Every year Novato hosts a weekend long Art & Wine festival where crowds gather to look at local artist's work, drink wine and beer, eat festival food and listen to live music. The town closes off several blocks of "Old Town" streets and booths and stages are set upi in the streets.
This year the festival took place on June 12 and 13.
I heard the three last bands of the day perform. The first band I heard was just bizarre with an elvis impersonator and a couple of aging women in bright red cowgirl outfits, singing backup vocals. Um.
The second band was, however, GREAT. They're called Quicksilver Gold, and they play songs from a San Francisco 60's band called Quicksilver Messenger Service. They were EXCELLENT!
The final band was Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks, a Bay Area staple of the music scene. If you listen to Prarie Home Companion sometimes, you might have heard them. In fact, as I'm writing this tip, the radio is playing a Dan Hicks tune, "I scare myself."
Just north of Novato are hundreds of acres of open space with beautiful hiking trails. I like the Mount Burdell area because of its natural beauty and feeling of being in a remote area. The hike goes through bay laurel forests, over streams, and through grassy meadows dotted with coast live and white oaks, laurels and buckeyes. Wildflowers are abundant throughout the spring and early summer.
I like these trails because they follow well maintained fire roads, and aren't outrageously steep like the killer hills closest to my house. Not all the trails permit bikes, so make sure you know where you are going. As a general rule, you are fine on any of the fire roads. If you are on a bike, stay off trails that turn into narrow foot trails through meadows or woods.
A good place to enter the trail system is at the end of San Andreas Drive. There is plenty of street parking. The trails are well marked with signs. Follow San Andreas Fire Road to Deer Camp Fire Road, east on Middle Burdell Fire Road, to Salt Lick Fire Road, south on San Carlos Fire Road, west on San Marin Fire Road, northwest on San Andreas Fire Road and back to where you started. Total length is 6.5 miles, and elevation change is 1,000 feet (lowest point is 100 feet).
Click on link below for a trail map.
Thanks to Jessica and Mark, who invited us into their home for a VT meet when we came to California we were able to meet some of the fantastic people of VTCalifornia. We met Jessica and Mark of course, but also Al and his wife, Julie and Jo, Smurti and her boyfriend and Keren and Greg also were there with their kids and also Linda, Jessica's fathers girlfriend. We need to thank them ALL for making our trip to California a friendly and warm one.
I must admit that our daughter Tal is a car freak..she sees special cars that she likes and it is amazing to see her eyes light up...so when Al and Carol both arrived at the VT meet at Jessica and Mark's in CONVERTIBLES, well the fireworks began...and to make it even better, both Al and Carol took her for a ride, her first time in an open top, talk about instant happiness,we could see her grin from 100 feet away. It was funny when Al just took out his keys and told her to "take the car for a spin", poor kid she had NOT reached age 17 yet so had no liscense, but the ride made up for it, thanks Al and Carol for the special treatment.
Zohara was totally surprised when we entered Jessica and Mark's dining room to begin the VT EATS part of the meet and found that she had a birthday cake for her birthday, it was a great surprise. But then we all got down to eating all the food everyone had prepared, each member had brought something from home, even the visitors from Israel (yes that is US) brought homemade chili (which I was able to prepare because of the kindness of the owners of the B&B (Francisco and Marie) where we were staying who allowed me to use the kitchen to cook up my chili.