#36 – The Runnymede Sculpture Garden

Ok, so it’s just a stone’s throw from the border of Redwood City and Woodside, but it’s worth a mention because it’s so unique.

As someone once wrote “a 65 mph glance is all most people get” of the Sculpture Garden. Or if you happen to be driving down the backside of Canada College, taking a glance across the freeway lets you see just a few of the over 160 sculptures here.  Or if going for a run on Runnymede Trail, looking west you can spot some.  Or even if taking the Farm Hill Blvd. exit off southbound 280, right before turning left onto Farm Hill, glance to your right to see some unique sculptures.

Here’s the “aw bummer” part: it’s rarely open to the public.  When it is, it’s usually for a fundraiser of some sort, so you’d have to keep your eyes and ears open.  I did find one website here, where someone had taken some cool pictures of the rarely-seen grounds.

But here’s the interesting history of this little-known gem in the “94062”:

Runnymede Sculpture Farm is a vast landscape dotted with over 160 outdoor, often monolithic sculptures.  Some are placed in open spaces, where perspectives shift and fresh questions arise as observers move about and view the artworks from different positions. And others are situated among the oaks, or on trailsides just beyond a bend — waiting to be discovered. Waiting to surprise.

The property, with landmark stone barns and stables, has been in the Rosekrans family since 1930, when it was bought by Jack and Alma Rosekrans. Alma, the daughter of Adolph and Alma de Brettville Spreckels, used the grounds as home for her hunter and jumper horses.

Alma had a deep appreciation for oak trees, and was responsible for the abundance of the trees at Runnymede, according to a history of the property written by her son, the late John Rosekrans.

The couple had three sons — John, Adolph and Charles. It was John who, with his wife Dodie, established the sculpture farm in the mid-1980s.

In his Runnymede history, John Rosekrans writes that he was inspired by a visit in 1984 to the Storm King Sculpture Park in New York’s Hudson Valley. He was “inspired with how the creation of man, in the form of outdoor sculpture, blended and harmonized with the creation of nature. They seemed to have a synergistic effect on each other. This was the genesis for Runnymede Sculpture Farm.”

From then on, John and Dodie Rosekrans made a point of seeing as much sculpture as possible on their travels in this country and Europe, with the goal of collecting pieces for the Woodside property, according to Mary Maggini, former curator at Runnymede.

The sculptures were acquired only from living artists, and most pieces date from 1985 to the early to mid-1990s.

Since John’s death in 2001, his brother Adolph has taken over the role of overseeing the outdoor gallery. Although there are no plans to acquire more sculptures at this point, he says, the existing collection is regularly maintained by a crew of two: Sam Perry and Matthew Scheatzle.

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#35 – The Annual Mt. Carmel Auction

Put it on your calendar !! Oct. 23rd, starting at 5:00 pm. It’s “The Blue & Gold Gala”, the annual Mt. Carmel Auction.

You can view the online auction site here, get tickets for the event, or even download the Auction catalog.

Here’s just a small samplings of some of the great items up for auction:

  • 7 nights in Tahoe at the Royal Aloha Tahoe
  • “Principal for a day”
  • Wine party for 25 couples
  • A studio tour & lunch at Dreamworks
  • Wine, restaurants, golf, skiing, massages….And SO much more!
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#34 – Alana’s Cafe

Located at 1020 Main St., is an historic, grand old Victorian house, in which you feel miles away from the hustle and bustle of downtown — in it, you’ll find a wonderful casual restaurant, Alana’s Cafe. “Quaint” just begins to describe it here — bottom line, it’s good food that’s worth a visit.

The house was built in 1874 by Hanson Lumber Company, for their foreman & later purchased by the Dielmann Family.  The house was originally located on Middlefield near Veterans Blvd. and took one year to build.  The house was moved to its current location in 1979.

The house shares the property with another Historic home built in 1858 which now houses an art cooperative, The Gallery.  There are four dining rooms offering cozy seating while the patio offers pleasant outdoor dining.

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#33 – The Living Room

The Living RoomLocated at 2048 Broadway in downtown, the Living Room is a cool place to “just hang out”. Featuring a variety of international (and domestic) beers, wine “on tap”, and food as well, it’s a comfortable environment to eat, drink, watch TV, or even play Wii (for those of you who can’t wrestle it away from your kids!). Check out their Facebook page too, for regular updates

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#32 – County Historical Museum

History Museum Exterior

Housed in the old San Mateo County Courthouse at 2200 Broadway, the History Museum is where  the rich history of the county is preserved and made it accessible to the public.  They host exhibits detailing the history and development of the county, and also offer a wide variety events concerning the history of the county – from tours of the old courthouse and other historic sites, to lectures, discussions and family programs.

So go ahead, learn how San Francisco millionaires of the late 1800s became the West Coast’s first suburbanites as they established Great Estates on the Peninsula, or learn about some of the entrepreneurs who made San Mateo County known around the world for advances in such fields as finance, high tech, and biotech.

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#31 – Bonsai Sushi


Ok, so technically, yes, it’s just a stone’s throw outside of Redwood City (in Atherton), but I’m paying some props too because of the long time that Bonsai used to reside in downtown RC (before the Century Theater gobbled up all the businesses on that block of Jefferson & Broadway). It’s at 3401 W. El Camino Real.

Either way….a GOOD place for sushi. Great atmosphere and decor, friendly service (from my experience), and authentic ambiance.  Now, I’m not a sushi snob, so if anyone knows of any other good sushi places in Redwood City, please speak up! If not, then give it a try!

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#30 – The Arts & Olives Festival

The 13th Annual Arts & Olive Festival at Cañada College, will be held on Sunday, October 3th, 2010, from 10am to 5pm.

The Arts & Olive Festival is a celebration with a rustic olive theme, and takes place on the hilltop campus of Cañada College, featuring more than 350 olive trees.

More information, and a schedule of activities, can be found here.

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#29 – Zoppe’s Italian Family Circus

Great Barington, MA - 2004

Clowns, trapezes, and dancing dogs — no, this isn’t a Federico Fellini film , but rather an enchanting exhibition of traditional European circus.  I saw this last time when they came to Redwood City, and it’s a very fun and entertaining performance for all ages.

Running from Oct 14-24, Zoppé, an Italian Family Circus is a spectacular two-hour performance that will enthrall the entire family!

The Circus tent will be set up next to the Downtown Library at 1044 Middlefield Road in Redwood City and will host matinee and evening performances.  You can find the link to buy tickets right here.

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#28 – Emerald Hills Railway

Before you say “what the h…?”, yes, you read that correctly.

Ok, so this is not going to be for everyone, but it’s something neat, quirky, and so not-very-well-known that it deserves a bit of fanfare. Plus, it’s free and when they are open, they often take contributions for charitable causes.

So yes, it runs in someone’s backyard, and yes, it’s a ‘miniature’ train. But where else can your kids get a cool little ride like this for free? (other than the mini-cattle-car-lookalikes in San Mateo’s Central Park, and the occasionally-open train ride on Eaton Avenue in San Carlos).

Their website (not quite up to date, but this was all I could find) is here, and, if you search on FaceBook, they do have a fan page too!

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#27 – The Lathrop House

One of the Peninsula’s oldest mansions, this classic example of early “Steamboat Gothic” architecture was built in 1863 as the residence of San Mateo County’s first Clerk, Recorder and Assessor, Benjamin G. Lathrop. Later the residence of Union General Patrick Edward Connor (who never fought the Confederates, but was more well known for leading the charge in the Bear River Massacre), and Sheriff Joel Mansfield.

Lathrop House is located in the center of Redwood City’s downtown area at 627 Hamilton Avenue, behind the old Courthouse and opposite the Hall of Justice which is built on the site of “California Square” – a Spanish plaza style park – deeded to the citizens of Redwood City in perpetuity by the original landholders; the Arguello family and Mezes family.  The Lathrop House is open for tours the first four Wednesdays and third Saturdays of every month, except August

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