TOP MUSEUMS IN CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BY THE DOYLE TEAM

TOP MUSEUMS IN CONTRA COSTA COUNTY

Although Contra Costa County offers dozens of museums to choose from, many people agree that some museums really go that extra mile.  Here are some of our county’s top museums, in the opinion of locals and travelers alike.

Danville’s Museum of the San Ramon Valley is dedicated to exploring and preserving the region’s rich history and heritage.  Enjoy eye-opening permanent exhibits and ongoing rotating exhibits featuring Indian life, war time activities, historical farming communities and more.

Vehicle enthusiasts MUST visit the Blackhawk Automotive Museum, also in Danville. Peruse many makes and models from all over the world.  See an ever changing array of fascinating vintage and futuristic treasures of the road.

The idyllic Shadelands Ranch Historical Society in Walnut Creek houses a small museum and occupies a magnificently landscaped property.  Fun annual events include the Barn & Attic Sale, Victorian tea parties, and a Halloween pumpkin patch with a petting zoo, free popcorn, and free movies on Friday nights.

The Lindsay Wildlife Museum, also in Walnut Creek, is a local favorite attraction that draws visitors from all over the world.  Many dozen helpless or abandoned wild animals enjoy the best of care.  Injured birds, bobcats, foxes, and other assorted creatures are nursed gently back to health at their onsite wild animal hospital.  Staring owls and and majestic bald eagles sit perched upon high beams set just beyond arm’s reach of the tallest human visitor.  The museum also features a petting zoo, children’s play structures, and a gift shop.

 

 

MOM & POP RETAILERS IN CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BY GREG & LISA DOYLE, J. ROCKCLIFF REALTORS

MOM & POP RETAILERS IN CONTRA COSTA COUNTY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s hard to find a good, old fashioned store anymore.  Luckily, Contra Costa County still retains some of its Old World charm.  The following local retailers are refreshingly unfranchised, and highly recommended.

As an antidote to Petco, visit the Danville Pet Store, where the owner is fully informed and actually cares about the living creatures in her care.  This business also carries a versatile selection of high quality pet products, and will meet or beat chain store prices.

Also in Danville is an enchanting, beautifully merchandised furniture showroom called Elegant Clutter.  The interior looks like everybody’s dream home.  It’s hard to imagine how they get customers to leave.

Speaking of vintage decor, Danville also has some alluring antique sellers like Polka Dot Attic, Sophie’s at Rue 137, and The Cottage Jewel.  Not far away is Friendship Farm Antiques in Alamo.

Other local destinations for antique hunters include Abracadabra, Rhodes Country Mouse, Just Around the Corner, and Markovich Michael Antiques, all located in Castro Valley.  Also try Past Perfect, Dream Come True, Quail Country, and Sundance Antiques in Walnut Creek, another town well known for its broad selection of vintage merchandise.

Finally, be sure to visit Pleasanton’s Old Town Antiques Mall, where many vintage vendors sell their wares.  While you’re there, stop by Pleasanton’s smaller commercial treasure troves like American Harvest and Cleo’s Memory Lane.

Take a trip back in time and visit some of the mom & pop shops still thriving in Contra Costa County.

THE TOP FIVE GOURMET RESTAURANTS IN CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BY GREG & LISA DOYLE, J. ROCKCLIFF REALTORS

THE TOP FIVE GOURMET RESTAURANTS IN CONTRA COSTA COUNTY

Contra Costa County has no shortage of fine dining at upscale restaurants that offer a wide range of local and international cuisines.  Here are a just few of our favorites.

The Yacht Club Restaurant in Walnut Creek is not really a yacht club, but a restaurant, bar, and seafood market. No membership is required to enjoy some of the regions freshest fish. Menu favorites include Dungeness Crab and Whole Maine Lobster.

Postino in Lafayette has a striking, yet romantic atmosphere of soft lighting, hardwood floors and walls of exposed brick.  Among the many classy menu offerings are Ricotta Ravioli, Char Grilled Salmon, Rib Eye Steak, and Eggplant Parmigiana, all prepared to perfection by one of California’s top chefs.  Postino also boasts a massive wine list.

Also in Lafayette, enjoy the rustic French farmhouse decor of the Bistro Bar (formerly The Duck Club), located  in the Lafayette Park Hotel.  Try the Steak Frites, or the Seafood Carbonara, or the Pressed Mary’s Chicken. Everything on the menu is superb.

For truly unusual ethnic flavor, dine at Shiraz Persian Restaurant in San Ramon.  Choose from a diverse menu of traditional and modern recipes.  Too delicious is the sauteed eggplant with onions, garlic and mint.  Also to die for is the marinated lamb kebob, but all the dishes (which include numerous kebobs) are first rate.

Further north, try the Riverview Lodge in Antioch, an underrated waterfront eatery featuring many unique seafood dishes.

TOP EMPLOYERS IN CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BY THE DOYLE TEAM, GREG & LISA DOYLE

TOP EMPLOYERS IN CONTRA COSTA COUNTY

Despite the nation’s struggling economy, many jobs await you in Contra Costa County, where employment opportunities continue to rise.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average weekly wage for a person employed within the county is $1,168, which is about $29 an hour.  More than 497,000 people currently occupy full time positions in Contra Costa’s many local businesses.  The county enjoys a relatively low unemployment rate, measured at 7.7 percent in July 2013.

The biggest employer in Contra Costa County is Kaiser Permanente, which is the largest managed care provider in the United States.  Kaiser is an Oakland-based company providing health care at medical centers in Antioch, Concord, Martinez and Walnut Creek, among many other locations nationwide. Each Kaiser location in Contra Costa County supports more than a thousand employees.

Other major employers throughout the county include John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, San Ramon Regional Medical Center and Chevron Oil in San Ramon, Sutter Delta Medical Center in Antioch, Contra Costa Regional Medical Center and Shell Oil Products in Martinez, and Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga.

Breezy public transportation and easy access to San Francisco make Contra Costa County one of America’s most popular places to find work.

 

LOVELY CITY OF BRENTWOOD, CA BY GREG & LISA DOYLE, THE DOYLE TEAM

BRENTWOOD

These days, the Delta region is booming, in keeping with the blossoming economy of its neighbors, the East Bay, North Bay, and San Ramon Valley.  In fact, the population of the city of Brentwood, located between Oakley and Byron, has more than doubled over the past ten years, and now stakes claim to more than 50,000 residents.

These days, people buying homes for sale in Brentwood are treated to a busy, buzzing commercial district, as well as stores and factory outlets along the Brentwood-Antioch border.  Among the city’s numerous upscale retailers are Banana Republic, Swarovski, Cold Water Creek, Victoria’s Secret, and dozens more.  Brentwood’s neighborhood specialty shops include Kids & Cribs, Gursky Ranch Country Store, and Mabuhay Filipino Foods, among others.

While you’re there, sample an array of fine restaurants (Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Mexican, Italian, and more).  Play golf at the local courses (Deer Ridge and Shadow Lakes).  Enjoy a full line of unique, individualized professional services offered by a wide range of home-based entrepreneurs.

Brentwood is also a popular retirement village.  Many seniors buy homes for sale in Brentwood because of its warm climate, easy public transportation, nearness to San Francisco, and the acclaimed Trilogy Senior Living Community, which offers relatively low priced luxury homes for people who are 55 and older.

As an added bonus, the city of Brentwood is home to 58 green, grassy parks and many miles of jogging trails to promote your healthy lifestyle.

Brentwood homes for sale are widely popular for the low cost and locational convenience of this commercially growing city that still maintains an aura of peaceful retreat. Residents relax in roomy, sunny, Kerala-style homes with majestic, striking views of Mount Diablo, silhouetted against a tranquil evening sky.

BEST BED & BREAKFAST DEALS IN THE EAST BAY AND DELTA REGIONS BY GREG & LISA DOYLE, J. ROCKCLIFF REALTORS

BEST BED & BREAKFAST DEALS IN CONTRA COSTA COUNTY

People who buy homes in Danville and San Ramon know all about the best kept secrets in the surrounding areas.  For a fun weekend getaway, choose from this romantic assortment of cozy bed & breakfast accommodations, not too far north of the San Ramon Valley.  Here are some of our most highly recommended places to stay and get fed.

Walnut Creek’s dog-friendly Diablo Mountain Inn has 24 guestrooms with king size, queen size, or two separate beds.  Perks include wireless internet in every room, and a nice continental breakfast included in the room rate.

Since buying a home in Danville offers such fast, easy access to Walnut Creek, why not also try the beautiful Mansion at Lakewood?  Walnut Creek’s Lakewood neighborhood is loaded with rustic charm, yet situated close to Downtown, and is home to the only lake in the city of Walnut Creek.  A short distance from Lakewood, be sure to explore the Shell Ridge Open Space.

For an unforgettable experience in Concord, stay at the East Brother Light Station, whose light house is still active after 133 years.   East Brother is now a quaint Victorian Bed & Breakfast, idyllically situated on an island in the strait between San Francisco Bay and San Pablo Bay. Dinner and breakfast are included. Savor spectacular views with your meal.

Or plan a party and escape to Castro Valley.  Visit the Deer Crossing Inn, a six-and-a-half-acre creekside estate.  Deer Crossing is a popular venue for larger events like family vacations, school reunions, and other community celebrations.

On the other hand, if a low budget alternative is what you want, Comfort Suites in Oakley is a convenient, clean, comfortable, cost-friendly, Delta area hotel, with free breakfast included in the reasonable rates.

FIVE SECRET SAN FRANCISCO DINING PLEASURES by Greg & Lisa Doyle, J. Rockcliff Realtors

The only thing that never gets old is something new.  That’s why so many local San Franciscans and even visiting tourists are in a been there, done that state of mind.  We’re always on the lookout for new things to eat, and new ways to eat it.  Here are five truly unique dining experiences for the culinary adventurers among us.

 

Opaque – Dining in the Dark.  It’s a whole new restaurant concept.  The ambiance is intimate, romantic and…  well, dark.  Everyone eats in pitch blackness as friendly servers buzz about with night vision goggles.  The food is splendid, with a uniform, tonalist presentation.  Check out this photo of a hot waitress serving the beef tenderloin!

Forbes Island is a quiet, upscale seafood restaurant located on the water’s edge at Fisherman’s Wharf.  The chef makes a spectacular flat iron steak.  While you’re there, visit the light house.

Gary Danko is also situated near Fisherman’s Wharf, where diners expect the freshest, finest seafood America has to offer.  Danko’s delectable menu offerings include Carrot Ginger Soup with Lobster, Seared Ahi Tuna, and Stuffed Quail.

Visit Foreign Cinema for another unique dining experience, and one of the coolest meal stops in the Mission.  Every night at dinner time they feature foreign movies, projected onto an outside wall of the building.

Coi is an elegant, upscale classic place to dine, offering wine pairings, 11-course gourmet meals, and even a tasting menu.  Enjoy New American, Modernist, Minimalist cuisine from one of California’s top chefs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bay Area Retirement Community- Brentwood, CA Trilogy By Greg & Lisa Doyle, J. Rockcliff Realtors

TRILOGY – AN ELITE SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRILOGY at the VINEYARDS in the city of Brentwood is a full-service, active senior living community for residents age 55 or “better.”  The posh accommodations to be found here start at around $440,000.  Spacious, elegantly appointed living units run the range from about 1,500 to more than 2,800 square feet.

Set among some of Northern California’s finest olive groves and grape vineyards, Trilogy appeals especially to food and wine lovers.  For entertaining large groups of friends, Abby’s Gourmet Studio has a fully equipped chef’s kitchen with wine lockers, and roomy seating for as many as 40 guests in the studio’s attached dining room and patio.

Upscale amenities at Trilogy include an indoor lap pool and an outdoor resort pool, surrounded in comfy lounge furniture and shady poolside cabanas.  The grounds also feature a tennis pavilion and a fitness center with many classes offered, including yoga, swimming, aerobics and weight training, to name only a few.

After your workout, visit Trilogy’s 5,000 square foot, full service day spa.  Choose from a full line of spa-style treatments.  Then, relax in the Grand Living Room, a popular community gathering place with fainting views of Mt. Diablo State Park and Brentwood’s gently rolling hills.