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Walnut Creek's Off-the-Plaza Finds

Walnut Creek is certainly posh, with the new and improved Broadway Plaza, starring tony tenants like Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Macy’s. But there’s more to Walnut Creek than the plaza. Hop on BART and then take The Free Ride to Locust Street, a more off-the-beaten path avenue. It’s full of shops, things to do, restaurants and watering holes to keep visitors entertained on their next trip into Diablo Country. Put Wine Walk 2016, Off the Grid, and First Wednesdays on your calendar for an extra reason to revisit Walnut Creek.

The Sights of Eastern Tennessee

Mention the town of Sevierville, Tenn., and most people are likely to respond with a quizzical look. Even though thousands of tourists visit the nearby Smoky Mountains and the Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, and most of them will stop in Sevierville only if they want to do some outlet shopping or grab a bite to eat in an upscale dining establishment. But if you just scratch the surface of what Sevierville has to offer, you’ll discover some amazing spots where you can commune with nature and come face-to-face with a variety of creatures both great and small.

Blind Tiger Looks As Good As It Tastes

Arlo Guthrie said you can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant, but he probably didn’t try to order massaman curry fries or an Ooon O’Neil cocktail. For those, you need to go to Blind Tiger, one of the best, most creative, and most affordable recent additions to Oakland’s dining scene. First, though, you have to find the literally underground place.

This Home Really IS a Castle

Aristocratic, storied, and more than a little Goth, the Hume Cloister at 2900 Buena Vista Way isn’t quite Downton Abbey, but Lady Mary—or any other self-respecting blue blood—would feel right at home in the castlelike fortress. It’s not like Europe and the United Kingdom are lacking for storied castles with medieval flair, but people from around the world are flocking to Berkeley with hopes of purchasing this singular and architecturally significant home.

Saved by a Remodel

When you love where you live but your house is a tight fit, you have two choices: move or expand. For Montclair residents Dave and Ann Sinclair, the former meant leaving Oakland, a scenario they quickly ruled out. The results of their remodel are beautiful.

The Faces of Snap Judgment

Snap Judgment is a public radio series that takes its listeners inside a wide spectrum of first-person stories and spotlights the defining moments in people’s lives. It’s a hipper, younger twist on the public-radio classic This American Life. Snap Judgment has an informality, a streetwise vitality, and original music that reflects an urban environment like Oakland. Since its broadcast premiere in 2009, the show has steadily built a national audience, and is now aired on 365 radio stations.

The $21 Million Home On Top of the World

Setting the record as the highest priced home sale in Alameda County’s history, a lavish 14,000-square-foot Berkeley hills mansion at 6889 Devon Way sold for a staggering $21 million earlier this year.

High-rises and Hutongs Define Beijing

Like a bowl of its intensely flavored noodles, Beijing is a tangle of contradictions. Wander the twisting lanes in a few hutongs to feel the timeless pulse of daily life.

The Appeal of Treasure Island

One day it will be a bridge to somewhere—Treasure Island, which beckons with a popular flea market, urban wineries, and other coming attractions. For now, the pedestrian-bike path stops short of Yerba Buena and Treasure islands, where attractions await. Caltrans expects closing the gap this summer.

A Bit of the Hamptons in Berkeley

Hidden in plain sight just below the summit of Grizzly Peak, the Colonial-inspired Hamptons-style mansion at 1530 Grizzly Peak Blvd. in Berkeley is an anomaly wrapped in an enigma. Nestled among ancient redwoods along the crest of the East Bay’s coastal range, this decidedly East Coast house evokes the Gatsby-esque era of leisure, affluence, and grandeur in an unexpected West Coast context.