Guest Blog by Bay Area Resident Susanna Kalnes
Does Heaven really exist? I’m not sure — but if it does, I’m pretty sure what I experienced last Thursday was pretty darn close. With nature all around me, 80 degree temps on my skin, panoramic bay views, and a cold beer in my hand, I kicked off my first Coyote Nights adventure feeling like, “it doesn’t get any better than this.”
Taking a moment of solitude before joining all the festivities, I sat down on a bench by the Merchant Marine Memorial not far from the “Captain’s House” at Coyote Point Recreation Area. I turned my phone on silent, tucked it away in my pocket, took a deep breath of fresh air, and experienced a moment where I felt deeply connected with myself and all of the natural beauty that surrounded me. Indeed, I was in my “happy place” as I sat there listening to birds chirping and watching planes sore over the water as they approached SFO airport. Who knew watching airplanes land over the bay could be so incredibly meditative?
How to Socialize in Nature
After a few minutes of alone time, I walked over and joined a group of friendly people who all gathered for the Coyote Nights event at the Captain’s House. Hosted by the San Mateo County Parks Foundation and REI Co-op, these events are open to the public and take place every other Thursday in July and August. If I had to guess, this event drew about 100 area residents, which was a great size for mixing-and-mingling and getting to know your neighbors. If you are wondering how to socialize in the County of San Mateo, I highly recommend these events. I attended Coyote Nights solo but didn’t feel “alone” or bored for a single second.
San Mateo County Parks Foundation and REI Co-op have done a great job of organizing these events. Not only did they have wine, a trail mix bar and s’mores, but they also had a local rep from Devil’s Canyon Brewery on-site pouring beer and root beer. Between us, I’m not a huge beer fan, but this beer was so tasty and it really hit the spot on a hot summer night! I’m a changed woman.
REI Co-op had an incredibly welcoming and cozy outdoor lounge where guests could hang out and chat. And perhaps the most popular attraction of the night was hilariously funny Master Falconer Kenny Elvin who entertained the adults just as much as the kids. Kenny brought numerous birds with him — from pigeons and falcons to owls and kookaburras — and was not only educating the crowd with his jokes, but also showing off tricks and actively engaging the audience. It made me feel like a kid again as I watched in awe of these gorgeous birds and laughed (quite literally) with the kookaburra.
Inexpensive and Awesome
Will I be back to Coyote Nights? You better believe it! And folks, it’s only $10 (drinks included) for adults and free for kids. In fact, if you register as a member of San Mateo County Parks Foundation (starting at only $25 per year), all of these events are included for you. I’m so happy events like these exist to get you out in nature, connecting with like-minded people and enjoying a good laugh on a Thursday night. It definitely breaks up your week. And the best part? Each Coyote Nights event has a different theme and guest appearance, so there’s always something new to experience. There is one more this summer, on August 29. Check it out for yourself!