25 January 2011

Oakland Marathon neighborhood tour - # 7 - Rockridge north

The Oakland Marathon goes north on College Avenue through the heart of the Rockridge district.

In my arbitrary way, I designated the area of College Avenue north of the Rockridge BART station  as "Rockrdge north", though as I remarked in the previous post, I've never heard anyone refer to a "Rockridge north" or a "Rockridge south".

The race itself does a U-turn at the intersection of College and Claremont Avenue (and two other smaller streets that make for a long traffic cycle) passing back under the BART station only to make an immediate left (east) turn that takes runners up, up, up into the Oakland hills.

The U-turn at the College & Claremont intersection is as close as the race comes to leaving Oakland's city limits, because the next crossstreet on College is Alcatraz Avenue where Berkeley begins.

Since 1990 I have spent a great many hours in Rockridge, in particular from the area just south of BART to the vicinity of the College/Claremont intersection.  It's one of Oakland's areas I know best, and one I always cite when I hear folks ragging on Oakland.

Zachary's Chicago Pizza
Two of my favorite dining places anywhere, are almost across the street from each other on College north of BART: Zachary's Chicago Pizza (the best deep-dish pizza) and Barclay's Restaurant & Pub (outstanding pub food and 30 craft beers on tap at any given time).

Oakland's oldest runnng store, Transports. is a block up from Barclay's, while a women's-oriented running store ("See Jane Run") is almost next door to Zachary's.  There are two Japanese restaurants, a Burmese restaurant, a couple of coffeehouses, a fine taqueria, a Great Harvest bakery, and plenty more I can't remember.  And there's the fun Claremont Diner (inexpensive high-quality American comfort food) with the coolest booths, and an electric train set overhead, which is right next door to The Graduate, a pleasant dive bar, situated at the complicated intersection of Claremont and College.  Oh, and a Trader Joe's in what was formerly a Lucky supermarket.

College Avenue Presbyterian Church
A Julia Morgan designed church is next door to the headquarters of Dreyer's Ice Cream.  (Julia Morgan is one of the most famous Bay Area architects, renowned among other things for her work on Hearst Castle.)  Dreyer's began in Oakland as a family owned ice cream company and is now the largest ice cream maker in the country.  It remains headquartered right on College Avenue in a three story building with an ice cream shop that belies the fact that the corporate offices are hidden in plain sight.

You can see all of this in the few blocks of College Avenue in Oakland stretching north from the Rockridge BART station to the Berkeley city limits.  And the residental side streets are among the most pleasant you'll find.

That ice cream parlor is Dreyer's headquarters?

No, but it's in the 3 story building that houses the ice cream parlor.

St. Albert Priori Chapel
On Chabot Road a crossstreet to College, is located the Dominican teaching facility, St. Albert Priori, which is affiliated with Berkeley's Graduate Theological Union.  The grounds are lovely.

This stately and immaculate Victorian sits across the street from St. Albert Priori.  It is a rare Victorian that lies in a neighborhood largely given over to Craftsman-era bungalows, and some more recent structures.

Oakland Marathon neighborhood tour - navigational links:
Backward to: Rockridge south

Forward to: Lake Temescal

Oakland Marathon website
East Bay Hills Project
(terrific website with historic photos of the railroad and highway development in the Oakland hills)

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