Saturday, April 26, 2014

California Road Trip, pt. 2: Urban Ore

Greetings, Traveler!

It's time to get back in the car at Vacaville's Rock Shop and continue driving west on Interstate 80. Notice how the flat valley browns give way to rolling hills so lush with live oak that you'll envy the grazing cattle. The air begins to cool. If you wish, you can now open your window and begin to scent the Pacific waving through the fumes of other cars' exhaust.

Just as the traffic for the Oakland/Bay Bridge split gets serious, thumb your nose at those bitter commuters and exit right at Berkley's own Ashby Ave.

Stay left on the ramp, then take a right on 9th Street, and an immediate right on Murray Street. (trust me, you won't have time to get lost). You'll see Urban Ore, or "the Ecopark" (it ain't a park; dress defensively), on your left at 900 Murray St.  Park in the lot.

Urban Ore
Yes, you can buy stuff or sell stuff, or just drop it off with them.

This is a huge for-profit salvage and second-hand shop, the kind of place that San Francisco friends speak of with awe, warn me that I need at least an hour-and-a-half to visit, and insist that The Happy Badger should create an exact replica of in Westchester, New York.

I arrive with two small, instantly charmed travelers and find that it's exactly what I expected, and more... and BIGGER.

Outside, you'll find tubs in white, black, and pastels; glass windows; granite counters; roof tiles; toilets; sinks (including that chic black salon one); sliding doors; and regular doors, which you'll find in a trailer helpfully labeled "Women's Collection."

 You'll find some conversation starters, too, like a lonely Wurlitzer or a filthy mid-century style armchair with great bones and tiny feet.

Prices were as I'd expect from a second-hand shop. No boutique pricing, thank goodness.

Anyway, have fun outside, but go inside! The warehouse is the jewel in this Sanford and Son paradise. Shhh, don't talk. Just walk around, take it all in....

I walked away with SIX huge bags of film reels, fairies sitting on teacups, old comics, rhinestone earrings, and I honestly forget what else for less than $30 dollars. Thanks, Johnny, for making a sweet deal even sweeter with that dimpled grin!
And I got the organic cotton, locally made bag! Look for it at a Westchester grocery store soon.
Photo of Urban Ore Canvas Bags for sale 

The ONLY complaint? The sports section. Seriously, Urban Ore folks, I have more clubs and skis in my basement now, and I don't play golf or ski.

Urban Ore, baby--doing it right!

Hours Mon – Sat 8:30-7; Sun 10- 7Closed: Christmas Day, New Years Day, Easter, Fourth of July, ThanksgivingReceiving closes daily at 5pm (see drop off).

Address900 Murray Street, Berkeley, CA 94710 


Copyright 2014, Tanya Monier 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

California Road Trip, pt 1: The Rock Shop in Vacaville

The Road of Life may one day take you along the wide, hot strip of Northern California highway between Sacramento and San Francisco called Interstate 80. If it does, get off that road at this spot you'll never see mentioned in a tour guide.

The Rock Shop

Officially known as Consolidated Rock & Mineral, this is by far my favorite place to take a break on the road to SF.
Heading West? Look to the right as you enter Vacaville. You're sure to see this sign.
True: it doesn't look like much from the outside, but inside it's like a low-budget museum you can touch and buy!

Fossilized schools of fish line the walls of the smaller rooms.
See that cast of a dinosaur at the bottom right? It has a smaller dino in its stomach.
A fine example of instant karma for the kids!
A mammoth's jawbone from Mainz, Germany, is displayed at preschooler eye level.

Boxes and boxes of stones, fossils, geodes, minerals, meteors, and shark teeth line every table in every room.
Can you find the non-geode human in this picture?
They even have old bottles and boxes, just in case you lean heavily towards archeology rather than paleontology or geology.
And did I mention the many displays of polished gems and finished jewelry?
All opals, all the time
If you want to know more about any item (and I mean it--ANY ITEM) ask Dennis, the manager, who is at once utterly laid back and utterly excited about the wonders stored in this warehouse.
The next time you're on 80, stop. Take the kids in. Take in the kid in you. Go.

The Rock Shop
Address: 5115 Quinn Rd, Vacaville, CA 95688 (take Leisure Town Road/Vaca Valley exit off of highway 80)
Phone:(707) 448-5525
Copyright 2014, Tanya Monier

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Where To Take The Excess: Washington Irving School

Did you ever dream of running away with the circus? I did, and for a brief moment, I even believed that my grandfather had flown on the flying trapeze (I was wrong, but it's still a great story).

The thing is, your clothes--the ones that your kid outgrew, or that you know you're never going to wear again--can help a kid join the circus...the Washington Irving Circus, that is.

Turns out that 5th graders particularly like lessons on clowning. Who knew?
Photo from The Daily Voice.

The sale. Photo credit: courtesy.
This is actually what the WI cafeteria looks like after the sale. Bring your best manners and prepare to rub elbows with Rivertown deal-seekers as you find something excellent, like new children's Gymboree or an ever-stylish Eileen Fisher. Photo courtesy of The Patch.

Clear out your closets (you know you need to, and you sure don't want to leave bags of clothing on the curb--this is why), support the coolest bunch of 5th graders on the East Coast, and get yourself a cheap thrill by finding something gorgeous and New-To-You.

Please drop off your clothing donations during the week of April 21st, in the Washington Irving School front hall. The sale itself is on Saturday, April 26, from 9am-1pm.

I got my donation there early. It looks like a crime scene now, but trust me, you will want what's in this bag....

Long Live The WI Circus!

Washington Irving School
103 South Broadway 
Tarrytown, NY 10591
School Hours 7:30 - 2:15
Main Office (Hours 7:30 - 3:30) 631-4442

Copyright 2014, Tanya Monier