I went up to Castle Rock Park in the Open Space the other day to try and catch an evening sighting of the Neowise comet! I decided I had to do it in style, rather than just hike up there to stand around!
So, I brought my dog, Bodie, a picnic, some wine (shh!), and a friend! The views were spectacular as usual with the twilight colors and a dim orange sun reflecting off Mt. Diablo. It was absolutely beautiful. We eventually found Neowise, but needed binoculars to see it, as the light pollution from Martinez refineries didn’t lend the naked eye a view. Though I was hoping for some spectacular images like those posted on Jackson Hole’s Twitter account, it was not meant to be in highly populated Contra Costa County.
Days earlier, I also took a hike in a different direction at Castle Hill Park to Pine Canyon where there is a rock formation where the Peregrine Falcon makes it nest (once an endangered species) and a bench that you can sit on and just take in the scenery and maybe see a falcon flying high above. It is a short walk in, but nice to take it all in and just be outside.
So, things will be a little weird for at least another month in California. If you’re like me, all this social distancing has started to wear on you both personally and professionally. Luckily, we live in a beautiful place with great weather!
That’s one saving grace – we are still allowed to go on hikes in the Open Space! Recently, I went on one of my favorite Shell Ridge hikes. It goes about 3 miles up a hill and rewards you with great views of the Walnut Creek/680 corridor. You may recognize the spot because it’s where a huge water tower used to be.
To get there, you come in at Marshall, turn left, and then go up and around the side (you used to go straight up the hill, but it’s been blocked off). To get to the highest peak, you backtrack at the top of the ridge. Check out these beautiful views!
I like to sit on the bench up there and take in the incredible landscape below. We really are so lucky to call the Bay Area home, even during a global pandemic. Take advantage of the outdoor opportunities, like this hike, if you can. But make sure your eyes are peeled – it’s rattlesnake season up there!
Normally, we reserve event updates for our monthly round-up’s on Saturdays. However, the Walnut Creek City Manager newsletter for April was so chock full of great events coming up in the next week or so, we couldn’t resist sharing a few of them with you. There is a lot of stuff happening in Walnut Creek, so here’s our best all-things-WC blog. Check it out!
April 13: 2nd Saturday Spotlight
A 90-minute walking tour of Shell Ridge is followed by a visit to the Lakewood neighborhood, where the effort to preserve open space in Walnut Creek gained traction decades ago. Register here!
April 13: Family Yoga
Let’s stay at the Shadelands for a family-friendly version of yoga from 10:30-11:15 a.m. on Sat., Apr. 13th! Onsite registration begins at 10:00 a.m. and it’s a $20 suggested donation per family. BYO yoga mats!
April 20-21: Easter Weekend
Boundary Oak Golf Course is hosting an Easter egg hunt on Sat., Apr. 20th from 1:00-3:00 p.m. This is a free event, featuring an Easter Bunny, jump house, and face painting! On Sun., Apr. 21st, from 10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., you can enjoy a champagne brunch ($40 adults, $20 kids, plus tax and gratuity). Make reservations at (925) 934-4775 (ext. 20).
These four places are in the works to replace Lark Creek Cafe, Momo’s, Chevel, and Salon 13, respectively. We’ll have a more thorough blog about these soon. Bier Haus is German fare like Wienerschnitzel and German Beer, Galpao Gaucho is a Brazilian steakhouse, Burma might be like Burma Superstar, and Burgerrim is already in the renovated Rossmoor Plaza with another one downtown. It will be interesting to see how they all get received in Walnut Creek!
You can never have enough pho! Mangosteen just opened next door to Havana and I’m excited to try it. It doesn’t hurt to have a delicious pho restaurant right in the middle of downtown.
Just Be Yoga
Just Be is moving to where Diane’s Swimwear used to be on Locust St. next door to Peets as they lost their lease on Blvd Circle! They will have two yoga rooms, thus two classes at the same time or overlapping.
Get your swimsuit, invite your friends and enjoy your new home. But first, you must swing by our Open House this weekend at 1915 Blackstone Dr. in Walnut Creek. You’ll see an absolutely gorgeous home with more than $100,000 put into customizing and updating everything that has to do with the backyard and the view you have from the house.
Included in those updates are a custom home office, larger double-paned windows, a brand gas pool heater, plantation shutters and french doors. But perhaps the most exciting updates came by the way of the backyard, a major selling point:
Custom island kitchen for BBQ’s
Full landscape remodel
Well pump for no-cost irrigation
Custom-built day bed for relaxing
More than $75,000 later, the seller has built a backyard one could only dream of. You can grill or host a party under the cabana while the kids swim in the pool and any avid golfer’s in the group hit the putting green. Plus, you get to enjoy a partial view of Mt. Diablo.
This single story Northgate rancher is an entertainer’s delight, with a great floor plan made for luxurious living, right in the heart of Walnut Creek.
Built in 1961, move in ready, yet some buyers may want to update the kitchens and baths, a slight remodel would put those pieces on par with the rest of this remarkable home. There are also plans for a deck off the master bedroom with a fire pit.
The 4-bed, 2-bath, 2,062-square foot property is on a 15,225-square foot lot and right near Berean Christian High School, Northgate High School, Foothill Middle School and Walnut Avenue Preschool.
You can’t beat this location, just down the road from John Muir, and five minutes from BART, the new shopping area with Whole Foods, Heather Farms and Arbolado Park. And you definitely can’t beat the comfort of living in such a perfect home.
Come check it out from 1-4 p.m. on both Saturday 9/30 and Sunday 10/1!
This Saturday, you can join Walnut Creek City staff for Old Borges Ranch Day. How cool is that? There will be arts, crafts, activities, games, livestock demonstrations, ponies and fiddlers.
Borges Ranch is the little farm nestled into the foothills of Mt. Diablo, on the southeast side of Shell Ridge. It was established in 1899 by Francisco Borges and is a living example of what an early-20th century California cattle ranch looked like.
Many of the original buildings still exist, including the Borges family home which has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1981 and is part of the Mt. Diablo State Park with an on-site ranger. Sheep, goats, and other livestock roam the farm and welcome hikers who wander past during their Open Space treks.
The almost 400-acre ranch would be a great place for the family to spend a lazy Saturday, and a great learning experience for young kids. I went on a field trip with my now-21-year-old son when he was in the 4th grade; we went back there to get polliwogs, which lived in his bedroom until they turned to frogs. Then we let them go into the creek by Las Lomas – some great memories.
The event this Saturday will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and you can park at Northgate High School and shuttle in and out. It costs just $5 per family to take part!
Want to know about one of the East Bay’s best-kept secrets? When it rains like it has for the past few weeks, the little trickles on the Clayton side of Mt. Diablo turn into magnificent waterfalls!
And there’s a 6-7 mile hike loop that takes you past all of them. If you live in the Bay Area, there’s a good chance you enjoy outdoor activities like me. Hiking in the Open Space or up on Mt. Diablo is one of my favorite pastimes, and we are lucky to live in such a beautiful region full of options.
One of my Walnut Creek Lifestyle team members went on the hike last weekend on a sunny day and was blown away by the amount of water that transformed the waterfalls into full-blown spectacles. It’s a can’t-miss this season!
To get to that entrance, get into Clayton on Marsh Creek Rd. or Clayton Rd. and take a right on a residential street called Regency Dr. (just past the middle school). Take that street to the end, and you’ll be at the Regency Gate, which opens up to a few trailheads. The map there will tell you which one is the loop for the falls!
At the top of the biggest, baddest waterfall they’ve got (not pictured, but now the surprise isn’t ruined!), there’s a pretty cozy little spot off the trail to stop, sit and take in the view. Pack a small picnic and enjoy the beauty Mt. Diablo offers and the spectacle the rainy season has brought. You’ll thank me later! Happy Trails
The perks to this beautiful home are endless! Located in the Summer Lake neighborhood of Oakley, this new property (built in 2012) is close to hiking and jogging trails, and just one mile from the Delta. The neighborhood boasts the lake, a pool, tennis courts and playgrounds.
It gets even better when you go inside – enjoy a home office, open-floor plan between the eat-in kitchen and living room, and an upstairs den that is perfect for the kids! One of the master suites is on the first level, and the other is upstairs for total privacy. That was not a typo; there are two master suites in this home! And still, there’s more – in the backyard, you can relax near the pond or have a drink around the outdoor gas fireplace.
Don’t let this one pass you by. Stop in and see the Open House this weekend! We’ll be open from 1-4 p.m both Saturday (3/12) and Sunday (3/13).
We know the next storm’s a comin’ to the Bay Area soon – 3 feet expected up at Trucke, but you can’t deny you’ve enjoyed this crazy beautiful warm weather for the past couple weeks. I don’t know about you, but I’ve taken full advantage of it and gone hiking as much as possible with my dog, Bodie.
Funny enough, I found this story about the best hikes in the East Bay recently, and I’m dying to try a few that I’ve never been on before. Once this next storm clears, I’m going to hit the trails! Here is a list of the top five East Bay hikes, combined from the story linked above and my own experiences.
Camp Force Overlook, Mt. Diablo (0.7 miles – easy) – according to the article, this starts just past Rock City and takes you through an area of crumbling stoves where famous Boy Scout leader Raymond Force and his troop used to camp. You can also watch some epic rock climbing from a distance
(bring binoculars!) on the face of Gibraltar Rock.
Shell Ridge, Walnut Creek Open Space (3 miles – easy) – technically, the trail we’re talking about here is the Indian Creek – Twin Ponds loop that takes you up to the Rockspring entrance in Walnut Creek, past Bullfrong pond, and up and down many moderate slopes. The best part is the breathtaking view of downtown Walnut Creek and beyond you get on clear days. This is the hike I tend to do the most and Bodie absolutely loves to be off leash and running abound.
Bruce Lee Spring Trail, Mt. Diablo (3.1 miles – moderate) – this trail winds through the hills behind Clayton and affords you a nice view of the Mt. Diablo summit. There will be a little bit of a creek crossing and plenty of uphill hiking, but it’s well worth it in the end. According to the story above, your best bet is to go from the Bruce Lee Spring Trail to the Hetherington Trail to complete the loop.
Borges Ranch, Walnut Creek Open Space (9 miles – difficult) – the longest hike on this list isn’t a terribly steep climb (unless you opt to climb up into the Castle Rock area, which is clearly visible for most of your hike), but will bring you on a long, ambling loop that starts and finishes at the historic, unique Borges Ranch. It feels like you’re in the Wild West for a moment when you walk by the old homestead!
The Amphitheater, Mt. Diablo (4.3 miles – difficult) – this hike starts just off Morgan Territory Rd., and gives you expansive views of the Delta and Mt. Diablo. To get to the “amphitheater,” follow the Morgan Creek Rd. trailhead to Jeremiah Creek Trail, take a right and then a left on Old Finley Rd. The history and beauty of the spot will amaze you.
Around this time every year, we always find out what the top baby names in the country are. That’s always interesting, but what about our other babies’ names?
As a dog lover, this blog caught my attention a few months back. It included this infographic that broke down the most common names of dogs, and then went further and broke it down by most popular name by breed, too.
Apparently the top dog names in the U.S. right now are Bella, Max, Daisy, Bailey, and Buddy. My dog is named Bodie, so I was pretty close!
Our team here at Walnut Creek Lifestyle Group is full of dog lovers, and we wanted to share some photos of our fur children here with you to start the New Year. I think we did a little better on creativity with our naming!
Let’s start with my boy Bodie, an 8-year-old Weimaraner rescue:
We got Bodie when he was 18 months old. We rescued him through NorCal Weim Rescue where they found him running around Fresno. He quickly warmed up to us and became a loved member of the family. Bodie is a big, 90-lb Weimaraner (the type that basically takes you for walks rather than the other way around!), but he loves to cuddle and play. In fact, he usually feels left out if he doesn’t get to sleep on the bed!
Let’s move along to Liz, and her two dogs, Poppy and Willow. Poppy is a 3-year-old miniature poodle, and Willow is a one-year-old Cavapoo. Liz bred Willow herself, and Poppy is the mother! For those wondering, a Cavapoo is a mix between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Poodle. Here are a couple pictures:
Liz started breeding Cavapoos two years, ago, and kept Willow from the most recent litter. Cavapoos are wonderful dogs, combining the look of the Cavalier, the non-shedding coat of the Poodle, and the sweet temperaments of both breeds. Also, Cavaliers are great dogs, but have been so inbred throughout the years that the majority of them develop a deadly malady called Mitral Valve disease. Since poodles are not largely affected by the disease, the cross-breeding drastically lowers the Cavapoo puppies’ chances of inheriting that disease.
For more information on Cavapoos, you can check out Liz’s company California Cavapoos, which bring healthy, beautiful, friendly pets to the best families. Take a look at her Facebook page!
Lastly, our freelance writer Jeremy has had dogs in his family forever. From a golden retriever when he was a baby, to a black lab throughout childhood, to the current ARF rescue mix his family loves…meet Sydney, the 8-year-old Australian Shepherd/Blue Heeler/Hound mix:
Sydney (or “Syddie” for short – she responds to that especially well if you use a high-pitched voice) has an endless amount of energy and absolutely adores humans. If Sydney isn’t on her back with all four paws in the air, begging for a belly scratch within 30 seconds of meeting you, there’s something wrong. As you can see from the photos above, Sydney also loves to go to the Open Space in Walnut Creek!
Share some photos of your dogs – do you have any with creative names?