Tilden Park website:

Have you ever gotten sidetracked from a destination and ended up in an even better situation? That happened to us a few weeks ago. During a particularly hot weekend, we decided to take the kidlets to the ocean for the day. We left the house on time but from there the day went askew. We got stuck in traffic (it took us over an hour just to get from Sacramento to past Davis), the kidlets were bickering non-stop in the backseat and Mr.S. was in Defcon 1 grumpy mode. At some point just outside of Berkeley, Mr.S. flipped his lid and threatened to just turn the car around and go home. Everyone was pissy, hungry and sick of being in the car. Not wanting to sit in the car for another hour, I poked some information into the search engine on my phone and pointed out to Mr.S. that we were about ten minutes from a lake in Berkeley. So we went searching for Lake Anza. Honestly, none of us knew what to expect but our derailment turned out to be a nice surprise. After meandering through a billion residential streets and going up a hill, we reached a small lake in what appeared to be a giant park. We later learned that Lake Anza is situated in the heart of Tilden Park, a regional park that that houses an 18 hole championship golf course, a merry-go-round, a miniature steam passenger railway, a tiny farm animal zoo and a gorgeous botanical garden. There's also tons of hiking trails, a picnic area and a campground. All in Berkeley, who knew?! We decided to park our butts down by the lake, eat our lunch and soak up some sunshine. As we ate our sandwiches, we watched a few brave souls jump into the lake (swimming is allowed and there are lifeguards on duty), a team of ducks paddling about and several happy dogs playing fetch (most areas of the park are dog friendly).

Afterwards, we ambled over to the Regional Parks Botanic Garden. We were pretty impressed with how well kept it was and that it was so incredibly peaceful. Even the kidlets quit quarreling and enjoyed the serenity of the nature surrounding them.

I'm thinking, Mr.S. and I might have to make a trip back out to this urban oasis soon, just the two of us for a day trip date. Next time, I'll pack a real picnic lunch- some crusty homemade bread, creamy cheese, fresh fruit preserves and a simple, refreshing melon salad like this one:

Honey-Mint Melon Salad


Mint (torn into small pieces)
Lime juice


1. Cut up your favorite melon into bite sized chunks.
I used this fantastic melon I purchased at Vierra Farms in West Sac. I think it's called a hami melon? Anyhow, it's an oval, yellow-skinned cantaloupe with green speckles and white veins. The melon itself is crisp and tastes sweet like a honeydew

2. Place the melon pieces in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add in fresh raspberries and mint. I used some apple mint.

3. Give it a squirt or two of lime juice. (If you want to get fancy, you can sprinkle in some finger lime pearls instead.)

4. Drizzle with honey. Toss. Serve. VoilĂ ! Simple as that.

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