Residents of the East Bay’s Tri-Valley region know they’ve got it good when it comes to open space, but the casual visitor buzzing through on the Interstate 680 corridor might not realize the foresight and vision responsible for the region’s semi-rural character. Regional plans limiting urban sprawl and protecting agriculture are why vineyards, rather than houses, grow on Tri-Valley’s rolling hills, and why wide-open views are available even from densely populated areas.
Three adjacent valleys, tens of thousands of acres of parkland and five dog-friendly communities that retain their small-town feel make the Tri-Valley region a pleasure to visit with your pup. Start on Pleasanton’s tree-lined Main Street, where you’ll find numerous Fido-friendly places to enjoy a quick snack or a leisurely meal. Oasis Grille & Wine Lounge is truly an oasis, with dog-friendly patio seating in the shady rose garden area as well as at tables out front. New York Pizza and Tomo Sushi Bar & Grill are among other Main Street eateries that welcome canine guests at outdoor tables.
Don’t come to Tri-Valley without hiking shoes: You’ll want them for jaunts short and long in small preserves like 177-acre Acalanes Ridge Open Space or sprawling ones like Del Valle Regional Park, a 5,000 acre preserve with 67 miles of trails, a lake and many other amenities. At these and many other regional parks, your dog can hike leash-free so long as she’s sociable and has a dependable recall.
If you haven’t “tri’d” Tri-Valley wines, it’s time to make a toast to more than 40 wineries tucked into the rolling hills and dappled valleys of the Livermore Valley Wine Country. The region’s boutique labels are produced in small lots and not widely known, which makes it all the more fun to go exploring. One of our favorite places to visit with Fido is Garre Winery and Cafe, whose Italian roots are reflected in the restaurant’s Mediterranean lunch menu and the bocce courts just outside. Take a seat on the expansive patio (dogs welcome, of course) and ask the server to pair your dishes with wines made from grapes grown right outside the door. If this isn’t California wine heaven, we don’t know what is.