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secret swimming hole

Let’s imagine the rain stops, the sun reappears and you are ready to finally start summer. It’s hard to think of a more perfect spot than the Inkwells, a series of small, deep, dark, swimmable pools cascading into each other amid redwood groves in West Marin. Head out Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to Lagunitas. Just before you get to Samuel Taylor Park you cross Shafter bridge, then take a right to the pedestrian bridge. The path to the pools is right beneath it.

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mask media

The Day of the Dead may be seven months away but you can get a head start this Saturday from 8pm -10pm and Sunday from noon to 2 in Berkeley creating your own Mexican Sacred Heart and masks. First you build your sacred Aztec artwork out of paper mache then paint it using whatever fiery colors you like. Refreshments and a brief historical background included. $25.

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robo jocks

The past is over. The present is a bad joke. Why not dive fearlessly into the future which conveniently is waiting for you at the 13th annual Robo Games this Friday to Sunday in Pleasanton. Some of the “athletes” include soccer, hockey, sumo, kung fu and even android bots. Not all of the robotic players are remote control, some are autonomous. Gets very raucous. $30. Free for children. I am fairly confident no robot will ever replace Stephen Curry.

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astaire’s heirs

Battling for its place as the top event hitting the Bay Area this dance crazed weekend is Turfin’ vs.the World. From 12 to 6 in Jack London Square the best Oakland street dancers will be pumping up their popping, locking, story telling and miming in acrobatic combat, some on which include audience participation. Think I’ll just watch. Free. Food trucks and beer vendors.

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you can lead a horse to zinfandel

Why just hang around a crowded tasting room when you can saddle up and explore a voluptuous vineyard on horseback? Wine Country Trail Rides are available 3 times a day at the rolling 1300-acre Chalk Hill Estate. You can ride a sport horse if you’re qualified. Otherwise the program is open to riders of all levels including kids 7 and up. 1.5 hours. $100 per person plus 20% gratuity. Wine tastings on the estate are $20 per person.

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herds invade embarcadero

Instead of bunnies this Easter why not spend some time with goats? This Saturday from 9-2 join in the 9th Annual Goat Festival in Ferry Plaza. Local ranchers will be showing off their prize herds plus goat cheese tastings, cooking demos, crafts like personalized goat horns, goat petting, even a scavenger hunt. I guess they’re not quite ready to make the leap to talking about cooking with goats –curries, bbq, etc.

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death match

The calendar doesn’t say October but anytime you’re ready to re-celebrate Halloween the Ghost Golf amusement park in Concord is open daily for you and your grandkids. Check out the mummy shooting gallery, scary animated puppets, howling ghouls, shaking walls, pinball and a death-themed miniature golf course. Adults $15, kids $13. Did you catch the hilarious miniature golf game between James Corden and Stephen Curry the other night? They were playing at Subpar in Alameda.

 

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classic calistoga

Pasticcio is Italian for the delizioso mix of Ancient Roman, Baroque and Commedia dell’Arte designs at Ca’toga, a fantasy villa on 5 acres at the headwaters of the Napa River. Italian-born artist Carlo Marchiorre realized his Palladian dream here just outside of Calistoga with a home/museum filled wall-to-wall with trompe l’oeil murals, ceramics, paintings, sculptures and a garden with faux ruins, a grotto, a pool and artfully landscape riverside. Thursday to Monday tours from May to October only. $30.

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cherry pinks

Just to erase any doubts that Spring has finally arrived you might want to wander over to the Cherry Blossom Festival the next two weekends in Japantown. There’s a parade on Sunday April 16 and the rest of the time there’s a full-on celebration with traditional food and music. Free. Prepare for crowds. Last year 200,000 people showed up. For a more serene take on this graceful culture there is always the Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park.

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just adorable

Easter bunnies have competition for title of Cutest Furriest Creature. Alpacas (which are half the size of their cousin llamas) weigh about 150 pounds and produce a very fine fiber. For a closer look at these sweet, generally docile camelids, I suggest you pay a visit to Alpacas By The Sea down the coast in Montara which breeds these animals and will teach you how to do it yourself if you decide to add one to your household. Alpaca garments and accessories are also for sale.

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