Contra Costa County Offers Easy Access to All Kinds of Adventures

By Jessica Mozo on April 28, 2011 at 2:37 pm EST

PHOTO CREDIT: Wes Aldridge

One of the best things about living in Concord‚ residents will tell you‚ is its convenient location. In almost no time‚ you can be sipping wine in Napa Valley‚ shopping in San Francisco or zooming down the ski slopes in the Sierras.

“My wife and son and I often hop in the car and go to Napa and Sonoma valleys‚” says Ron Wetter‚ community and government relations manager for Kaiser Permanente‚ a not-for-profit‚ managed care organization based in Oakland‚ Calif. “Both are great wine regions with quaint towns‚ so it’s a no-brainer.”

The coast is also nearby‚ offering water activities and charming seaside towns just waiting to be explored.

“Half Moon Bay has great walking beaches and a very quaint downtown with boutique shopping and nice wineries as well‚” Wetter says. “You can spend a whole day there hanging out at old bookstores and shops‚ then have a great dinner and be home by 8 o’clock.”

Other intriguing coastal cities include Monterey and Carmel‚ located a couple of hours south of Concord.

“There’s a fantastic‚ world-class aquarium in Monterey‚ and if you’re a history buff‚ Monterey has great things about early California history‚” Wetter adds. “Carmel is a wonderful town with a great coastal ambiance. It’s a mecca for upscale dining‚ and there are some great inns and bed-and-breakfasts there.”

In Carmel‚ there’s even a good chance you’ll run into movie star Clint Eastwood.

“He was mayor there in the ’80s. He loves Carmel and has filmed a movie there‚” Wetter says. “My wife and I have run into him twice. He’s very approachable and friendly.”

Jeff Kasper‚ president and chief innovation officer of ServiceQuality.US and a resident of Concord for 43 years‚ says the No. 1 place to visit is the Delta.

“There’s thousands of miles of waterway and tons of stuff to do – Jet Skiing‚ water-skiing‚ boating‚” Kasper says. “It’s also fun to spend time up on Mount Diablo. There are great hiking trails‚ a cool museum at the top and the best views in the area.”

The sights of San Francisco are only a stone’s throw away via car or BART.

“My wife and I make a day of going to the clothing outlets in San Francisco‚ and the Caribbean Zone there is one of my favorite restaurants‚” Kasper says. “We also love Sausalito‚ and Stinson Beach is a great place to get barbecued oysters and spend the day.”

Thirty minutes south of Concord‚ the towns of Pleasanton and Livermore offer relaxing getaways.

“I love walking up and down the streets of those towns because it’s like going back in time 60 years‚” Wetter says. “Livermore has some nice wineries‚ and you can have a cup of coffee and walk through antique stores.”

For a weekend retreat‚ Lake Tahoe is a three-hour drive from Concord‚ and Reno’s restaurants and casinos are nearby.

“One of my family’s traditions is going to the Apple Hill Festival outside of Placerville‚ which is an hour-and-a-half away‚” Wetter says. “It’s in September‚ and they have about 30 apple ranches there. You can buy apple pies‚ see arts and crafts and enjoy the beautiful fall colors.”

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