Dr. Michael Lindsay and Matt Schueller are the creators and couple behind the blog and Instagram account @michaelandmatt, where they showcase LGBTQ+ travel tips, incredible destinations, and advice from local experts. The pair recently traveled to Northern California to enjoy the amazing wineries and restaurants of the Tri-Valley area, Berkeley, and Tiburon. We spoke to Matt about their travels, and he shared trip highlights and recommendations below.
1. Tell us about your stay in Tri-Valley, a region encompassing wineries, craft breweries, and countless hiking trails, just 35 miles east of San Francisco. What stood out about your time there?
Honestly, we had not really heard about the Tri-Valley area and weren’t aware of it as a travel destination prior to getting ready to visit. Once we arrived, we dove into a culinary experience trying out some of the most popular dishes from Sabio on Main.
On our first morning in the area, we explored the Pleasanton Farmers’ Market. It was a great way to see the quaint but bustling downtown area. The town, in a word, is charming. I compared it a bit to walking through Mary Poppins, as the western architecture, arrangement of flower pots, and small-town atmosphere gives the feeling of being transported back in time.
The highlight of the trip was definitely our e-bike tour with Pedego through Tri-Valley’s wine country. We went from winery to winery, trying exquisite varieties that made us question why we hadn’t been there before. Darcie Kent Vineyards surprised us with home-run wines one after the other, and we even purchased a few bottles to take home!
Reaching the top of Mount Diablo was a real treat to end our stay. The drive up took a total of 45 minutes on scenic and windy roads. We were amazed once we broke through the marine layer of clouds midway up the mountain and were able to see for miles in every direction.
2. What were the best things you ate—or drank—during your visit?
We loved the assortment of charcuterie at Murrieta’s Well in Livermore. The wine selections were paired perfectly with local and artisanal selections of meats and cheeses. It was delicious, and exactly what we needed after a couple of hours of sipping and biking through wine country. We also greatly enjoyed brunch at Beer Baron Whiskey Bar and Kitchen. The chilaquiles are seriously good, and their cocktails are everything we ever could ask for, and more!
3. What were the highlights of your visit to Berkeley?
Berkeley blew our minds. Who knew that just across the water from San Francisco, a city so vibrant and distinctly its own would make us to want to return and stay longer than just a couple of days? The highlight of the trip was experiencing Berkeley’s wine block. In the city’s northwest corner, there are an assortment of old factory buildings that have been renovated by impressive wineries and contemporary restaurants. As we grabbed a few glasses to enjoy at various wineries, alfresco, we saw that this was exactly what locals in Berkeley love to do on any given sunny day. It felt uniquely homey and made for some fun memories to take home with us.
4. You had the chance to tour one of Berkeley’s best-kept secrets—UC Berkeley’s Botanical Garden. What was it like?
We were amazed by the sheer amount of plant species at UC Berkeley’s Botanical Garden. We felt like we were stepping into a zoo for plants. Not only was it incredibly educational to wander among the plant life, but we were also fascinated by the microclimates along the hillside that have developed due to minor changes in elevation, moisture, and sunlight. Our favorite area of the gardens was the heavily wooded Asian plants section, which boasted a pristine Japanese Garden that flowed into bamboo groves.
5. What about Tiburon?
The seafood at Sam’s Anchor Cafe surpassed every expectation. We loved our meal there so much that we topped it off by trying three different desserts! There are no regrets. We also loved discovering that we could rent kayaks and paddle around the area to really take in the sights.
6. Take us through your favorite “couple’s moment” of the trip.
My favorite couple’s moment was when we had some time to just take in the view from the Hippie Tree. This viewpoint in Tiburon looks over the bay with the San Francisco skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge hovering in the distance. It is absolutely gorgeous, and with the giant tree that backs the viewpoint, there’s a romance about it. We sat on the large swing for two that hangs on the tree and just marveled at the beautiful view. It was a great moment, and I wish we could have just stayed there a bit longer.
7. What outdoor activities stood out to you during your trip?
Hiking around Mount Diablo is definitely a strenuous and exciting activity. For those who are feeling adventurous, that activity sticks out. The Pedego e-bike tour was the best way to see the Tri-Valley countryside while tasting some incredible wines. I think that was one of my favorite activities from the entire trip.
8. What was the most romantic destination you visited?
Tiburon is romantic, there’s no way around it. It’s cute, it’s quaint, it has an old-timey harbor vibe about it, and it’s the perfect spot for a romantic getaway. Having a candlelit dinner on the pier at Sam’s Anchor Cafe, staring across the water at the San Francisco skyline with the bay all lit up, it’s a great time with someone you love.
9. Which photo best captures your experience overall and why?
I think the photo of us holding hands and looking over Tiburon and the Bay Area best captures our trip. Not only are we able to see a great distance, with Berkeley and the Tri-Valley area implied behind the fog of San Francisco, but the picture to me shows an aspect of discovery. We’re looking in the distance at something completely new that we haven’t seen before, and this trip was a lot like that—seeing and experiencing things we really didn’t know anything about. We tried some new places, and we fell in love with the area.