Best lunchtime meditation
Lunchtimes are increasingly shorter in our 24/7 world. Many employees try to catch up on phone calls, email and other workplace duties while scarfing down their Taco Bell meal. But if your lunchtime is sacred time, pack a brown-bag lunch and head to the lush grounds of Rancho San Rafael Park. Take a moment to listen to the birds chirp while you savor your PB&J sandwich. Contemplate your place in the world as you follow the maze of the Labyrinth Garden, and stop to smell the flowers in bloom during the spring and summer months. Watch the occasional cottontail rabbit dash away as a hungry eagle circles above. Become one with all the park’s flora and fauna. Then take that serenity with you as you head back to the voice mail, email and paperwork that await you at work.
Best place to ask for extra napkins
The BBQ House, 463 Roberts St., isn’t a fancy place. The tables are plain, the chairs of the bar-frame-and-plastic-seat variety, the space tiny. You may have to nudge past a few people waiting in line once you get your food. But carry it to your table, sit down, and dig in to pulled pork, beef brisket, ribs or chicken. It’s cooked Oakland-style, which means a tasty spice rub, slow cooking and a healthy slathering of sauce. Slop it all up with cornbread and sides of baked beans, cole slaw and ears of corn. Screw the napkins, and lick your fingers.
Best place for a romantic wedding on the cheap
Few would argue that the Hawaiian Islands have many beautiful sites for a wedding, but not many engaged couples can afford the costs of holding their nuptials there. Couples that call the Reno-Tahoe area their home, however, are fortunate enough to live next to one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to have a picture-perfect wedding on the beach—you just need enough to cover the wedding license, the preacher and a few bottles of champagne, or sparkling cider if you prefer. Nevada Beach Campground and Picnic Area, Elks Point Road, Zephyr Cove, is an excellent setting for a casual, yet romantic, wedding, especially on a warm, summer evening. There’s lots of sand, sapphire blue water and towering pine trees. And as the sun starts to set, it creates a beautiful glow on the surrounding mountains—second only to the glow of the blushing bride.