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My name is Georgia Butterfield and I am Chairman of the Bay East Foundation Scholarship Committee.

Each year we offer scholarships to students who are planning to enter the field of Real Estate.

Bay East Association of REALTORS is offering scholarships to students

pursuing higher education degrees related to real estate.

Minimum qualifications to apply for a scholarship are:

*Primary residence within Alameda County

* GPA of 2.5 or higher

* Must currently be attending, or be enrolled for 2014-2015 at an accredited educational

institution with programs acceptable towards a bachelor's or higher degree.

Please visit the Bay East Foundation website to download a copy of the application.

Applications are due 11:59 PM - May 5, 2014.

For additional questions, please email Marie at Marieg@bayeast.org.

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PostHeaderIcon Travel

PostHeaderIcon Sutter Creek: A Gold Mine of Fun

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You might not expect to see women in bonnets and hoop skirts or horse-drawn carriages moving through the single main road into town, but you will step back in time when you walk down the classic "Main Street USA" of Sutter Creek, the historic city on Highway 49, known as "Jewel of the Mother Lode."

Named after John Sutter of gold-discovery fame in 1848, by the fall of 1849, gold fever had spread worldwide, setting off the gold rush. Now California is proudly proclaimed "The Golden State" for more than a single reason. Known for year-round sunshine and a rich and colorful history of gold-mining, the beginning came with the serendipitous finding of a few nuggets in the American River where a saw-mill was being built for John Sutter near Colma. Over the years, an estimated $2 billion in gold was mined.

Nestled in Amador County, amid the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, between Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe, the quaint hamlet of Sutter Creek and the delightful surrounding rural towns take pride in having maintained their original authentic presence.

Below the snow line and above the fog line at 1,200 feet elevation, many attractions draw the interest of year-round visitors. From the awesome oak-studded hillsides and back road trails for hiking and bicycle rides, to the city’s rich history, a tapestry of early American culture has been woven and preserved for residents and guests alike.

Here are ten things to do and see in Sutter Creek:


1. Take a walking tour: Becoming acquainted with the veritable "treasure trove" of places to go and things to see, is easy on the free, self-guided walking tour. This includes visits to 62 historic buildings and sites, including the Knight Foundry on the Register of Historic Places. Built in 1873, it is the last remaining water-powered foundry machine shop in the U.S. crafting specialty mining tools and machinery. Pick up a map at the Sutter Creek Visitor’s Center.



2. Snoop through the Sutter Creek Gold Mine: Daily one-hour tours depart for a trip underground on the Boss Buggy shuttle, with hard hats provided. Troughs are embellished with gold sprinkles for treasure seekers to try their luck at panning. A video provides the history of mining and geology of the area and a find in the gift shop may add a keepsake to your souvenir collection. The cost is $17.50 for adults and $11.50 for children.


3. Check out the Caverns: If you’re into even more adventure, you may want to check out the California Cavern State Historic Park or Black Chasm Cavern, where hourly guided tours take you into complete darkness, still coolness, a chance to try spelunking (the adventure of studying and researching caves and caverns, sleuthing for stalagmites and stalactites) and finally views of quartz rock walls threaded with brilliant veins of real gold.



4. Go Antique Shopping: I'm always looking for that stray piece of Adam pattern pink depression glass dinnerware, and did find the sugar bowl, to my delight. Some of my favorite places to ship are: Old West Antiques, Cozy Collectibles and Columbian Lady. Replete with fabulous finds, from the smallest of treasures, coins, hatpins or ink bottles, to fine vintage furniture, the possibilities are prolific.

5. Sleep tight at the Sutter Creek Inn: The first bed and breakfast in the West, the Sutter Creek Inn was built in 1859 before the Civil War. It’s a 17 -room, New England style paradigm of relaxed hospitality. Owned since 1966 by the Way family, matriarch, Jane resides on the property as well as her daughter, Lindsay, the property manager. My personal experience over the years has been genuinely "enchanted." The lush gardens, arbors, hidden alcoves, hammocks and myriad resting retreats outdoors are matched with an interior ambiance of complete relaxation and consideration for creature comforts.

Every room has a sitting area, outdoor patio or hideaway. Fireplaces, filled bookcases and swinging beds are some of the many options. Wake up hungry and ready for a breakfast of mouth-watering, hearty creations at 9 a.m. The menu is varied each day, including a bounty of fresh fruit platters, omelets, meats and home-baked breads and muffins. Requests in advance are always considered, such as chili eggs, artichoke casserole or berry bread. Robert Burdette, a returning guest over 40 years, reports "It’s like coming home, when I walk in the back porch.


6. Stop for ice cream: The Sutter Creek Ice Cream Emporium features fresh fudge and live ragtime piano in the ambiance of retro, small-town charm. Complete with a squeaky front screen door, counter stools, small table sets and memorabilia of a simpler by-gone era, the single-scoop waffle cone will surpass your greatest expectation.

7. Visit Amador City: A short drive away is Amador City, population 1200, where you will find an old-fashioned soda-fountain shop within view of an outdoor, miniature railroad display. On the corner of the diminutive street is an eclectic garden/decorative-finds shop, Bellflower. My finds have included a stained glass hanging, antique drawer knobs, a wooden bench and an iron plant stand.


8. Peruse the Monteverde General Store. A typical turn of the century emporium, the store that was built in 1898 houses a free museum staffed by volunteers, stocks vintage goods of a by-gone era and even has a pot-belly stove.

9. Enjoy some good food and wine: . There are 21 wineries in the area and the Shenandoah Valley Wine Country is within an 8-minute drive from Sutter Creek, offering many opportunities for tasting.


If you’ve worked up an appetite, consider an Italian-themed gourmet meal at Twisted Fork restaurant, located on Main Street in Sutter Creek in the historic American Exchange Hotel. The place has a classy, but casual atmosphere. On the lighter side, Back Roads Coffee Shop and Deli serves sumptuous salads, sandwiches, desserts and more. This is a friendly meeting place where I first encountered a dear 99 year old lady. This is a true story. She was with a group of younger "girls" discussing the quiche she had made that day. She drove up in a Mini Cooper convertible.


10. Take in the theater: The only remaining original former silent movie house in the region hosting live performances, concerts, film and dance events is the Sutter Creek Theatre. In the very heart of Main Street, featuring Caffe Intermezzo, as the name reflects, aficionados of the event may avail themselves of espresso, meals, delicacies and gelato. A wine bar is located adjacent to the theater.
Worth every minute of the short journeys to neighboring towns are the unique attractions each has to offer. Amador City, Jackson, Volcano, Plymouth, Fiddletown and Ione are all within a few minutes drive. A castle, a casino, historic churches and cemeteries, river rafting, skiing, golf, fishing, and many seasonal events offer adventure for every preference. –KRB

Karen Balch is a San Ramon writer, traveler and retired nurse. She writes about travel, health and community events for allnewsnoblues.com.

Last Updated (Wednesday, 22 December 2010 03:47)


PostHeaderIcon Hearst Castle: Europe Without the Plane Trip

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Take Highway 1 south all the way to Cambria and you will not miss San Simeon.  My husband and I stumbled upon this majestic place one summer afternoon when we decided to be spontaneous and just head down to Point Sur. When we went back to our car after a half-day hike, there was still daylight so we kept driving. Three hours later, the Hearst Castle was visible and it was breathtaking.

The castle opens as early as 8 a.m. for those wanting to avoid the crowd, the last tour is 8 p.m. during the summer months. A complimentary bus ride to and from the hilltop gives one a sweeping view of the vastness of Hearst’s property.

Five tours are offered, of these here are the ones I recommend:

If it is your first time visiting, take the Experience Tour which gives an overview of the main castle. The tour is about an hour and forty-five minutes, the easiest to follow and it includes a free ticket to the screening of “Hearst Castle Building the Dream,” a wonderfully crafted and informative video recounting Hearst’s early life and rise to fortune. Hearst and Julia Morgan spent countless hours trying to get everything right. 

If the specifications or the results were not to Hearst’s liking, he would have it torn down and redone. He had one area of the castle rebuilt because he was not satisfied with the way it looked after it was finished. The builders tore everything down costing Hearst to pay twice the original amount but he didn’t care, he wanted the castle to look exactly the way he wanted it to.

The Casa Grande reminds me of Spain while the interior was pretty much of Italian and French influence.  One of the things that impressed me were the gold plated windows. They were very ornately decorated and it reminded me of Versailles.

But for me, the highlight was the Neptune pool, where one can see the coastline and if it’s a clear day, all you need to do is close your eyes and take a minute or two to imagine what it must have been like to live in that era…And for a moment, you get to live in a dream world.

If you have time, take Tour 2. A visit to the upper floor will leave you amazed and in awe. It includes some of the most opulent  and historical pieces, such as the tapestries that hung in the rooms  and an impressive art collection. The Hearst Castle is a convergence of Hearst’s favorites from his travels to Europe.  Since I am partial to books, I think the library is a wonderful addition to the castle.

And if you want to be teleported to a different era, take Tour 5 – the Evening Tour.  The tour lasts a little more than 2 hours and the docents dress up in 1930s fashion, women wore coats with fur collars, hats and gloves. Being on this tour is like being in the 1930’s, mingling with Hearst and his guests. This is only offered about six out of twelve months and the months they hold the tours vary, so check before you go.

Not very many castles can be found in the US, this one is definitely an accomplishment.  A castle that’s tastefully put together by someone with extensive travel experience, good breeding, and excellent taste. 

Hearst accumulated the things in the castle with patience, he believed in saving and right timing to buy better quality materials, equipments, and art work that distinguish him from others. Luxury at its best.

My husband and I could not get enough of the castle; we were very happy that it was opened to the public, although Patty Hearst (Hearst’s granddaughter) still uses some parts of the castle.

To visit or learn more, their website is www.hearstcastle.org.

Celia Baula is a life science management consultant who loves to travel.  She believes in living life to the fullest everyday, responsibly. This is her first story for allnewsnoblues.com. Reach her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Last Updated (Friday, 03 June 2011 23:57)


PostHeaderIcon Discover Affordable Maui

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Maui has been the top island on Conde Nast Traveler's list of reader favorites 15 out of the last 16 years, and for good reason.  Maui is steeped in history, beauty and possesses the best beaches to be found anywhere.  Think you can't afford all this?  Think again.With new, well priced direct flights from the Bay Area and a little creative planning, you can have it all.  So give up the cheesy luaus, the packed tour buses and all the things that break the bank and experience the Maui of your dreams these ten ways:Rent a condoAfter staying in hotels for years all over the island, we rented a condo.  Our hosts, Leon and Gail own four units in Wailea and treat you like family.  At ours, "Treetop", we were greeted with an Aloha note on the door and were serenaded each morning by tropical birds.  It was bliss from there on out.  The condo not only supplied a kitchenette where we could enjoy our own breakfast and Kona coffee, but was stocked with beach chairs, umbrellas and a cooler.  Every day we packed a lunch with treats from a local farmers market and saved enough money to enjoy great dinners every night.www.waileaescape.comVisit UpcountryA trifecta of Upcountry towns, Makawao, Pukalani and Kula offer ocean breezes, unbelievable views and a feeling like being in Napa or Santa Barbara.  The main street in Makawao, once a cowboy town, is home to art galleries, restaurants and a bakery right out of the 1930s.  We watched a glass blower at work and strolled with home made lemonade.  Situated on the slopes of Haleakala, this area is the Maui of days gone by.Enjoy a cocktail at a Wailea resortWith all the money that could be saved by not having to pay for breakfast and lunch, put on your best Aloha shirt and splurge for a Mai Tai and appetizers at the Four Seasons or Grand Wailea Resort.  The service is top notch and for one evening you'll live like the other half lives.  There is nothing more romantic than sunset here.Go with Pacific Whale Foundation's Eco AdventuresThis organization's snorkel dives and whale watching are the best on the island.  Not your typical outing where you may see more flippers than fish, their environmental guides are knowledgeable and they can take you to locations off limits to other companies.  All profits are donated to local environmental groups, so not only do you have fun; you help preserve the underwater beauty for future generations.www.pacificwhale.orgFeel the manaTo Hawaiians, mana describes all manner of the supernatural or divine power.  Iao Valley is the place in Maui where this is most apparent.  Once a place of political importance and a site to honor the gods with sacrifices, the name means "supreme light" and is named in honor of the god Iao.  One of the most beautiful spots on the island, Iao Valley is four miles west of Wailuku.  Come very early or very late in the day as the light hitting the pinnacles at these hours give it an ethereal glow.Volunteer on vacationAn idea that's catching on worldwide, this is the most rewarding way to vacation.  It doesn't cost you a penny and you'll go home with great memories.  Volunteers may work with locals and visit off the beaten track locations.  Whether picking up trash on the beach or pulling invasive weeds, you'll see areas off limits to the general public.  A typical day consists of a one hour orientation and about three hours of work.  Call (808) 249-8811 (ext 1).Go stand up paddlingEasier and less taxing than surfing, stand up paddling has gained a huge following since it was invented about 60 years ago.  It's not complicated and in the early mornings when the wind is down, the sea is like glass.  Keep an eye out for sea turtles, colorful fish and the occasional monk seal while you enjoy this peaceful sport.  Instruction and rentals are available all over the island.Learn about MolokaiMaui is unique of all the Hawaiian Islands in that other islands are very close by and accessible.  A day trip to Molokai is an adventure you won't soon forget.  There are no stop lights and you can drive for miles without seeing a soul.  Take a mule ride to Kalaupapa National Historical Park, separated from the rest of the island by a 2,000 foot wall of green mountains.  In the late 1800s Father Damian treated victims of Hansen's disease (leprosy) here and in 2009 was canonized for his work.  The park contains over 300 historical buildings and 1000 grave markers.Head for a wineryTodeschi Winery is Maui's only vineyard and one of only two in the whole state.  Located 2,000 feet up the slopes of Haleakala, the main cottage dates from 1874.  There are wine tastings and you'll have the chance to bring home a very special Maui souvenir.Life's a beachWith over 80 beaches, Maui has one tailor made for you.  From sunning to sitting under a palm tree with a book, from snorkeling to body surfing, there is a beach that's just right.  Walk along the stretch of sand at Kaanapali or Big Beach, or climb over lava flows to a pristine hidden cove.  There are beaches for kids and sandcastles or secret areas that are clothing optional.  Just don't forget the sunscreen.For more great ideas on Maui:www.101thingstodo.comwww.visitmaui.comwww.maui-info.com-SEW

Last Updated (Friday, 14 June 2013 22:05)


PostHeaderIcon Tour the O'Neill Tao House in Danville

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At one time, street walkers, circus men, and ghosts lived in the hills above Danville, as characters from the mind of Eugene O’Neill, considered by many to be one of the greatest playwrights of all time.

O’Neill spent nearly his entire adult life looking for a home for his restless spirit where he could bring his elaborate characters to life. In 1937 he and his second wife, Carlotta, were living in a San Francisco hotel when they discovered a 158-acre ranch in Danville. Drawn to the hillside covered with native oak trees, the couple built their dream house. A long-time devotee of Eastern thought and concepts, and interested in Oriental art and furnishings, they called the house Tao, which means “the way” in Chinese.

O’Neill declared this his final home and refuge and it is here that he wrote his last six and most well known plays, including The Iceman Cometh, Long Days Journey Into Night and A Moon For The Misbegotten.

The only American playwright to ever win the Nobel Prize for Literature, O’Neill also received four Pulitzer Prizes for his work.  Tao became his muse, where he often locked himself away for days, creating his legendary and timeless masterpieces.  The couple spent time by the pool and with family dog, Blemie, and the author enjoyed walking the hills and the isolation and peace the home brought him.

Carlotta was in charge of decorating the house. Built in the Spanish Colonial architectural style, the residence featured blue ceilings, red doors and black tile floors.  Having sensitivity to bright lights, Carlotta kept the drapes drawn, which gave the house a mysterious and shadowy aura.  Although they entertained family and friends often, most visitors found the house gloomy and foreboding.  It was, in fact, the perfect haven for a playwright to create the unforgettable characters and emotional situations he brought to life on the stage.

The O’Neill’s lived in Tao until 1944, when his worsening depression and alcohol abuse forced them to return back east. 

Due to severe hand tremors brought on by his alcoholism and his continuing struggle with depression, O’Neill never completed another play after leaving his beloved Danville home. He died in a hotel room in Boston at age 65 in 1950.

In 1974, due to the efforts of Senator Alan Cranston and others, The Eugene O’Neill Foundation, Tao House, was formed.  The property was in danger of being torn down by a builder and with the help of many,  the ranch became the Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site in 1976, and the home has been restored to its original state.  It’s now run by the National Park Service,  whose mission is to perpetuate the writer’s vision, to provide programs for future artists and to keep alive the contribution to theater in America that O’Neill made.

Tours are available through the National Park.  In May, the park service announced No Reservations Saturdays, which includes tours at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Reservations are required for tours on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays & Sundays at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The tour takes a little more than 2 hours and is free. 
Access to Tao House is via a private, gated road. The park service provides a free shuttle van at the Museum of San Ramon Valley (Railroad Avenue at Prospect Street) for the short ride to the site.
For more information, call 925-838-0249 or go to www.eugeneoneill.org.  - SEW

Last Updated (Thursday, 27 January 2011 04:16)


PostHeaderIcon Have Your Own Palm Springs Weekend

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Whether you are into shopping, the outdoors, entertainment or just lounging by the pool, Palm Springs is your weekend destination.  A little more than an hour by plane (Alaska Airlines has three daily non-stops from SFO) or about seven hours by car, this desert community has something for everyone.

More than 100 years ago, Palm Springs was a sleepy village situated in what were once hallowed Indian canyons.  By the turn of the 20th Century, it was thought to be a place with restorative powers, due to the natural hot springs.  By the 1920’s, it was discovered by movie makers and the Hollywood elite.  Considered just far enough from Los Angeles to be out of the reach of tyrannical studio heads, movie stars flocked to the area to let down their hair and party like early rock stars.

As the era of Old Hollywood faded, the “Rat Pack,” headed by Frank Sinatra made it their own, building luxurious homes and backing the building of high end resorts and golf courses.  But by the 80s, Palm Springs had become a faded beauty, known for tacky tee-shirt shops and retirees.

Enter Sonny Bono.  The entertainer, restaurant entrepreneur and social activist ran for mayor and to everyone’s surprise, won the seat.  Bono worked hard to bring the charisma back to the area, starting the Palm Springs International Film Festival, helping to restore the city core and bringing media attention back to the desert community. Sadly, he was killed in a tragic ski accident in 1998 .
But his work and dreams live on.  Today, Palm Springs is a happening place, full of fascinating things to do, places to visit and of course that unbeatable weather.

Here’s how you can experience your own Palm Springs Weekend:


3:00 p.m.:  Take the mid-afternoon flight from SFO to PSP.  Check into the Ace Hotel, the newest and hippest hotel in the city.  You may see in its stark white walls and orange doors a faint resemblance to a 60’s Motel 6, which it once was.  The room rate varies by season, so check the website to make reservations.

6:00 p.m.:  Head to Tropicale in downtown PS for cocktails and dinner.  The outside patio is a great place to meet new friends while you enjoy the warm evening air.  The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating.  Serving a Hawaiian Fusion menu, entrees run from about $15 to $25.

10:00 p.m.:  Don’t miss a show of the Palm Springs Follies.  You may have to order tickets ahead of time as this is the most popular show in the city.  60 and 70 year old showgirls sing and dance their way through the music of the 1930s to 1950s.  Las Vegas has nothing on this extravaganza.


9:00 a.m.:  After breakfast at the Kings Highway at the Ace, rent scooters right out front and motor around the fascinating mid-century neighborhoods nearby.  Stop at the top of Palm Canyon Drive, and look south for a dead on view of Bob Hopes house, designed by famed architect John Lautner.

Noon:  Park your scooter in front of LOOK, for lunch.  The lime green and black and white décor makes for a perfect place to experience the ultimate PS vibe.  The food and service are the best with a covered patio to keep you out of the sun.  My favorite, a wrap called Nuts and Clucks runs just under $10.

2:00 p.m.:  Continue your scooter tour through the downtown neighborhoods of Las Palmas, The Movie Colony and Old Tuscany.  Get a map of the celebrity homes just about anywhere downtown so you don’t miss the pad where Elvis spent his honeymoon with Priscilla or the Peter Lawford house, where it’s said Marilyn Monroe secretly met with Bobby Kennedy.

6:00 p.m.:  Cool your tired body with a margarita and dinner at El Mirasol.  This come as you are Mexican restaurant attracts all types, from blue haired grandmas to families to in- the-know gay men.  Get there early, as it gets crowded.  Once you have your table, don’t hurry the meal.  The people-watching is as good as the food.  Their signature margarita is about $8, but the food itself is very inexpensive.

9:00 p.m.:  Stroll along the retro shops of north Palm Canyon.  Window shop, take in an art gallery opening or grab a gelato.


10:00 a.m.:  Right across from the Ace is Koffi, where you can sit by the fountain and enjoy the view of Mt. Jacinto.  Also be sure to check out Koffi downtown, where Sunday morning is an event with the grassy yard filled with morning people and their dogs.  Right next door is Just Fabulous, where you can buy gifts, cards and books on the history and homes of Palm Springs.

1:00 p.m.:  Palm Springs is famous for its consignment stores.  Two of the best are The Estate Sale and J & J Consignments.  Peruse everything from furniture to art to jewelry here.  If you see something you like, buy it.  By tomorrow, it may be gone.

4:00 p.m.:  As your afternoon draws to a close, take time to lounge by the pool.  The Ace pool area is usually rocking with a lively crowd on late Sunday afternoons.

7:00 p.m.:  Palm Springs is loaded with entertainment options.  From the McCallum Theatre to the Annenberg Theater to the many casinos in the area, there is always a great artist in town.  Recent concerts ran the gamut from Reba McIntyre to Earth, Wind and Fire to Adam Lambert.

Sadly, you’ll have to catch that Monday flight home.  But this is one weekend you won’t forget while you make notes of all the things still to do on your next visit.--SEW


Ace Hotel



El Mirasol
140 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs
760 323 0721

The Estate Sale

Palm Springs Follies

McCallum Theatre

Annenberg Theater

Last Updated (Saturday, 05 March 2011 17:59)

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