Tri-Valley Showcases Wines, Beer, Parks and Unique Eateries

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TRI-VALLEY SHOWCASES WINES, BEERS, PARKS & UNIQUE EATERIES
By Linda Kissam “Food, Wine & Shopping Diva”

If you love unique state parks, a trending wine country, craft beer, food fit for any die-hard foodie and contemporary theatre, I have just the place for you. You’ll love this insider’s peak at a full-on destination located in Northern California – one you may not have tried yet- the Tri-Valley area.

The Tri-Valley area is where the fun begins. It’s made up of three valleys that come together to create the name: Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, and the town of Danville. Collectively, these places are home to 60 award-winning wineries in Livermore Wine Country, foodie inspired restaurants, delicious brew pubs, an ice cream trail, charismatic downtowns, malls, shopping outlets, and unspoiled hiking trails. Aha! I see I have your attention now.


This episode of Big Blend Radio covers California’s Ti-Valley district in the East Bay region, with featured guests travel writer Linda Kissam, Robin Fahr of Visit Tri-Valley, California, and Eric Wall of BottleTaps.

Located an easy 35 miles east of San Francisco, catch this adult playground on your way to Yosemite or make it your final destination. It’s a year-round destination made up of sunshine, idyllic countryside and lovable city charm.

I suggest your first stop is to stand atop beautiful Mount Diablo (45 minutes from the Aloft Hotel). You’ll QUICKLY get the picture. Start by enjoying the famous view. Mount Diablo isn’t particularly tall – only 3,849 feet. However, it lays out in front of you some mighty low, rolling hills and broad, flat valleys. The view from the Summit is quite remarkable. It’s a dramatic resource for hiking, biking, camping, horseback riding and RV’ing.

When conditions are at their best, you can see almost 200 miles. Look to the west, beyond the Golden Gate Bridge, to the Farallon Islands; southeast to the James Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton at 4,213 feet elevation; south to Mount Loma Prieta in the Santa Cruz Mountains at 3,791 feet elevation; north to Mount Saint Helena in the Coast Range at 4,344 feet elevation; and still farther north to Lassen Peak in the Cascades at 10,466 feet. North and east of Mount Diablo the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers meet to form the winding waterways of the Delta. To the east beyond California’s great central valley, the crest of the Sierra Nevada is visible. All in all, you can see over 8,539 square miles and parts of 40 of California’s 58 counties from the Summit of Mount Diablo.


 

Here are my suggestions for a top-drawer three-day itinerary after you visit Mount Diablo.

LODGING: 35 minutes from OAK; 1 mile (8 minutes by UBER) to/from BART. Book yourself in a central position where you can not only enjoy Livermore Wine Country, but also be able to easily immerse yourself in all the other activities and cities available to you. I am pretty sure you’re going to be not only amazed, but impressed with the brand new Aloft in Dublin. It’s a contemporary hotel, all wired up to serve your every need. Central to everything (Bart, dim sum, wineries, the beer trail, shopping and Mount Diablo) this classy hotel runs its rooms via Alexa. Easy breezy commands makes your stay a dream. Forgot toothpaste or napkins? The robot butler will come to your room with whatever you need. A friendly enthusiastic staff, onsite bar, swimming pool, workout room and tiny cafe and snack bar will fulfill your every need.

TRANSPORTATION: Use your own car, Uber or Black Tie Transportation (preferred) to take you (affordably) anywhere.

EATS: Drop your bags and get ready for some wonderful eateries. It’s easy access to all. Lucky you.

Mayflower Restaurant, Dublin; 2 minutes from hotel. Simply walk across the parking lot of the hotel to the Mayflower for Dim Sum and more. I highly recommend this casual, but fine-dining experience. Your first visit should be the wildly popular Dim Sum Brunch. Come early or be prepared to wait. They specialize in a mouthwatering assortment of traditional and authentic Chinese dishes, many of which you won’t find anywhere else in the Tri-Valley area. Enjoy classic seafood – including hard-to-find dishes, barbecue (Char siu), classic and exotic soups, traditional clay pot dishes and a full bar.

BottleTaps, Pleasanton; 15 minutes from hotel. One of the stops on the Tri-Valley Beer Trail. What a find! What beer hall do you know of that has their own chef? Choose from a thoughtful menu of fine craft beers and foods to match. The 20-plus craft beers at BottleTaps are constantly changing. Order your sampler of craft beers from among 20-plus selections using a tablet. If beer isn’t your deal, try a different option. Choose from a selection of red and white wines, ciders, meads, kombucha, craft sodas, lemonades and soft ciders.


Sabio on Main, Pleasanton; 12 minutes from hotel. If excellent service, creative cocktails and a sustainable “nose to tail” menu doesn’t make a great restaurant, I give in. This is a small Cali-style bistro located in the heart of historic downtown Pleasanton. Enjoy the contemporary ambiance, a painstaking respect for the bounty of Northern California and a decidedly global take on the tapas concept.


Danville Harvest, Danville; 20 minutes from the hotel. I just love downtown restaurants… especially when I find a local’s favorite. This place is busy and for good reason. The menu is filled with all sorts of offerings everyone will love. Truly, there is something for everyone. I am a lemonade fanatic. Trust me, you can order one with confidence. Do some serious shopping after lunch. You won’t be disappointed.

Range Life, Livermore; 12 minutes from hotel. New on the Livermore Wine Country scene, this tiny restaurant is a local and visitors favorite. Reservations are a must. This is imaginative California cuisine from husband-and-wife chefs Bill and Sarah Niles. The space is tiny and rustic, yet somehow comes off as quite contemporary. Go figure. The frontage is unassuming unless you really search for the big arched windows and a pot or two of succulents. Someone nearby announced this must be a “hipster hotspot.” I don’t know about that, but I do know an enthusiastic, passionate staff and menu when I see it. Order one of their signature cocktails. They’re all good. Don’t be afraid to dive into the creative menu. You’ll appreciate the beautifully plated offerings.


LIVERMORE WINE COUNTRY RECOMMENDATIONS:

Fenestra Winery; 15 minutes from the hotel. Winemaker Aaron Luna has made quite a name for himself. His wines are superb, don’t miss this stop or you’ll miss the true “taste” of this area. Try the Syrah.

Wente Vineyards; 5 minutes from Fenestra. The Big Boy of Livermore Wine Country (concerts, restaurant, gardens, etc.), you must see how they have gone from tiny to tremendous. As the country’s oldest, continuously operated family-owned winery, founded in 1883, blending traditional and innovative winemaking practices comes naturally to them. They have a large and outstanding portfolio of fine wines to choose from…but the Chardonnay is perfect. Just sayin’.

Cuda Ridge Wines; 4 minutes from Wente. Founded by Larry & Margie Dino, Cuda Ridge Wines produces small-lot Bordeaux style wines. A boutique, family run winery, the current production is 2100 cases. When visiting Friday – Sunday, expect to see one of Larry’s restored Barracuda cars. Try the Petit Verdot.


Retzlaff Vineyards; 4 minutes from Cuda Ridge. Tasted wine from a true organic vineyard yet? Here’s your chance. Established in 1976, the vineyard was certified Organic in 2006. Enjoy a picnic or plan an event under the shade of the regal 100 year old pepper trees. Everything about this family winery shouts, “Try me!” Family and dog friendly. Definitely taste the 2018 Isabelle’s Blush, Dry Merlot Rose’. It’s a keeper.


ACTIVITIES:
The Bankhead Theater, Livermore; 11 minutes from the hotel / 4 minute walk to Range Life Restaurant. As part of a fun night out, combine a dinner at Range Life with a pre-dinner show at the local performing arts center. The Bankhead Theater is one of the jewels of the East Bay. Great entertainment that changes over the year, makes it easier to find a program or performances that meets all tastes and pocketbooks. A 500 seat venue, it is small enough to be easy to maneuver in, yet big enough to draw some real name entertainment.


The Blackhawk Museum
, Danville; 15 minutes from hotel. With a mission to, “… to stimulate interest and understanding of art, culture, and history through exhibitions and programming we engage, educate, and inspire,” they more than meet their goals. This nonprofit and its private operating foundation was founded in 1988. It has several exhibitions… and more coming. You’re really going to love its noteworthy collection of classic, rare and unique automobiles that is always changing. The Wild West Collection located on the second floor is also stellar.

More at www.VisitTriValley.com  

Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer based out of Southern California, who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit www.AllInGoodTaste.info.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About the Author:

Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer based out of Southern California, who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits.

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