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New York Times: What’s doing in the Napa Valley

This morning’s New York Times spotlights Chrisopher Hall’s report on what’s doing in the Napa Valley.

When Robert Louis Stevenson visited the Napa Valley in 1880 and reported on winemakers’ early attempts to create “bottled poetry,” he made a bold prediction. “The smack of Californian earth shall linger on the palate of your grandson,” he wrote to his imagined reader in his book “The Silverado Squatters.”

Friday’s Escapes section of the Times had another article by R.W. Apple, Jr. — this time about the great homes in Berkeley designed by Bernard Maybeck and others.

Another ˜ too little known, at least beyond northern California ˜ is the architect Bernard Maybeck, a precursor of the modern movement like Otto Wagner in Vienna, Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Glasgow, Victor Horta in Brussels and the brothers Charles and Henry Greene in Pasadena. A Whitmanesque mystic who loved costumes and pageantry, he exhorted his colleagues: “Let us stand on tiptoes, forgetting the nearer things and grasp what we may.”

Much that he saw and so brilliantly succeeded in grasping still stands today in Berkeley, on and near the campus of the University of California and in the hills above it, in the Northside neighborhood where Maybeck himself lived for most of his long and active life (1862-1957). More than anyone, he made Berkeley one of the nation’s architectural treasure-troves.

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