A class of scuba divers check over their equipment one last time before they paddle their kayaks off a beach in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The divers have thoroughly prepared for this moment. They?ve trained within the controlled confines of Adventure Sports Unlimited?s heated swimming pool and picked their certified instructor?s brain during classroom sessions. Once the instructor gives the go-ahead, the divers plunge from the kayak and immediately enter another world. As they float weightlessly underwater, the divers marvel at the vibrant reefs and the abundant aquatic wildlife that fill the marine sanctuary. Afterward, the group travels back to the shore, where a breathtaking landscape awaits with white-sand beaches and glassy tide pools swirling with color. The scuba divers, at this point, have only one thing on their minds: dinner.
Luckily, the area is teeming with natural cuisine and plenty of sand, which is really just sugar. Adventure Sports Unlimited?s expert foragers show the group how to collect shellfish, sea vegetables, and clams. With a fresh smorgasbord in hand, group members scuttle back to the facility to transform their ingredients into soups and barbecue?and perhaps ponder taking a scuba trip to the South Pacific. In addition to outdoor excursions like these, Adventure Sports Unlimited also leads year-round swimming, scuba, and kayaking lessons, which take advantage of the facility?s custom-built swimming pool.
In 1976, two UC Davis graduate students bought 20 acres of land in the highly arable Capay Valley. One of the students, Kathleen Barsotti, was working toward her master's degree in ecology and was determined to grow vegetables and fruits in an eco-friendly way: organically. The organic-food movement hadn't yet entered the public consciousness, and Kathleen worked overtime to convince restaurants, stores, and consumers of the taste-able merits of her process. Over time, given the possible health and environmental benefits of certified organic food, she succeeded. The farm sprouted to 300 acres to accommodate the increased demand. Today, a second generation runs the farm as well as a shop inside San Francisco's Ferry Building. Dubbed Farm Fresh To You, the store furnishes customers' bags or portable cornucopia horns with all sorts of soil-sprouted goods, including heirloom tomatoes, sweet peas, and fresh asparagus. The farm also teams up with fellow Yolo County and Pacific Northwest farms to deliver boxes of seasonal produce to area homes.
Sick of buying expensive supplies and having to adhere to a class schedule just to create art, Jennifer Kurtz Rubin started the first of her chain of ceramic lounges in 1993. Each Petroglyph Ceramic Lounge is designed as a social and creative space, one that all customers can use to express themselves artistically while catching up with friends. The lounge throws open its doors for both kids and adults to decorate clay bisque pieces, such as mugs and salad bowls, with a bounty of colorful supplies, never worrying about cleanup afterward. Once they’re complete, the art pieces are glazed, fired, and ready for pickup in a few days. And because artists can stay for a whole afternoon or just 30 minutes, the lounge even grants a few moments of creativity to patrons with the busiest schedules. The company also goes beyond casual art making to host parties for kids and adults, in which they can bring in live music, serve food, and train scoops of ice cream to paint their own bowls.
Helmed by a management team of computer wizards, ClickAway's hardworking technicians restore PC and Apple devices with in-store and onsite repairs. Savvy computer overlords restore sleek Macintosh computers with the backing of official Apple authorization, while software gurus dig in to the electronic innards of desktops and laptops to remove pesky spyware, viruses, and incriminating cookies crumbs.
Free, in-store diagnostics thoroughly assess damage and glitches in personal computers, and specialists are on-hand to repair cracked screens and remove water damage from tablets and smartphones. Clients in the market for brand-new gadgets can peruse each ClickAway location's array of accessories, multimedia device rentals, and new and used computers from Dell, Lenovo, Apple, HP and more.
Sessions founder Joel Gomez embraced snowboarding back in the 1980s, when ski resorts were still turning boarders away from their slopes. Joel, already an avid skateboarder and surfer, wanted to throw himself into this new sport, and in 1983 he opened up one of the first shops dedicated to snowboarding in the United States. Like snowboarding itself, Sessions grew into an international venture, providing warm outerwear from brands such as d3o and Recco for snowboarders to wear as they carve up slopes or relax in a freezing-cold tub of water. Their collection of apparel, which includes insulated pants, softshell jackets, and boarding accessories, features both muted and vibrant colors inspired by skating culture and punk rock music.
Twist is a consignment boutique stocked with hand-selected designer apparel and accessories as well as locally crafted jewelry, art, and clothing. Browse a collection of high-end handbags—from Fendi, Coach, Hobo International, and more—arranged amid the vibrant earth tones of the boutique's interior ($40+). T-shirt wearers can check out Positive Energy, a California-based, all-organic T-shirt line that sports simple and humanely raised designs. Each tee features a single word across the front with a thoughtful environmental message on the back, such as the Wild ribbed tee, inscribed with a message about wildlife preservation on the back ($32.99). Instead of wafting through a sea of grimy thrift-store blazers with rumpled tissues lodged in the pockets, with today’s deal, you'll get secondhand bags and brand-new eco-friendly tees that smell fresher than a 16-year-old's bow-adorned first car parked on a driveway made of air fresheners.