If you're interested in learning more about the area's history, check out my reviews of these books -- along with the star rating I gave each one!
Berkeley: A City in History (4.5 stars)
Berkeley At War: The 1960s (2.5 stars)
Black Against Empire (4 stars)
The Free Speech Movement: Reflections on Berkeley in the 1960s (4 stars)
Berkeley in the Sixties (documentary; 4 stars)
It's amazing how much I didn't know about the area's history, despite having lived here my whole life! If you're in a similar position, I suggest any of these books. Of course, you could also take classes at a local community college (check out the list here) or visit one of the great nearby museums as part of your East Bay education.
What is your favorite book about the East Bay? Know any great Oakland or Berkeley trivia tidbits? Leave a comment!
In a similar move, though with thrift stores instead of restaurants, Savers seems to be trying to sneak into the gaps Thrift Town has left.
Just last week, Savers opened a Berkeley location. The grand opening was Thursday, 11/14/13. It's in the building that used to be Andronico's on University Avenue (1414 University Avenue, to be precise). I haven't been able to check it out yet... have you? What's it like? Does it deserve a place on the list of the best thrift stores in the East Bay?
After a while, though, I find that being around so many kids makes me want to do something thoroughly grown-up. With that in mind, here are some suggestions for adult fun tomorrow:
Check out a local winery. Yes, Oakland has quite a few wineries of its own! Many of the tasting rooms are open on Fridays, or throughout the weekend.
Go to a farmers' market, buy some veggies, and cook a healthful meal. Because let's face it: the kids aren't the only ones who can't resist candy.
Stop by one of the late night restaurants in the East Bay. If you've been too busy handing out candy to find time to eat tonight, this could be a great solution.
Check out one of the two Irish pubs in the East Bay: the Starry Plough or Bill McNally's. Even though Saint Patrick's Day is still months off, it's hard to beat the warm, welcoming atmosphere at either of these places.
Whatever you decide to do, have fun -- and remember not to eat TOO much of that leftover candy!
If you read this blog with any regularity, you've probably figured out by now that I'm a bit of a foodie. As a result, I really enjoy the amazing variety of restaurants the East Bay has to offer. When there are so many choices, though, it can be hard to know where to go. With that in mind, I've compiled lists of my favorite restaurants in the following categories:
Of course, no one can try all the restaurants in the area (at least, not without a few years to spare and being willing to gain a few hundred pounds). So let's hear it: what are your favorites in each of these categories? Have I missed a place that deserves to be listed?
Image courtesy of Dasroofless on Flickr
Never mind earthquake safety, bolt failures, and other such issues -- of real concern in the Bay Bridge renovation is the fate of the charming bridge troll!
Installed after the Loma Prieta quake of 1989, the troll has stood guard over (or, more literally, alongside) the eastern span of the Bay Bridge ever since. You may have seen him where he stands tightening a bolt. And, when you learned that this span of the bridge was being replaced, surely your first thoughts were of concern for the little fellow.
Put your mind at ease: he won't be trashed. Plans are not yet firm, but he will be kept safe in one way or another.
What hasn't been decided yet is whether the new span will have a troll, and -- if so -- whether it will be the familiar old troll or a brand new one. What are your thoughts? Should our faithful bridge guardian be given a new task, or is it time for him to retire and let a new troll take over?
Image courtesy of the California Department of Transportation
If you aren't clear on which part of the bridge is being replaced, check out this fun Buzzfeed article that's been floating around Facebook all day: People That Said Goodbye To Wrong Side Of The Bay Bridge. In short, the iconic side connecting Treasure Island to San Francisco is safe. The more industrial-looking side, between Oakland and Treasure Island, is what's being replaced.
Until the new bridge opens, your safest bet may be to stay in Oakland rather than trying to battle traffic and crowds to get to the City. Looking for something fun to do here? Here are some ideas:
- Check out the Top 10 Must-Do Picks in Oakland
- Enjoy the local food scene with its farmers markets, vegetarian and vegan restaurants, late-night options, and great pizza!
- Explore fantastic neighborhoods like Rockridge, the Gourmet Ghetto, and Fourth Street
How are you going to stay busy until the bridge reopens? Will you miss the old eastern span, or are you looking forward to the new one?
Personally, the idea creeps me out. Yes, Oakland has a problem with crime -- living in the area, we all know that. But it seems like there has to be a better way to deal with it. Nearby places like Danville, Piedmont, Walnut Creek, Pleasanton, and Livermore all have relatively low crime -- and they manage to do it without overbearing surveillance systems like this. With that said, I can admit that I don't know what the solution is to Oakland's problems.
What do you think? Is this new Domain Awareness Center a good step or a bad one? Are you OK with having more surveillance if it means crime may be reduced? Do you have other ideas for how Oakland should proceed?
Most of my best finds have been in local thrift stores. Most recently, I found a stunning 9-foot Mid-Century Modern couch with gorgeous exposed wood details for a price so low I'm still in shock. Of course, it's also a lot of fun to go to auctions and antique stores (especially the great ones in Martinez). It's a great education, if nothing else!
If you're in the mood for some treasure hunting or antique shopping of your own, check out these resources:
What was your best thrift/antique store or auction find? Have any favorite thrift stores or antique stores that weren't mentioned in these lists?
Ian McKellen comes to Berkeley Rep for a special presentation of No Man's Land.
Photographer: Sarah Dunn
One of the great things about the East Bay is that it seems like there is always something cool happening.
Right now, the buzz is all about No Man's Land. This play by Harold Pinter, which will run at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre from August 3-31, stars Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart. Unfortunately for us mere mortals, tickets are only available to season ticket-holders and donors of a certain level.
That's the bad news. The good news is that there are enough other great events going on that it's easy to distract oneself from what one is missing.
What about you? Are you one of the lucky (relatively) few who will get to see No Man's Land? Know of any other fantastic events/concerts/shows coming up soon? Share in the comments!
Image courtesy of Berkeley Repertory Theatre.
Happy Fourth of July!!! Have any fun plans for the day? Know of any fantastic spots to watch fireworks? I have a theory, as of yet untested, that the top level of the Center Street Parking Garage in Downtown Berkeley would be the ideal place for firework viewing...
If you're looking for some last-minute activities for today, check out this list of festivities in the East Bay. If you know of others -- or of that elusive perfect fireworks spot -- leave a note in the comments!
Image courtesy of SJ Photography on Flickr