As we bridge the gap between late summer heat and sweater weather, October offers a multitude of fun dining and travel experiences around the Bay. This month, Napa has a new must-visit boutique inn; the amazing Hatch chiles of New Mexico take the spotlight in Calistoga; and 52 artsy bears are on view in Los Altos. Hurry before the real bears and the Bay Area hibernate for the winter.
Stroll around downtown Los Altos and discover all 52 fiberglass bears decorated by local artists — like the “Crazy Rich Bear” presented by the city’s legendary restaurant Chef Chu’s — then bring one home by bidding on a bear. Proceeds from the auction, which closes on October 9 with the Hibernation is Over party, benefit the artists as well as charities selected by the Rotary Club of Los Altos.
• If you’re heading to the Napa Valley and want to change things up from the normal opulent resort stay, book one of the loft suites or the two-bedroom bungalow at the new R INN NAPA, an intimate boutique hotel that gorgeously strikes a balance of posh and hip modern.
• With pumpkin-spiced everything around the corner, Pacific Catch (yes, a chain, but a good one!) keeps summer around longer with its “Endless Summer” menu. The tempting beach-evoking specials include ceviche tacos and plenty of tropical cocktails to celebrate those earlier sunset times.
• Reach for the stars this fall with Montage Healdsburg’s “The Sky’s the Limit” astrotourism package. For a cool $95,000, up to six guests can enjoy this dreamy opportunity that comes with private flights, two nights at the resort’s three-bedroom Guest House and a tour of the Robert Ferguson Observatory.
• If it seems like the Marina is peppier these days, that’s because Balboa Cafe is selling cans of its beloved, zippy Espressotinis in 4-packs to sleepy, thirsty crowds.
• Let’s raise a glass to Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry, chef Michael Mina and Napa Valley’s Gemstone Vineyard who together sold a $240,000 auction lot as part of the V Foundation Wine Celebration. The extravagant package, aptly named “A Feast Fit for the Gods with Chef Michael Mina,” included a night of fresh Greekinspired seafood from his newly opened Estiatorio Ornos, Gemstone library wines, spectacular jewelry and more.
• Some red wine has been shown to help cardiovascular health, but happy hour isn’t necessarily healthy hour. That’s why the new St. Hildie’s Botonica “tincture tonic” is quite exciting with its 5 percent buzz and various fresh fruits, herbs, adaptogens and nootropics. It’s nearly virtuous and nearly all-local, as two of the three founders live in Marin County. Find it at The Junction in Mill Valley.
• With Sunset’s beautiful test gardens and the excellent Folktable restaurant, the Cornerstone complex in Sonoma already offers a reason to visit. Well, here’s another (non-wine related!) one — Cornerstone’s SBHG Gallery partnered with Oakland’s SLATE Contemporary Gallery for a series of art exhibitions this fall, including the current Elements of Nature.
• Fans of New Mexico Hatch chiles don’t have to go to Santa Fe this month. Chef Trevor Logan of the House of Better (at Calistoga’s Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs) offers freshly roasted New Mexico green-chile dishes and drinks on his special Chile Harvest Celebration menu each Sunday in October.
• And, finally, the gorgeously renovated Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel may be over a century old, but it now boasts one of the chicest daytime eateries in the City. Fredericks is the hotel’s new breakfast and lunch restaurant, offering dishes like shakshuka with housemade lamb sausage from chef Daniel Corey (formerly of the Michelinstarred Luce).