by guest blogger Katherine
Why the arch? In simple terms: it is totally iconic! The Pleasanton arch cost more than $500 to make, it is about 20 feet long with letters that are 18 inches high and takes on the shape of a rolling hill. Though it is not a building, this sign has hung over the main street of Pleasanton for a little over 75 years now, serving as a reminder of civic pride and history to the citizens who live here. The idea to create this sign was thought up by the Pleasanton Women’s Improvement club in 1930, just two years later, in 1932, their dream became a reality.
The Pleasanton sign has served many purposes in its time, some of which include being an alert system for the police at a time when they did not have mobile receivers (it was one of the tallest standing objects in the town so it would flash bright lights and sound an alarm), and now being one of only five or six remaining gateway arches in the state of California! The Pleasanton sign stands out as antique and historic amongst many of the newer, more modern buildings that surround it. Many of those who live in Pleasanton claim it has a ‘homey feeling’.
It is a fabulous place to take an instagram picture, not only because of the fullness of its history and what it stands for, but also for a practical reason: it’s neon green! This means you can take your picture in the day when you’re shopping at Pleasanton’s cute downtown boutiques (ex. Prim, Therapy, etc.) or buying ice cream at one of the many adorable ice cream locations (Almare Gelato Italiano, the Meadowlark Dairy, etc.), OR once it is dark at night, say at the Wednesday night street party or after concert in the park, AND IT WILL STILL BE SEEN! This practicality makes it a very desirable Instagram photo location.
When posting your instagram picture next to the Pleasanton arch, you may want to incorporate the word ‘p-town’ into your caption. Why? Contrary to common belief, this is not just some slang way to say Pleasanton that has risen in the last couple years from the local teens. This description of the town actually dates back to World War II. During the war, as to not attract Japanese aircraft with many lights, Pleasanton only lit the ‘P’ on the arch, this, as you may have guessed, sparked many of the soldiers to nickname it ‘p-town’. With a photo by this priceless arch and a clever caption, the Pleasanton Arch has to be the MOST instagrammable location in the tri-valley.
Oh my gosh I'm trying really hard not to make squealing noises of joy right now but this just in: I was chosen as a featured photographer by The Twelfth Year!!! The Twelfth Year is a nationwide publication dedicated to excellence in senior portraiture. I am so incredibly honored to be featured; this is a huge professional accolade. Check out my interview and the images at The Twelfth Year http://thetwelfthyear.com/samantha-grant-photography-featured-fan-session/.
Guest Blogger Abbie reviews local frozen treat establishments.
Almare is a relatively new gelato shop at the far end of Main Street Pleasanton, taking the space that was once held by Cold Stone Creamery and then Tara's Organic Ice Cream so it has some big shoes to fill.
I've only been a few times but I've liked everything I've tried so far! The decor inside is super cute and European themed.
They also sell coffee drinks and fancy chocolate bars.
They have interesting flavors and my favorite so far is almond. No toppings but you don't need them with gelato.
The ice cream is creamy but not too thick and is super flavorful. The kids size is a generous portion and is only $2.95 and the rest of the sizes are reasonably priced.
It's quiet inside but that will change as it gets more popular! I will definitely be coming back. 8 out of 10 cones!
by guest blogger Katherine
For those who are athletically inclined, the Ridge is a priceless location for an instagram photo. This area is 5,271 acres and overlooks Pleasanton and the Livermore Valley.
You can get there by parking at the Augustin Bernal staging area at the top of the Golden Eagle estates neighborhood. Then you just start hiking.
There are a large variety of photo ops: ponds, oak trees, flowers, streams, big rocks, animals (if you’re lucky enough to capture one crawling around or flying by), sweeping views, etc.
People from all over the tri-valley, often accompanied by their dogs or horses, gather to hike, jog and bike its various twisting trails. Visiting the ridge is a great getaway from the ever ‘go-go-going’ of the San Francisco bay area. Although you may work up a not-so-picture-worthy sweat on the way up, the ridge has a large terrain of flat land at the top that overlooks many different vistas as you make your way around.
After some time investigating and admiring the area, you’ll be a little less red in the face, most likely glowing from the endorphins, and very ready to take your unforgettable instagram picture (if you haven’t already captured a fabulous one on your way up!).
Guest Blogger Abbie is reviewing various frozen treats available in Pleasanton.
Rita's is an ice and custard shop in downtown Pleasanton. It's relatively new so my visit with Samantha was my first time! The decor inside was nice and bright and the people working there were helpful and friendly. There were a lot of options so they helped me figure out what I wanted! I ended up getting the lemon ice because it was really hot outside and it sounded light and refreshing. And it was light and refreshing!
I got the regular size (the smallest one) and it was more than enough. I actually wasn't able to finish it and brought the rest home to my sister. It melted pretty fast but that was probably due to the extremely hot weather we've been having. It's really well priced; only $3 for a regular ice.
If you don't like the shaved ice, there's also custard, ice cream, ice cream sandwiches, and lots of different toppings.
It's on a pretty quiet side street but for it's relatively low prices it would still be a good place to go with friends. 6 out of 10 cones.
Rithu is one of my model brand reps and for her individual shoot we decided to go with a garden party theme; she styled her look with light flowey outfits, dewey makeup and a romantic undo. And I have to say, she totally knocked it out of the park...
We shot on location at Alden Lane Nursery which, if you've never been, is basically Disneyland for gardeners.
The people working there are so incredibly nice, too. I was a little worried because when we showed up I was carrying a ton of gear and the woman at the front asked us what was up. I explained that we were doing a photoshoot today and she said, "well have fun!" Whew!
And we did. I'm glad we started early. We got there right when it opened, before it got too hot.
To book *your* garden photoshoot get in touch with me by clicking the contact tab up at the top! Fall dates are filling fast.
by guest blogger Katherine
Wente Vineyards was established in 1895, just 19 years after Livermore was founded. The Wente area is broad and diverse: anybody can find a backdrop that they love.
This spot is lush and green, clean cut and classy, mature and humble… the list goes on and on.
During the day, you can pose in the shade or in the sun, any choice is bound to be beautiful. At night, the workers illuminate the area surrounding the winery with hanging bulbs that create a magical glow.
This is a stunning place to take, and instagram, a picture. I’d even go as far as to say it’s one of the BEST in the tai-valley.
Icicles is such an exciting new ice cream place in Pleasanton! What is special about icicles is that they make the ice cream right in front of you.
You pick your flavor and then they take the ice cream base, add the different ingredients for your flavor, and pour it over a cold metal plate. Then they mix up the ice cream base and ingredients as they freeze.
When the ice cream is all frozen they smooth it out into a rectangle and then take a spatula and roll the flattened ice cream into little ice cream rolls!
They put the rolls in a cup and then allow you to pick as many toppings as you want to top your ice cream rolls.
My favorite thing I've ordered here is the 'cereal killer' where they take the ice cream base and mix in a cereal of your choice, I picked Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I thought of everything I've tried here this had the most flavor. Other favorites include the cookie butter and rocky road. They even have dairy free options for vegan friends!
Icicles has quite the topping selection that includes everything found at typical yogurt shops but they have one special thing: toasted marshmallows. They roast them right in front of you!
This is a really fun place to go with friends but it's so cool to get to watch ice cream being made! It's also a plus to bring friends so you can entertain each other while you wait in what tends to always be a line the stretches out the door. Also if you bring friends I recommend you split the ice cream! It costs $7 which is pricey for ice cream, even though you get a good amount and unlimited toppings. If you split with a friend, you get a more reasonable serving of ice cream and the staff is super willing to split your sundae and allows both parties to pick their own toppings and choose as many you want! So in conclusion, this ice cream is pretty expensive and is on the rich side, so I definitely consider it a special occasion place. 6 out of 10 cones!
I am a high school senior portrait photographer in the SF east bay area.