Mother's Day means something different to each person. For some, it's a day to celebrate their mom, for others it's a day to honor strong female figures or a dad who does it all.
Regardless of personal feelings about the day, Mother's Day is coming on Sunday, and in addition to (or instead of) reserving a table for morning brunch and buying a bouquet of flowers or other gift, take some time and explore local offerings of food, flowers and fun to help create and celebrate you or someone special in your life this weekend.
For those looking to skip the standard Mother's Day brunch and take mom out -- or grab a few friends -- and turn the midmorning meal into a day trip to forage for food at any number of U-pick locations throughout nearby Brentwood. While the weather will dictate the exact opening date, cherry and strawberry fields tend to open around Mother's Day.
Maggiore Ranch at 3017 Walnut Blvd. expects to be open Mother's Day weekend with dark cherry varieties (Coral Champagne, Brooks, Lapins and Bing).
"It's such a great Mother's Day activity because cherry picking is something you can do all together," Maggiore Ranch owner Mark Maggiore said. "Or, if mom needs a day off, cherry picking is an activity the kids go out for the day with family and bring mom some of their freshly picked cherries to eat together.
"(U-pick is) a great way to learn and teach children about where their food comes from while having such a fun time," Maggiore added. "Our cherries are delicious fresh off the tree but also great for baking, which just opens the door for many activities to do as a family.
Bacchini's Fruit Tree, at 2010 Walnut Blvd., also expects its ranches to be open this first week of May, making it an ideal location for Mother's Day U-pick activities.
Bacchini's Fruit Tree is home to white peaches, Kiowa blackberries, sweet cherries, white Rainier cherries, olallieberries, pluots, Santa Rosa plums, white nectarines, apricots, loquats and walnuts, with various fruits becoming available throughout the spring and summer months.
Before trekking out to a farm or ranch, check the website and social media of each U-pick location to ensure fruit picking is open and the desired fruits are available for picking. Each farm has its own set of rules for participating. Some ranches may require advance reservations and others may continue to enforce certain COVID-19 restrictions.
It's one thing to buy a bouquet, it's another to get out and experience the beauty of the Tri-Valley. Although picking wildflowers is prohibited, there are plenty of trails throughout the region that will be open for strolling this weekend.
Whether it's viewing golden poppy, western blue-eyed grass, lupine, popcorn flower, mule ears, fiddleneck, buttercups and hedge nettle at Sunol Regional Wildlife Preserve to the south or flowers including American vetch, arroyo lupine, baby blue eyes, beaked hawksbeard and bentflower fiddleneck at LasTrampas Regional Wildlife Preserve in San Ramon to the north, there's no better way to celebrate Mother's Day than to enjoy the mild May weather outdoors.
According to East Bay Regional Parks public information specialist Jen Vanya, wildflowers along the Ohlone Wilderness Trail can be seen from Rocky Ridge starting south of Livermore at Del Valle Regional Park.
Outside the trail, expect to see gully lupin, mules ear, yarrow, fiddleneck, Ithuriel's spear, brodiaea, blow wives, buttercups and yellow sanickle.
Pleasanton Ridge off Foothill Road should have checkerbloom, common star lily, vetch, western blue-eyed grass, fiesta flower, California buttercup, California golden violet, California poppy, Henderson's shooting star, lupin and rosy sand crocus in bloom while Livermore's Morgan Territory Regional Preserve Coyote Trail will showcase larkspur, Mount Diablo fairy-lantern, globe lily, mules ear and collinsia heterophylla.
Dublin Hills Regional Open Space Preserve, with a trail staging area located east of the intersection of Dublin Boulevard and Marshall Canyon Drive, will have flowers including big scale balsam root, black mustard, bristly linanthus and California burclover and California four o'clock blooming.
"Enjoy a rich diversity of wildflowers in bloom from March through May in many of the East Bay Regional Parks," Vanya said. "Experiencing the beauty of nature first-hand is a memorable way to spend time with friends and family."
Vanya said other regional parks with impressive wildflower displays include: Black Diamond Mines (Antioch), Briones (Martinez), Coyote Hills (Fremont) and Vargas Plateau (Fremont).
A wildflower guide is available at www.ebparks.org. Hours and fees to visit each park are also available on the East Bay Regional Park District website.
It doesn't matter if a child is 6 or 60, parents enjoy receiving handcrafted pieces from them.
Wine and paint nights have been popular ways for people to pretend they're Piacsso, but for a more subtle approach, get out with mom or take yourself out to get creative -- and a little messy -- at a painting event or paint-your-own ceramic studio.
Livermore's Pinot's Palette at 153 S L St., is offering six paint classes between Friday and Saturday, as well as a full calendar of classes throughout the month of May. Instructions are provided throughout the painting process making every painting worthy of hanging.
"Celebrating Mother's Day at Pinot's Palette is like no other Mother's Day celebration," owner Leslie Warren said. "Our Mother's Day gives families and friends a way to interact and be creative all while making memories with mom. We play music throughout the class, people sing and laugh. It truly is better than brunch. (We'll be serving a) complimentary sweet treat for all guests."
Alternately, for homebound individuals and those who might still be extra COVID-cautious, Pinot's Palette offers painting kits with written or video instructions to create paintings in privacy. Kits can be purchased online and picked up at the studio. Kits require a day or two to prepare and may not be available in time for painting at home on Sunday. If this option is preferred, call ahead of time to see if the studio can accommodate the request.
"It's all about the experience of love, laughter and making memories," Warren said, noting appetizers, snacks and beverages -- non-alcoholic, mixed drinks and wine and beer from local wineries and breweries -- are available for purchase at any painting event.
A second Pinot's Palette operates in Danville, 410 Sycamore Valley Road West, but Warren does not own that location.
If alternate painting surfaces are preferred, get creative at Créatif, 5480 Sunol Blvd., Suite 2, to paint a variety of surfaces. Everything from ceramics to wood and rocks to canvas are available to paint as a walk-in. Pick a favorite, don an apron and begin painting something special, and if inspiration fails to strike, use the studio's tablets to view a photo gallery and step-by-step video instructions for certain projects.
If painting pottery is preferred, consider visiting Color Me Mine in Pleasanton, 310 Main St. Unit B, to paint pottery. Painted pottery pieces, however, are not available for taking home on the day they're painted. Pieces must dry, be glazed and placed in the kiln for finishing. Completed projects are typically available within two weeks of being painted, making this an ideal project to complete together this Mother's Day.
Regardless of how the celebration occurs, do something different this weekend. Visit wildflowers, get creative or pick cherries for a family-friendly, fun event that can turn into a delicious way to end the day.