Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summer in Los Gatos

One of the things that makes Los Gatos such a great little town is that there is so much going on.

Every Sunday in summer there are two superb happenings. The all year Farmers Market sets up in the Town Plaza Sunday mornings 8am - 1pm -- rain or shine! I think it is by far the best Farmers Market around. Wonderful produce and flowers, several delicious food vendors (crepes, Mexican, Asian) and usually some music as well. The Town Plaza Park next door is a wonderful little tree lined grass park, perfect for dogs, kids and just lounging around. There's a neat little fountain too! But the star is the produce -- fresh, lots of variety, and you can taste everything before you buy.

Music in the Park is a ten-week, Sunday afternoon concert series (which started this past Sunday, June 21st, and continues through the end of August) presented by the Los Gatos Arts Commission. Concerts are free to the public and are held on Sunday afternoons from 5pm - 7pm on the Civic Center (Town Hall) lawn. This summer music series features multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-generational music to the Los Gatos Community. Attendees may bring beer or wine with their picnic lunches.

Jazz on the Plazz hosts free concerts at the Town Plaza Park. This Wednesday-night summer series makes its 2009 debut on June 24th, and will run through August 26th. All performances will take place from 6:30 to 8:30p.m. Bring a friend, your dinner, a bottle of wine, sit back and be cool!

The annual Los Gatos Celebrates the 4th of July is Saturday, July 4th 11am - 5:30pm at the Los Gatos Civic Center. Live music, picnic lunch, BINGO and more. Independence Day, Los Gatos style. Join us!

And don't forget 2nd Saturdays on July 11th & August 8th. This is a great shopping and socializing experience, right here in the foothills of the gorgeous Santa Cruz Mountains. Vintages is offering a gift with minimum purchase, and other specials on 2nd Saturdays. Come on by.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Cambria on the Central Coast

One of our favorite weekend getaway spots is Cambria, a little picturesque town on California's central coast. It is west of Paso Robles and northwest of San Luis Obispo, and is a quiet little area that is loaded with things to do ... or not do if you prefer to just lounge on Moonstone Beach. A great entry into Cambria is along Santa Rosa Road, which winds through the local hillside and enters town in Cambria's East Village.
The town has a split personality, with the older East Village and newer West Village. Both villages are home to good eateries, a few antique shops, boutiques and art galleries. Susan & I tend to favor the East Village where several of our favorite shops are located. In the old Cambria Creamery building are three great shops -- all different and worth a visit.
Birds of a Feather is one of the most interesting antique shops you will encounter -- anywhere. The owner, Bonnie Crawford, has a great eye for unique items, be they birds nests, old ribbon, or handmade figures. She also has a remarkable talent for displaying these items in layouts and vignettes that tell a story! Birds of a Feather also features the wares of local artists.

Next door is a creative garden shop, simply named The Garden Shed. Here you will find some great gardening gifts and tools. In the back is a garden area where the plants and outdoor pieces are grouped into little settings like outdoor rooms or cozy corners. Then there is also a little gallery that just opened featuring the artwork of four local artists.
Just a stones throw up Main Street is Burton Drive. There are many little shops and galleries along this two block road. It is home to a superb little kitchen boutique -- A Matter of Taste. It is also home to our favorite restaurant in Cambria -- Robin's. The cuisine is a mixture of Mediterranean fare and a fantastic selection of curries! If you have just one night in Cambria, have dinner at Robin's.

We always stay on Moonstone Beach. There are many lovely inns there. We favor Sand Pebbles Inn, but it's hard to go wrong if you are lodging right there on the beach! The day we were there, the dolphins and sea lions were putting on a show just beyond the surf. The usual flocks of seabirds were flying, squawking and dive bombing for fish. Gulls, sand pipers, pelicans and more! Everytime I see pelicans, I am reminded of a little ditty by Ogden Nash:
What a strange bird, the pelican,
Its beak can hold more than its belly can.

Springtime flowers along the shore and cliffs brighten up the landscape, driftwood on the beach create interesting sculptural effects, and harbor seals basking in the sun on the rocks give the whole picture a naturally wild perspective.

Cambria is located just a few miles north of Harmony (population 18!) and six miles south of Hearst castle.
Another few miles up the coast is the elephant seal beach at Piedras Blancas. The beach was relatively quiet the day we were there. In the breeding season the whole sandy area is covered with barking, grunting seals. But the ones that were there put on a little exhibition for us.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Flag Week!

With Flag Day just behind us and Independence Day around the corner, I thought I would share a group of American Flag images I have collected. Some are wonderful folk art creations, some famous images. One is graffiti, another the side of a building, still another a tribute to the heroes of 9/11. The Civil War is represented, as is WWII. Enjoy ... and be proud we are Americans.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Happy Fathers' Day • Sunday June 21st

Fathers' Day is in a week-and-a-half! Time flies. What a different celebration than Mothers' Day. Dad wants to watch the ballgame, have a beer and a BBQ, maybe go to the beach. No shopping in downtown Los Gatos, breakfast at the Los Gatos Cafe or brunch at the Hotel Los Gatos! It's a guy thing, right? But please don't forget Dad on his special day ... just do it his way.

I remember my Dad. I got closer to him as I got older and he got smarter (ahem ... it's true!) He didn't toot his horn or say I told you so. He just smiled!

I found this old book, Dear Old Father, which is a 1910 compilation of essays, sayings, quotes and poems about fathers. Some are corny and some are rather somber, but they all point out the greatness of Dear Old Dad.
One poem that reminds me so much of my dad is a little five stanza ditty by E. A. Brininstool titled simply My Dad. It reads in part:
My Dad he makes the slickest kite
You ever saw, by jing!
Why, it will sail clean out of sight
When I let out the string!
The other kids they come to me
Fer their kite patterns now;
An' they're as glad as they can be
That my dad knows just how.
They's nothing much my dad can't do
If he makes up his mind.
An' he is mighty chummy, too,
One of the bully kind.
Some dads would yell, "Oh go an' play;
I am busy as kin be!"
But my dad he ain't built that way!
Not on your life, by gee!
We try to remember Dad here at Vintages with some unique gift items -- new and old. We can help you find something special and gift wrap it for you. Check us out.

Summer Updates

We recently rearranged most of the shop. It makes things look new and fresh. Plus it gives us a chance to highlight new and exciting additions. We've brought most of the decorative paper and ribbon up to the front of the store. Easier to find and compare what we have this way.

We continue to add handcrafted gifts made by local artists, including pendants, fragrant lavender pillows, decorated bottles, tags and cards.With summer approaching, we set up our picnic table with a load of beach and picnic items. These are watched over by Harold and Josie, two cute little handmade stuffed beach kids from a wonderful doll maker in Phoenix. There are also some great lemonade and summer drink pitchers and glasses, hand carved wooden paddles and bouys, and picket fence fish.

We added a little garden center in the back corner. We have some neat little pots, super topiary trellises, pottery mushrooms, a new shipment of birdhouses and other outdoor decorations.
Have a great Summer and drop on into Vintages. We would love to see you.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Second Saturdays in Los Gatos

Come join us and a hundred other merchants for fun and savings on Second Saturdays in Los Gatos this summer. The first of these special days is Saturday, June 13th

What better way is there to spend a Saturday than in Los Gatos – especially when there will be more than 100 merchants treating you to special offers and fun? The first Second Saturday is June 13th, all day and into the evening. The others are on July 11th and August 8th. Shoppers, diners, spa-goers and wine-tasters will be treated to the treasures of the historic downtown.

Free Valet Parking will make parking a breeze ... and then you can enjoy great deals, live music, entertainment and free pedicab rides. There’s even a “Treasure Hunt” in town for fabulous raffle prizes! We’d love to see you and help you discover new treasures in town. Just look for the red ribbons displayed by participating merchants. There will be one on our door. Please pay us a visit.

Here at Vintages we will be offering a free gift with a minimum $25.00 purchase on Second Saturdays.

Friday, June 5, 2009


A couple of weeks ago Susan & I decided to head on down to Carmel, have a picnic, walk on the beach and maybe hit an antique shop or two. If you have been to Carmel before, you know the picnic and beach part is always somewhat iffy! That day the sun was shining and the temperatures warm in the Santa Clara Valley, and as we drove down through the coastal areas north of Carmel, the same sun and warmth were with us. Then as we approached Carmel we saw it! A huge blanket of fog covered the peninsula! Temperatures dropped 15 degrees and the sun was nowhere to be seen. Darn!

But we persevered and headed down to Carmel River State Beach. The Carmel side of it is one of our favorite spots to sit on the sand and watch the waves, birds and just veg. No chance! The wind was blowing hard and the sand was whipping around. Plan B was put into effect and we drove on down to Point Lobos. The sun wasn’t brighter and the air was still crisp, so we had a delightful but quick picnic in the shelter of Whaler’s Cove.
Since we were already in the Nature Reserve, we wandered (in the warm confines of our car – hiking is better but not this time) on down to another favorite spot between Hidden Beach and China Cove. In a short walk along the rocky cliffs, we saw the usual array of water birds and flowering shrubs. No sea otters on this day, but there were a couple of harbor seals enjoying the waters in the cove below us.
Another great beach in Carmel is Carmel Beach at the foot of Ocean Avenue and along Scenic Road. This is a great spot for watching sunsets. The town has provided numerous benches along the Scenic Road path to watch the waves, people watch and enjoy the view.
Looking north you see the breathtaking panorama of Pebble Beach. The golf course’s 8th, 9th and 10th holes stretch along the shore with the Del Monte Forest behind them.
To the south, the beach ends at the sensational little beach house designed and built by the architectural legend, Frank Lloyd Wright. (One interesting tidbit: This house was featured in the movie A Summer’s Place. It was used for all of the outside shots.)

If you are not into the picnic thing, we have found a couple of very nice lunch spots in Carmel. Now, Carmel has a boatload of restaurants, most of which are quite good, so these are just our two favs.

The Terrace Grill at the La Playa Hotel is wonderful. Al Fresco dining is on the heated open air terrace overlooking the garden's colorful, year-round garden. There is an indoor lounge as well. We enjoy the simple, elegant fare. It's very quiet, rarely crowded and always pleasant. It's a couple of blocks off Ocean Avenue, on the corner of Eighth Avenue and Camino Real.

In the middle of the village is Grasing's Coastal Cuisine. Fresh, local cuisine in a pleasant, light and quiet dining room. Grasing's is on 6th Avenue, between Mission and San Carlos Streets.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Humpty Dumpty and Other Mother Goose Songs

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Cannot put Humpty Dumpty together again.

Here is another wonderful little children’s book. It is Humpty Dumpty and Other Mother Goose Songs, compiled, illustrated and arranged by H. A. (Hans Augusto) Rey, who later became famous as the co-creator of Curious George, along with his wife, Margret.

This little spiral bound volume was published in 1943, but has recently been re-released. (While the 1995 edition is nice, it does not have the nostalgia of the original first edition.) The front cover has a humorous image of Humpty Dumpty seated atop red brick wall, smiling and waving his feathered hat to the high hatted soldiers mounted on white horses below. Interestingly, the back cover depicts a rear view of Humpty atop that wall with a ladder leaning against it. I had always wondered how Humpty got up there. As Paul Harvey used to say: Now you know the rest of the story! All quite colorful!
What makes this book cool, is that the pages to left have words and music, while pages to right have colorful illustrations also with the words and music, but in a unique format. The clefs are drawn from eggs and spoons, books and belts, and the notes are eggs, children, mice, birds and spiders! Mother Goose never sounded (or looked) so good.
This copy that I have, has an interesting side note. The young owner wrote down her list of chores for each day of the week. It's a bit faint to read, as it was written in pencil. She wrote: make the bed - morning / wash - Mon / Iron - Tues / mend clothes - Wed / Sweep the floor - Thurs / Scrub the floor - Fri / Bath - Sat / Church - Sun.
Songs include: Humpty Dumpty; Round the Mulberry Bush; Mary had a Little Lamb; Pat-a-Cake; Oh Where, Oh Where has My Little Dog Gone; Little Miss Muffet; Sing a Song of Six Pence; Hey, Diddle Diddle; Three Blind Mice; and Ding Dong Bell (Pussy’s in the Well).
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