Specializing in homes in the San Francisco Bay Area:
Chris Cohn, Broker Associate
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|PIEDMONT REAL ESTATE - PLUS PARKS & RECREATION|
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Are you new to Piedmont and wanting to get out of the house on a nice weekend day?Piedmont has a variety of parks tucked - and sometimes hidden - in neighborhoods throughout town. They offer some nice options for a pleasant outing that doesn't involve much, if any, time in the car. Here is a list of the parks in town:
Piedmont Park, set in the center of town off Highland Avenue, is the biggest and most varied of Piedmont's parks. Its bowl-shaped lawn area is great for a family picnic or a game of Frisbee. It's also the terminus of Piedmont's folksy Fourth of July parade, when hundreds of people spread out blankets to enjoy music and other entertainment capping the yearly Independence Day festivities.
Just past the park's formal exedra entryway with its distinctive blue ceramic urn - called "The Vase" by local kids - is a tidy tot lot, complete with a drinking fountain and a restroom. Designed around a majestic oak tree, the playground includes a great climbing structure and sand area that are ideal for preschoolers. There also are a couple of baby swings, a stepped seating area and benches. It's a favorite daytime gathering spot for parents, babysitters and, of course, youngsters.
Just up the street on Highland Avenue is a Bonfare Market, a popular place to stop for an ice cream bar or other quick snack after spending an hour or two in the park. Piedmont Park includes a community center, which can be rented for weddings and other events, and a couple of tennis courts on its southern flank near Guilford Road.
Behind the community center is the entrance to gurgling Bushy Dell Creek and a meandering, though somewhat steep path and dog run. Once the site of a hotel and spa in the late 1800s, the creek is shaded by redwoods and features a network of paths leading down the hill. The atmosphere is that of a dense forest, though visitors are just a block or two from nearby homes and Piedmont middle and high schools. The main trail runs for about a third of a mile, ending at the Piedmont school district's new sports complex. There you'll find an all-weather track and field. Nearby, there is another small climbing structure that is part of the Wildwood School playground.
The Piedmont Recreation Department grounds, at Magnolia and Hillside avenues, contain a small tot lot, a barbecue area with picnic tables, two basketball courts and four tennis courts. Nearby is the private Piedmont Swim Club facility, which includes a main pool along with a wading pool and intermediate pool open in warmer months. Though generally open only to members, the pool admits Piedmont residents who are not members every Friday except for the third week of each month, when it is available on Saturday. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 5 to 15. For membership and other information, call the swim club at (510) 655-5163.
Crocker Park, at the intersection of Crocker Avenue and Hampton Road, has the formal feel of an English manor garden. This small open space features a shaded lawn area and nicely tended beds of rhododendrons, camellias and ferns. A sculpture of a bear and her two cubs by noted artist Benny Bufano sits in the park's center. The park is intended for informal use, according to the city of Piedmont, and dogs must be kept on a leash. It's a lovely, quiet spot to read a book on a warm summer day.
Dracena Park, off Ricardo Avenue, is a hidden neighborhood gem that once was the site of a rock quarry. Deceptive in its size, the park starts out as a sloping strip of grass that leads to a small tot lot with benches. Beyond the tall green gates is a lovely lawn area with a ring of pathway that was dedicated by the city in 1996. At the far end of this "secret garden" are the steep vegetation-covered walls of the old quarry. Just north visitors will find a small stand of redwoods, a picnic table and the start of a dog run through a series of shaded paths leading up to Dracena Avenue.
Coaches' Field, off Moraga Avenue, features a field frequently used by local youth soccer and softball teams as well as a spiffy Skate Park that was opened in 2001. The Skate Park is supervised and has strict rules requiring helmets and other safety equipment. Located up a flight of steps behind the playing field, it's a fun place to visit even if you don't skateboard. Spectators can watch experienced and not-so-experienced skateboarders attempt gravity-defying stunts on specially designed concrete ramps and bowls. The Skate Park is open on Piedmont school days from 1 p.m. to dusk; on Saturdays and vacation days from 10 a.m. to dusk and on Sundays from noon to dusk. It is closed in the event of bad weather. To discourage vandals, the park also is shut down if there is any graffiti or vandalism.
Hampton Field, at the corner of Hampton Road and La Salle Avenue, has a softball field, a pair of tennis courts and six basketball hoops. It is open for use from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends. A pint-sized tot lot and sand area conveniently located a few feet away from the tennis courts, opening up possibilities for a family outing. In deference to nearby residents, the hours of the park are strictly enforced and a sign near the basketball court warns against amplified music and the use of profanity or any other inappropriate language or behavior. The new building near the tennis courts is the home of a preschool called Piedmont Cooperative Play School.
Linda Park, a strip of open space stretching from Linda Avenue to Oakland Avenue, is a good shortcut for San Francisco-bound commuters heading to the bus stop or casual-commuter pickup spot. There is a fenced-in dog run, open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Across the street and just below Beach School, are a tot lot, two tennis courts and a grass field.
The Oakland Municipal Rose Garden is tucked into a glen at the top of Jean Street just across the Piedmont city limits. Dedicated in 1937, the park is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and features hundreds of specimens of roses laid out in beds along a formal promenade. Though the garden has a somewhat tired feel, there are paths, a reflecting pool and a "Mother of the Year Walk" with plaques honoring the outstanding Oakland mother of the year dating back to 1954. There is a wedding terrace up a long flight of steps and past a cascading series of pools; the site can be used by reservation.
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Chris Cohn, Broker Associate
Pacific Union Real Estate
Specializing in homes in
the East Bay Area:
1900 Mountain Blvd., Oakland 94611