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Staycation - Livermore

This is a blog about my summer staycation in Livermore.

There is very little I love more than vacation. I love to travel. I love to go to far off places, see new things, and meet new people. I love to sample new cuisine and experience new cultures. So last spring when my husband suggested a staycation, I almost had a heart attack. I set some ground rules that we had to try and go new places and experience things that we never have. As the week goes,  I am sure we will visit some familiar places but for now, we are trying to try new experiences. This blog will chronicle our week and highlight some awesome activities close to home. 

Saturday June 16 – Day One 

We started today with the hottest day of summer thus far. Me, I love the heat so bring it on. I am feeling much like I am in the tropics so my mindset is ready for vacation. We head into the downtown, park the car and head to the bank.

As with all vacations, we needed some money. So we walked to Chase Bank. I am always in awe of the businesses in Livermore. The service was so friendly and prompt. There was no waiting, we were greeted with a smile and were readily served. Off we went.

We then walked over to  Mike’s Café. Mike’s was recently renovated and this is our first time here. Located next door to the Alehouse, Mike’s has a nice atmosphere and excellent variety of breakfast choices. We both opt for the spicy sausage and cheddar cheese omelet. I love that they have the option of substituting fresh fruit for the potatoes and toast. The menu is varied and offers the option of eating on the lighter side or carb loading. Our waitress took excellent care of us. Service was prompt and friendly. I could not have asked more for my first meal on vacation.

The next stop on our tour was the Art Glass Studio. The studio is one of the many in town that participate in the monthly Art Happens This is a program where local studios open their doors for viewing and participating in various art activities. Art Glass has a make and take activity for each of these events and then they also extend the time to the following Saturday. This month, they featured a mosaic glass flag. For 15 dollars, you make the project and then take it home. Roberta, the owner was very helpful and various people in the studio were available for instruction. The studio has many other classes listed on their website. There is no air conditioning so bring some cold water with you to keep hydrated.

Next, we went to Café Art. Café Art is the ceramics studio in town. Here you can paint a piece of art and then they will fire it for you. We then walked around downtown stopping at Doms to look for water filters for my upcoming trip to Fiji. We went into the music store to look at drums, and then to Vans for some local honey. By then it was 105 so we decided to head home.

After refreshing a bit, we headed off to a local home for a wonderful fundraiser for the Relay for Life.

Then we headed over to the Neely’s for an excellent evening of swimming, dinner and fun. Day one complete, we head home and pour into our beds. One reflection on the day, a tremendous benefit of staycation is that you can spend time with people you know and care about and still have the ability to have new experiences. Livermore is a great place for this week. I can't wait to see what the rest of the week brings. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Rich Buckley June 21, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Laureen, You've landed on a delightful and fun topic. There is so much to do right here in the Valley, right in front of us, indoors and out. The list is incomprehensibly long covering fun activities. For outdoor stimulation, the starting point for me is to pretend I'm coming into the valley the very first time. I've noticed many others do the same .... such as artists, for example. An ordinary micro-setting we may pass by daily, is viewed as a refreshing new experience, and transported to the canvass as unique. Recreational gardeners find similar beauty. Del Valle Lake Kayaking exploring bluffs and inlets, walking and biking. A tiny group of us, impressed with the similarity in the grape growing region in Spain  filmed in the Martin Sheen movie "The Way" to Livermore's scenery http://www.theway-themovie.com/ .... began kicking around the idea of multiple Valley day trips on foot. One theme stood out. Allow paths to safely guide the walker to destination vistas then back to food and lodging by night fall with reservations and drop-ins. 1/2-day trips might be most popular especially for families with young ones. Perimeter ventures on the outer edges safely routed back to civilization, food, and lodging by night.
Anne Freitas June 21, 2012 at 04:08 PM
The only problem with staycations is you don't have anyone to wait on you or clean up after you. When you get home you still have to cook, tidy up the house, answer the phone and take care of the pets. Not that I mine doing those things, it's just nice to get away from all that for a week or so.
Laureen Turner June 21, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Anne you are preaching to the choir.
Rich Buckley June 21, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Anne, Really a good point a spoiled husband like me would naturally overlook. When on those few occasions my wife and I switch roles, I realize how much she spoils me. My thoughts on the trail systems are that most users would need to know ahead of time what's at the end of the line when they arrive for meals and/or bedding, and/or a ride back to the staging area where the trail head may start. I could see various prices for services provided by the hosts after the vista walks are completed. Working price schemes for everything from free to hundreds of dollars a night would seem relevant for a wine country experience trail. There is a mini-walk right now that's a lot of fun. Park at Sycamore Grove Park off Wetmore road, http://www.larpd.dst.ca.us/open_space/documents/Sycamore_locator_map.pdf walk 2.5 miles through the park and eat a breakfast at Wente's Grill overlooking the 18th hole (that's the small grill not the big Restaurant). Then look over their facility and golf course and walk back to the car. That's a half day excursion the kids can take with mom and dad and have meals prepared by others. There are various trail heads close to the Veteran's Park end of Sycamore Park out by Wente's that lead into even longer trips off the Del Valle Lake trail systems.
Laureen Turner June 21, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Mr Duenas, I would like to keep this blog focused on Livermore vacation ideas. However, felt the need to reply to you. In the future, I will write a blog on the benefits of your city council as it is a topic we will be soon debating. For now, please know that the taking of medical benefits was a very difficult decision for me. Yes at LARPD, my benefits were higher than my colleagues. That is due to having an uninsured child in college who I needed to take care of. The other directors either have no children at home or are covered by their employer sponsored health care plans. As your city council member, I made a significant change to my work schedule. I went to a part time status at the hospital - cutting my salary in half and I lost my medical benefits. I did this so that I would have the time to devote to being an adequate city council member. Yes the job is "part time" but the responsibility is 24 hours a day. This is a position I take seriously. Unfortunately, I have a heart condition and my husband a history of cancer thus adequate health insurance is very important to us. Without it, I would never have been able to run for office as I would have had to retain full-time employment with said insurance coverage. I thank you for your work in informing the public. It is my hope that time will prove my dedication to the community of Livermore.
Ken Rovasio June 21, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Laureen, Thank you for supporting our local Relay For Life fundraiser while on your Staycation. Even know we couldn't control the weather we had a very successful day. Please ignore Mr. Duenas since this is not the proper forum topic for complaining.
Bob Shelar June 21, 2012 at 08:35 PM
If we as Americans had an all-inclusive national health plan then this would be a non-issue. It would seem that Maurice is a bit of a bean counter and may have a hidden agenda but this is a debate for another place and time.
Laureen Turner June 21, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Thank you both Mr Shelar and Rovasio. I will adress this topic in a forum intended to do so at a later time. I agree it is an important conversation to have. For now though, thank you for inviting me in to your event - we had a wonderful time. It was a great end to day one of our Livermore Staycation. Have a beautiful day. Laureen
Ly June 22, 2012 at 03:45 AM
Just for safety reasons, I'm not sure I would have announced to the public that I had an upcoming vacation. Also, you might want to have someone proofread your articles before they're published.
Styler June 22, 2012 at 04:46 AM
It's a staycation, meaning a vacation at home. No safety issues there. House will not be empty anymore than going to work or to the store. And the staycation already happened, not upcoming.
George Fay June 22, 2012 at 04:58 AM
What possible rationale can there be to provide these types of elected officials health benefits paid by the taxpayers when they are only working a few hours per week? This is abusive.
Laureen Turner June 22, 2012 at 05:48 AM
George, I will address this topic in another blog. Thank you for your concerns. Laureen
Laureen Turner June 22, 2012 at 06:02 AM
Ly, in the past the editor proofed the blogs. They started a new "auto" post that I was unaware of. Im sorry for the typos. Also, I agree about not posting that you are on vacation. If we were to have left Livermore, I would not have posted it. You bring up an excellent point. Recently a friend of mine posted several updates from her Hawaii vacation. I urge everyone to never post that you are out of town. Save your updates for when you return. This truly is a tremendous safety issue. Thank you again for brining up this most important issue. Laureen
Ly June 22, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Styler - you clearly missed the "upcoming trip to Fiji" line in the article. Not only will the resident not be home during this VACATION, but one can assume that a trip to Fiji will not be an overnight thing. Therefore, leaving the home unattended for a long period of time and providing an even better chance of something happening.
JanZ June 22, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Laureen, Wow, it's easy for people to hijack your topic! I'll refrain from replying to them although it's tempting... Regarding the staycation, thanks for the ideas. We're relatively new to Livermore and I enjoy hearing about ideas for local fun and food and places to ride bikes or walk. Looking forward to more of your posts.
Carly June 22, 2012 at 05:20 PM
a 'bean counter', is that another word for someone who wants fiscal responsibility with our tax money?
Due Yew June 22, 2012 at 06:36 PM
See if Kris can eliminate the "off topic" posts. With the permission of the creator (you Laureen) perhaps it is a possibility. The patch is constanly "hijacked" by naysayers and garbage mouthed individuals. I would like to forward this "great blog" idea to others in my family out of the area to try in their home town but with all the fodder I just won't be doing that. ...........You tried Laureen
Laureen Turner June 22, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Thank you Due, I will be doing a few more - lets see what happens. What I love about Patch is that it allows everyone a voice. Yes it is frustrating when people go off topic. My last blog this week will be about all of the things we didnt do - there are so many things to do in Livermore. I am hoping that people will contribute their ideas so that we all have a resource of places to go this summer. Have a beautiful day. Laureen
Christian Turner June 22, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Hi Ly. Your vigilance for home security is greatly appreciated and noted. I agree that upcoming trips should never be posted in an open forum. However, as Laureen volunteers her time as a clinician in Fiji, I (Laureen's husband) will be at home with my chihuahua overseeing the daily operations of the household. Take care.
Rich Buckley June 22, 2012 at 08:20 PM
I agree with Laureen. And in her admirable defense it takes an elected official a tremendous amount of courage to step into our snake pit called Patch as an elected official. We don't let go ever once you step into this arena. Laureen knows this. She's a big girl and sophisticated. Patch is a chaotic online hyper-local arena that is developmental and struggling to be profitable. In the mean time those of us that want to focus on her topic will focus but I'm inclined to cut slack for those who want to complain. There are not many effective arenas left in this world to complain when you have an issue you feel you need to complain. Better here than on the battle field, better here than with acting out violent neurotic behavior patterns, possibly even better here than at extended city council meetings running till 1:00 am.
Kirk Snyder June 22, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Remember when Lauren was running for office she campaigned on a pledge to be open, honest and transparent?
Laureen Turner June 22, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Hi Kirk, At what point have I not been open, honest, and transparent? As stated, I will write a blog specifically address to the issues brought up here already. Are there any others you would like to discuss ? I would be happy to. Feel free to contact me here or via the city email. leturner@ci.livermore.ca.us Respectfully, Laureen
Rich Buckley June 24, 2012 at 01:13 AM
A great family outing for the kids is a Nature Walk through Sycamore Park just south of Livermore off Wetmore Road. Walk through the Park with the kids on the "Nature Trail", eat lunch at the grill at Wente's, and walk back to the car. This is a pleasant half day: http://youtu.be/7AOZIF6G_nA
Rich Buckley June 24, 2012 at 01:44 AM
More than one philosophy for living life. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7criyE09uy0&sns=em Being a beach bum by nature I discovered Crab Cove Alameda is a 1/2-day field trip with grand kids fully engaged and moderate priced eateries a long block away.      http://www.ebparks.org/parks/vc/crab_cove "Three 5th Grade classes from Arroyo Seco Elementary School in Livermore, CA. visited Crab Cove Visitor Center in the Spring 2010 to participate in the Bay Lab Field Trip Program. Each student was given the task of becoming a Citizen Scientist observing the diverse ecosystem of the San Francisco Bay."
Gina June 24, 2012 at 04:21 AM
Amazing just amazing. Im sure she doesn't want to discuss important issues. Ms. Turner why don't you take some of your time out of your fluff and read the patch. We have a serious gang problem. People are literally leaving Livermore because of it. By all means go full time back to the hospital and let us use the money we are spending on your part time job to hire on more police force and a gang task force. We are ALL tired of hearing you will talk about this later. Later has come. There will be no more fluff if the gangs are running our streets. You lost my vote.
Laureen Turner June 24, 2012 at 04:47 AM
Hello Gina, Thank you for taking the time to reply and to take an interest in your city. It is citizens like you that make this a wonderful place to live. As I am sure you already know, the gang task force was eliminated long before my election. At that time, there was a significantly high amount of trafic accidents resulting in injury and sadly some deaths. Thankfully, this focus on traffic significantly improved the safety of our town. However, since that time, we have identified the need to reinstitute the gang task force and the police department is currently in the process of doing so. As for fluff, I am writing this blog as a private citizen to highlight summer activities here in Livermore. If you do not like reading my fluff, don't. I will continue with the blogs on summer activities. I will be posting an "anything goes" blog that is yours to write on any city issue you like in the near future. Im sorry if the blog does not appear as quickly if you like. Feel free to contact the Patch to become a blogger. They are very receptive and will let you blog on any topic of your choosing. Again, thank you for caring about our town. Sincerely, Laureen
Laureen Turner June 24, 2012 at 04:50 AM
Mr Buckley, Thank you for sharing this activity. I have never been there and it looks like a great place. Livermore is certainly full of and surrounded by a plethora of fantastic summer activities. Laureen
George S June 26, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Being that the city council position is a part time job why is it possible to draw benefits from here but not from your part time job as a nurse? Are you saying you made a conscious decision to get benefits from the public sector that you can't get in the private sector? Isn't that what pension reform is all about? This is a REPOST from TrueRealist on the TOPIX blog.
Laureen Turner September 05, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Mr Duenas, I would love to sit down and discuss my benefits with you. I have not blogged on this topic yet as council member benefits will be an item of discussion on a future council agenda. Thus, I am limited in what I can discuss to this topic at present time. However, if you, as a citizen of Livermore, have a direct question of me, you can email it to me. I will also be happy to meet you in person to discuss the role of a "part time" council member. When would you like to meet? Laureen Turner
Laureen Turner September 06, 2012 at 03:12 AM
Mr Duenas, as previously stated, YES I take the health care benefit - or at least I did. I consider my commitment to Livermore to be a 24/7 commitment - not a "part time" commitment and considered the benefits as part of the compensation when I chose to run for office. You obviously disagree. It is ok to disagree. As I have stated many times, I would be happy to discuss this with you one on one via email or in person. My commitment to Livermore is to that of the tax payer and as one, I am beholden to you and certainly appreciate your opinion. My blog about the benefits is not done. I apologize. I have worked on it over the summer yet am not ready to release it. However, all you need to do is ask any council member, and/or the city clerk and we will all be happy to provide you with the actual dollar amounts of our compensation. This information is your right as a tax payer. You simply need to ask in the appropriate forum. As we look to the future, I invite you to join us in the conversation. So... what is a council member worth? Do you want someone with a full time commitment to Livermore or a part-timer with a part-timer attitude. I no longer need the health care benefits. However, I feel that they should remain a benefit as I want MY city council, when I vote them in, to adopt a FULL TIME commitment to me, the tax payer. Just my two cents worth. Have a wonderful evening. Laureen Turner

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