there is a there there

Posted on Posted in book reviews/events, designing, projects

just got back to cookie’s place after an absolutely wonderful weekend in oakland, where we visited with our good friends kristine and adrienne for a couple of days. i also taught a sweater fitness class at their beautiful yarn shop on san pablo avenue, a verb for keeping warm.

as we made our way over there on friday, we picked up rosemary from the airport and whisked her off for a well-deserved lunch at curry up now, which specializes in mexican/indian fusion. cookie and rosemary had burritos, while i got a thali plate and ate every last bite. mmmm.

afterward, it was on to AVFKW where we were greeted enthusiastically by two lovely shopkeepers and a little tail-wagger named cleo.

who right to work on the present cookie brought for her—tissue paper, yay!

oh, what a joyful noise THAT makes

and it bites back a little bit too, which doubles the fun

the store looks great—chock full of goodies from kristine’s dyepot, as well as those of other indie dyers, both far and near. the shop is also very well stocked with undyed farm yarns and fibers from local producers.

fabrics and notions and buttons abound—we gathered among the riches for a group photo, while aday manned the camera(s)

you can see what i mean when i say the place is a treasure trove for the handcrafter—if you live anywhere nearby and haven’t been there yet, you really should go; it’s fun.

we spent the rest of the afternoon poking among the yarns and fibers, finally settling down to knit, once we reached overload. cookie bought some cotton to knit washcloths, an activity which turned into a bit of a binge over the next few days—she started with blue sky alpacas cotton and progressed to habu textiles wrapped cotton; by the time we got home last night she had four or five new washcloths.

but i digress . . . on saturday morning i was awake before the birds, probably still on east coast time. i waded through some of my email and when it began to be a little light, i tied on my running shoes and headed out the door to explore oakland a bit.

a kind tip from a reader named chris led me to lake merritt, which was not all that far from kristine and aday’s house. i ran down to the lake where i found a race event underway. it’s always nice when i get out early to see lots of other runners out too; makes me feel i’m not alone.

knowing that we had a day trip planned that might include hiking, i didn’t run around the lake that day—i opted for a short sightseeing run along the shore near the 27th street access point and then turned back.

i also knew it was all uphill the whole way home, so i wanted to reserve my leg strength for that. as it turned out, the uphill part wasn’t bad at all and i made a plan to do the whole lake circuit on monday (which i did, woo-hoo).

back at the house, everyone was getting up. while i showered, a plan was formed as to what we’d be doing for our day off—cookie prepared by casting on another washcloth to knit in the car.

once we procured coffee, we headed out for marin county the roundabout way with a final destination of point reyes in mind. the drive up was beautiful, winding through farmland and redwood forest. we stopped at cowgirl creamery to see if they had any good eats going on and though the cheeses looked yummy, it wasn’t what we were after for lunch.

after a peek inside the cheese making room and a wander through the food shop, we headed for black mountain artisans to fondle farm yarns, handknits, and woven items.

a tiny co-op shop filled with beautiful ready-made goods for purchase, which is juried and cared for by marlie de swart (above, left).

here marlie brings together products from knitting yarn not generally found in LYSs to finished items and wearable art, making them available to both local residents and visitors to the town.

after poking around and chatting with marlie for a bit, we headed down the street to marin sun farms cafe for a lunch of soup, burgers, and fries. you can get just about any type of burger your heart desires, made from grass fed and pasture raised meats, or shop to bring meat home to cook (including turkey for the holidays!).

we ate and then sat for a bit, knitting and chatting; aday did some spindling at the table, while kristine worked on a sweater, cookie worked on a dishcloth, and i worked on a secret project.

after a while, we gathered our things and got back in the car to head for the pt reyes ranch—we wanted to get to the beach before sunset and we had a ways to go.

there are miles of ranch land, known as the pastoral zone, to drive through on the way to the beach, which are home to one of the earliest and largest examples of industrial dairy farming in the state (read all about its history here).

six dairy ranches and nine ranches for beef cattle exist within the park, with one ranch designated for raising tule elk. we had planned our visit for the end of the day in the hopes of seeing some of these beauties on the move and did we ever get lucky—we saw thousands of them roaming the hills closest to the beach.

it was breathtaking how many we could see from the road. we came to an area within walking distance of the beach where we could stop the car

so we parked and bundled up in jackets, hats, and scarves—while it had been quite warm all day, the fading light brought on a chill that would only be magnified near the water.

the late afternoon sky was brilliantly blue; the bishop pines stood against it in crisp contrast and the air was alive with the scent of pine, heat, and sea.

and best of all, we weren’t nearly at the end of our day yet

the shadows were growing longer as we started down the beach road, but we had plenty of time left to enjoy a walk and a visit to the water’s edge.

we wound our way over an easy walking path that led us through low hills

and after about twenty minutes, we caught a glimpse of the ocean.

by coincidence both cookie and i remarked at the same time that it reminded us very much of the beach we explored last year in cornwall, which is also an area famous for dairy farming.

pt reyes has many similar characteristics—almost eerily so. we got lucky; the light on saturday was simply breathtaking and the temperature was warmer than usual at the shore.

pelicans and seagulls played at the water’s edge and kristine pulled us over to watch a baby seal riding the waves near the point.

the lowering sun lit everything up as if it was in a movie set—believe me, these colors you see here appear just as they came out of the camera.

the beach on this side of the point is amazingly clean and free of ocean debris, with deep, soft sand that begins to pack down only as it gets very close to the water.

it would be a wonderful spot to go to on a stifling summer day—cool enough to take the edge off with comfortable sand to lay down and sleep in.

as the tide lapped in, kristine, aday, and i walked along the water’s edge down to the point to see what it was like there; cookie stayed behind to sit for a while and knit.

the point is a huge formation of rocks that have heaved up to jut out into the water

breaking up the surf a little more, causing it to splash dramatically and eddy in, making pretty patterns in the sand.

a narrow “doorway” near the back leads to the other side of the formation where the beach continues in the other direction, where there is a lot more seaweed washed up.

this is where we watched the seal playing in the waves—he’s in this photo but it’s hard to see him; i’d have to point out exactly where. despite its brilliance here, the light was changing fast and we knew we’d have to tear ourselves away pretty soon.

we started back toward where we started, to find cookie seated in the sand with her knitting—just look at her, haha; i love this photo.

and wow, all of a sudden it was sunset. cookie and i marveled at the colors of the beach as we waited for kristine and aday to dawdle back to us

only much, much later would we realize that we had unwittingly taken advantage of the last long day of the year for our excellent excursion—how lucky that it would turn out so brilliantly.

how fortunate we are to have good friends who knew we’d appreciate this moment. thank you for this . . .

kristine is talking about the baby seal—she was completely charmed by him.

by now it was actually getting dark, so we reluctantly made our way back to the path.

just look at the colors! does anyone really need to wonder why people want to live in on the west coast??

it wasn’t exactly as dark as it looks in this photo but i love the drama . . .

the incredible shifting display of light and color followed us all the way back to the car. it felt like a show just for us and made us wonder why we don’t do this more often.

one last look back before we packed in the afternoon—what a day.

on the way back to the city, we chatted and dozed and slowly gave in to hunger—the conversation turned to what we would eat when we got home.

once kristine mentioned burmese food there was no going back; we found a place that was still serving and headed out. it was super yummy and the perfect way to end the day.

the next day we gathered a terrific group of participants at the shop for a sweater fitness class. i didn’t take even one photo—sorry guys, the day was so full and went by so fast that i just plain forgot. suffice it to say that it was fun and i think everyone had a good class.

afterward, we had a quiet evening at home, hanging out and talking, eventually realizing that we needed to get something to eat.

we decided to keep it simple and have the pizza delivery girl do the work, haha—aday and cookie donned helmets and took the vespa to pick it up, while kristine and i poured wine and knitted. with my secret project finished, i was able to turn back to the waffle creams sock i’m knitting for david, which is growing very well (funny how fast it goes when i actually work on it).

we stayed up far too late for a school night—i had to teach on sunday—adrienne and i went to bed the earliest at around 1 am, while kristine and cookie stayed up talking til all hours. for some reason on this trip, i’m not able to keep up with them . . . so be it.

this is what it looked like monday morning when i woke up, yay.

i went for another long run that morning to lake merritt before everyone else woke up. this time, i ran down a different (steeper!) way, then around the lake, and back up the way i used the first time (still all uphill, but less steep).

when i returned everyone was just stirring and beginning to talk about breakfast. we had a nice big brunch and a walk around the neighborhood. eventually, everyone had to get back to work though and we left oakland in the mid-afternoon.

we did some food shopping on the way home so we’d have supplies to cook with and when we got in we settled down to knit and talk shop.

with just two projects left in my knitting bag each will now get a lot more attention. i’m tickled that my sock is growing; i’ve been feeling neglectful about socks for a while. i would love nothing more than to finish up the two or three that i have on the needles in time for our anniversary at the end of the month. but i’ll take it one at a time; i’d be happy to finish a pair.

yesterday i worked most of the day at my computer but then later, i met up with ronni for coffee and knitting at dana street roasting company (where we went to knit night a few days earlier). more sock knitting while we chatted and later with cookie while we cooked dinner—now i’m poised to begin the heel, yay.

today is sadly, my last full day here; i’m getting my hair cut (finally) this afternoon and doing a few errands; i’d like to get a run in as well—my legs need a serious stretch after sitting most of the day yesterday.

what a wonderful trip this has been; a little work and a great visit with people i love, plus i got to see the sights of a lifetime—how can i express my gratitude enough and give thanks for my good luck? hopefully, sharing it with others is one small way to pass on my good fortune . . . see you again soon.


28 thoughts on “there is a there there

  1. wow. what a post about your fantastic adventures. thank you for sharing. it’s a perfect way to pass on your good fortune. i enjoyed every word and every breathtaking photo.

  2. Cowgirl Creamery is one of our favorite artisanal cheese makers – you don’t know what you missed! I’m adding all your sights to my “next time” notebook for the Bay area. And I love the Waffle Creames”.

  3. I’m heartbroken to know you were here in Oakland and I missed you completely. The hike to Pt. Reyes is one I’ve done often and your photos were spectacular. The only part that made me laugh is the part about the sweltering summer days. During the summer months, that part of the beach gets foggy and wind-blown and really really cold. This time of the year, from September to November, is the most beautiful time to visit. Lucky for you and lucky for us!

  4. I’m so glad you had such a glorious time in northern Calif. Maybe next time I’ll get to see you – Stitches West? or another visit to AVFKW?

  5. Thank you for the beautiful photos! Isn’t the west coast lovely? (I’m not biased, being in/from Portland, OR!)

  6. Beautiful. Thanks for taking us to the beach with you. I miss living on the West Coast, so it was great to see a few sunset-over-the-ocean pictures. And all the pretty yarns!

    The photo of the blurred tail in a frenzy of tissue shaking is hilarious!

  7. Wonderful post–the beach shots were fantastic. And the YARN shots! It sounds like you had a tremendous time there. Safe travels home!

  8. Thank you Anne for the gorgeous pictures! It sounds and looks like your having a great time. I’m glad! Cookie looks adorable as usual! Have a safe trip home. Its actually going to be in the 60s and nice when you return.

  9. So pleased you have had a relaxing trip after the stresses in NY. Thank you for all those lovely photos – especially the beach ones. I also like the middle photo of Marlie’s yarn. I might need to investigate further! Safe homeward travels.

  10. Those photographs! I mean, your pictures are always superb but these landscapes in particular just made my chest swell with emotion to see them. I can’t imagine how it must have been to actually there and see that light in person! Thank you so much for sharing your trips with us.

  11. It was so great to see you! By coincidence, you went to my very favorite stretch of beach when I was growing up. Lovely pictures! <3

  12. What a great trip you’ve had! I haven’t visited the ocean in that part of California, but I’ve had many equally wonderful moments in areas both north and south of there; the Pacific is so much more dramatic than the Atlantic, isn’t it, though? My favorite adventure was with a mother and baby sea lion, like you guys had with your baby seal; those are the magical moments you remember!

  13. Point Reyes is one of my favorite places and your beach is one of my special places. As you drive through Point Reyes Station, one of my favorite places is Bovine Bakery. Sweet and savory items there. Glad you had such a wonderful trip.

  14. What a great trip….i sometimes get a bit jealous being home on the farm but I try to live vicariously through those who get to go.

  15. Wow! You were an overachiever with this post–your trip looks like so much fun. I love Cleo but keep that on the qt since Ben, one of my dachsies is drowsing on my lap right now!

  16. Hi Anne,
    what a great write up about a fantastic trip – and pictures to share and proof it. Beautiful.
    So, who is this very special hairdresser that you try to see when in the bay area? I am really curious!

  17. What a fun post. And wonderful memories for my daughter & I. When she first moved from Williamstown, MA to San Francisco we traveled out for a visit. We stayed in Inverness and visited that yarn Co-op in Point Rayes-we both bought yarn & had a wonderful time knitting & chatting. And tonight we’re back in california visiting her again and yes we are both knitting, this time in Santa Cruz. Whenever we’re together we knit! Thanks for your great blog-read it everyday.

  18. So glad you were able to travel to Point Reyes. West Marin is an absolute jewel. Reeling me in I moved to Marin a year ago, after spending three years looking for the right place. Point Reyes ‘sealed the deal’ for me! Glad you were able to enjoy the beach. Beach knitting is the best!

    Happy Knitting-

  19. Well that was just what I needed to read this morning before finishing the drudgery of cleaning the house!! What a beautiful staycation I just had, thanks Anne for taking us on your gorgeous trip with such lovely photos!

  20. What a wonderful post! I so enjoy reading your blog – your comments and photos are the perfect combination. Thank you so much for sharing. Not just the beautiful location but the beautiful people that you speak of during your trip. Very special indeed.

  21. How have I never been to Black Mountain Artisans before? Their yarn selection looks amazing! Must get to Marin soon. So glad I got to see you this week, and have a great trip back!

  22. Imagine my surprise when I walked through the door of my traditional breakfast place last Monday and spotted you and Cookie A right there! I spent the rest of the meal going over the concept of Great Famous Knitting Designers with my suitably impressed husband and daughter. Perhaps not as cool as the sighting of a baby seal… although that’s debatable!

    Glad you got to enjoy the tail end of our stellar Indian summer.

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