The echoes of hooves clopping against loose dirt carry across California Riding Academy’s expansive training arena, where founder and director Jessica Harrell can often be found jumping warmblood ponies over fences or leading lessons in various riding styles. Jessica helms a staff of experienced instructors and trainers who all specialize in one area, technique, or style of horse-riding; students can team up with resident cowgirl Joanne Morrison for lessons in the Western riding style or trot alongside silver medalist Teri Dosen and her dutch warmblood during dressage lessons. Though their combined experience adds up to more than 100 years, the instructors would be nowhere without their stable of well-trained horses and ponies, who carry themselves with poise and dignity through competitions, summer camps, and stagecoach robberies.
Having shot more than 30,000 subjects throughout his career as a photographer, including many Silicon Valley business figures, Eric Gould understands how to create a good photo in any setting. His adeptness at communicating with subjects carries into his photography workshops, where he conveys difficult concepts clearly and methodically, saving students from such rookie mistakes as shooting with the lens cap on or turning the flash on while taking pictures of your imaginary friend's third grade graduation. In his own photo sessions, he frames professional clients in business portraits and headshots, high-school seniors in youthful poses, athletes in midaction, and a wide spectrum of people and places encountered on international travels.
Healdsburg Golf Club carves through Wine Country, loping over undulating terrain marked by mature fir trees and views of Dry Creek Valley. Before taking the course, limber up on the all-weather driving range, with 18 stalls spread over three tiers that allow golfers to smack 300-yard drives or attempt to sink a two-story practice putt. The nine-hole course wraps well-manicured fairways around doglegs and surrounds greens with an entourage of bunkers and rolling mounds. Though suited for beginners, the course is a test for players of abilities, challenging golfers to hit a variety of shots, from long drives down par 5s to bicycle kicks past the goalkeeper on the eighth green. Golfers can relax after their rounds with a relaxing meal at the club’s bar and outdoor patio. The elevated patio overlooks the course as it fades into a sea of trees, misty mountains lining the horizon, and a wormhole leading to a secret nine-hole course on the moon.
Course at a Glance
A nonprofit organization dedicated to the celebration of the art, history, and science of pinball, the Pacific Pinball Museum welcomes hardcore enthusiasts and casual fans alike to learn about and play the popular game. Over 85 operational machines—all set to free play—line the walls of the museum, including electro-mechanical, wood-rail, and wedgehead models, as well as the newest digital machines. Along with historic games on display, such as an 1879 Montague Redgrave Parlor Bagatelle and a Gottlieb 1931 Baffle Ball, three playable clear cabinets reveal the inner workings of the engineering marvel, from the wires feeding the lights to the tiny steelsmiths forging new balls between every play. Enthusiastic guides conduct regular tours of the facilities, whose walls feature hand-painted murals celebrating the game’s diverse colors and symbols.
County Club Bowl has been hosting the pin-busters of Marin County since 1959, remaining a fixture of fun by maintaining amenities beyond bowling lanes. Bowlers can hurl their ammo down 40 automatically scored Brunswick lanes, including ones with optional bumpers that enable players to work all the angles against their cocky pin foes. Groups of four can vie for strike production supremacy or forge New Age scoring systems that award points based on the beauty of the pin formations left standing. Quench ball-hurling-generated thirst with two included pitchers of soda, or swing past in-house Villa York Pizza & Grill for specialty pies and subs. Bowlers can celebrate gutter evasion in the Candlestick Lounge, outfitted with a full bar and sports-blasting plasma TVs. Three billiard tables and an arcade room expand entertainment beyond the lanes.
The Golden State Model Railroad Museum brings the nation’s bygone steam-powered days back to life in miniature form, recreating the trails run by the Southern Pacific and Santa Fe Railroads. Trains snake through three huge model layouts, which depict the varied terrain of Northern and Central California lovingly recreated and operated by the East Bay Model Engineers Society. Sundays in April–December from noon to 5 p.m., some of the 70 behind-the-scenes conductors imbue the tracks with energy, transforming the 10,000-square-foot facility into a locomotive wonderland alight with the sounds of bells and whistles not heard since the days when phone numbers only had three digits. The museum is also open on Wednesdays and Saturdays for viewings or on select days for themed events such as Amtrak Day or Steam/Transition Era Day.