Westward Ho! 4/26/12-5/8/12

Note: This Westward Ho! covers 5/4-5/8/12, the last leg of our trip.

Somehow, the sky seemed bluer in California.

Fri. aft. 5/4– After dropping my older daughter Eileen at work, we headed North to see my youngest daughter and daughter-in-law in Berkeley. We drove all morning with very little traffic, except as we came closer to San Francisco. Reached Berkeley early afternoon and relaxed at the girls’ apartment on University Drive. Lovely apartment; very airy and spacious. For dinner, Basha made reservations at Chez Panisse, owned by Alice Waters. Here is an excerpt from the website, www.chezpannise.com:

Alice Waters, chef, author, and the proprietor of Chez Panisse, is an American pioneer of a culinary philosophy that maintains that cooking should be based on the finest and freshest seasonal ingredients that are produced sustainably and locally. She is a passionate advocate for a food economy that is “good, clean, and fair.” Over the course of nearly forty years, Chez Panisse has helped create a community of scores of local farmers and ranchers whose dedication to sustainable agriculture assures the restaurant a steady supply of fresh and pure ingredients.

I have always admired Alice Waters, so was excited to actually eat at the restaurant. Dinner was good, but nothing exceptional,so we were a little disappointed. But I still admire Alice Waters!

Sat. 5/5– Up early. Basha & Maura made a great breakfast for us. Then on our way to wine country on a gorgeous day. Yountville was our destination. The little town had lovely flowers along the street, many restaurants, and a generally nice ambiance. We ate at a fairly fancy French restaurant and then went to a winery with a museum. Very interesting combination to have a winery/museum combination. One of the items was a typewriter with flames with the title “Inflammatory Language.”

Here is a view of one of the hills in the San Francisco area that reminded me of the Amalfi Coast in Italy.

Back to the apartment to rest up before dinner. Vacation can be exhausting!!! We went to a local Italian restaurant called Venezia that was very colorful, with a clothesline hanging inside the restaurant, just like in Italy. (If you want to see some of my Italian clotheslines from our vacation last year, you can  scroll back on this category & see the photos.)


There was also a movie playing on the large wall in the restaurant, a first for me!  It was the end of Summertime with Katherine Hepburn & Rosano Brazzi (left), followed by  Roman Holiday with Gregory Peck and the other Hepburn—Audrey Hepburn (below). So, while we were eating a delicious dinner, we could watch the two Hepburns fall in love all over again.

Unfortunately, both love affairs ended: Kate Hepburn goes back to America and leaves Brazzi because he is married, and Audrey Hepburn & Peck split because she is a princess & princesses don’t marry journalists, at least not in Hollywood.

Sun. 5/6 – Took a little longer drive North to a place called Bonita Point in Martin County near Sausalito. We drove up a scary, winding road (although not so scary as the one in Amalfi!) and walked around the area. It had originally been a military outpost and there were still some relics, but the main attraction was the lighthouse that we accessed by walking through a short tunnel across a suspension bridge. Also a little unnerving!

Here is the lighthouse with the suspension bridge in the foreground.

Returned via Sausalito, a popular tourist town on the water with many shops and eateries. We ate a late lunch at a restaurant that overlooked the San Francisco Bay, I believe. Quite lovely. Went home & took naps after another exhausting day and then ate at a local Thai restaurant in the Berkeley University neighborhood that was very good. We walked for awhile to the main street for the university crowd and stopped for a drink at a new Mexican restaurant that had opened only a couple of days earlier. We liked the atmosphere so much that we made reservations for our last night in Berkeley tomorrow. We are reluctant to leave but are also ready to sleep in our very own beds!

Another view from the lighthouse area.

Mon. 5/7 – Last full day here. Mid-morning we drove to San Francisco to visit my niece Susan, whose art gallery is in Center City. She took us to a lovely outdoor self-serve restaurant where we could talk and eat in the shade of the buildings right on the street that was blocked off. Susan is a successful co-owner of three art galleries.

Inside Snyder-Caldwell gallery. My daughter is on the left, my niece on the right. Horse is in the middle in front of my husband Alan & yours truly.

We returned to Berkeley after lunch and rested. Then I met with Franz Ross, the publisher of two of my early cookbooks (See My Books) We discussed an exciting idea of mine to have him publish a book on menopause celebrating midlife and beyond. Still working out the details, and Franz is busy learning the ins & outs of e-publishing, so no decision on his part until January of 2012. Nevertheless, I am planning to do the research & start the book. I will self-publish an ebook, if necessary.

Returned to the Mexican restaurant for a delicious dinner that was noisy, fun, and delicious. A wonderful meal for the last day of our vacation.

Tues. 5/8 -  Said our tearful goodbyes and headed to the airport to return the car we rented in L.A.  Both of us felt that we felt we had been away for two months instead of two weeks, because we traveled to four different places. Getting home to our own place was great. As Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz said, “There’s no place like home!”

Another gorgeous view of the water from our trip to Bonita Point near Sausalito.

Note: In about 10 days we are headed back to L.A. to see Alan’s son Jay in his one man show. If I take some good photos I will post the trip here after we return. Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted some of the photos while working on this last segment, so I used what I didn’t delete. I am grateful for that, at least!

One Response to “Westward Ho! 4/26/12-5/8/12”

  1. ellen sue spicer Says:

    Sorry, not familiar with west coast parks. es

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