What comes to mind when you think of Mountain View? Google or Silicon Valley, maybe, but I bet you don’t think of this.
But first let’s back up a bit.
Mustafa and I decided this past Saturday to take a spontaneous 24-hour trip down to Mountain View, a quick 50-minute drive from our apartment and a place that is quickly becoming a favorite weekend getaway.
After making a very quick decision on Saturday morning to go to Mountain View, spurred by the fact that we had a free night at Hotel Avante courtesy of Hotel.com’s stay at 10 hotels and get the 11th one free deal. Not a bad deal if you ask me, especially if you stay at hotels as often as we do.
We left at 11 am on Saturday and came back at noon on Sunday, but this brief change of scenery and staying overnight in a hotel was just the ideal reset we both needed after a hectic workweek.
Hotel Avante was our ideal retreat for the night, which was modern and welcoming. The small touches like the perfumed lobby and toys like the Rubik’s Cube and Etch-A-Sketch in every room, made us feel right at home. Plus it’s hard to beat the hot breakfast that’s included. Definitely our go-to hotel in the area.
I convinced Mustafa to brave the weekend crowds in Mitsuwa Marketplace in neighboring San Jose, to pick up some picnic essentials: pre-packaged sushi, a beef donburi bowl and mochi before hightailing it to the Shoreline Lake.
I have to admit I never would have known about this place, unless Mustafa suggested we head outdoors and I discovered this gem just a few minutes from Google Headquarters.
We had our picnic on one of the spacious lawns (where I proceeded to get bitten by an army of mysterious bugs that is still making my life a miserable itchy hell as I type), and then took a leisurely walk along the water. It reminded me of Boston’s Charles River with the sailboats and the lakeside paths were reminiscent of the Esplanade. God, I miss Boston sometimes.
We are creatures of habit, so we went back to Esther’s German Bakery and I ordered the bratwurst plate, with sauerkraut that makes my heart sing.
Afterwards we wandered around downtown Mountain View, and got dessert at Rocket Fizz, a local candy store that we easily spent 15 minutes inspecting all the sweet treats, before settling on saltwater taffy (me) and Cadbury chocolate (him).
Of course, it’s hard to forget the fact that you are in the heart of Silicon Valley, with an excessive amount of Teslas on the road and a group of tech guys discussing their next move over breakfast in the morning. But to me this is what makes the South Bay thrilling, being in the heart of all this innovation. I mean I’m not sure what I’d do without Google in all its various guises in my daily life, no joke.
The next morning we got up and drove the hour back up to the East Bay, just a bit more relaxed than the day before.