Staycations: Quick and inexpensive getaways

1. U-pick Chestnuts in the hills above Palo Alto. The chestnut picking season is very short. Skyline Chestnuts is located on an old chestnut farm. They've only been doing the u-pick for a few years, but the trees are over a hundred years old. They even recommend the best way to cook/prepare the chestnuts.

2. Fall Color Hikes. Sunol in the east bay (by Fremont and Pleasanton) has great fall colors along Alameda Creek.

3. The Fall Creek Unit of Henry Cowell State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains has incredible big-leaf maple trees around the Lime Kilns. There are also towering redwoods and a year around flowing creek.

4. Segue to wine country (not Napa) also being beautiful in the fall. In particular Hwy 12 and Arnold Dr. in Sonoma Valley. While in Sonoma stop into the smallest winery in the county: Kaz. Very friendly guy with a booming voice and quirky labels on the wine. He happily signs the bottles when you make a purchase.

5. While in Sonoma County, take a gentle, family-friendly bike ride. It's a paved and mostly car-free trail called the West County Trail that connects Sebastopol to Forestville. We recommend stopping half way for brunch or lunch in Graton at the Willow Wood Café.

6. Eco Friendly Christmas tree: It may be early, but it's still a good idea. Friends of the Urban forest sells live potable plants for your Christmas tree. They will deliver it to your house and pick it up after Christmas for free. The trees are then planted in the city. Here is a link to last year's Web site.

For more information, visit

Weekend Sherpa has become the new voice of authority on getting out and exploring the Bay Area and Northern California. They have grown purely by word of mouth and great local PR. Most of what they recommend is free or very low cost, which is helpful in this economy. They are not for the hard core mountain man: we are for the casual outdoor enthusiast that's just looking for something new and different. Muir Woods and Mount Diablo are great, but there is so much else out there!

About Brad Day:
Brad Day is a native Californian. He has spent his entire life getting out and exploring this great state. After a few years at an ad agency and then ad sales, he decided to strike out on his own. He realized that people are busy and they're only getting busier, but they still long to get outside and find those secret little spots. Since nobody was speaking to this, he decided that he would create a FREE weekly email and online publication that gave tips on the best things to do outside this weekend.

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