walnut & Marshall, just discovered that he’s bald!

Vanity withstanding, he is definitely not alone!  I was driving away in my Mini after an Open House at my listing in Clayton, when I came around the corner and — to my surprise — found a gang of turkeys (yes, “gang” is the technical term for a group of turkeys)!

I have seen a few gangs here and there around Walnut Creek, and many at the Lafayette Reservoir! This got me thinking: do we have a turkey problem?

Lo and behold, it’s been an issue in the East Bay since the early 2000’s. Apparently, the turkeys continue to move East, oftentimes destroying gardens, nicking paint on cars and leaving cement-like patties of you know what along the way.

FullSizeRender-1Here are a few facts about the wild turkey that were new to me:

  • There are almost 7 million wild turkeys nationwide
  • They have 5,500 feathers and males have 18 distinct tail feathers
  • Ranging from 5-20 pounds, they can run at speeds up to 25 mph and fly at 55 mph

Watch yourself around gangs of turkeys, too! By nature, they have a proud demeanor and protective instincts, with vision three times better than humans – maybe the turkey above couldn’t believe what he was seeing!

So, think twice before trying to score a free Thanksgiving meal when you see these guys on the street.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

 

 

Best Sandwich in the Bay Area: Morucci’s

One of my favorite lunch time eateries in Walnut Creek is Morucci’s. They have great sandwiches, soups and salads. My personal favorite is the #1: Roasted Turkey.

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One of the best aspects of this deli is their creative menu, which lists their sandwiches from 1-17 (with some items being fractions, too!). It is always fresh and tasty and has my vote as the best deli in the area.

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Some of the most popular sandwiches are the 6 3/4, which is a delicious combination of caprese salad-style tomato and mozzarella, turkey, lettuce, roasted bell peppers, and balsamic dressing, all on a perfectly-toasted ciabatta; and the #5 (California club – fully loaded with turkey, swiss, bacon and veggies).

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For the vegetarians the Caprese is also tasty. I can truly say that every concoction they make at Morucci’s is awesome, and apparently everyone agrees – just check out the line at lunch time! Try to get there in off-hours, though. The secret got out a few years back and now East Bay residents from high schoolers to retirees form lines around the block on any given day at lunch to nab one of these famous sandwiches.


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Consistently voted one of Walnut Creek’s best, Morucci’s is a must-try if you are living in or visiting the area. From their sandwiches, to fresh Italian salads, Morucci’s definitely earns their rave Yelp reviews.

Which sandwich at Morucci’s is your favorite?  Please let me know.

East Bay Booze Boom!

The Bay area is leading the nation in innovation, and not just in the tech sector. A new industry on the rise in the East Bay is the alcoholic beverage market!

75e4cb_70530afefa2c4ac597c7198da59bd280With the craft brewing industry on the rise, many local entrepreneurs have hopped (get it?) on the bandwagon, starting many new breweries in Oakland, San Francisco, and even Concord! Many of these East Bay brewers are really pushing the envelope by making unusual beers, like sours, rare varietals, and other creative concoctions.

One such brewery in the sour beer market is Rare Barrel in Berkeley. They go the extra mile by aging their beer in oak barrels for about a year to develop the lovely tart flavors in their brews. Some other notable East Bay breweries are Linden Street Brewery and Pacific Coast Brewery in Oakland, Jupiter and Pyramid Brewery in Berkeley, and EJ Phair in Concord. Don’t sleep on 21st Amendment Brewery, famous for their Hell or High Watermelon beer, which just opened a huge new brewery in San Leandro. Or the popular Calicraft Brewing Co. based right here in Walnut Creek which is my favorite; I love their Buzzerkeley champagne beer.

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Beer is not the only game in town, however. The wine and liquor industries in the area have also been growing in popularity. St. George Sprits in Alameda has become well-known for their brand, and Hangar One vodka is named after the old World War II-era hangar where the distillery is based. Although they recently sold the brand to be produced next door, the distillery is excited to have more space to focus on new experiments in distillation. Some of their more creative liquors include Green Chili Vodka, Absinthe Verde (I know this one from personal experience and it was not a good one), Agricole Rum, and several Fruit Brandies. They have a great guided tour for $15, which includes a tasting of six spirits! They even have a small outdoor seating area where you can hang out with a drink after your tour and check out the San Francisco skyline from the other side of the Bay.

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Many wineries have also begun to spring up throughout the East Bay. Although this may seem like a new development, the East Bay, especially the Walnut Creek area, was actually one of the main wine-grape growing regions until prohibition in 1920. One such winery making a revival in the area is Urban Legend Cellars in Oakland. They source grapes from other local regions, and use various blending and oaking techniques to produce unique and delicious wines.

Walnut Creek has also been put back on the map with Shadowbrook Winery. This vineyard grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah, right on the foothills of Mount Diablo. Mark Lavezzoli, the Winemaker there, combines traditional and innovative techniques to create some very tasty vino. The entire team there is very excited about Walnut Creek’s potential to produce a first-class wine.

With so many great beverages to try right here in the East Bay, it’s hard to find a reason to leave and another great reason to own a home in this amazing area.

Have you been to any of these places? Please share your thoughts – we would love to hear from you!

Walnut Creek Oktoberfest!!

Get your lederhosen or Dirndl dress ready for the upcoming Oktoberfest in Walnut Creek.  The festival, taking place Saturday, October 17, from 10am – 5pm, will be located between Cypress St. and Civic Dr.

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The event is free, and family friendly, featuring a pumpkin patch and other children’s activities.  I can’t wait to enjoy the biergarten, with many local and foreign craft beers, and the gourmet food exhibitors.

 

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There will also be a music stage, featuring Petty Theft, Mustache Harbor, and Revolver.

For more information, visit the Walnut Creek Downtown website.

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

 

Pier 1 Imports Finds a New Home

               After 15 years at its previous location at 1902 Mt. Diablo Blvd, Pier 1 Imports has made its new home at 1902 Mt. Diablo Blvd.

Although the move seems small, it brings huge improvements for the popular home furnishings retailer. A much larger store allows for new and exciting merchandise, complete with new fixtures for an improved shopping experience. Perhaps the greatest improvement this new location provides is expanded and more accessible parking for customer convenience.

Pier 1 Imports’ inventory offers an amazing variety of merchandise including furniture, home décor and culinary items from around the world. 

Hopefully its beautiful new location hosts a bright future for this Walnut Creek business!

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Pier 1 Imports original street-side location.

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Walnut Creek’s new and improved Pier 1 lmports store front.

What’s New in Walnut Creek this Week?!

Upcoming Events: 6/17-6/23

6th Annual June Wine Walk:

Date: Wednesday, June 19th

Time: 6:00 PM- 9:00 PM

Stroll through beautiful Downtown Town Walnut Creek while enjoying unique tastings from over 15 local wineries! The event will begin at Pro Home Systems located at 1561 Civic Drive, here you will receive your commemorative tasting glass and a map of businesses participating. During the event, you will also be able to enjoy stunning art displays and live music. Tickets are available for $40 the day of the event, or $30 pre-sale from these locations: Atlas, Mechanics Bank, Main St. Postal and Walnut Creek DBA Office. All proceeds from the June Wine Walk will be donated to the Walnut Creek Aquanauts.

Senator Desaulnier Town Hall Meeting- Health Care Reform:

 Date: Thursday, June 20th

Time: 7:00 PM- 9:00 PM

               California State Senator, Mark Desaulnier invites you to attend a town hall meeting to learn more about how the Affordable Health Care Act will benefit Walnut Creek residents. The meeting will take place at the Walnut Creek City Council Chamber, located at 1666 North Main St. To RSVP, visit https://lcmspubcontact.lc.ca.gov/PublicLCMS/SurveysDirect.php?district=SD07&survey=3387&.

 

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K Walk:

 Date: Saturday, June 22nd

Time: 8:00 AM

             The American Cancer Society is sponsoring at 5K walk around Heather Farms Park. This is a free event to raise awareness for cancer research and to provide support for both cancer survivors and those currently battling cancer. Registration will begin at Heather Farms at 8 AM, the walk will begin at 9 AM. Come enjoy a beautiful Saturday morning in the park and support a great cause! For more information, contact Ashley Fairchild at Ashley.Fairchild@cancer.org.

 

 Free Advanced Compost Workshop:

 Date: Saturday, June 22nd

Time: 10:30 AM- 12:00 PM

            A free workshop hosted at the Walnut Creek Library for those who want to learn more about organic gardening and natural ways to control pests. For more information, Email Ashley@wastedivision.org.