South Bay Mother’s Day Events and Ideas
By Kathy Chin Leong

We bring Mother’s Day to you in April because you must plan ahead. Take a look at these unique ideas that will make mom feel special.

Outdoor stuff

Great Strides Walk at Bonfante Gardens, Gilroy.
Sat. May 7, 8:30 a.m. The Gilroy theme park partners with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for the second annual walk of this kind. Cystic Fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system By participating on this day, guests will help in the efforts of finding a cure. Participants receive a continental breakfast and complimentary admission to Bonfante Gardens valid the day of the walk. For registration, visit or call 408-723-3525 .

Rancho San Antonio Park, Los Altos
. On weekends, the model airplane hobbiests dominate the bluffs of this popular park, but there’s plenty of room to run, hike, and stroll along this 165-acre park. See the farm animals up close and enjoy spectacular views of the South Bay. Cristo Rey Drive, , 650/691-1200.

Stanford Dish Hike, Palo Alto.
This paved walking trail near Stanford University is great for baby strollers and small kids. Cows and squirrels and chipmonks make this an interesting and fun walk even for the whiniest of children. Entrance at Stanford Ave., and Junipero Serra Blvd., , 650/926-0275.

Filoli Gardens, Woodside
. The splendor of Filoli takes you to another place and time as you wander through this magnificent estate and garden. Events throughout the year take place here, and you can sign up for teas, classes, and docent tours or wander the grounds yourself. From May 5 to May 8, the estate will be hosting its annual Filoli Flower Show. 86 Canada Rd., , 650/364-8300.

Window shopping

Santana Row, San Jose.
The newest shopping Mecca in the South Bay pays homage to designers such as Gucci, Burberry, and others. This central street offers a pantheon of eateries from Indian to sushi to English tea to Italian fare and more. Sundays feature a farmer’s market. The multi-plex cinema right on the corner means that you can spend an entire day shopping, eating, and being entertained. Outdoor musicians come out every weekend. Kids can enjoy playing the giant chess on the central plaza, too. Corner of S. Winchester and Stevens Creek Blvd., , 408/551-4600.

Santa Cruz Avenue, Los Gatos
. Gotta love the "city of the cats." Boutique clothing stores, kitchen stores including Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table, Gap and Kids’s Gap, Border’s Books, coffee shops, Swenson’s Ice Cream, day spas, and more. Enter on Santa Cruz near College Ave., , 408/354-9300.

Making stuff

Pottery Painting Studios.
Every town now has its paint-your-own pottery place where you can reserve space to be a Picasso or Monet for a day. You and your loved ones can come here and make a memory in your honor. A few studios include: Petroglyphs, Los Gatos, 408/395-6278; Terra Mia, San Francisco, 415/642-9911; and All Fired Up, Burlingame, 650/342-1755.

Knitting class.
How about a gift certificate to learn how to knit? You can purchase them at popular knitting stores. ArtFibers, San Francisco, 888/326-1112; Knitter’s Studio, Menlo Park, 650/322-9200; Knitting Arts, Saratoga, 408/869-5010.

Bead store to make a necklace for mom or with mom.
Spend time together for a day or get mom a gift certificate to make a bead necklace. Kiowa Rose, Fremont, 510/304-3323; The Bead Shop, Palo Alto, 650/328-7925; Beadissimo, San Francisco, 415/282-2323.

Food, glorious food

Cocoanut Grove Mother’s Day Brunch, Santa Cruz.
If its fresh air and ocean views you crave, go to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk to enjoy Mother’s Day Brunch from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wait at least one hour after eating before boarding the boardwalk’s newest attraction, The Double Shot, a spine-tingling ride that catapults victims 125 feet into the air. Brunch cost: $36 adults, $28 seniors 60 and over, and $12 for kids ages 4-12. 400 Beach St., , or call 831/423-5590.

San Jose Fairmont Hotel, San Jose.
Downtown will be a great venue for Mother’s Day with the San Jose Museum of Art next door and The Tech Museum of Innovation right across the street from this upscale hotel. Mother’s Day brunch at the hotel’s Fountain Restaurant is destined to be a spectacular buffet at $39. And, at the same hotel there’s the $54 buffet with even more of a spread and entertainment at the Imperial Ballroom. Reserve in advance and call ahead for child prices. Food is served from 10-3 p.m. , 408/998-1900.

Outdoor guided experiences

Ballooning in Sonoma and Napa
. Go high above the sky on the wind’s highway, have breakfast, and enjoy the day above the clouds together. Rates start at $200 and up. Napa Valley Aloft, 1/800-944-4408, and Above the Wine Country Ballooning, 707/538-7359.

Horseback riding
. On a beautiful day like this, take mom to Carmel or Half Moon Bay to soak in the outdoor rays via horseback. For reservations call Carmel Valley Trail Rides, 831/625-2140 or in Half Moon Bay, Sea Horse Ranch at 650/726-2362.

Whale watching.
The Monterey coast is home to humpbacks, gray and blue whales, and that’s exactly what you’ll see on the Monterey Whale Watch 4-hour boating excursion. For $41 per adult and $33 per child (ages 4-12), families will have an opportunity to see these great mammals in their natural habitat. 84 Fisherman’s Wharf, , 831/375-4658.

Over-the-top overnighters

Ventana Inn Photography Safari, Big Sur.
The delights of the breathtaking Big Sur coastline can be yours with a two-night stay at the Ventana Inn, bundled with a photography experience for two. Called the "Create Your Own Big Sur Photo Masterpiece," this $1598 weekend includes a two-hour excursion with a photographer, dinner, two spa treatments, breakfast, wine reception, yoga sessions, and a 16 x 24-inch archival fine art print of an image captured during the session. Highway One, , 800/628-6500.

Mercedes-Benz Luxury Weekend at the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay.
This $550 package at the Ritz-Carlton resort includes a one-night stay, plus unlimited mileage and a full tank of gas for a new Mercedes-Benz. Drive this sportscar for the duration of your stay, and enjoy the glories of the California coast. One Miramontes Pt., , 650/712-7000.

Hotel Vitale Kayaking Package, San Francisco.
Get outside and paddle! The newest hotel in the city features a two-night package featuring a four-hour kayaking excursion for two, plus two baseball caps starting at $299 per night and up. The hotel also features other Vitality Weekends- special packages for spa weekends, gourmet cooking, and walking tours of San Francisco. 8 Mission St., , 415/278-3700.

Carneros Inn & Spa, Napa.
Sandwiched between Sonoma and Napa, the newest hotel member to the Napa Valley is actually a series of metal-roofed bungalows. Coming here is like retreating to the farmland, but don’t let the outside of these dorm-like cottages fool you. The interiors of plasma mounted TVs, modern bedding and multiple-head showers make this place a luxurious getaway. Set amid vineyards, the site also features an outdoor infinity pool, its own spa and exclusive restaurant for inn guests only. Rates begin at $350. 4048 Sonoma Highway, , 707/299-4900.


Editor Kathy Chin Leong is looking forward to Mother's Day now that she knows that the Bay Area has so many opportunities for fun.

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