Wine tasters wandered the streets of Walnut Creek recently, wine glasses in hand, for the third annual Walnut Creek Wine Walk. More than 15 wineries were represented at 45 shops and restaurants in this San Francisco Bay Area city known for its upscale shops and restaurants. Wine Walk participants wandered around the downtown area for several hours, sampling wine and appetizers, while getting to know the local businesses. Wineries from Napa to Livermore poured award-winning wines, while restaurants that serve everything from steak to Vietnamese food provided tasty samples of a wide variety of appetizers. Even without the Wine Walk, Walnut Creek is a very walkable city, providing a Mecca for shoppers and diners.
Just a few miles from downtown Walnut Creek, a very different walk experience can be found. The Shell Ridge Open Space provides miles of trails in the hills shouldering Walnut Creek perfect for hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian pursuits. Shell Ridge is also home to Borges Ranch, a cattle ranch established in 1899 and placed on the National Registry of Historic Places, and which is still in operation today. The ranch provides a picnic area and children’s fishing pond, and also offers tours of the ranch.
When walking the Shell Ridge trails, be aware that you might be sharing the trail with some of the wilder Walnut Creek residents. Rattlesnakes can be found sunning themselves in the middle of the trail, and even mountain lions are spotted now and then. A recent hike on the Shell Ridge trail found a four-foot rattlesnake leisurely sunbathing, but a pebble tossed nearby persuaded it to move off into the brush. Deer, rabbits and ground squirrels also make frequent appearances. A map of the open space trails can be found on the City of Walnut Creek Parks and Open Space website.
Although RV parks are in short supply in this area, there are some mobile home parks which offer RV sites. Sunny Acres in Concord (925-685-7048) and Park Royale in Pleasant Hill (925-685-7559) sometimes have space available. A phone call to their offices can provide further information.