MONTCLARION: November 17, 2017
It’s mid-November and fall is revealing its true colors. In my own garden, the Japanese maples are brilliant shades of amber and orange. The sweet gum and birch are delicious deciduous that pop yellows and reds through the filtered sunlight and even the East Bay Regional Park District gets into the act with Tilden, with its garden exotics like ginko biloba, and Redwood Regional Park, with its colorful non-native plants along the Stream Trail.
Then there are the fall friendly streets of Piedmont and Moraga, and further east — Danville. Enjoy the show now as winter is already knocking.
Book it: Speaking of local color, author Amelia S. Marshall has just published “East Bay Hills: A Brief History.” Here are some fun facts, fodder for holiday parties:
The Big Bear Tavern was a rowdy roadhouse on the west side of Redwood Road between the Redwood Hotel site and Piedmont Stables until the East Bay Regional Park District tore it down in 1965. There was a café, bar and a 400-person dance floor that drew top jazz musicians to after-hours jam sessions.
What may be the first recorded auto burglary in Redwood Regional Park happened in the Big Bear Tavern parking lot when a Mills College student left her vehicle unlocked and lost $600 worth of jewelry — quite a haul back then.
If the whispering pines could talk, what stories they’d tell about Ruby’s Bordello, “upslope from Redwood Road on the west side, just south of the turnoff to Pinehurst Road,” according to Marshall. Men from the Stauffer Chemical Mines were frequent customers to this secluded hot spot on the hills.
The hippies of Canyon were in full ‘Summer of Love’ mode by 1967. Marshall says the region’s rustic charm and unregimented atmosphere were a big draw for the Berkeley longhairs who came to Canyon, had many babies and parented them communally with help from the Canyon School.
Marshall will be showing photos and telling stories from her book at Laurel Bookstore in downtown Oakland at 7 p.m. Nov,. 30 and at 7 p.m. Dec. 8 at A Great Good Place for Books in Montclair Village.
Foot traffic: Local runner Tod Vedock went for a “little jog” around Lake Merritt last weekend. Eleven hours later, he and others raised some $24,000 for his charity, Running for a Better Oakland. Fifty-eight miles is a lot of footwork, and the money helps connect kids with a healthy hobby — running. See http://www.rboakland.org.
Ginger alert: Three Oakland hills women have created a splashy new cocktail celebrating celebrity redheads. The Ginger Crush, spawned by a recent girl’s night out, is on the menu at Nico’s 1508 at 1508 Walnut St. In North Berkeley, through the holidays. This could be the first interactive cocktail — engaging patrons to vote for their favorite of three gingers — Prince Harry, actor Eddie Redmayne or Philadelpha Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.