lifestyle


Villa Montalvo hiking trails

villa montalvo hiking trails
villa montalvo hiking trails
hiking trails saratoga california

The Villa Montalvo hiking trails are some of the prettiest trails in Saratoga, California. If you are local to the San Francisco Bay Area, you may already be familiar with Villa Montalvo in Saratoga. It is an historic mansion which is currently used as an event venue, artist retreat, children’s activities, and for outdoor activities.

Sometimes you don’t want to go on an aggressive hike. There are days when a one or two-hour hike is just perfect. The hiking trails at Villa Montalvo are for those days. There are several connecting trails which you can make into a half-hour hike, or a three-hour hike. It all depends on how long you feel like staying out. It is easy to adjust and find a linking trail which takes you back to the Villa or the parking lot in a few minutes when you get tired.

We hiked at Villa Montalvo with my daughter’s girl scout troop, and since we had some younger girls with us, we lasted roughly two hours. This was perfect because the girls had fun, but it wasn’t overly strenuous. There is definitely some elevation on the trails, so even if you hike for a short time, you will still enjoy beautiful views of Silicon Valley and get a great outdoor workout. Love that!

In addition to hiking, the artists in residence have added some beauty to the natural trails. There are inspirational quotes along the trail as well as occasional artwork. It is very pretty and unique.

saratoga hiking tails art work

The hiking trails at Villa Montalvo can get busy since it is a favorite hiking spot for locals and families. If you plan to go, I recommend arriving early in the morning, before 10am. The trails close at 5pm, so plan ahead.

What I wore hiking on a fall day:

Have you hiked at Villa Montalvo before? What did you think?

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO
Cathy

family friendly hiking trails bay area

Alcatraz Island and a Cable Car

alcatraz federal prison tour san francisco

You don’t always have to get on a plane to play tourist. Sometimes, enjoying the tourist attractions in your own hometown can be just as much fun! Plus, you don’t have to pay for a hotel. Love that!

We decided to take the kids to San Francisco for the day and play tourist. As most locals will attest, we had never taken our kids on a cable car or to see Alcatraz. Usually these are things we locals do when we have out of town guests, or on a field trip as kids. The first time I went on a cable car was when I was in college, and there were kids who weren’t from here who wanted to go on one. Those of us who were from here, had never ridden one! Us locals are missing out!

Riding on a cable car is fun, plus, if you have a fast pass, it works on the cable car! Why not give it a whirl?! I know, I know, as locals we see that awful, daunting line for the cable car filled with tourists. Who wants to stand in that? Well, let me tell you, you can avoid the line! If you go at 9am when cable car service starts, you can avoid standing in a long line filled with tourists, plus, you are more likely to get a coveted outside seat! Love that!

We rode on the cable car twice. I sat outside the first time, and then inside the second time to give the tourists a whirl. Either location is fun. Why not use your fast pass for a little fun? Might as well!

After we took a joyride on the cable car, we took the F Market up the Embarcadero and walked over to Hillstone for lunch. Now, if you are local, you may remember this place as Houston’s. It’s the same restaurant with a new name. I highly recommend getting something with French Fries or getting the French Fries on the side. They are so good! Out of everything we ordered, the focaccia and the crispy chicken sandwich were the best. Highly recommend!

hillstone san francisco

pictured: green handbag / sunglasses /

After lunch, we walked across the street to Pier 33 where you can catch the boat to Alcatraz. I recommend making reservations ahead of time just in case the time slot you want is popular and gets sold out.

I have only been to Alcatraz one other time, and it was when my dear friend from the mid-west visited me. I couldn’t believe I had never been there before! So, this was only my second time going! Isn’t that crazy?! My kids had never been, so they had fun touring the prison grounds and learning the history of the prison and the island itself. Wear your walking shoes and allow yourself time to not only tour the prison and the island, but to enjoy the museum. There are also some great areas where you can see the Golden Gate Bridge, downtown San Francisco and the east bay. If you are lucky, and the fog burns off, it is very pretty!

wearing: sunglasses / statement earrings / navy tie sleeve tee / gemstone bracelet (under $50, local designer) / summer nail polish / green handbag / G buckle belt / dark wash skinny jeans / sneakers /

We were definitely tired and hungry after spending time touring around Alcatraz Island. So, to complete our staycation San Francisco day, we decided to take our kids to Tadich Grill. After all, it is the oldest restaurant in the city, and it survived the 1906 earthquake! Yup, it has been in business since 1849. It has survived two pandemics too! Love!

Everything we ordered was delicious. You cannot go wrong at Tadich! Be sure to make a reservation, especially if you plan to go at peak times.

If you are local, or from out of town, I hope you enjoy these sights San Francisco has to offer. You will have a lot of fun and learn some history too! Love that!

Thanks for stopping by,

XOXO
Cathy


Eataly Silicon Valley grand opening press event

eataly pastries san jose silicon valley valley fair
eataly gelato
summer street style san jose

wearing: statement earrings / stripe dress (under $50) / summer nail polish / top handle bag / gemstone bracelets (San Jose designer) / black white sneakers /

Eataly Silicon Valley has opened their doors! This well-known Italian marketplace and restaurant and been long-awaited at Valley Fair. We have been walking past the “Opening Soon” signs for what seems like forever in anticipation of getting our own Italian marketplace in Silicon Valley, and now it’s finally here! Love!

My ancestors are Italian, so obviously I am always looking for fresh Italian ingredients for when I cook. I also enjoy authentic pre-made food, because my Mom cooks everything better than me anyway. haha

Eataly is a marketplace and restaurant which was first opened in Italy, so it isn’t an American creation which is trying to be Italian. So many American chains, which claim to be Italian, are really just pretenders; which is very annoying when you know what the food is supposed to taste like, how it should be cooked, and the ingredients which should be used! I watched my grandmother, who came here from Italy, spend hours upon hours in the kitchen. While I may not be amazing in the kitchen like she was, I do know Italian food, so let me tell you about Eataly with confidence.

As an American, you will expect pizza, pasta, and risotto. That’s great, Eataly has you well-covered with these types of food. I love that you can find food from various regions of Italy throughout the marketplace, and in the restaurants within Eataly. My family is Northern, so I notice the food my family cooks right away! Since I attended a press event, I was able to sample a few dishes, and they were all delicious. So, whether you prefer southern food or northern food, you will find what you love.

Eataly Silicon Valley is also a marketplace! The ground floor has snacks, coffee, pastries, and gelato. When you venture up to the second floor, you will find a variety of wines in all price points. I love how Eataly labels the region the wine originates from. It made it easy to find wine from where my family is from, and still lives. Love that!

The third floor was my favorite spot, as this is where both restaurants are located, and there is a fabulous market. You will find a variety of packaged foods from Italy, a butcher, fresh cheeses, meats, packaged food, dairy, produce, breads, and more. I was in heaven. Seriously, we have small Italian markets in Silicon Valley, but nothing this vast and all-encompassing. This is a one-stop-shop for Italians like me!

Eataly opens early, before the mall, at 8:30am. This is perfect for shopping for groceries. We can pop in before the mall gets crowded and buy everything we all need to cook at home; in one location! Love that! In addition, there is more wine on the third floor plus you can find gift items, cooking tools, and cookbooks. Wear your walking shoes, and get ready to spend time shopping when you go to Eataly! You will love it.

I hope you stop in and enjoy the food! You can learn more about Eataly by visiting their website at Eataly.com.

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO
Cathy

*I received free food at the press event, I was not paid to attend. All thoughts and opinions in this article are my own.

eataly restaurants