December 7, 2021

Palo Alto: Winter Lodge; things to do

101 South

Winter Lodge 

3009 Middlefield Rd./Oregon Expressway, (650) 493-4566; .  Daily 3pm-5pm, other session times vary; closed May-Sept.  $16, skate rental $5 (advance purchase required).  

child skating on ice at Winter Lodge ice skating rink in Palo Alto, California
child skating on ice at Winter Lodge ice skating rink in Palo Alto, California

An outdoor ice skating rink in Palo Alto?  Yes indeed!  But the Winter Lodge is located in a nicely manicured residential section of town--not on a frozen lake.  Still, it is removed from traffic and surrounded by tall eucalyptus trees, and it’s the only permanent outdoor rink west of the Sierra.  Actually, it isn’t all outdoors.  Part of the rink is under an overhang that protects the ice when it rains.  Designed for families and children, the rink measures about two-thirds the size of an average indoor rink, making it too small for competitive skating.  Open from October to April, the rink is the perfect destination for fall, winter, and spring outings and for a holiday adventure.  Daytime hours welcome all ages, while adults-only skating is scheduled some evenings.  Livening things up, sometimes soap imitates snow falling from the sky.  Benches, fire pits, and picnic tables provide spots around the rink for warming up and resting, and several vending machines dispense hot chocolate and snacks.  Strings of lights add to the atmosphere.  Skating lessons and themed skating sessions are scheduled.  Note that the rink is set back from the main road, behind a large building holding a yoga studio.  Tall evergreen trees give it a mountain-lodge feel.  Also, the lodge leases out a space in the back to an athletic club featuring a swimming pool and tennis courts.  

ice skaters at Winter Lodge ice skating rink in Palo Alto, California
ice skaters at Winter Lodge ice skating rink in Palo Alto, California



family ice skating at Winter Lodge ice skating rink in Palo Alto, California
family ice skating at Winter Lodge ice skating rink in Palo Alto, California



rest area at Winter Lodge ice skating rink in Palo Alto, California
rest area at Winter Lodge ice skating rink in Palo Alto, California



picnic tables and rest area at Winter Lodge ice skating rink in Palo Alto, California
picnic tables and rest area at Winter Lodge ice skating rink in Palo Alto, California


More things to do in Palo Alto. 


November 22, 2021

Menlo Park: Allied Arts Guild; things to do

101 South

Allied Arts Guild  

75 Arbor Rd./Cambridge Ave., (650) 322-2405.  Shops:  M-Sat 10-5; tours available.  Free. 

entrance to Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, California
entrance to Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, California

Part of the vast Rancho de las Pulgas Spanish land grant dating back to the late 1700s, the attractive Allied Arts Guild is an oasis is located amid a quiet residential neighborhood.  The complex houses a village of artisan work spaces and shops in Spanish Colonial hacienda-style buildings.  All are open for viewing and browsing.  Peaceful, well-groomed gardens designed after the Alhambra Gardens in Granada, Spain, cover the 3.5-acre grounds and are a delight to stroll through.  Some of the complex’s profits help support the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.  

courtyard garden and fountain at Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, California
courtyard garden and fountain at Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, California



shop at Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, California
shop at Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, California



workshop at Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, California
workshop at Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, California

Housed in a former weaving studio, the cafe here was opened by the Palo Alto Auxiliary of Children’s Hospital at Stanford in 1932.  In those days guild members prepared food in their homes and transported it to the premises for serving.  The cafe has gone through many incarnations since then, and is currently a woman-owned and -operated business known as Cafe Wisteria.  Volunteers no longer engage in the former tradition of preparing three-course luncheons, changing the menu each day, and selling the recipes to raise funds.  Now a professional chef prepares a contemporary menu.  In warm weather, a large patio is available for outdoor dining and provides a special opportunity to enjoy the Blue Garden and its blue Nile lilies, hydrangeas, and bubbling blue-tiled fountain.  Also known as the Garden of Delight, it was designed by Thomas Church.  

shop at Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, California
shop at Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, California



apricot rose in garden at Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, California
apricot rose in garden at Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, California


During the holidays, visiting artisans are sometimes on hand with yet more enticing goods.  On a recent visit I came across La Toya Butler purveying an ornament-making kit for children.  She also had some of her hand-made candles available.  

LaToya Butler displays her children's ornament kit at Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, California
LaToya Butler displays her children's ornament kit at Allied Arts Guild
in Menlo Park, California


Allied Arts Guild MAP 

More things to do in Menlo Park.

More things to do in nearby Palo Alto.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

images ©2021 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


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