Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kids' Eye View of Piedmont and Montclair

Kids' Eye View of Piedmont and Montclair

Welcome to a Kids' Eye View of Piedmont and Montclair. Piedmont has a tiny commercial district; we travel to Lake Short Drive, Piedmont Avenue, College Avenue and Montclair in Oakland for quick trips and little treats. My 10- and 12-year old sons Corey and Jasper identified these as their favorite summertime haunts:

Awesome Burritos
Baja Taqueria on nearby Piedmont Avenue serves great take-out or eat-in burritos, including a range of kids' specials (they come with sodas). What the kids don't know is that on Tuesday evenings the joint converts to Bluegrass Central for the East Bay's informal jam sessions. Sometimes the music spills out to the laundromat next door.

Bonfare Candy Counter
the center of Piedmont, especially for those attending Havens Elementary School next door, is the Bonfare Market, and most especially its candy counter. At lunchtime, the deli area is jammed with high school students looking for sandwiches (the counter of the gas station across the street and the nearby stairs to the Piedmont Community Church seem to compete for the best-lunchspot designation for high schoolers).

La Bonbon
A quick chocolate treat at La Bonbon is hard to pass up when strolling along Mountain Blvd. in the Montclair District of Oakland, just above the town of Piedmont. Several other chocolate shops have popped up in Montclair and along College Avenue in Berkeley and Oakland.

Coaches Playfield
The beginning of soccer season is always a highlight. Coaches Playfield host baseball, soccer, the Boy Scout Council's holiday tree lot, and Piedmont's skateboard park (above the player's heads in the distance).

Dr. Comics and Mr. Games
Back on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland, Dr. Comics and Mr. Games offers comics of all genres, games, 24-sided dice, Magic cards, and, for the chosen few, the Roleplay Workshop upstairs (see http://www.roleplay-workshop.com/), a locally developed roleplay game.

Fenton's Creamery
Still on Piedmont Avenue, near a great Italian restaurant and the bicycle shop is Fenton's Creamery, an East Bay tradition. Owned for generations by Piedmonters, Fenton's suffered a serious fire several years ago, and came back stronger than ever. This month's Myrtle's Creation is every young person's dream treat.

Piedmont Theater
Though March of the Penguins has been a big hit with the kids this summer, the Theater's usual fare tends towards independent films and the artier stuff (note that Broken Flowers occupies two of the three screen in the photo). Blockbusters show up at the Grand Lake Theater, just over the border from Piedmont in another direction, or at the many theaters in Emeryville, downtown Oakland and Berkeley.

Music Lessons
The Piedmont Piano Company and Harmony Road Music School at the top of Piedmont Avenue offer guitar, piano, saxophone and other music lessons for kids of all ages, along with general music classes for toddlers.

The Malt Shop-Montclair
Stuffed with treats more than any other site in this file is The Malt Shop in Montclair, across from Jamba Juice. The shop carries many old–time candies along with an assortment of ice cream flavors and—malts.

The Toy Shop
Also in Montclair is the Toy Shop. My sons are just about too old for the Toy Shop's wide variety of offerings, but it's a reliable place for last minute birthday party gifts, when Toys r Us in Emeryvills is just too far to go.

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