Vacation in Your Backyard

Experiencing local culture and cuisine, sightseeing, spending time in nature, and shopping are among the most popular vacation activities for Americans, according to a 2017 survey by the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The Tri-Valley offers all of those activities and more; no wonder the region is such a popular travel destination.

In 2017 alone, the Tri-Valley attracted some 1.6 million overnight visitors and millions more day visitors. But why should tourists have all the fun? If you live or work in the Tri-Valley, consider exploring some of the many vacation activities that are located practically in your own backyard.

Culture, Cuisine, and Sightseeing

From June 1 to August 31, the Pleasanton Downtown Association's popular Concert in the Park series takes place every Friday night from 7 pm to 8:30 pm. The entire series features an eclectic mix of music from rock, bluegrass, and big band to 50s and 60s oldies and Indie. The free concerts take place at Lions Wayside Park on the corner of First Street and Neal Street.

The Tri-Valley boasts a number of cultural treasures. One of them is Pleasanton's Alviso Adobe Community Park, a fully restored interpretative park that reveals the history of the Amador Valley. According to the park, visitors can follow the area's "Native American beginnings to the days of Spanish Ranchos managing herds of cattle on the original 12,000 acre Rancho Santa Rita through a period in the early to mid-twentieth century when it was a popular dairy." The park is located at 3465 Old Foothill Road and open Wednesdays through Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm.

Another spot worth visiting is Dublin Heritage Park and Museums, a 10-acre park open to the public during daylight hours. There are two museums on site: the 1856 Murray Schoolhouse, which houses a permanent exhibit on Dublin's history; and the Kolb House, a historic house museum. The 1859 Saint Raymond Church, the Kolb Sunday School Barn, and the Dublin Pioneer Cemetery are also at this location. The museums offer free admission Wednesdays through Sundays, from 1 pm to 4 pm, and the first through fourth Tuesday of each month, from 7 pm to 9 pm. Barbeque grills, picnic areas, and walking trails are also available at this site, which is located at 6600 Donlon Way in Dublin.

If you happen to love automobiles, do not miss Danville's Blackhawk Museum, which showcases a breath-taking collection of classic, rare, and unique automobiles dating back to the 1890s. One permanent exhibit, The Spirit of the Old West, allows visitors to experience the rich history of the American westward expansion from the early 1700s through the early 1900s. The museum, located at 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle in Danville, is open on Wednesdays through Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm. Active military personnel and children six and under may visit free of charge.

On the third Saturday of each month from June through September, the staff and volunteers of Pleasanton's Museum offers an afternoon of family fun on the Museum lawn. From 11 am to 2 pm, children, parents, grandparents, and guardians are invited to gather for free hands-on demonstrations, crafts, and activities. On August 18, 2018 participants will learn about life in early Pleasanton by making adobe bricks, dipping candles, stamping leather, and much more.

Many of the Tri-Valley's wineries offer culture, cuisine, and sightseeing all in one package. On the Sunday before Labor Day, September 2, 2018, Livermore Valley wineries will celebrate the exciting crush season and 37 years of the Harvest Wine Celebration. Each winery hosts activities including wine tasting, arts, crafts, and music on that day and on Labor Day as well.

If you are a local wine enthusiast who prefers to chart your own way, consider using the Tri-Valley Wine Trail's self-guiding map to experience a memorable vacation. Do not worry if you prefer beer; there is also a Tri-Valley Beer Trail. But what about dessert? The Tri-Valley Ice Cream Trail has you and your family covered with a self-guiding map to all the best ice cream stops in the area.

Food lovers will rejoice on Saturday, September 8, 2018 when the second annual Forkful event takes place in downtown Pleasanton. This unique, self-paced tasting experience allows guests to stop at more than 15 locations downtown and sample a perfect forkful of food. Complimentary adult beverage tastings will highlight the food along the way.

Tri-Valley Nature and Shopping

An abundance of natural beauty can also be found in the Tri-Valley. Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Park, for example, is a beautiful public water park that offers boat rentals, food concessions, and picnic areas for boating, swimming, and fishing vacation fun. Hikers enjoy the park's many trails. Parking is $6 per vehicle. The park is located at 2500 Stanley Boulevard in Pleasanton.

Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park has many pleasant trails to follow, spanning over 5,000 acres; some even lead to deep-canyon streams. From the main staging area on Foothill Road, you can follow a multi-purpose trail system, which accommodates hikers, equestrians, and bicyclists; provides canyon views and ridgetop vistas; and access to remote, deep-canyon streams, according to the East Bay Regional Park District. The park is located on Foothill Road in Pleasanton; there is no parking fee.

Del Valle Regional Park can be found a mere 10 miles south of Livermore in a lovely valley framed by oak-covered hills. As the East Bay Regional Park District describes it, "The centerpiece of the park is a lake five miles long with a variety of water-oriented recreation, from swimming to windsurfing and boating, surrounded by 4,395 acres of beautiful land for hiking, horseback riding, and nature study. Del Valle also is the eastern gateway to the Ohlone Wilderness Trail," which is 28 miles of scenic back-country beauty. This park offers a lot of activities, from kayaking, boating, camping, and horseback riding to fishing, swimming, picnics, archery, hiking, and naturalist-led classes. There are dog-friendly trails as well. Parking is $6 per vehicle. Del Valle Regional Park is located on Del Valle Road off Mines Road south of Livermore.

The Sunol Regional Wilderness is also worth a visit. "Bedrock mortars used by Native Americans for pounding acorns that were found in the area are reminders of Sunol's first inhabitants," notes the East Park Regional Park District. Today cattle continue to graze in the 6,859-acre wilderness area, which used to be primarily ranch land but now offers camping, picnicking, hiking, and backpacking opportunities as well. Visitors should bring drinking water because there is no drinking water in the park. One jewel within this wilderness is called Little Yosemite, a scenic gorge on Alameda Creek about two miles upstream from the Visitor Center. Parking is $5 per vehicle. The wilderness is located at 1895 Geary Road in Sunol.

Nature is nice; for some vacationers, so is shopping. From Pleasanton's charming downtown district to Stoneridge Shopping Center in Pleasanton to Livermore's San Francisco Premium Outlets, there is no shortage of notable shopping destinations in the Tri-Valley.

For more information about recreation areas and parks in the area, please visit the website for the East Bay Regional Park District at http://www.ebparks.org . For more information about Forkful, please visit https://visittrivalley.com/event/forkful-downtown-pleasanton-2 . For more information about golfing, shopping, Tri-Valley Trail maps for wineries, beer, ice cream, and cycling, and additional local activities, please visit https://visittrivalley.com .

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