Summertime and the living is easy. Yeah, but given how much there is do this summer, figuring out how to make the most of the those sweet, warm weather days and nights is not so easy. So call up your calendar with one hand and page through our annual Hot Summer Guide with the other to peruse the multitude of shows, events, happenings and sunny-day doings. Summer passes quickly, but we're here to help make sure you make the most of what the North Bay has to offer. See you out there.
PlumpJack's 'Ultimate Wine Country Experience'
A trip to Napa Valley usually involves wine, food and, if you've got the time, a night or two in the high-thread-count sheets of a plush hotel or lodge. Because the PlumpJack Group is something of a vertically integrated company with wineries, restaurants, hotels and resorts they can offer an inclusive package that includes a little something from all the above. The company is offering resident tourists and out-of-area visitors a posh package they call the "ultimate wine country experience": a night in a "harvest cottage" at the Carneros Inn (complete with a fire pit, alfresco showers and a soaking tub for two), a private tour and tasting of either PlumpJack Winery, the LEED gold-certified CADE winery or the Stags Leap District's new Odette Estate Winery (which features 18,000 square feet of caves) and a six-course tasting menu for two at FARM restaurant.
The cost starts at $1,285 and runs on Wednesdays and Thursday from now through December, excluding August and September. So for a summer getaway, that means now through July.—Stett Holbrook
Matsuri Japanese Arts Festival Celebrate the art of Japan with clothing, food, crafts, music, dancing, origami, kamishibai theater, taiko drumming, tea presentations and more. May 24 at Juilliard Park. Downtown Santa Rosa. 11am–5pm. Free. www.sonomamatsuri.com.
Passport to Pinot The Russian River Valley is know for its excellent Pinot Noir, and this wine weekend celebrates that legacy with library tastings, food pairings and more. Over 30 wineries in the region open their doors for unlimited tasting on May 24–25. 11am to 4pm. $55. rrvw.org.
Oysterpalooza Celebrate the bivalve by eating everything oyster. Live music by Frankie Boots & the County Line, Mr. December, Church Marching Band and Arann Harris & the Farm Band makes this an event to remember. May 25 at Rocker Oysterfellers. 14415 Hwy. 1, Valley Ford. Noon. $15 (does not include food). 707.876.1983.
Healdsburg Jazz Festival Sound the trumpets and walk that bass right on up to Healdsburg for the 16th annual Healdsburg Jazz Festival. There are over a dozen concerts scheduled, and this year celebrates the great blues harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite, who will be playing with a host of great musicians like Elvin Bishop, Guy Davis, John Santos and Joshua Redman. Other highlights include Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes performing with Bobby Hutcherson, and Charles Lloyd and Zakir Hussain giving an interactive workshop. The festival closes with the Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band and the Claudia Villela Trio. Concerts take place May 30–June 8 at various locations in and around Healdsburg. Prices vary. 707.433.4633. www.healdsburgjazzfestival.org.
Friday Night Live The "little town that could" really does when it comes to its summer live music series. Hosted in conjunction with Cloverdale's farmers market, this season's lineup features Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys (May 30), Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys (June 13), Southern Culture on the Skids (June 27), Pacific Mambo Orchestra (July 25), Tab Benoit (Aug. 1), Eric Lindell (Aug. 22) and many other top–notch musical groups. May 30–Aug. 29 in Town Square. Main Street, Cloverdale. Market begins at 5:30pm, music starts at 6:30pm. Free. www.cloverdaleartsalliance.org.
Forestville Youth Park Celebrate this great park with plenty of barbecue, community spirit, a parade, a carnival and live music. May 31–June 1 at Forestville Youth Park. 7045 Mirabel Road, Forestville. Parade, Saturday at 10am; festival, Saturday–Sunday. Free. www.forestvilleyouthpark.org.
Marin Home & Garden Expo Exhibitors, lectures and demos showcase all things for house and yard in Marin County at this annual event sponsored by the Marin Builders Association. May 31–June 1 at the Marin Center Fairgrounds and Exhibit Hall. 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. Saturday, 10am–7pm; Sunday, 10am to 6pm. Free. 415.507.1537.
Art at the Source More than 160 artists in dozens of studios throughout west Sonoma County are open to the public during two weekends, May 31–June 1 and June 7–8. Celebrating its 20th anniversary. Maps can be found at www.artatthesource.org or at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 6780 Depot St., Sebastopol. Free. 707.829.4797.
Ten Things to Know About BottleRock Napa Valley 2014
1. New promoter L38, which bought the rights to BottleRock from the bankrupt BR Festivals group, is made up of local Napa investors who have pledged to make good on old debts.
2. Speaking of local, a full one-third of the bands playing this year are from the Bay Area, with nearly a dozen North Bay bands representing the local scene.
3. That said, festival headliner the Cure are making their first Northern California appearance in six years, and their only U.S. live date this year until September. This could be the last time Robert Smith's hair appears in Napa.
4. The festival this year is partnering up with local hotels and offering free shuttles to and from parking lots to help ease congestion. There will also be plenty of bicycle parking on hand.
5. Another step L38 is taking will mean that everyone needs to get there early. Shows end at 10pm, to accommodate noise complaints that followed last year's event.
6. The event is going to get a new layout. Stages and vendors will be placed in different areas throughout the expo center and grounds, to allow for quicker crowd flow and less cross noise between stages.
7. The best of the North Bay's local food scene, from Morimoto Napa to Three Twins Ice Cream, is on hand once again to offer bites and libations through the weekend. Craft beer gardens, wine cabanas and spirited full bars will also be dotted around the grounds.
8. Fewer VIP passes are being sold this year, but reportedly there are more perks that come with them. Sadly, a meet-and-greet with the Spin Doctors is not included. If you do want the meet-and-greet treatment, there are always Platinum level tickets for $3,000.
9. If you don't have cash to burn, discount tickets are becoming available, but you have to search them out on sites like Livingsocial.com. Prices on the festival's site are still fixed.
10. Bring the kids! Up to two children under eight are admitted at no charge with each ticketed adult. www.bottlerocknapavalley.com.—Charlie Swanson