Staffed by native East Bay trail explorers and expert riding instructors, Bella Oaks Stables fosters trained and fulfilling relationships between horses and their enthusiasts. Nestled among towering oak trees and gentle rolling hills, the fleet of majestic equines tote riders through lessons, community field trips, and trail rides, all under the guidance of a doting congregation of caretakers and volunteers. Seventeen summer camps for all ages and an apprenticeship program for more advanced riders instill saddle savvy in patrons of any experience level, and those pining for nature can meander through 80 miles of lush scenery and 1 mile of sci-fi-movie scenery for an afternoon trail ride.
Creek Monkey pairs cozy pub fare bursting with fresh, locally grown flavors alongside a roster of more than 20 craft and specialty beers. Blue cheese, bacon, and smoked cremini mushrooms pile atop the Bleu burger ($13.50), and grilled-fish tacos ($8.75) house sea inhabitants and house-made salsa inside corn-tortilla walls. Prime-rib platters ($14.25) arrive bearing hearty helpings of mashed potatoes and sweet white corn and—like a pair of blue jeans—can be enjoyed on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Creek Monkey's fleet of frosty brews enchant palates with fresh watermelon flavors, floral hops, or thick, malty sweetness in a brisk outdoor beer garden, which allows diners to enjoy their meal while photosynthesizing their dessert.
Bay View Charters’ experienced captains navigate Coast Guard-certified yachts around the San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento River Delta. Each peaceful outing offers passengers a breezy cruise with stunning scenery, salty sea air, and the chance to brush up on their seagull calls. Some cruises include food and refreshments as part of the event while others make a bar available for passengers to purchase their own drinks.
As the father of a 2-year old, Tim Alley found himself running around to playdates scattered throughout the Bay Area, scooting to toddler-friendly lessons in art, gymnastics, and dance. While he loved the programming, he wished that he and his daughter weren't confined to such a tight schedule. So, he turned to his brother-in-law, Tom Limbert, head teacher at a local preschool, and they began to work on their own children's studio at Studio Grow—a supplementary preschool atmosphere with a focus on unstructured learning where children can play throughout the day. True to its name, Studio Grow now welcomes tots at three area studios. Though programs and amenities vary by location, kids might frolic through a color-splashed dance room, construct crafty masterpieces from watercolors, play-doh, and crayons in an art room, or plunge into ball pits. At all three locations, kids can tinker in a room filled with puzzles, toy trucks, dress-up clothes, and lego building sets. in a slide-filled run room. Instructors stay on hand throughout each romp, ready to lead Berkeley guests through sing-alongs or immerse Concord’s small listeners in story time. Teachers may also balloon a giant primary-colored parachute over the playroom for kids to scurry under and use to shield themselves from sudden broccoli storms. Though staffers emphasize unstructured play, they also lead summer camps for children up to aged 6 with guided romps through the studio; as well as Friday-night babysitting sessions, where kids of all ages can play sans parents until 10 p.m.