Hikes, boozy art classes and other outings. (Because you don’t really have quarantine as an excuse anymore.)

(Image via Getty)

Well, we all remember Mother’s Day 2020, spent deep in the throes of lockdown. Restaurants were closed. Even taking that annual Mother’s Day walk through the neighborhood — you know the one — felt like plunging into the unknown.

Now, 365 days later, vaccinations are plentiful, restaurants are open and we know how to safely interact with our neighbors again.

Still, it’s a little overwhelming. At a time when all of us are contemplating the prospect of returning to offices and reuniting with people outside our quarantine bubble (you know, like, our collective reentrance into society) the act of deciding what to do to celebrate Mom this year can feel a bit Herculean. But not to worry — we’ve mapped out some solid local options that’ll meet the mark across COVID comfort levels.

Spring blooms along the Garden House at Filoli. (Image via Filoli Facebook page)

Wander the Gardens

We were pleased to hear that Palo Alto’s Elizabeth F. Gamble Historic Home & Garden has reopened to the public and relaunched its popular Second Saturday event. Registered guests will be welcomed back to the historic estate to spend a morning in a garden the property’s website assures us will be “bursting with flowers” — just in time for Mother’s Day, no less. Hoping to miss the brunch crowd? Looking to spend the day outside? Spend a scenic, peaceful Saturday with mom strolling through the grounds. You can register here.

Speaking of spending the day outside, we couldn’t compile a Mother’s Day list and not mention Filoli, whose grounds we’ll be thrilled to return to ourselves. Book your visit in advance, then spend the day admiring the stately home, sprawling grounds and even the onsite cafe, shop or exhibits Filoli boasts. Unsurprisingly, reservations for its afternoon teas are sold out through the month of May, but don’t despair: Filoli really is a place to be enjoyed with company nonetheless. Plus, a walk down its estate trail trumps that annual afternoon stroll around the neighborhood mom always settles for.

Four Seasons Mother’s Day Lunch

If you’ve still not quite arrived at a mindset that’d let you comfortably dine out again, the Four Seasons Hotel in East Palo Alto is offering a Mother’s Day Lunch To-Go. (It’s also offering dine-in options, if you’d so prefer.) Maybe you’d like to impress mom, but would prefer to do so from the comfort of home? No need to compromise on either, now: enjoy this very gourmet three-course meal wherever you choose. Still got some of that last stimulus check burning a hole in your pocket? Now’s the time to put it to good use: the cost runs $250 for four people and $350 for six.

(Image via Eventbrite)

Flower Bouquet Workshop

If, on the other hand, you’d like to get out of the house to celebrate mom, K Cafe Patisserie & Tea House is offering a Parent-Kid Workshop for Mother’s Day — and no, it’s not over Zoom. Participants will make a custom bouquet of flowers alongside their parents with the help of Minnie Thai, co-founder of San Jose’s United Wholesale Flowers. Flowers and supplies provided; kids under 12 are free. Tickets are available for $75 here.

Mother’s Mixology Brunch

More news from the in-person events log: Palo Alto mixologist experts City of Cocktail are hosting an in-person (!) Mother’s Day Mixology Brunch. Participants will learn how to make five different cocktails from a professional instructor and bartender, and enjoy lunch and a tour of the Bay Area’s largest mulberry farm. (Mulberries, if you weren’t aware, are a very useful cocktail ingredient.) Space is limited to 20 participants per class. Hey — it’s been a tough year, one that’s seen the sweatpants-clad Bay Area consume a lot of wine. If you’re vaccinated and ready to roll, why not celebrate mom with a proper cocktail and drinks out?

Ambling streams and towering trees at Purisima Creek. (Images via Yelp)

Visit the Redwoods

Prefer to avoid brunch mania? Take mom to see the Sequoias. We recently published a list of ten different local spots (complete with a map) where you can hike among the majestically towering trees, from Purisima Creek to Sam McDonald Park. The weather is looking good this weekend, so pack a picnic and tell mom to lace up her hiking boots.


While we’re on the subject of buying mom a drink, Santa Clara’s VinoArtist is hosting a Mother’s Day Special Event on Sunday. Three words: paint and sip. Your VIP ticket buys you a glass of wine, gourmet popcorn and all the paint supplies you could ever dream up, plus professional instruction. Additional wine and snacks are available for purchase. If you’ve got an artistically inclined mother — or a mother who believes she’s artistically inclined, anyway (love you, Mom) — look no further. Tickets are here.

Scenes from Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. (650 File Photos)

Tour the tidepools

Take mom to see a mollusk! Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach re-opened to the public just last week. And it’s still the best place to get a glimpse of sea stars, urchins, anemones and other aquatic entities. Who knows, you may even see an octopus. Make sure to hike the cypress grove up on the bluffs (still one of our fave places in the entire area code).

The tide chart for Mother’s Day has high tide at about 1 p.m., so early in the day (they open at 8 a.m.) and later in the afternoon is your best bet. Please observe all protocols….AND make sure Mom doesn’t fall in!

(650 file photo)

Farmers’ Markets galore

Maybe you and your mom are the casual type — the nothing fancy, no hassle, don’t-buy-me-anything kind. (Or maybe Mother’s Day just kind of sprung up on you. We’re not here to judge.) Need a casual activity to show your appreciation for Mom? Try a farmers’ market Sunday stroll. You can hit Mountain View’s Evelyn Avenue, or stop at the stalls on Cal Ave in Palo AltoThe Farmer’s Market in San Carlos on Variant Street is unique because you can wander into the nearby beer garden at Devil’s Canyon Brewery (or one of the many local wineries) for refreshments. Or, head to Belmont where the market is in the CalTrain lot off El Camino Real and O’Neill.

Bonus: Can’t get a reservation, or won’t see Mom this weekend? (Maybe you’re still bummed Filoli’s afternoon teas are sold out through May?) Alexander’s Patisserie in Mountain View is hosting afternoon teas that are open for reservations beginning next Friday, May 14. Already have your plans for this weekend nailed down? Well — nothing wrong with celebrating Mom twice. We’re pretty sure she’d back us up on this one.

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Sarah Klearman

East coast transplant working her way through all things Peninsula. On Twitter @SarahKlearman

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