|Two of Chronicle's Eight "Perfect Picnics"
For Memorial Day are in Richmond
May 24, 2007
On May 23, the San Francisco Chronicle featured eight “perfect picnic spots” for the Memorial Day Weekend (see below). Two of the eight are in Richmond. Not bad publicity for the Richmond shoreline.
The articles are copied below. The first features a bicycle, walking or skating trip from Berkeley to Richmond along the Bay Trail, terminating at Miller-Knox Regional Shoreline, with a picnic in the park:
“From Canal Street, a right turn on Seacliff puts you back on a bike path over the only serious hill of the trek and then out to Miller Knox Regional Shoreline. There, a big grassy -- and busy -- park with lots of picnic tables and barbecues looks out (across fenced railroad tracks) toward the bay and Marin. If beach is a must, you can ride over another hill and down to tiny Keller Beach. We stuck with the sunny grass, spread our blanket and, finally, enjoyed our lunch, feeling that it was incredibly well deserved.”
The second features food purchased at Richmond’s 99 Ranch Market, consumed at Richmond’s Pt. Isabel Regional Shoreline, or perhaps a sandwich from the Sit and Stay Café, described as:
“The adjacent Sit and Stay cafe is very Berkeley, even though it's in Richmond.”
For more information about the San Francisco Bay Trail in Richmond, see:
Or, If you are more into bargains than picnics, spend the day eating, drinking and shopping in Point Richmond:
OUR NEIGHBORS: CHRIS TREADWAY
Bargain hunters will get the Point
Contra Costa Times
Article Launched:05/22/2007 03:05:52 AM PDT
POINT RICHMOND was at its hospitable best for its annual stroll Thursday, and it will be putting out the welcome mat again in the weeks to come.
Bargain hunters will descend on the point next week when the Masquers Playhouse holds its 14th annual Memorial Day Garage Sale. While the name focuses on the large rummage sale held outside the Masquers building at 105 Park Place, the whole point gets in on the act. Homes and businesses in the neighborhood -- more than 100 in all -- will hold garage sales from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and will donate 10 percent of their proceeds to Richmond's venerable playhouse.
The event is one of the largest of the year for the city's oldest community theater group, which depends on volunteer help and donations to operate. The sale can bring up to $5,000 to the stage company's coffers.
One tip: The event has gained enough status that professional bargain hunters arrive early, looking to pick off the best items. If you decide to level the playing field by showing up during the first hour, stop by the Masquers Playhouse first and get coffee and a doughnut (from Andy's Donuts on 23rd Street) for $1.
"That's cheaper than Starbucks," said David Vincent, a Point Richmond attorney and longtime volunteer for the Masquers.
Another early-morning option will be the "Boy Scout Recipe" breakfast -- pancakes, sausage, coffee and juice for $6 -- offered from 8 to 11 a.m. at First United Methodist Church in Point Richmond, 201 Martina St. The church also is offering lunch -- chili and cornbread from noon to 2 p.m. for $5 -- as part of its Junktique Sale, a rummage event from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Masquers garage sale itself will be big, and volunteers have been busy sorting goods in preparation. They also will have maps to other participating addresses.
In addition, three fiddling groups will play at the park directly across the street from the theater during the day, since, as Vincent notes, "Some spouses don't like to go garage-saleing."
If you have items you'd like to donate, call Vincent at 510-235-4850 to arrange to drop them off at the Masquers warehouse.
· Point Richmond will have the welcome mat again when its Summer Music Festival returns for its sixth year of free monthly concerts. The opening show is 5:30 to 8 p.m. on June 8 in front of the Baltic Restaurant, 135 Park Place. Performing will be veteran Bay Area musician Susie Davis, a longtime member of Those Darn Accordions, and TapWater, a jam rock band from San Diego. There also will be concerts on July 13 and Aug. 10. For details, visit http://www.pointrichmond.com/prmusic.
· June 8 also is the opening day for "Ring Round the Moon," the next production at the Masquers Playhouse. The play by Jean Anouilh of a grand ball gone haywire (adapted by Christopher Fry and directed by John Hull) will be performed Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through July 14, with Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m. June 24 and July 1 and 8. Tickets are $15 and available by calling 510-232-4031. For details, visit http://www.masquers.org.
Roll or stroll: Alameda/Contra Costa shoreline path invites biking, hiking
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
The place: Eastshore State Park, from Emeryville to Richmond: biking, walking, in-line skating
The eats: Pasta Shop, Bette's Oceanview Diner and Tacubaya, all on Berkeley's Fourth Street, just east of Interstate 80
The excursion: About halfway along the 8 1/2-mile bike ride from Emeryville out to Richmond, I put on the brakes, pulled off my helmet and gazed around in amazement.
Off to the right, I could see the crowded freeways I've driven thousands of times. But the bay wind was blowing the noise the other way, and I was soaking up the quiet, unsuspected beauty of ecologically restored Meeker Slough along the Albany mudflats -- shorebirds, red and golden grasses, marsh rosemary and pickleweed, backlit by the sun, with the Golden Gate as a backdrop.
For me, this was the high point of the ride on the trail that runs along the bay from Emeryville almost to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.
The trail is almost flat. You can pick it up at many points, and ride only as far as you like. If you're not a cyclist, you can walk, skateboard or in-line skate. And there's lots to do along the way.
If you start in Emeryville, park for free at the marina and ride back toward I-80 to catch the trail wedged between the bay and the frontage road. This is the noisiest section, with constant traffic whizzing by on the freeway.
It brings you to the easiest place to catch a bite along the route, if you're not packing a picnic: The Sea Breeze Market & Deli, at University Avenue and the I-80 frontage road. Fish and chips, burgers and deli sandwiches, plus snacks and cold drinks, can be wrapped to go or gobbled down at plastic tables outside.
But there are many more scenic spots along the way -- and better food nearby. We started our trip on Berkeley's Fourth Street, just across the freeway.
First, we picked up a Middle Eastern-style salad and a chicken-avocado sandwich on walnut levain at Bette's Oceanview Diner's takeout shop (sandwiches $3.50-$6.95, salads $2.50-$5.50).
Next, we hit the Pasta Shop, an entire emporium of portable goodies. Into our sack went a sandwich of jambon and cornichons ($7.25) and a gigli pasta salad with wild mushrooms and fennel ($8.95 a pound).
Tacubaya added a torta al pastor ($6.95), guacamole and chips ($5.95). Three bottles of fizzy water and we were good to go (although the Vino wine shop next door can supply those inclined).
Just a few blocks south, a pedestrian/bike bridge over I-80 delivered us to the bike path on the other side. North from University Avenue, the wetlands widen out and pretty up.
Cross Gilman Street, ride along up the hill behind Golden Gate Fields and through the track's parking lot (note the Tacos Pihuano truck) to the Albany Bulb, where you can park your bikes and walk in to check out the landfill sculptures -- or find a sheltered spot, if you're famished.
We pressed on, crossing Central Avenue and following the bay behind the huge EBMUD and U.S. Postal Service plants to Point Isabel, a great picnic spot for dog lovers (see separate story, this page). From there, it's on to Meeker Slough, the prettiest stretch. A chilly wind kept us from picnicking there.
After Costco, we rode along the water behind well-groomed condo complexes with benches and manicured parks, some with restrooms and playgrounds, passing Richmond's monument to Rosie the Riveter.
Just after the Richmond Yacht Club, the bike path reverts to city streets for about a mile -- we paid close attention to the bike trail signs through a dilapidated industrial area without much traffic.
From Canal Street, a right turn on Seacliff puts you back on a bike path over the only serious hill of the trek and then out to Miller Knox Regional Shoreline. There, a big grassy -- and busy -- park with lots of picnic tables and barbecues looks out (across fenced railroad tracks) toward the bay and Marin. If beach is a must, you can ride over another hill and down to tiny Keller Beach.
We stuck with the sunny grass, spread our blanket and, finally, enjoyed our lunch, feeling that it was incredibly well deserved.
Insider tip: The ride can be windy, but the marinas and some southward-facing stretches offer sheltered spots.
The reward: A new view of a familiar scene. Plus, red velvet cupcakes from the Pasta Shop ($2.25 each).
Eastshore State Park
Eastshore State Park. Take Interstate 80 to Powell Street, Emeryville, exit; head west and park at the Emeryville marina. Ride bikes back along the street toward I-80 to the bike path. Or, park at the Berkeley marina (University Avenue exit), or the Albany Bulb (Albany/Buchanan Street exitin Richmond and pick up the path there. Call (888) 327-2757 or visit www.ebparks.org/parks/eastshpk.htm.
Where to pick up food
Bette's Oceanview Diner To-Go. 1805 Fourth St. (at Hearst), Berkeley; (510) 548-9494. Open 6:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.
Pasta Shop. 1786 Fourth St. (at Hearst), Berkeley; (510) 528-1786. Open 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. daily.
Tacubaya. 1788 Fourth St., (at Hearst), Berkeley; (510) 525-5160. Open 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday (until 4 p.m. Tuesday); 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
Carol Ness, email@example.com
Go dog, go: Bayside playground is a fetching spot for pups and their pals
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
The place: Point Isabel Regional Shoreline; off-leash dog walking, hiking, bird watching, fishing (license required)
The eats: 99 Ranch Market, Richmond; Sit and Stay Cafe at the park entrance
The excursion: This is a triple treat for dog lovers: Your pooch can frolic to his/her heart's content, you can get moderate exercise yourself, and you can enjoy views that, once again, made me happy to be living in the Bay Area.
At 23 acres, Point Isabel is not large for a park, but it's huge for a dog park. And if the idea of hiking and picnicking in a dog park gives you pause -- as in, "Isn't there poop everywhere?" -- not to worry. It's amazingly clean, thanks to trash cans and containers with biodegradable cleanup mitts placed all over the place. On two walks along the trails, I saw only one infraction of the clean-up-after-your-dog rule.
Other park rules spell out the obvious: No aggressive canine behavior; your dog must be under voice control at all times; and your dog must be leashed should there be unsuitable behavior. I found park visitors, both two- and four-legged, law-abiding and friendly.
There are two parking areas: at the Eastern end off Rydin Road, where there are simple facilities -- portable toilets for the humans and a garden hose for rinsing off dogs who have gone for a swim in muddy Hoffman Channel.
The greatest concentration of picnic tables is at the park entrance on Isabel Street, which also has a parking lot, restrooms, a drinking fountain with a low bowl for four-legged visitors, and Mudpuppy's Tub and Scrub for do-it-yourself dog bathing ($11, with elevated tubs, warm water, shampoo, towels, combs and brushes) or full-service professional dog washing and spa treatments (from $16 for a small dog).
The adjacent Sit and Stay cafe is very Berkeley, even though it's in Richmond. The menu includes fair trade coffee, hot, iced or in espresso drinks (from $1.45 for 12-ounce coffee); Republic of Tea herbal and regular teas in natural, unbleached bags; a bracing chili with lots of fresh ingredients (from $3.90); daily changing soups ($3.65/$4.40); made-to-order sandwiches ($4.85); hot dogs (from $2.95); sausage or ham and egg English muffins ($3.50) and cookies.
The picnic tables here don't have the greatest view (the parking lot of the U.S. Postal Service bulk mail facility is nearby), but do have the advantage of being in a low, wind-protected area. Other tables and benches in this southern part of the park (more are being added in a current upgrade) afford views of the bay, the Golden Gate and the Marin County shoreline, but can get some pretty stiff breezes.
If the all-American fare of the Sit and Stay isn't your cup of tea, stop at Pacific East Asian mall just across Interstate 80 and pick up egg rolls, steamed dumplings, fried rice vermicelli, beef chow fun, chicken wings and more from the 99 Ranch market. The in-store Sogo Bakery has a big assortment of Chinese-style pastries, but my favorite for picnic fare comes from the Sheng Kee bakery just across from the 99 Ranch checkout stands, where you can purchase small chicken pies and barbecue rolls in delicious, rich puff pastry.
All of these foods are no budget burden. I picked up ample picnic food for two, including a messy-to-eat but delicious ripe mango and soft drinks, for about $7.
Insider tip: If you walk by Hoffman Channel, watch out when dogs come out after a swim to avoid getting the mud treatment when they shake off the water.
The reward: Want Fido to join the picnic? Mudpuppy's sells doggie treats as well as practical gear.
Point Isabel Regional Shoreline
Point Isabel. Take the Central Avenue exit from Interstate 80 or Interstate 580. Either turn right on Rydin Road just past the Central Avenue overpass and go 1 long block (past the Postal Service facility) to the end of the road; or go to the end of Central (past Costco), turn right on Isabel Street. The road ends 1 block away at the park entrance. There are parking lots, plus street parking, at either entrance. Unless otherwise posted, the park is open 5 a.m.-10 p.m daily. Alcoholic beverages permitted except within 50 feet of parking lots and/or paved roads. Dog owners must carry a leash a maximum of 6 feet long and leash their dogs in parking lots. Maximum 3 dogs per person. Professional dog walkers need a permit.
Mudpuppy's Tub & Scrub. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Last wash has to start by 5 p.m. Call (510) 559-8899 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where to pick up food
99 Ranch. In the Pacific East Mall, 3288 Pierce St. (south of Central Avenue), Richmond, (510) 558-2120; or at the Sheng Kee bakery cafe in the mall across from the 99 Ranch checkout stands. Both stores are open 9.a.m.-9 p.m daily.
Sit and Stay Cafe. Sandwiches, soups, salads, coffee drinks, tea, soft drinks and snacks at the Isabel Street entrance to the park from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. (510) 559-8844.
Karola Saekel, email@example.com