Suggestions for Family Reunion Picnic Site?
1. Suggestions for a location for a small group (8-10 adults) family reunion picnic with people coming from Santa Rosa, Santa Clara, Oakland, Vallejo & Sacramento. Dog-friendly. BBQ -friendly. Some of these family members have never met, so location (besides being drive-able for all) will serve as an ice-breaker.
2. I would be coming in from Sacramento, what should I pick up along the way? (Besides Acme Bread).
I would check out the East Bay Regional Parks -- they're very dog friendly and being in the East Bay, the weather tends to be a bit more reliable than the West Bay. My favorite hidden gem is Oyster Bay ( http://www.ebparks.org/parks/oyster_bay ). It's got good freeway access off 880, lovely large picnic areas with grills, sun or shade and some with stunning Bay views (my favorite is the last one on the trail) and it's never crowded. All of the park outside of the picnic areas is off-leash. The fact that it's hidden in an industrial area near the airport (great for watching planes) is definitely an ice breaker.
Both of the sites I recommend are "walk in" (a five-minute walk from the parking area) although the trail is paved. The Redwood Gate area of Redwood park also has several drive-up picnic areas. Note that while at Redwood there is technically a fee, I've never seen anyone at the entrance to collect it.