This is the second post in our series about ME time, sponsored by domain.ME.
As all parents know, most hours of the day are quickly sucked up being at work, driving kids around, preparing food, and cleaning people who have no intrinsic motivation on the personal hygiene front. Escaping those responsibilities and hanging out with girlfriends is my favorite way to recharge, if I may use that cliched expression.
Here are my picks for places to meet up with friends in the East Bay.
1. A walk. Double-dipping on exercise and socializing, a hike also allows us to escape into the natural beauty of the East Bay hills. A very gentle option is the path from the Inspiration Point parking lot in Tilden Park. A hike that will kick your heart-rate up immediately is located at the top of Dwight Way in Berkeley, where it dead ends above the Cal campus. Walk up up up behind the running track. The view is worth it, and the distance flies by when I'm jabbering with a friend. Bonus points if there's time for coffee or a stop at The Cheeseboard afterward.
2. Breakfast. Waiting around with friends to be seated at a restaurant on an overcast Bay Area morning takes me right back to the 90s, when I had no soccer games or gymnastics classes to get to on Saturdays. I love Aunt Mary's Cafe on Telegraph in the Temescal District and La Note in Downtown Berkeley if you want to feel a little fancy.
3. The cinema. I don't usually pick a movie as an activity to do with friends because you don't get to talk as much as a dinner date, but having just seen Pitch Perfect 2 with my college roommate and her wife at the Landmark theater in Downtown Berkeley, I recommend one of the theaters where you arrive early, get drinks or snacks, and sit on couches. We had so much fun! The couch and cocktail combo is available at the 21+ room at Landmark's Shattuck Cinemas; the Rialto theater in El Cerrito; and The New Parkway in Oakland, where pizza or hummus plates can be delivered to your seats.
4. Just dessert. Sometimes we parents cannot escape dinner duties at home, but asking my husband to cover bedtime so I can go out from 8 to 9 pm and have a treat with a friend works well. Warm chocolate cake at Fonda is my fave.
5. Mom's Night Out dinners. My new mom support group, now the mothers of a bunch of ten-year olds, still has dinner together four or five times a year. We've done everything from casual Thai food at Cha-am in the Gourmet Ghetto to trendier small plates at Toast in Rockridge; fancy pizza at Pizzaiolo in Temescal; and splurgier evenings at Corso on Shattuck. It pretty much doesn't matter where we go as long as we're together and no one has to do the dishes at the end of the night.
This post was inspired by “ME Day,” an international day of enjoyment created by domain.ME, celebrated annually on March 16th. This day promotes the values of diversity, tolerance and freedom, as well as self-appreciation, work/life balance, and the importance of taking care of ourselves.
Thanks again to Domain.ME for sponsoring 510Families.com today; all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. We'll be sharing more in this series: places for ME time with your mom or sister and ME time for a date so stay tuned! (ICYMI: Heather's round-up of her favorite East Bay ME time spots for herself.)