Coronavirus Note: Blog posts made during the sheltering-in-place period of the coronavirus crisis are meant as a virtual escape. As things reopen, some posts will incorporated the new situation in places being written about. However, you are advised to check each destination's website for the most current information. Hopefully, all information posted here will be of use to you when it is safe to travel again.

February 8, 2021

Healdsburg: Downtown Bakery and Creamery; restaurants

101 North

Downtown Bakery and Creamery  308-A Center St., (707) 431-2719.  Tu-Sun 7-3.  No cards.  

ice cream counter at Downtown Bakery and Creamery in Healdsburg, California
ice cream counter at Downtown Bakery and Creamery
in Healdsburg, California

Co-owner Lindsey Shere did time in the kitchen at Berkeley's renowned Chez Panisse.  She also wrote the best-selling cookbook Chez Panisse Desserts.  So the exceptional hand-shaped, slow-rise breads and the pastries and ice creams produced in her kitchen here are not a complete surprise.  When available, the focaccia, sticky buns (best heated), donut muffins, and fruit turnovers are a must.  On warm Wine Country days, it is a refreshing pleasure to indulge in one of the shop's old-fashioned milkshakes or sundaes, and it’s always a good idea to purchase frozen cookie dough to bake at home.  Organically grown, freshly milled flours are used, and produce and dairy products are organic and locally produced whenever possible.  Simple lunch items including sandwiches and pizza are available, and indoor seating is provided at copper-topped tables.  

More things to do in Healdsburg.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

images ©2021 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

February 2, 2021

Walnut Creek: Heather Farm Park + Gardens at Heather Farm; things to do

Greater East Bay

Heather Farm Park 301 N. Carlos Dr., off Ygnacio Valley Rd., (925) 943-5858. Daily dawn-dusk. Free. Dogs ok. 

This city park is aimed at locals, with volleyball courts, tennis courts, baseball and softball fields, a colorful and extensive playground, a skate park, an equestrian center, and a dog park, as well as a nature preserve, fishing pond, and duck pond. Whew! It’s first come, first served for the picnic areas, except for one group area that can be reserved. A road loops conveniently through the facilities, and there are plenty of places to park. 

memorial rock in Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek, California
memorial rock in Gardens at Heather Farm in Walnut Creek, California

Gardens at Heather Farm  1540 Marchbanks Dr./Ygnacio Valley Rd., (925) 947-1678. Open daily dawn to dusk. Free. 

overview of gardens in Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek, California
overview of gardens in Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek, California

Part garden, part education center, and operated by a non profit, this adjacent space is independent of the park and is dedicated to sharing knowledge about horticulture and conservation. A 6-acre garden is adjacent to the park’s west side and includes a sensory section with plants that can be touched and smelled, an English lawn garden, a rose garden with more than 1,000 bushes, and a Children’s Adventure Garden. A tranquil lagoon and nature preserve is home to a variety of waterfowl. 

2021 pandemic update: For current information, click here

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