Beautiful Berkeley by the Sea: a California Treasure  

Posted by Heidi

My husband and I recently celebrated thirty years of marriage.  We are having such a busy summer with so many comings and goings, we could only manage a day away together.  Since Berkeley is an easy-breezy drive from our home, we chose it as our celebration destination.  Our first stop was The Cellar Thrift store on Channing Way.  It is located in the basement of  the First Congregational Church, which is a lovely building, as lovely as any I have seen in England, Scotland and Ireland.  It was my first visit to this particular thrift store and I was tickled to find a few incredibly priced treasures to commemorate the day.

It was a stunning day, not too hot, not too cold, with plenty of sunshine.

We had lunch at a wonderful fast-food style Mexican restaurant called Picante.  You can make out the name in the shadow above--so clever!  I highly recommend this place.  They have a dedicated parking lot across the street (super important when driving in Berkeley) a large facility with a number of dining areas, a nice outdoor eating area, great food, and fast service.

I was enchanted by the multi-colored perforated paper, each one with the name of the place, that lined the entire ceiling of the room we were in.  This photo does not do it justice.

After lunch, we drove to the Marina to take in the sea breeze.  I am fairly certain that "sea-breeze" has been proven to be medically beneficial.  It definitely lowers my blood pressure with the very first whiff.

The pier is closed due to ricketyness (a word that I am positive is official by now) but it in no way impeded our view of the sailboats.  While we were there, we witnessed some fishermen, one of whom captured a baby shark.  People seemed to come out of thin air to cluster around the little shark dangling from the line.  Everyone (but us--what were we thinking?) took photos and had a bonding moment until, finally, the fisherman released the baby shark back into the surf.

We learned that there is a rose garden in Berkeley, so off we went to explore it.  It is smack dab in the middle of a residential neighborhood--I shot this photo of someone's front gate as we walked from our parking spot to the garden.  Parking was slim due to a photo shoot for a young lady's Quinceanera.  Her colors were rose red and black, and it made for a striking contrast in the beautiful garden.

The top of the garden offers a view of the ocean off in the distance.  To the right is a tennis court and each end of this cement wall offers a set of stairs that descend into the garden which is terraced into the side of the mountain.

The week previous had been quite hot, even in Berkeley, and most of the roses looked rather verklempt.  They smelled like absolute heaven, however.  This one is named Jacques Cartier.  Why not?  Each cluster of pink petals is certainly like a jewel.

The farther down you descend into the garden, the more shadowed and forested the area.  It was an absolutely beautiful place to visit with a variety of nature tones to enjoy.

We ended up at 4th street shopping and wandered into this jewel-box of a store called Castle in the Air.  The first time I encountered the term "building castles in the air" was in Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.   It firmly captured the imagination of the seven-year-old I was at the time.  I read the book over and over making this enchanting term forever a part of me.  This store did not disappoint.

So many sweet, dainty, handmade, beautiful fairies to choose from!

The downstairs is matched only by the upstairs which is chock-a-block full of tiny treasures and whimsical creations that take your breath away.

I was especially entranced by the marionettes, many of them showcased in frames and shadow boxes.

There is just so much to see in this store!  They also offer classes during which you can create your own treasures.

Then it was off to one of my favorite Berkeley haunts--Omegha Salvage.  It straddles Pablo Avenue and though one side has always been very spiffy, the other used to be a bit of a mess.  However, we have been visiting for fifteen years and every time we go, there are improvements.  What was once a mostly outdoor display of salvaged treasures has, little by little, become a place full of artfully created buildings that keep furniture, china, books and other lovelies safe from the rain.  Items are displayed in a much more user-friendly way and there is even a place to go and get a cup of cold water.  Treasure hunting is thirsty work!

It was a long and lovely day but duty calls.  Once we were home again, I did find time to place one of my Cellar Thrift store treasures to good use.  Who doesn't need a large, round platter adorned with pink roses?  Happy 30th Anniversary to you, dear husband!

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2016 at Wednesday, August 17, 2016 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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