Two bike trips

This week we did two of our favorite rides: one to Blackhawk and the other to the farmers market at Forest Home Farms in San Ramon. Both days the weather was gorgeous and conditions on the road were good. On the way to Blackhawk, we stopped to rest for a few minutes by the Tassajara Nursery which a group of kids was visiting on a school field trip. On this spring day everything was in bloom, and the nursery was a burst of color, enlivened by the enthusiastic youngsters.

Tassajara Nursery

(Double click on any of these pictures to see a larger, clearer version.)

After our requisite visit to the bookstore Read, we stopped for lunch at Stomp, where we ate outside and admired the Blackhawk scene. Stomp is a wine bar with an offering of small plates which are imaginative and scrumptious. Three of us shared their version of a cobb salad (steak, lettuce, tomatoes, hard-boiled, eggs, the whole works); gnocchi with spring peas; and a smoked turkey sandwich with a side salad of arugula. All portions were generous, and the service was excellent. Two of us split a lemon tart for  dessert. Service was excellent, and the prices are reasonable. I hope that this restaurant does well.

The view up the middle of Blackhawk

To reach the farmers market at Forest Home  Farms in San Ramon, again we parked at the Park and Ride on Sycamore. This time we headed south on Iron Horse until we reached the Cross Valley Trail,  just before Pine Valley Road in San Ramon. We turned right on to the Cross Valley Trail and followed it til its end. From there one can see the bustling farmers market up ahead. We are always glad to be on our bikes because parking can be difficult.

Forest Home Farms was a thriving farm run by Ruth and Travis Boone for most of the twentieth century. Ruth willed the farm to the city of San Ramon in memory of her husband. Today many special events are held there, and on most Saturdays in the warm months, one can take a tour of the grounds, where there are sheep running in the meadow and there is a huge barn with all sorts of tractors, both ancient and fairly modern. This farmers market usually has live music, and it has many crafts stalls as well as food and produce stalls.

Saturday at the farmers market

Flowers by the side of the old Boone house

A trip by bicycle to this spot makes for a memorable Saturday.

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Take a tour of Walnut Creek’s public art

On the second Saturday of the month, you can ride your bike on Iron Horse Trail to Civic Park in Walnut Creek, where there are plenty of bike racks. From there, walk to the Lesher Center, where a knowledgeable docent from the Bedford Gallery will take you on a fascinating tour of Walnut Creek’s public art. The tour leaves promptly at 11:00 am and costs $5.00; there are three tours including different areas of Walnut Creek.

We went on tour #3, which covers  Walnut Creek from the Lesher Center to slightly north of the BART station. It was a pleasant day to stroll through these quiet areas of Walnut Creek and admire some of the creative art that you would not readily see if you did not know where to look.

Afterwards we ate at La Scala, a small coffee shop on the corner of Civic Dr. and North Main Street. The food is reasonable and quite good, but the experience of eating there would be enhanced by a slightly higher level of housekeeping in the eating area.

Using Iron Horse Trail to run errands

Saturday was a lovely spring morning.  My husband and I parked the car at the Sycamore Park and Ride, and after I attached the panniers to my bike, we took off south on the trail to Borders in San Ramon. Coming back, we stopped to pick up supplies at Office Depot and then headed into Danville to the farmers’ market, where I loaded up on fresh produce for the coming week. It is a lot easier to park a bike at this farmers’ market than it is to park a car. In the past, we have seen a couple of ugly episodes with people competing for parking spaces when we have been sitting outside of Lunardi’s enjoying a cup of coffee.

These expeditions not only provide us with exercise but also enable us to accomplish necessary chores. And they are fun. We talk to people much more than we would if we were traveling by car, and we enjoy the mild air and our beautiful valley.

Often after these Saturday expeditions, we stop at Amici’s in Danville for lunch. It is right off of the trail, and it is a pleasant place with good food. The staff does a topnotch job keeping the place clean while waiting on customers. They have good salads, and their thin crust pizza is a treat. For a casual lunch, I heartily recommend this restaurant.