Monday, April 26, 2010

Has It Been That Long?...Sentimental Journey

Sweetie and I met in Berkeley. We got married a few blocks from Chez Panisse. We knew and loved Peets coffee when it was a local coffee hangout. Now that we have been married an amazingly long time considering that we both had struck out once before in the marriage department, we took a trip for our anniversary back to Berkeley and checked out some favorite places.

We started by taking Xam on a short walk at Cesar Chavez park...which used to be landfill. Next we went by the hotel where we spent our one night honeymoon, right by the marina. A drive down to the pier showed that both fancy restaurants and the Yacht Club were still going strong. There is even a brand new marine museum near the children's play area.

We drove through Emeryville, bemused that a run down industrial area is now a shoppers delight, including a huge IKEA where we looked at bathroom sinks and fixtures for the upcoming remodel. It was nice to see that the hardwood place on Ashby was still there, including the carved bears.

When we finally reached our old house we parked and took a walk in the park. The monkey bars where our daughter swung one morning, fell and fractured her wrist were still there.

So was the community garden and the funky climbing structure. We were surprised at how much the trees and shrubs had grown. The plum tree in front of the house now masks most of the front of the house and its roots have pushed up the brick steps up so they are very uneven. I was happy to see that the pomegranate shrub was still there. Max really enjoyed its fruits.

We headed for the University,

noticing businesses and building that were still there and others that were new.

Top Dog was still there near Telegraph, complete with cartoons and political clippings. We had lunch at the cafe in the Berkeley Art Museum and remembered the kids running up and down the ramp outside,

plus our daughter's birthday party in the park area nearby.

The cafe has a different name now, but the food was great...very fresh and flavorful. I had the portobello mushroom panino and Sweetie enjoyed a quesadilla with ham, cheese and veggies. A nice side salad had just the right amount of a good vinaigrette.

Walking down Telegraph I noticed that there were a lot fewer vendors than when I sold Christmas ornaments there one year. Moe's books was still there and just as much fun to browse in as usual.

I even found a copy of Baking with Julia written by Dorie Greenspan which, since it was used, was actually affordable.

Walking and driving around Berkeley always reminds me that it is a city with lovely gardens...most of them private. Even the smallest yard is often brightened with flowers, shrubs and vines. The flower at the top of the post and this one are a couple of examples, both from the old neighborhood.

One of the things that has always delighted me about Berkeley is the inventiveness of attire. We saw a wide range of fashion.

This couple caught my eye... the jester hat she is wearing is purple velvet and the shawl is purple lace. Loved this backpack...obviously belonging to a Cal supporter.

It really was fun to visit familiar and unfamiliar places in a town we once knew very well. We both have lots of happy memories of our time in that crazy place.

Although it was fun to visit the past, it's always fun to try new places, too. Coming next: an evening at Henweigh Cafe'.


  1. I miss Berkeley. There is no place on earth like it. Every time I'm there, I wonder what I should wear - hipster black? Fey, hippie garb? Frayed and faded college gear? All the choices! And truly - some of the best food in the Bay Area. Yum. Some good memories; thanks for sharing yours.

  2. Seems to be a great place to live. :)

  3. Marian5:17 PM

    Wow! This post sure brought back memories of delightful visits with you and your family in Berkeley. It was always an unforgettable experience!

  4. Wonderful post! We did a trip through St Louis like this several years ago and it was fun to see the same and the new and to talk about what we each remembered.

  5. Great post! I like the picture of Sweetie using his iphone.

  6. Delightful post...I have not been to Berkeley in ages, now I feel like taking the trip:) Thank you for sharing.