December 19, 2017

St. Helena: Wydown Hotel


Wine Country

Wydown Hotel  1424 Main St., downtown, (707) 963-5100.  12 rooms.  Continental breakfast.  Free parking.  No pets.  Located at the edge of the town’s main shopping street and next door to the town park, this outwardly dark-grey 1886 Victorian building has been gutted so you might be a bit surprised to find inside a lighter edgy, contemporary style.  The lobby is particularly spacious, with several couches and a table bearing newspapers and magazines.
exterior of Wydown Hotel in St. Helena, California
exterior of Wydown Hotel in St. Helena, California


lobby at Wydown Hotel in St. Helena, California
lobby at Wydown Hotel in St. Helena, California


upstairs hallway seating at Wydown Hotel in St. Helena, California
upstairs hallway seating at Wydown Hotel in St. Helena, California

All guest rooms are on the second floor, and an elevator helps lift any luggage up there.  Beds are made with smooth, ironed white cotton linens and duvet cover, and topped with a posh faux fur throw.  Unfortunately, no bathtubs are available, but a mini fridge is stocked with complimentary still and sparkling water plus fruit drinks.
guest room at Wydown Hotel in St. Helena, California
guest room at Wydown Hotel in St. Helena, California


guest bath room at Wydown Hotel in St. Helena, California
guest bath room at Wydown Hotel in St. Helena, California


A complimentary breakfast is served in The Tea Room adjacent to the lobby.  In the evening, many good restaurants are within walking distance, and additional stellar Wine Country establishments are a short drive away.  A complimentary pass to Health Spa Napa Valley (it is 3 blocks away) is provided to guests and allows access to their fitness center and a 25-yard outdoor heated lap pool and hot tub, as well as to eucalyptus steam rooms and a discount on spa treatments.




The well-curated resale shop La Boheme operates adjacent to the hotel and can be entered through the lobby.  It is filled with nicely curated merchandise that includes bargain treasures, and proceeds benefit Napa Valley Hospice and Adult Day Services. 


La Boheme resale shop operates off the lobby at Wydown Hotel in St. Helena, California
La Boheme resale shop operates off the lobby at Wydown Hotel in St. Helena, California


More things to do in St. Helena.

More things to do in the Wine Country.

More ideas for exploring Northern California. 

images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 


December 15, 2017

Carmel: art galleries


1 South

There are dozens of art galleries in Carmel.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Carmel Art Association  Dolores St./5th Ave., (831) 624-6176.  Daily 10-5.  This gallery is Carmel’s oldest and the nation’s second-oldest artist-owned cooperative (the oldest is in Rockport, Massachusetts).  It has showcased California’s best artists since 1927.
Carmel Art Association gallery in Carmel, California
Carmel Art Association gallery in Carmel, California


Galerie Plein Aire  Dolores St./6th St., (831) 250-5698.  Daily 11-5.  This gallery displays original works of art from a group of Monterey Bay plein air painters.  Known as Informalists, these artists interpret natural landscapes in impressionistic and expressionistic styles.
Galerie Plein Aire art gallery in Carmel, California
Galerie Plein Aire art gallery in Carmel, California


Jones & Terwilliger Galleries  6th Ave./San Carlos, (888) 278-0040, (831) 626-9100.  This gallery specializes in fine art.
Jone & Terwilliger Galleries art gallery in Carmel, California
Jone & Terwilliger Galleries art gallery in Carmel, California


New Masters Gallery  Dolores St./Ocean Ave., (800) 336-4014, (831) 625-1511.  M-Sat 10-5:30, Sun 10:30-5:30.  The work of accomplished contemporary artists is shown here.
New Masters Gallery art gallery in Carmel, California
New Masters Gallery art gallery in Carmel, California


Photography West Gallery  Dolores St./Ocean Ave., (831) 625-1587.  Thur-M 11-5.  This gallery specializes in photography by photographers who do/did their own darkroom printing, such as Ansel Adams, Brett Weston, and Christopher Burnett, plus more contemporary 21st-century artists.  Monterey Peninsula residents are emphasized.
Photography West Gallery art gallery in Carmel, California
Photography West Gallery art gallery in Carmel, California


Rodrigue Studio  Dolores St./Ocean Ave., (831) 626-4444.  M-Sat 10-5, Sun 12-5.  This gallery is devoted entirely to Cajun artist George Rodrigue’s pop art blue dog.
Rodrigue Studio art gallery in Carmel, California
Rodrigue Studio art gallery in Carmel, California


Thomas Kinkade Studio in the Garden  Ocean Ave./Dolores, (831) 624-3363.  Located in the middle of the Der Ling Lane passageway, finding this sweet gallery is part of the pleasure.  The gallery operates within a typical Kinkade cottage and is depicted, but of course, in a painting by him.
Thomas Kinkade Studio in the Garden art gallery in Carmel, California
Thomas Kinkade Studio in the Garden art gallery in Carmel, California


Weston Gallery  6th Ave./Dolores, (831) 624-4453.  Tu-Sun 10:30- 5:30.  Run by the family of the late Edward Weston, who died in 1958, this gallery showcases contemporary color photography as well as classic black-and-white photography by artists that include Weston, Ansel Adams, and Morley Bae as well as emerging artists such as Linda Butler, Mark Citret, and local music-industry luminary Chip Hooper.
Weston Gallery art gallery in Carmel, California
Weston Gallery art gallery in Carmel, California





More ideas for exploring Northern California. 

images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

December 12, 2017

San Francisco: Christmas lights and sights


San Francisco

I spent last Saturday around Union Square in San Francisco.  And oh what sights I did see!

the Neiman Marcus Christmas tree
2017 Christmas tree at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco
2017 Christmas tree at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco
2017 Christmas kitten window at Macy's in San Francisco
2017 Christmas kitten window at Macy's in San Francisco


Santacon participants out in full force
Santacon 2017 participants lined up at Sam's Cable Car Lounge in San Francisco
Santacon 2017 participants lined up at Sam's Cable Car Lounge in San Francisco


the CanStruction snowman at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square (this snowman is constructed from cans of food that can feed 1,300 people and will be donated to the local community after Christmas)
CanStruction 2017 at Hilton San Francisco Union Square in San Francisco
CanStruction 2017 at Hilton San Francisco Union Square in San Francisco


In fact, I spent the night staycation-style at the Hilton.  We packed our necessities in just one backpack, took BART too and fro, and enjoyed Union Square like a tourist.  We ate dinner at the hotel's Urban Tavern restaurant and enjoyed a nightcap and spectacular city view at the Cityscape Lounge on the 46th floor. 
backpack on bed at Hilton San Francisco Union Square
backpack on bed at Hilton San Francisco Union Square


Need a Stocking Stuffer?  Alcatraz's first ever "Buy One, Get One Free" ticket promotion makes the perfect gift to stuff in your Christmas stockings.  And only local residents can book it.  Dates are January 30 and 31 plus February 6 and 7 in 2018.  Residents of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma counties are eligible.  Call (415) 981-7625 or visit www.alcatrazcruises.com to purchase your tickets NOW.  More about Alcatraz.  

December 8, 2017

San Francisco: Holiday Tea at InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco


San Francisco

Hotels everywhere roll out the carpet with special events for the Christmas season.  Here in San Francisco, the legendary InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco does the same.  Think afternoon Holiday Teas served with individual 3-tiered trays holding tea sandwiches, scones, and sweets.  And the 12 Cocktails of Christmas, each served with a souvenir cocktail charm--how about a Ten Lords a-Leaping made with Smirnoff Vanilla Vodka, Chambord, cranberry juice, and fresh raspberries?  Earlier, Thanksgiving features a petting zoo in the lobby, and later, New Year's Eve brings on a New Year's Eve dinner and dancing special at the Top of the Mark. 


Holiday Tea at the Top of the Mark, InterContinental Mark Hopkins in San Francisco
Holiday Tea at the Top of the Mark, InterContinental Mark Hopkins in San Francisco


tea tray close-up at Holiday Tea at the Top of the Mark, InterContinental Mark Hopkins in San Francisco
tea tray close-up at Holiday Tea at the Top of the Mark, InterContinental Mark Hopkins in San Francisco



November 28, 2017

Berkeley: Tamon Tea


80 North

Tamon Tea  2055-A Center St./Shattuck Ave., downtown, (510) 647-9370.  Daily 10:30-6.  Cash only.  In this tiny, little hole in the wall, you’ll find an array of simple, affordable Japanese delicacies.  Omusubi--seaweed-wrapped triangles of rice wrapped around a choice of fillings--are made fresh when ordered, so the rice is moist and warm; brown rice is an option.  Fillings include the very popular unagi (eel) as well as spicy tuna, sukiyaki beef, pickled plum, Spam, and many more; $3/each.  Donburi bowls are more filling; $8.  I adore chewy mochi, and when it is made fresh, like it is here, it is as soft as a baby’s butt.  Kushi dango stuffed with red bean and threaded on a stick, includes flavors that tend to be fruity--mango, pineapple, strawberry, and blueberry; $3/stick of three.  (Dango is a dumpling made with rice flour; “hanami” indicates they are stuffed with azuki beans; “mitarashi” indicates they are glazed with sweetened soy sauce; “kushi” indicates they are served on skewers.).  A machine from Hawaii produces powdery shave ice that is particularly pretty with blue Hawaiian ice cream soda.  For drinks, choose from a plethora of teas.  Plan to take away your order, as there are only a few tiny tables squeezed into the back.  

exterior of Tamon Tea in Berkeley, California
exterior of Tamon Tea in Berkeley, California


order counter at Tamon Tea in Berkeley, California
order counter at Tamon Tea in Berkeley, California


dango selection at Tamon Tea in Berkeley, California
dango selection at Tamon Tea in Berkeley, California


pleasant service at Tamon Tea in Berkeley, California
pleasant service at Tamon Tea in Berkeley, California
Tamon Tea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 
More things to do in Berkeley.

Way more thing to do in Berkeley. 

More ideas for exploring Northern California.  

images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
 

November 14, 2017

Carmel: background information



1 South

CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA

A Little Background
They had take the direct country road across the hills from Monterey, instead of the Seventeen Mile Drive around by the coast so that Carmel Bay came upon them without any fore-glimmering of its beauty.  Dropping down throgent pines, they passed woods-embowered cottages, quaint and rustic, of artists and writers, and went on across wind-blown rolling sand hills held to place by sturdy lupines and nodding with pale California poppies.  Saxon screamed in sudden wonder of delight, then caught her breath and gazed at the amazing peacock-blue of a breaker, shot through with golden sunlight, over-falling in a mile-long sweep and thundering into white ruin of foam on a crescent beach of scarcely less white.   
    --Jack London, from Valley of the Moon, 1913

A well-established getaway destination, Carmel is best known for its specialty shops, cozy lodgings, and picturesque white sand beach.  Located adjacent, exclusive Pebble Beach, is famous for its spectacularly scenic golf courses.  And Carmel is super dog-friendly, perhaps the most dog-friendly place I’ve ever been.  Water bowls for dogs are found outside many shops, and canine lovelies are seen everywhere with their doting owners.  However, they are not permitted in Deavendorf Park--the town’s main park.  

crazed doggie with tongue exposed in Carmel, California
crazed doggie with tongue exposed in Carmel, California

Carmel is also known for the things it doesn't have.  No street signs, streetlights, electric or neon signs, jukeboxes, parking meters, chain businesses, or buildings over 2 stories high are allowed in town.  No sidewalks, curbs, or house numbers are found in the residential sections.  And buildings have no screens on windows (because the town has no flying, biting bugs) and no air conditioning (because it is not needed).  These absent items help Carmel keep its village ambiance.
 

Do be careful.  Eccentric laws in the town make it illegal to wear high heels on the sidewalks (but you can get a permit at City Hall).    
exterior of City Hall in Carmel, California
exterior of City Hall in Carmel, California

It seems that almost every weekend some special event is scheduled in the area, making available lodging perpetually scarce.  Book accommodations far in advance, especially for the quainter venues, and consider taking advantage of the special rates often available for midweek stays.   


Guided Tour
Carmel Walks  (831) 642-2700.  u-F at 10 am, Sat at 10 & 2.  $30.  This 2-hour walking tour of the village visits secret pathways, hidden courtyards and gardens, fairy-tale cottages, and even spots that have connections with famous artists, writers, and movie stars.  The enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide for my walk was a local artist, Kelly Steele.  
Carmel Walks guide Kelly Steele in front of rustic newstand in Carmel, California
Carmel Walks guide Kelly Steele in front of rustic newstand in Carmel, California


Getting There

Located 120 miles south of San Francisco, and 70 miles south of San Jose.

More Information






More ideas for exploring Northern California. 

images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers