For more than three decades, ABC Tree Farms have provided the Bay Area with seasonal fun October through December. Summer inspires the first round of recreation in the form of Summer Fun Zones packed with inflatable bounce houses masquerading as castles and slides and fresh harvests of local cherries, peaches, melons, and other fruits. During October, they run 20 pumpkin-themed locations, some of which also feature inflatable bounce houses and other attractions. Once Thanksgiving passes, groves of Christmas trees spring up, having made their way south from Oregon and Washington. There they will stand until Christmas Eve, hoping to decorate homes or become the model that inspires a revamped line of evergreen air fresheners.
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 Area Youth Sports' year-round youth football programs strive to build kids' character as well as their passing skills. Kids as young as 4 get their start in the non-competitive, co-ed NFL flag football league, whose high-scoring but contact-free games teach values like teamwork, self-confidence, and sportsmanship. The contact flag-football league takes the game's physicality up a notch, while the tackle football league pits kids in full pads and helmets against others of similar weight, age, and experience. Relaxed, family-friendly schedules help keep practices fun and casual at all levels.
In the summer months, Bay Area Youth Sports hosts Bay Area Adventure Camp, where kids aged 5 through 14 enjoy a wide range of activities under the supervision of experienced staff. The younger ones are matched with those leaders in a ratio of four to one, so they're never far from helpful supervision, whether they're playing soccer or learning to skateboard or ride a horse. The camp is partnered with a variety of other companies, which lets them arrange amusement park trips, archery, indoor skydiving, and other activities that require a lot of equipment or any number of roller coasters.
Martinez Gun Club?which was founded in 1883?is a place of tradition. To wit, every Wednesday evening, parents and their kids flock to the club for Family Night. Everyone shoots a few clay pigeons, before they retire to the air-conditioned clubhouse, which features a wooden-beamed ceiling, brick fireplace, and flatscreen televisions. Here, Chef Mindy prepares a meal and bartenders serve drinks to the older crowd. In addition to these dinners, the club regularly hosts special shooting events on weekends.
When not dominating the awards table at local competitions, Dave Tendick enjoys cooking for others and catering events with his signature seasoned meats. Dave and the team at Smokehouse 10 have assembled a menu of heaping servings of St. Louis–style ribs, served wet or dry, as well as Texas-style brisket, Memphis-style pulled pork, and other barbecue favorites. An ambassador for flavor and the art of slow cooking, Dave also nurtures future chefs through extensive, daylong barbecue classes. Students immerse themselves in the science of sauces, rubs, and injections. Chefs at Smokehouse 10 have also mastered more eccentric fare, including cheesy corn casseroles and smoked alligator ribs.