Monday, November 30, 2015

1 North: Mendocino, Stanford Inn by the Sea and Ravens Restaurant

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Stanford Inn by the Sea  On Comptche-Ukiah Rd., Mendocino, (800) 331-8884, (707) 937-5615.  33 rooms; $$$-$$$+.  Some kitchens; all wood-burning fireplaces.  Indoor heated pool & hot tub; sauna; fitness room.  Afternoon tea; evening snack; full breakfast.  Located on the outskirts of town, upon a bluff above a scenic llama farm and duck pond that is also home to black swans, these luxurious yet cozy pine- and redwood-paneled contemporary rooms are decorated with antiques, fresh flowers, and the work of local artists.  Many have views overlooking gardens to the ocean beyond.  Operating as a self-sufficient ecosystem, this unique property has a certified organic garden, nursery, and working farm spread over 10 acres.  The greenhouse-enclosed pool and hot tub are like a tropical retreat, and mountain bikes are available for guests to borrow at no charge.  Dogs get VIP treatment with special bedding, bones, biscuits, and water dishes. 

indoor pool at Stanford Inn by the Sea in Mendocino, California

    The inn’s exceptional, totally vegan restaurant, Ravens Restaurant (B&D daily; $$.  Reservations advised.), offers exciting, refined cuisine using only the freshest ingredients.  In addition to serving complex dishes such as wild mushroom galette and blackened tofu Creole, this elegant, creative gourmet venue also offers pizza, polenta, and a portabella burger.
Raven's Vegetarian Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 





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pool image ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers; food images courtesy of venue

Friday, November 13, 2015

101 North: Ross, Marin Art and Garden Center and Laurel House Antiques and Marin Society of Artists Gallery

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Marin Art and Garden Center  30 Sir Frances Drake Blvd., in Ross, (415) 455-5260.  Daily sunrise-sunset.  Free.  Operated by local volunteers, this historical 11-acre facility is planted with birch, laurel, holly, and rhododendrons and is also home to a rare dawn redwood tree, an unusual domed sequoia, and a spectacular magnolia ring.  A sweet rose garden contains more than 150 kinds—most are old varieties and many are fragrant--and both a native Basketry Garden and a peaceful Memory Garden are nearby.  A garden map is available in the main office.  Theatrical and special events are often scheduled in the property’s 19th-century barn and in its amphitheater.  
dawn redwood tree at Marin Art and Garden Center in Ross, California
dawn redwood tree
 
vintage rose garden at Marin Art and Garden Center in Ross, California

Easy Does It rose in vintage rose garden at Marin Art and Garden Center in Ross, California
Easy Does It rose 

Laurel House Antiques ((415) 454-8472.  M-Sat 10-4.) sells an impressive array of consignment antiques, including china, crystal, silver, furniture, paintings, and decorative accents.  A separate room is dedicated to Asian antiques.  Proceeds benefit the center. 
child's tea set in Laurel House Antiques at Marin Art and Garden Center in Ross, California
child's tea set

decorative plates in Laurel House Antiques at Marin Art and Garden Center in Ross, California

Also, the Marin Society of Artists Gallery ((415) 454-9561.  W-Sun noon-4pm) shows, sells, and rents out art, and it presents a new show every month.  Note that the gallery is moving in January 2016 to 1515 Third St./E St. in San Rafael. 
Marin Society of Artists Gallery at Marin Art and Garden Center in Ross, California

"Zoey by Carol Smith Myer at Marin Society of Artists Gallery at Marin Art and Garden Center in Ross, California
"Zoey by Carol Smith Myer

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways. 

images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 
 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

San Francisco: Contemporary Jewish Museum

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The newest shows at the Contemporary Jewish Museum include NEAT:  New Experiments in Art and Technology, which includes these kinetic sculptures; through January 17, 2016:

"NAAG XY" by Gabriel Dunne+Vishal K  Dar, 2015:  



the sound of art in the dark; by Paul De Marinis:  



kinetic sculpture with pink feather by Alan Rath:  




kinetic embrace by feathers by Alan Rath:  


and
Hardly Strictly Warren Hellman, which is set up like a picnic in the park with lawn chairs to relax in and actual entertainment footage from various of the festivals projected onto a screen; ongoing.  
 

more about the Contemporary Jewish Museum, including the deli restaurant (scroll down).

more of my blogs about the CJM:

http://weekendadventuresupdate.blogspot.com/2009/07/san-francisco-contemporary-jewish.html

http://weekendadventuresupdate.blogspot.com/2010/11/updatepage-28-www.html

http://weekendadventuresupdate.blogspot.com/2011/12/san-francisco-contemporary-jewish.html

http://weekendadventuresupdate.blogspot.com/2013/05/san-francisco-contemporary-jewish-museum.html

 

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videos ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 
 

Monday, November 9, 2015

101 North: Philo, The Madrones


The Madrones  9000 Hwy. 128, in Philo, (707) 895-2955.  9 rooms.  Pets ok in 2 rooms.  Unsuitable for children except in specific units.  Opened in 2010, this spacious property is located just outside of the teeny town of Philo.  Set amid vineyards, oaks, and rolling hillsides, it features Mediterranean-style buildings, serene courtyards, and well maintained English gardens.  
entry to The Madrones in Philo, California

A mature rose garden, a dove cage with various types of these sweet birds (including bleeding heart, tiger, and French mourning), and a koi pond with some very big mature fish are on the perimeter of a large grassy central lawn with Adirondack chairs for relaxing.  Guests check in at Bohemian Hall, which also acts as a lobby.  
lobby at The Madrones in Philo, California

Each guest room is unique.  Four rooms are on the second floor at the front of the complex; farther back in the property, are five more that were part of the owner’s original home.  
exterior of guest room at The Madrones in Philo, California

In The Kitchen, where I stayed, antiques and distressed furniture are part of the attractive eclectic mix.  The room has a nice carved-oak dresser and a charming refinished antique wood hospital bed tray that we used as a breakfast table.  I especially liked a pentagon window that is located high up near the ceiling and provides a view of the treetops and sky.  The radiant Brazilian cherry hardwood floors are pretty nice, too.   
The Kitchen guest room at The Madrones in Philo, California

Nights are silent.  For dinner, plan to pick up take-out while passing through nearby Boonville, or return there later to one of several good restaurants.  A simple breakfast is provided in room--coffee and dry cereal, plus yogurt and milk and a bit more in the mini fridge.  

At the front of the property and under separate ownership, casual Stone and Embers dishes up seasonal soups and salads using local produce, and artisan pizzas and meats are prepared by the chef using only a wood-fired oven. 

Indian Creek Park is just next door, where you can take a short walk in the redwoods and perhaps enjoy a dip in the river.  Directly across the highway is Balo Vineyards, where you can picnic, do a complimentary wine tasting, and play bocce ball.  On property, guests get complimentary tasting of fine handcrafted and small-lot wines from the Anderson Valley region in four winery tasting rooms:
Bink Wines  In this tasting room--after walking around a big but non-threatening dog sprawled on the floor--we sampled a 2013 Old Chatham Ranch Sauvignon Blanc that is described as going “well in the shade on a summer day,” and a 2012 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir with “a wonderful nose and nice long finish.”  We purchased the first one to enjoy with dinner that night.  Cheeses, salami, olives, and crackers are available for purchase to pair with the wines.  This winery is woman-owned and –operated.

tasting room at Bink Wines at The Madrones in Philo, California

Drew Family Cellars  Pinot Noirs and Syrahs from vineyards at Northern California’s far coastal edge are the pleasures tasted here.  A 2013 Fog-Eater Pinot Noir--named in honor of locals who are referred to as “fog eaters” in the local Bootling language--goes down easy.
 

Knez Winery  Here you can taste Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs that truly embody the unique terroir of Anderson Valley.
 

Signal Ridge  This winery’s Mendocino Ridge vineyard was planted in 1999 atop Cold Spring Mountain overlooking both the Anderson Valley and the coast.  At 2,642 feet, it is the highest elevation vineyard in Mendocino County.  They invite you to “come visit us soon and see what altitude tastes like!”

More things to do in Philo.

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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, November 6, 2015

101 South: San Jose, The Fairmont San Jose

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The Fairmont San Jose  170 S. Market St., downtown, (800) 346-5550, (408) 998-1900.  20 stories; 805 rooms; $$-$$$+.  Heated pool; 2 saunas; 2 steam rooms; fitness room; full-service spa.  3 restaurants; room service.  Valet parking $26.  Built on the site of what was California's capitol building from 1849 to 1851 and then a Chinatown after that, this well-situated luxury high-rise features guest rooms with marble bathrooms and city views.
exterior of The Fairmont San Jose in California

guest room at The Fairmont San Jose in California

view from guest room at The Fairmont San Jose in California

Three restaurants operate off the lobby:  The Grill on the Alley features a clubby ambiance, with dark wood paneling and black leather-upholstered booths; The Fountain serves casual cafe meals and a lavish Sunday brunch;
breakfast at The Fountain at The Fairmont San Jose in California

Bijan Bakery & Cafe offers fine European pastries and sandwiches.  Additionally, The Lobby Lounge serves afternoon tea and cocktails and presents live music on weekends.  This stylish lounge is open late and has a 70-page cocktail menu that includes 500 kinds of martinis (I found out about this menu too late and ordered a boring Manhattan, but you can ask for it and get something quite special).  And you never know who you will run into at The Fairmont.  Fellow travel writer Ginny Prior was staying here the same day as I and was surprised to find Snoop Dogg and his entourage in the elevator.  One of the group graciously took her picture with the man, and she is still talking, and writing, about it.  
Snoop Dogg and Ginny Prior by the elevator at The Fairmont San Jose in California

More things to do in San Jose.

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4 top images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers; Snoop Dogg photographer unknown


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

101 South: San Jose, Background Information

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Touted as the "capital of Silicon Valley" (a title that seems valid considering that 24 of the area's largest computer companies have headquarters or divisions here), San Jose is the country's tenth-largest city, California's third-largest, and the Bay Area’s largest.  It is also California’s oldest city (it was founded as a Spanish pueblo in 1777 and was the state capital from 1849 to 1851).  And it was the first city on the West Coast to be lit with electricity, plus it has the largest Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam, not to mention it was recently named the happiest, healthiest, and smartest city in the country.  But even with all these superlatives to its credit, San Jose has received relatively little attention for its attractions.  That is changing as the city concentrates on revitalizing its downtown area.  Now, visitors to the city center can enjoy its many cultural offerings as well as a reliably mild climate—it boasts more than 300 days of sunshine annually.  But be warned, the song “Do You Know the Way to San Jose” was written for a reason.  Though downtown is easy to maneuver on foot, the greater city is gigantic and easy to get lost in.  Secure a good map, and always allow extra time when driving.  

marquee at California Theater in San Jose, California

Light Rail in San Jose, California
Light Rail

jazz mural in San Jose, California

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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, November 2, 2015

880 South: Berkeley, Kobani Mediterranean Grill


Kobani Mediterranean Grill  1901 University Ave./Martin Luther King Jr. Way, (510) 529-4884.  L-D daily; $.  Named proudly for a 100-year-old Kurdish-populated city in northern Syria that is famous for its olive-oil, this restaurant also makes a nod to Kurdish culture in its logo with a golden sun that suggests rebirth.  
 Kobani Mediterranean Grill in Berkeley, California

So it isn’t a big surprise to discover that owner Emin Tekin is of Kurdish heritage.  And though in Turkey Kurds make up 20% of the population yet there is not even one Kurdish restaurant, here in the Bay Area there are few Kurds but several Kurdish restaurants.  Place your order at the counter and then take a seat at one of the eight tables, some of which have a banquette with atmospheric oriental rugs and cushions backing against the windows. 
order counter at Kobani Mediterranean Grill in Berkeley, California

The Mediterranean menu is extensive.  Red lentil soup is a tasty starter.  
red lentil soup at Kobani Mediterranean Grill in Berkeley, California

Follow it with a mezze platter featuring smooth hummus, smoky babaganoush, falafel, dolmas, kalamat olives, feta cheese, couscous, and Mast o Sir (a refreshing yogurt sauce with shredded cucumber, fresh dill, and a bit of garlic). 
mezze platter at Kobani Mediterranean Grill in Berkeley, California

Or perhaps you’d prefer a chicken gyro plate with salad, a vegetable-dotted rice pilaf, tomato bulgar, housemade bread, and Mast o Sir.  Many variations are available, plus kebabs, vegetarian moussaka, spanakopita, lavash-wrapped gyros, sandwiches, an arugula-beet-goat cheese salad with pomegranate dressing, and a Mediterranean burger.  If you like some heat, be sure to request their tasty hot sauce.  

Kobani Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Way more thing to do in Berkeley.  

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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers