SUMMER TOUR STOP 7: KENSINGTON
I have to admit, I had never heard of Kensington. I wanted to spend a little more time exploring the East Bay, so I answered a Craigslist ad marked Berkeley. Turns out Kensington is charming unincorporated hills above Berkeley and El Cerrito.
My first days there actually reminded me a little of living in Europe. Sparse antique furniture in my room, hardwood floors, street names like Wellsly, Kingston, and Coventry. At the end of the street, a wine shop with Dutch doors sat adjacent a cafe filled with Cadbury products, digestive biscuits, and every flavor of Twinnings tea.
Look at a map of Kensington and you'll see Public Paths connecting streets. I think I managed to walk each one and they range from wide paved steps to overgrown dirt trails between fences you'd miss if Google Maps wasn't insisting it exists. They all seem to deliver awesome views of the bay.
Anyone who knows Kensington told me: the farmer's market is where it's at. They were right and I regretted I only had two free Sundays. The first day I visited was warm and lively and ended in a beautiful bowl of scallops and meyer lemon linguine. The second time was cold and ominous with strong winds knocking over displays and threatening power outages and fires. Sure enough, that night, I came home to a dark house and packed a "Go Bag" just in case. It was a reality check that outside of the city, we're much more vulnerable during fire season.
Coming home to find an eerily dark neighborhood. Fire season in the hills.