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Berkeley’s Best
Miscellaneous + shops

Berkeley Flea Market    
Ashby Ave./Adeline St., in BART parking lot.  Free. 
Now just a fraction of what it once was, stalls are few and far between.  Merchandise is mostly Asian and African imports, music and movies, costume jewelry, new and used clothing, some incense and body products, but little food. 

display table at Berkeley Flea Market in Berkeley, California
display table at Berkeley Flea Market

family camps

Most adults remember the good old days when they were kids and got to go away to summer camp, and most adults think those days are gone for good.  Well, they’re not.  A vacation at a family camp can bring it all back.”

Family camps provide a reasonably priced, organized vacation experience.  They are sponsored by city recreation departments, university alumni organizations, and private enterprise.  The city and private camps are open to anyone, but some university camps require a campus affiliation.

And it isn’t necessary to have children to attend.  One year at one camp, a couple was actually honeymooning!  And elderly couples whose children are grown occasionally attend, too.  Family reunions sometimes are held at a camp, and clubs and groups of friends often book in at the same time.

Fees usually include meal preparation and clean up, special programs for children, and recreation programs for everyone.  Activities can include river or pool swimming, hiking, fishing, volleyball, table tennis, badminton, hayrides, tournaments, campfires, crafts programs, songfests, tennis, and horseback riding.

Each camp has its own special appeal, but all offer an informal atmosphere where guests can really unwind.  Often more than half the guests return the following year.  Repeat guests and their camp friends tend to choose the same week each year.

For detailed rate information, itemization of facilities, session dates, and route directions, contact the camp reservation offices directly.  Reserve early to avoid disappointment.

Co-op Camp Sierra 
Located in a pine forest between Huntington & Shaver Lakes, 65 mi. NE of Fresno; administration located in Berkeley.

city-sponsored overnight camps

Berkeley Echo Lake Camp 
Located near Echo Lake and the vast Desolation Wilderness; administration located in Berkeley.
Berkeley Tuolumne Camp 
Located on the south fork of the Tuolumne River, near Yosemite National Park; sponsored by city of Berkeley Camps Office.  Burned in a 2013 fire, this camp has been rebuilt and was reopened in 2022. 

Lair of the Golden Bear-U.C. Berkeley family camp; image courtesy of venue
Lair of the Golden Bear-U.C. Berkeley family camp; image courtesy of venue

senior citizen resources

Operated by the city, these centers schedule many activities, including field trips, shopping trips, classes, lunches, and more. 
North Berkeley Senior Center 
1901 Hearst Ave.  Free parking lot.

Judge Henry Ramsey Jr. South Berkeley Senior Center 
2939 Ellis St. 

entrance to North Berkeley Senior Center in Berkeley, California
entrance to North Berkeley Senior Center in Berkeley, California

Ashby Village 
1821 Catalina Ave., in Thousand Oaks Baptist Church.  Age 50+.  Dues $75/year. 
Many seniors want to remain in their own home as they age.  This non-profit helps elderly residents help each other.  Members pay annual dues, and events are coordinated through a dedicated office.  The office provides information that advises members on resources for such things as home repairs workers, transportation, and technology support.  An example of special interest groups is a few that gather for walks and events, and several hearing and vision groups are led by members and volunteers who are skilled in the topic.  You do not have to be a member for many of the events. The event calendar is here.


ARTICLE:  Take a Tour in Berkeley

TCHO  Chocolate  
3100 San Pablo Ave., (enter factory at 1222 67th St.). 
Tour $15, includes a 25% discount in chocolate store.  Must be age 7+.  No animals. 
Everything I always wanted to know about chocolate was explained–from bean to bar–by the enthusiastic guide on the 90-minute TCHO chocolate-tasting and factory tour.  It was an especially nice way to spend a dreary day.  More description and images. 

chocolate-tasting set up at TCHO Chocolate factory in Berkeley, California
chocolate-tasting set up at TCHO Chocolate factory in Berkeley, California

unique shops

These shops are all one of a kind.  More shops are found sprinkled throughout this section, with a large concentration on Telegraph Avenue and Fourth Street.

ACCI Gallery
1652 Shattuck Ave. 
Representing the work of more than 100 artists, this is the oldest arts and crafts co-op west of the Mississippi.  It displays ceramics, jewelry, paintings, and more, and it is the go-to place to find the perfect gift. 

ACCI Gallery display in Berkeley, California
ACCI Gallery display

Eastern Classics  
1330 10th St.  
This shop is filled with antique and new Asian furniture–a lot of which is made in Shanghai–as well as books on origami and sweet potholders made of classic blue fabric

interior of Eastern Classics shop in Berkeley, California
interior of Eastern Classics shop

Hida Tool & Hardware  
1333 San Pablo Ave./Gilman Ave. 
This small specialty shop stocks exquisite Japanese tools for woodwork, gardens, Bonsai, and kitchens–everything from long-reach pruners to teapots. 

display at Hida Tool shop in Berkeley, California
display at Hida Tool shop

2982 Adeline St./Ashby Ave. 
My jaw dropped when I entered this immense emporium and saw the racks of ribbon, wall of scissors, and assortment of thimbles—to name just a few items.  The shop is literally filled to the rafters with antique lace clothing as well as contemporary tools and materials.  You will want some time to browse. 

Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles is adjacent, but it is not always open.  Displays include an extensive collection that focuses on lace, textiles, and costume, and it includes more than 12,000 items.  A non-profit, it is not always open.  Free.

interior of Lacis shop in Berkeley, California
interior of Lacis shop

Laura & Kiran 
1425 Fourth St./Page St. 
Lovely fabrics are available by the yard as well as already made up into pillows and table linens.  Indian textiles include recycled sarees made into quilts, scarves, and pillows.  Cute stuffed animals also make beautiful gifts for children.

Laura Kiran fabrics shop in Berkeley, California
Laura Kiran fabrics shop

Lhasa Karnak herb company  
2506 San  Pablo Ave./Dwight.  
This unusual shop opened on Earth Day, 1970, when they shared a small space with long-gone Shambhala Books.  After several moves, it has now taken over the entire space.  This shop offers “the largest selection and the highest quality herbs, essential oils, and other natural products to be found anywhere.  We specialize in Western medicinal herbs and culinary spices, but we have a nice collection of traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic herbs as well.”

interior of Lhasa Karnak Herb Company in Berkeley, California
interior of Lhasa Karnak Herb Company

The Potters’ Studio Gallery  
1221 8th St. 
Artists work in the studios here and display their items for sale in this gallery.  Semi-Annual Seconds Sales are held in August and December. 

ceramic orangatun at The Potters' Studio Gallery in Berkeley, California
ceramic orangatun at The Potters’ Studio Gallery

Urban Ore
900 Murray St.
This huge warehouse shop sells everything used, from books to recycled building materials. More description and images.

Your Basic Bird   
2940 College Ave./Ashby Ave., Elmwood. 
Even if you’re not in the market for a bird, this sweet shop offers a wonderful interactive browse.  A few other small animals are also sometimes available, including floppy-ear rabbits–my personal favorite

orange parrot at Your Basic Bird shop in Berkeley, California
orange parrot at Your Basic Bird shop

(www.berkeleyandbeyond2.com; copyright Carole Terwilliger Meyers)