Main / Outings & Recreation

January 01, 2009

We have a tradition of going for a walk around the Lafayette Reservoir on New Year's Day, and we try to always do it with friends. It's a pleasant way to enjoy the outdoors and appreciate having such a gorgeous place right in our "back yard". This year, we enjoyed the company of Colin, Sarah, Maggie, and Sam on a brisk, beautiful day. It was a fun start to 2009!

Fun at Larkey Park

November 29, 2008

We want Arianna to enjoy being out in nature as much as we do, and today, we took her on a trail walk in Redwood Regional Park.

We did a more rigorous hike there once before and loved it. The great thing about the place is that you can do an easy walk like we did today, or a challenging hike with lots of elevation changes, but either way, it's a gorgeous place and you really feel surrounded by nature. There are people, but not enough to make it feel crowded.

Arianna was excited to see all the people, dogs, birds, trees, and even a cat. The first thing she did when we put her down to walk around and explore was to bend down and pick up a stick. There were lots of them and she would have inspected each one if we'd let her, so maybe she'll be a nature girl after all!

She's just started to get comfortable with walking and had a bit of trouble negotiating the slight incline of the trail. We couldn't help but chuckle as she tumbled forward a few times. Unfortunately, she got a bump on the head, but she shook it off and kept going like the tough girl she is.

Reservoir Walk

November 22, 2008

We went for a walk around Lafayette Reservoir to enjoy the beautiful day outside.

I carried Arianna half way around the reservoir on my back, then she decided to make us proud by walking for a while on her own.

Reservoir Walk

Ari had fun playing in the leaves; I think she likes the Fall as much as her parents!

Reservoir Walk

June 29, 2008

We had a fun picnic lunch at Lafayette Reservoir this afternoon!

PHOTO SHOOT: Reservoir picnic
PHOTO SHOOT: Reservoir picnic
PHOTO SHOOT: Reservoir picnic
PHOTO SHOOT: Reservoir picnic
PHOTO SHOOT: Reservoir picnic
PHOTO SHOOT: Reservoir picnic
PHOTO SHOOT: Reservoir picnic

June 10, 2007

Ania, Dave, and I went up to Seattle to visit Tracy & Dave, with the intent of going for a hike in the Hoh Rain Forest in the Olympic National Park, and visiting Hurricane Ridge.

We didn't manage to do any of that, but we were all cool with that. We had a great time, and even got to hang out & play games with Monika & Joe, who I'm convinced are on the Wii marketing team (or should be!). ;)

We also got to experience Besalu, which exceeded expectations!

Seattle2007 Besalu

Mmmm, I can still taste that quiche with Serrano Ham, Manchego Cheese, and Asparagus!

Seattle2007 Besalu Breakfast

May 26, 2007

Pedal Pushers

We had fun pedal boating at Lafayette Reservoir.

May 19, 2007

Wayne and I went to the AMA Superbike Races at Sears Point (a.k.a. "Infineon Raceway"). Watching those guys lean over like that at racing speeds was incredible!

AMA Superbike Races 2007

March 17, 2007

We all thought it would be a nice day to drive down to Half Moon Bay, enjoy the gorgeous weather, and have lunch at the seaside. Unfortunately, as we got closer to the ocean, the weather became foggy and fairly cool.

Half Moon Bay with Taylor & Rossy

Nevertheless, we continued as planned to the Miramar Beach Restaurant, then enjoyed a beer sampler and some time relaxing & hanging out at the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. I'd been wanting to try it for a while, and we all agreed; we'll be going back again! Despite the lack of sunshine, we all had a good time, and it was a cool day!

February 18, 2007

We got out and enjoyed the weather today with a walk around the Lafayette Reservoir.

PHOTO SUMMARY: Reservoir walk

January 20, 2007

It was a clear, cool, beautiful winter day, so Dave, Ania, and I decided to go for a hike. Ania's request was "I want to do something outside, in nature". Dave and I each had an idea for where we wanted to go, but I didn't know the name of the place I was thinking of, and didn't recognize the place Dave showed us in his book, "Hiking the San Francisco Bay Area Guide Book". I knew how to get to my place, so we went there, and it happened to be the Skyline Gate entrance of the Redwood Regional Park — the same place Dave had in mind!

We'd been there a long time ago, but only flirted with the trail, advancing just part way down the very level section and turning back, thinking "we'll have to come back here". We set off on the East Ridge Trail, which was a pleasant walk, then turned right at Prince Road, which started to go down. The guidebook listed the hike as 1.5 - 2 hours and "moderate" effort, though its elevation guide did indicate fairly significant elevation changes, depending on the route you chose. Somehow, we didn't think to really respect that, and we learned our lesson!

MAP: Redwood Regional Trail Hike

We saw lots of oaks in the beginning, then found ourselves in the park's namesake redwood forest as we reached the cooler depths of the trail. At the bottom of the long descent, we took the Stream Trail for a while until we encountered our next signpost, at a place that was teeming with ladybugs. They were literally all over everything, and you could hear the faint sound of their movement. Look at the picture closely; everything red is ladybugs.

Even though it was much longer, we took the Tres Sendas Trail as opposed to continuing on the Stream Trail, reasoning that the latter would likely be a very difficult ascent given its shorter length. Well, Tres Sendas was no picnic, but we weren't in a rush to leave the peace and stillness of the park. The hike was a bit tough, given the time since our last hike, but well worth it, and we enjoyed the exercise. We misread the map, and thought we were done at the end of Tres Sendas, but still had to take the West Ridge Trail back to where we started — it was the perfect cool down after a fairly long climb. Ania was right; we all felt great after some time outside, in nature.

We rewarded ourselves — and likely canceled out the benefits of doing the hike — with a burger at Barney's, and some old-fashioned ice cream at Fenton's. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday!

PHOTO-SUMMARY: Redwood Regional Park hike

January 01, 2007

We started the New Year off right with a picnic brunch and walk around Lafayette Reservoir.

PHOTO SUMMARY: New Year's reservoir walk

November 20, 2006

Ania and I went up to Tahoe for a getaway over what will probably the last weekend to feel like Fall at that altitude. On our way, we happened upon a mandarin farm (Ania loves mandarins & tangerines) for Newcastle Produce. It was the farm for the company -- not the produce shop -- and it was complete with tractor, rolling hills, and orchards overlooking a valley; it was a setting right out of a storybook. We couldn't have found a better place to experience the glow of the autumn sunset.

The farmer brought over a couple of mandarins, and struck up a conversation. He was there with his wife; they were the type to invite you to stop 'n set a while, and they did just that. We were trying to make it to Tahoe before nightfall, but they were charmingly irresistible, silently reminding us of the wisdom in not rushing. It was worth it; they couldn't have been more pleasant, and they told us that if we were as happy as they are after 52 years of marriage we were in for a good ride. They're the sort who can restore your faith in people, and the fruit was incredible! Sometimes following your nose can lead to great experiences...

There was no snow in Tahoe, and almost no one around, which suited us just fine. We didn't have much on the agenda except relaxing and enjoying the area and some "us time". We had leisurely brunches, skipped rocks on the lake, went for a couple of walks, and did a lot of nothing. Ania schooled me good in ping pong though; 3 to 0! I made a better showing for myself on the air hockey table, but I have a lot to learn about table tennis!

On our way out, we decided to stop at a lamp store, and of all things, they had the exact kind of desk I used to sit at in elementary school! That left me in a pleasantly nostalgic mood as we drove home.

PHOTO SUMMARY: Tahoe Fall Getaway

August 05, 2006

As part of celebrating Ania's birthday, we went to see Champions on Ice today. It was stunning! If you get a chance to see this, don't miss it; it's like having our own private Olympic ice skating performance right here in the Bay Area. It was easy to get to, not too crowded, and the performances knocked our socks off!

Champions on Ice

July 23, 2006

We took Ania's mom to Point Reyes to do one of our favorite hikes; the Bear Valley Trail out to Arch Rock. Before we set off on our main hike, Dave showed us Kule Loklo, a recreated Coast Miwok village, then led us to check out the Earthquake Trail.

Our thinking was to get some excercise and escape the heat. Pt. Reyes is close to the coast in the first place, so the temperature was a bit more moderate than in Pleasant Hill. Plus, much of the trail is covered by trees, and it gets progressively cooler as you approach the ocean. It was a bit cooler in Pt. Reyes, but on our return it was starting to get pretty hot in the sun. That didn't spoil a very pleasant hike, though, and seeing the ocean from atop the cliffs at Arch Rock is always worth it.

Afterward, we rewarded ourselves with dinner at Shen Hua. It was Wanda's first time having Chinese food; she impressed us with her chopsticks skills (she'd never used them before, but did great!), and loved the food!

PHOTO SUMMARY: Point Reyes Hike

July 22, 2006

We took Ania's mom to San Francisco, which was much cooler than Pleasant Hill today. In fact, it was a beautiful day! We based our route on the 49-Mile Scenic Drive, saw some sights, stopped at the Grove Cafe for a beer and snack (they have decent guacamole & chips, and a nice fruit plate), and finished with a partial walk of the Golden Gate Bridge.

PHOTO SUMMARY: S.F. with Wanda

June 25, 2006

It's been hot in Pleasant Hill lately, so we decided to take Wanda to Stinson Beach for a picnic.  It was perfect at the beach; slightly overcast, with just the right mix of warm sun and cool ocean breeze.  We had a lot of fun relaxing, enjoying the water, and tossing the frisbee and football.  There were a lot of people, but everyone was courteous & respectful, and seemed to be in a good mood.  We stopped in Tiburon on the way home for a stroll along the shore and a nice view of the bay.

PHOTO-SUMMARY Stinson Beach Tiburon 


June 24, 2006

We took Dad, Mom, and Ania's mom, Wanda, who is visiting us from Poland, out to Espetus for a celebration dinner.  It was a belated celebration of Mother's and Father's Day, as well as a celebration of Wanda's "nameday".

Picture, Espetus

Espetus is a Brazilian "churrascaria" (steakhouse).  I first went a couple months ago with Taylor & Rossy, and we had a great time and loved the food.

Picture, Espetus

The way it works is, you get seated, then get a plate and go to the buffet for ancillary stuff like vegetables.  (Take my advice, save room for the meat!)  To really get in the spirit, order a traditional Brazilian "caipirinha" to drink.  The real action starts when you sit down, and change your table's placard from "No, obrigado" to "Sim, por favor", and the servers, dressed as "gauchos", start visiting your table with different cuts and types of meat, from top sirloin, to filet mignon, to grilled prawns, and parmesan crusted pork.

Picture, Espetus 

It's easy to feel rushed, but if everyone's got enough for a while, just rotate the placard to "No, obrigado", and take a break -- you'll find you need to do so often; it's a lot of food! 

Everyone loved the food, and we're all looking forward to finding an excuse to go back!

April 08, 2006

In the midst of a painting marathon, Ania and I had a quick "recess" during which we drove up Mt. Diablo to enjoy a rare pretty, somewhat sunny day.  It was good to get outside after painting our way through so many rainy, gloomy days we've had lately.


Photo summary: Mt. Diablo 

April 02, 2006

Ania's been wanting to go play in the snow, which she enjoyed growing up with in Poland, but we haven't seen for quite a while.  So, we went to Tahoe for a few days with Dave for a fun mid-week winter getaway.  Going during the week was a great idea; there were far less people than usual, both on the road and at the resort, lifts, etc.  We had a great time snowtubing, throwing snowballs, trying to snowboard, soaking in a hottub, and relaxing in a beautiful setting.


tahoe getaway

December 18, 2005

Last night we went with Colin, Sarah, Taylor, and Rossy to see Chanticleer, an all-male choral ensemble, perform A Chanticleer Christmas.  Ania and I have been going for five years now, and it's become a holiday tradition we look forward to each year.  It's a somewhat different take on typical Christmas music, and as nice as it is to hear the recordings, the power and emotion they bring to the live performance is amazing! 

There are still a few more performances left this year, but we specifically go to the one at St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco, because its beauty and grandeur, along with amazing acoustics, complement and enhance the music so well.  I'm sure the other performances are equally good, but I can't imagine a more fitting atmosphere than St. Ignatius to hear such lovely, moving music.

Going to see Chanticleer really gets us into the spirit of the season, and we look forward to continuing to share this holiday tradition with our friends and family, who add warmth and richness to a very pleasant evening of song and celebration of Christmas.

August 20, 2005

We took Ania's sister, Marta, who is visiting from Poland, to Muir Woods and had a great time hiking.

PHOTO SUMMARY - Muir Woods Hike

We took the Fern Creek Trail to the Lost Trail, up to a spot just below the Panoramic Highway, where we had a snack atop a giant boulder.  Ania and I had been there before, and it's a great destination to reach.  After hiking through the redwood forest, you emerge at the top of the hills and are treated to a beautiful view, and sometimes a glimpse of the ocean in the distance.

We headed back down the Lost Trail until it met with the Ocean View Trail, a bit more of a meandering route back to the visitor center.  We didn't enjoy that trail as much as we had the ones we took to get to the top, so we'll have to find another way back next time.

We made the mistake (as did others we met on the trail) of assuming that the "trail guide" they give you with your entry fee contained a map -- we were wrong!  Fortunately, there are several maps of the park on the web, so we'll be better prepared next time.

August 07, 2005

Today, we took Marta to San Francisco, where she touched the Pacific Ocean for the first time.  Unfortunately, the weather wasn't very cooperative, but she had a great time anyway.

San Francisco with Marta

May 24, 2005

We had a great time this weekend hosting Monika and Justina, some friends visiting from L.A.
PHOTO SUMMARY: Napa with friends 1
We had a nice lunch at the Rutherford Grill, did some wine tasting, and were treated to a day of spectacular vistas that included rainbows and dramatic constrasts of light & darkness, which I really enjoy.
PHOTO SUMMARY: Napa with friends 2

May 21, 2005

Saturday, Ania, Dave, & I went on a rather impromptu hike at the Pt. Reyes National Seashore.  We took the Bear Valley Trail from the visitor's center to the ocean at Arch Rock.

It could not have been a more lovely day!


PHOTO SUMMARY: Pt. Reyes Hike 2

April 16, 2005

Dave, Ania, and I had a nice lunch at the Rutherford Grill in the Napa Valley, then drove up Howell Mountain road to an orchard we know that, if you're lucky, may be found ablaze with thousands of poppies.  Unfortunately, there were only a very few in bloom that day, but Ania made a pretty crown out of some of the other flowers there.
We headed past the town of Angwin out Pope Valley Road, then turned left along the southwest shore of Lake Berryessa, taking what eventually became Morgan Valley Road.  It was definitely the long way, but it was a gorgeous day, and we weren't in a hurry.  We ended up in Clear Lake, walked around a bit, then headed home via 29 past Calistoga and down the Silverado Trail, a shorter route.  Ania had a blast driving the curvy roads, and when I wasn't holding on for dear life, Wink I captured some of it on video.

April 10, 2005

We took our friends, Ollie, Anna, & Zabie, that Ania used to take care of, to the Exploratorium and had a great time, then went to the Beach Chalet for lunch.  The restaurant overlooks a decent beach, where we flew a kite (it was really windy!) and built a sand castle.
PHOTO SUMMARY: Exploratorium and beach