Andrea Scher is a mom of two boys and a photographer, coach, and storyteller. She shared her favorite spots in Berkeley with me. You can learn more about the classes she teaches at SuperHero Life.
What's your favorite playground?
I started going to Totland when I was pregnant with my first son. I felt a bit like an imposter — hanging out at a playground before I even had a baby in my arms — but I loved seeing the raucous fun happening over there, the half-broken push toys strewn in a kaleidoscope of color. Six years later, I still love taking my kids there. There are always other kiddos to play with and parents to get to know. I've met some of my dearest mom friends at Totland! And since this parenting business can sometimes be isolating, it's great to go to a park that is always brimming with action. On a more practical note, my 2 year old is a bolter (he will run out of any open door he can find) so I need a park that is completely enclosed. These days, it's the only park I can go to with both of my boys and feel relaxed.
Give us a date night idea.
My fave date night is not a night at all! My husband and I recently escaped on a Sunday afternoon with our tennis rackets in hand. Even though neither of us have played in 20 years, we had a blast hitting the ball back and forth at the Live Oak courts. Then we walked to Lush (in Epicurious garden) and had their dreamy fresh mint chip ice cream. It was good old-fashioned fun. And I wasn't exhausted since it was 2pm!
What's your favorite birthday party venue?
Head over Heels in Emeryville. It's possible I loved this party more than my son. I swung on a trapeze into a pit of foam. What could be better?
What do you like to do on a Saturday morning? My 6-year old and I went through a garage sale phase recently. We'd wake up on Saturday morning, search through Craig's List and make a map of our conquests. Then we'd drive around and find toys, books, clothes, etc. It was a sweet date for us and we'd usually spend under five dollars.
What East Bay treasure should all parents know about? The Discover & Go Program! This program is a revelation for anyone on a budget. Get an Alameda County library card (at the Albany public library) and sign up for this program. It gives you access to free passes to museums all over the Bay Area. Free passes, people! We just went to the Discovery Museum last weekend and got the whole family in gratis.
What's your favorite family dinner out? Saul's. I have a child that is, um, picky. At sit-down restaurants, he will only eat french fries, and Saul's has some of the BEST french fries around.
Cactus or Picante?
Like I said, only fries. We are probably the only family in Berkeley history that has never dined at Cactus or Picante. We also love Gioia Pizza on Hopkins Street.
Tell us about an amazing class your child has taken.
Melita (of Octopretzel fame) is an incredible singer, songwriter and storyteller. We took classes at her home over and over again for years and loved every session. The format is similar to Music Together, but more varied. She incorporates puppets, dancing and great guitar songs. (Editor's note: Learn more about Melita's classes at her website.)
What's your favorite local toy store?
For used toys, I love Toys Go Round on Solano. For new toys and the quick birthday party gift, I adore Mr. Mopp's. Their staff is incredibly friendly and they do the most beautiful wrapping, complete with an origami creature on top of each package.
When you get alone time, what do you like to do?
When I want to connect to nature, my favorite spot is Lone Oak in Tilden Park. There is a trail that starts at the Lone Oak picnic area and winds its way up to Lake Anza. It's instant transport to a place that feels a bit like Narnia: gorgeous redwoods, a stream and an easy 45-minute round trip hike. Perfect in the middle of a workday from home. When I want to connect to my pre-kiddo self, I take myself out to Guerilla Cafe. After a Blue Bottle cappuccino, a bowl of their black bean soup and some time with my journal, I feel like a new person! You can also find me wandering aimlessly through Anthropologie on Fourth street. Even if I don't buy anything, I love getting inspired there.
Thank you for spending time with us, Andrea!