Etched into the hills of Livermore Valley wine country, the award-winning Poppy Ridge Golf Course challenges fairway-navigators to conquer its 27-hole, Scottish heath-inspired layout. The course's four sets of tees per hole help golfers adjust for their skill levels, and master architect Rees Jones's extensive bunkering makes the sparingly used quicksand trap that much more surprising.
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.
After the disappointment of being unable to afford a photo booth at their own wedding, the husband-and-wife duo behind Moments To Memories Photo Booth Rentals decided to help others enjoy the silly and sweet snapshots that cement celebrations in people’s memories. Today they dispatch booths that fit up to 15 subjects and prop boxes that overflow with floppy hats, bright sunglasses, and vintage props and picture frames. Throughout each event, a professional attendant remains on hand, aiding guests to ensure a smooth, fun experience as they add personalized text blurbs and create color or black-and-white prints that they can take away just 10 seconds after the flash. Customers can also acquire a USB drive with digital copies of the images and order additional prints online as well as memory books for showing to future generations or brides who hit their heads on the way out of the reception hall.
At PartiPalooza, children blissfully bound through a soft and yielding play space where challenging games and activities get their lungs pumping and motor skills firing. In the front room, kids nimbly maneuver an inflatable obstacle course, bounce house, and collection of slides before taking a breather to belt out some working-class ballads on stage in the karaoke room. PartiPalooza’s back area tests hand-eye coordination with miniature bowling in two lanes, arcade games, air hockey, and foosball, as well as a towering climbing wall with automatic belays. Birthday parties spread out in regal rooms appointed with a throne for the celebrated tyke, who looks on as subjects feast on cheesy pizza, heaps of chicken wings, or Cold Stone Creamery ice-cream cakes.
Pump It Up's indoor inflatable arenas launch socked striplings into the air with a plethora of kid-friendly bounce pads. Staffers supervise fun-filled visits, during which adult counterparts leap around with their kids through gargantuan bounce houses, skip down air-filled slides, and slither like snakes covered in bacon grease through an inflated obstacle course.
The colorful venue also hosts custom birthday parties and private team parties, each themed to please the partygoers in question. These soirees immerse children in a schedule of interactive activities befitting a pirate or a superhero while melting off youthful energy faster than ice cubes thrown into a running DVD player. The birthday boy or girl even gets to blow out the candles on their cake seated in their blow-up throne. Occasionally, the staffers switch off the lights, arming the roomful of players with glow sticks and bracelets as they navigate the air-cushioned obstaclescape. Relying on the staffers' vigilant, watchful eyes, guardians can rest assured that their charges will stay safe, and each piece of the inflatable playground is held to the floor and ceiling by a complex series of anchors installed according to strict safety standards.
When Omar Morineau was 17 years old, a local businessman named Cal handed him an airbrush and car-paints, entreating the teenager to “learn how to use ‘em.” The self-taught youth was soon plastering flashy graphics on sports cars, and before long had moved on to custom surfboards and his own mural business. Then he thought he’d get some higher education. A stint at L’Acedemia di Belle Arte in Florence informed his expressive technique, which ranges from anatomically accurate, occasionally surrealistic oil paintings to stylized graphic designs for bands, businesses, and the lemonade stands of overly ambitious five-year-olds. Today, when he isn’t laboring on his latest commission, the enterprising artist promotes creativity through classes for all ages, with early-childhood sessions aimed at fostering a love of creation and workshops for older students focused on launching careers in two-dimensional and computer arts.