Top 10 Things to Do Around Today’s Palo Alto
Haven’t been to Palo Alto for a while? Looking for another great reason to attend the 50th Reunion?
Can you top any of the suggestions submitted by our anonymous travel expert, Whitey Greene? If you think you can, go to this category found under Bistro 64 Chat Room! Whitey will award a gift certificate for two for breakfast ($30.00 value!) at Joanie’s Café in PA for the best suggestion.
Try one of these:
The Stanford Theatre on University Ave. David W. Packard, son of THE David Packard, did a complete make-over, restoring this beautiful movie palace to its original 1920’s condition. Sit back and enjoy the beautiful frescos, chandeliers, and real red mohair seats. The Stanford now specializes in double features of 1930’s through 1950’s classics, showing the best prints from the UCLA archives. Enjoy a fabulous Mighty Wurlitzer Organ concert before the movie. Yes, it appears like magic from below stage. www.stanfordtheatre.org
Ridge Vineyards. Take a short ride just South of Los Altos past the Stevens Creek Reservoir and drive 2500 ft. up Monte Bello Road. Ridge, started in the ‘60s by four SRI engineers, produces world class wines, including single vineyard zinfandel and the famous Monte Bello Cabernet. Augment the wine tasting with some cheese and bread to enjoy at picnic tables offering the absolute best view of Silicon Valley. www.ridgewine.com
TheatreWorks. This stage production company was founded by your Jordan classmate Bob Kelley right after he finished up at Stanford. Many of the early shoestring productions were at the Lucie Stern Center next to Rinconada Park. Today, Robert Kelley continues to serve as artistic director, and TheatreWorks is nationally known for productions that rival the best of Off Broadway. Catch one at the Mountain View Center for Performing Arts on Castro St. www.theatreworks.org.
Town & Country Village. It’s still there, in spite of many years of massive lunchtime invasions by Paly students. A new operator took over in 2004 and invested a lot of money for upgrades, including some glitzy hardscape and PALM TREES (OMG!). It’s changed a lot since Prime Minister Charles de Gaulle made a ceremonial visit to see this pioneering example of “le shopping center.” You won’t find Stickneys, Edy’s, Spiro’s, or Joe Greer giving hayrides, but it has essentially the same look and feel….and you can still get a delicious triple-decker sandwich at the Village Cheese House. www.tandcvillage.com
Santana Row. Don’t bother to visit Stanford Shopping Center. It was much better in its original configuration, dominated by the Emporium, where my mom and Connie’s mom worked together in the Bridal Salon. If you like shopping centers with lots of buzz, drive down to Stevens Creek and Winchester, across from the Winchester Mystery House. This 40 acre property, a former Town & Country Village, was sold to Met Life in 1985 for a ton of money. It languished as a lame duck Town & Country until Met Life gave up on getting the necessary permits from the City of San Jose, and sold it for a ton of money minus around $25 Million. A new San Jose City Council soon gave the OK for a stunning assortment of shops and restaurants. Go there if you like that kind of thing. www.santanarow.com
Hiking. If you like to get some fresh air and exercise, try one of the many local trails. Walk to the Dish on Stanford campus. Drive to the trailhead for Sawyer Camp Trail with runs along the upper portion of Crystal Springs Reservoir. Walk the Baylands in Mountain View starting at the end of San Antonio Road on the East side of 101. Flap over to the Duck Pond, still located at the site of the former Palo Alto Yacht Harbor.
Stanford Campus. Sure, some of the great old features are gone, including the Frost Amphitheater and the huge football stadium where we enjoyed the Little Big Games and the U.S-Russia Track Meet. It’s not as rustic as it used to be, but the campus is awesome. A wide variety of guided and self-guided tours are available. Check out the Quad, Memorial Church, and the Rodin Sculpture Garden, one of the largest collections of Rodin sculptures in the World. See it all on bikes you can rent from a shop on El Camino near where Foster’s Freeze used to be. www.stanford.edu
Ferry Building, San Francisco. Hop on the train from the old Palo Alto Station right next to the official Paly reunion venue. It’s a new version of the train our dads took on their daily commute to the City as mid-century madmen. The line now ends at 4th and Townsend, where you can take the light rail for a short ride to the Embarcadero Station. Walk over to the beautifully restored Ferry Building, catch a ferry to Tiburon, and have lunch on the waterfront deck at Sam’s…with stunning Bay views. Don’t forget that October brings the best weather in the City. www.ferrybuilding marketplace.com ; www.samscafe.com
Sunday Brunch & Farmers Market, California Ave Palo Alto. Have a delightful Sunday brunch or breakfast at Joanie’s Café on California Ave. Afterwards, enjoy strolling among the many vendors that setup every Sunday morning on the closed off Avenue that still retains a 1960’s feel. Lots of other good places to eat in this area too! www.joaniescafepaloalto.com
Experience The Peninsula Creamery Once Again! Just a short stroll from the Sheraton Palo Alto, this Downtown PA landmark remains much the same as it was in the 1950’s and 60’s. Treat yourself to an old fashioned milkshake or malt that are still hand mixed and served in those frosted metal containers! This iconic Creamery is still located at the corner of Emerson and Hamilton. Downtown PA is easily accessible from the Sheraton via one of two underpasses: the original one on University Ave and a newer, pedestrian only one, at Homer. www.paloaltocreamery.com