The court is small but the action will be fierce this Sunday during the annual Mayor’s Ping Pong Tournament from 10 to 3 in Chinatown. Rumor has it that Mayor Lee himself will be on hand to demonstrate his paddling skills. Finalists are expected to play at the end of the day in front of St. Mary’s School. Free.
The calendar says summer but the first sign of fall, the Gravenstein Apple Fair, occurs this weekend in Sebastopol under the oak canopies of Ragle Ranch. Apples, like tomatoes, have entered the world of artisanal and heirloom produce and you’ll find them all here, plus apple pie contests (why not enter yours?), cider tastings, live music, local artists and craftspeople, sheep shearing. Seniors $12.
Expand your kitchen repertoire this Saturday at noon at the Miele Center in SOMA where Chef Kas Matsune will instruct you in the fine art of sushi, its artful techniques, its careful selection of ingredients as you make hand rolls and miso soup. Your menu includes cucumber seafood salad, crab California rolls, rainbow rolls, temoki and mochi ice cream. Shockingly the class appears to be free.
If you’ve forgotten how close to nature we live, you’re invited to join a birding walk this Saturday from 8-10am atop Mt.Davidson. Over 200 avian species have been recorded here and if Dominik Mosur, your ornithologist leader, is lucky you might catch sight of red shouldered hawks, band-tailed pigeons, black swifts, anna’s hummingbirds and acorn woodpeckers. It’s a fairly gently uphill climb. Dress in layers. Sponsored by Nature in the City. Suggested donation $10-20.
Something like the “Starry Night” that Van Gogh painted from his asylum window will erupt above us from midnight to 5am during the Aug 11,12,13 Perseid meteor shower. Expect 200 events per hour as the earth makes its way through the sparkling debris left behind by a comet. For best views bring binoculars and get away from the Bay’s fog, cloud cover and light pollution at, for example, the Chabot Space Center where astronomers will be on hand to explain things. They will also host the other upcoming galactic spectacular, the Aug.21 solar eclipse, which is unlikely to be visible here but you’ll see at Chabot via a live feed.
Do we ever get tired of gazing out at the Golden Gate Bridge? (do Parisians ever get blasé about the Eiffel Tower?) A less familiar but still jaw dropping vista of this international icon is from Marshall’s Beach, a secret bit of strand next to the much more trafficked Baker Beach. It’s especially awesome when the wet sand acts as a mirror, reflecting the Bridge. Get there via the somewhat tricky Sand Ladder on Baker Beach or enter on Lincoln Boulevard just south of Fort Scott near the ‘Coyote Crossing’ sign. If you’re with sensitive people (like your grandchildren), you should know this is a spot favored by clothing-optional folks.
Suddenly in just a few years Pt.Reyes Station has become the Yountville of West Marin. I saw 7 new homes (B&B’s?) under construction there last week. Shopping has spiked with hip craft boutiques, even a posh linen store (Coyuchi) where a sheet set can set you back $500. You can eat very well here. I go back annually for Stelline’s sublime oyster pizza. The oyster theme continues up the road at the Hog Island Oyster Company, where the bivalves are barbequed in front of you. Around a few more curves is Nick’s Cove restaurant, sitting serenely on pilings over Tomales Bay. For a five-star night Sir & Star in Olema can match its kitchen against the Bay Area’s best. Perfect for geezers who like their dining spots hushed and don’t mind paying $36 for vegetable bouillabaisse. (Prices lower earlier in the week).
Think your pooch is so talented because she can catch a Frisbee with her mouth? Prepare to be humbled this Saturday from 9am to 2pm at the 2nd Annual Dog Surfing World Championship at Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica. A kennel full of breeds from dachshund to lab will be riding the waves, either solo, tandem with another dog or a homo sapien. Free. For even wilder rides head out to the Berkeley Marina this Friday and Saturday afternoon and applaud the airborne contestants at the 2017 US National Windsurfing Festival, tacking their way across the Bay’s stiff summer marine breezes. Free.
The American Craft Show at the Fort Mason Center this weekend is the anti-mall, 230 artists working in just about every material imaginable creating functional and purely decorative pieces that you won’t find at Nordstroms and, of course, are available for purchase. Opens at 10 am. Tickets from $12 to $50. For a more hands-on DIY experience there is a 2-hour perfume workshop this Sunday in Ghiradelli Square starting at 1pm. $85.
Fans of Andy Goldsworthy’s serenely artful manipulations of the natural world should check out his latest photos and videos, “Drawing Water, Standing Still” at the Haines Gallery on Geary Street which focuses on the effect of time on the environment. Til Sept. You can view the changes in his site specific works in the Presidio at any time.