More than a century ago, an industrious farmer named Gerard enlisted the help of bees to pollinate his family estate. Inadvertently, the buzzing insects fertilized a new passion for Gerard, one that would become a family tradition.
Four generations later, Gerard’Z Honeybees' bustling hives create more than a dozen local and monofloral honeys from such plants as star thistle, orange blossoms, and avocado blossoms. Because the honeys are completely raw and natural, they maintain the micro-nutritious qualities often left out of industrial varieties, and they may help allergy sufferers to acclimate to their local pollen varieties.
Gerard’Z holds year-round beekeeping workshops and honey tasting seminars at local wineries, nurseries, and farmers’ markets throughout the Bay Area and Central Valley. During the classes and tastings, bee experts demystify the process of maintaining a hive, and people get the chance to taste the difference between clover honey, buckwheat honey, black sage honey, and Doritos honey. Gerard’Z also helps to maintain the delicate honeybee population by finding homes for wild swarms or colonies that have built hives in unwanted places and might otherwise fall prey to exterminators.
Around the burgundy-walled space of Sanctuary Ultra Lounge and Restaurant, guests sink in to plush chairs, savor bites of fire grilled gourmet pizzas, or get up and dance to music spun by a DJ. The lounge prides itself on effortlessly shifting from upscale restaurant to high-energy nightclub. A back room plays host to live musicians late into the night and even the morning when they all transform back into potted plants. For those more interested in dinner than karaoke, the kitchen grills up Angus burgers topped with portobello mushrooms or peanut butter, and prepares plates of braised pork and poblano tamales.
Color Me Mine puts paintbrushes and pottery in the mitts of customers old and young. Budding Toyozo Arakawas will follow six easy steps to craft eye-pleasing objects, first choosing a ceramic piece ($10–$25 for most) from Color Me Mine's selection of hundreds of seasonally changing options, such as plates, mugs, molded animals, and mystically materialized emotions. After charting out the desired design from individual imagination or one of Color Me Mine's helpful technique sheets, painters will select an underglaze from a collection of more than 60 colors, then gently beautify their objets d'art with the focus and ingenuity of a peregrine falcon possessed by Norman Rockwell.
The certified instructors from American Swim Academy recognize that, unlike many other mammals, humans aren't born with the ability to swim safely. Their passion for teaching students how to glide through the water without worry propels each class at the academy and inspires students of all ages to silence the mocking comments from their neighbor's dolphin. Each instructor must have obtained both CPR and academy swim training before leading lessons, which are structured to meet students' abilities.
Furthering the tenants of safety and control, all academy classes are hosted inside an indoor facility with pools designed specifically for instruction. Waters are heated to 92 degrees and feature wide steps, teaching stations, and shallow areas for small children. On-deck managers oversee each class to heighten student safety and shout out Olympic swimming records every five minutes for inspiration.
For Sensei Darlynson Lira, martial arts are a family affair. The oldest son of Brazilian master Darcio Lira and a fifth-degree black belt, Darlynson brings more than 20 years of international competitive and teaching experience to his eager-and-enterprising students. Along with veteran UFC fighter Carlos Eduardo Rocha, Darlynson oversees the gym’s detailed curriculum in brazilian jujitsu, muay thai, and traditional western boxing, as well as cardio kickboxing and children’s martial-arts classes.