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Take date night outside: June's long evenings call for more than dinner and a movie.

EAST BAY

TAKE A HIKE Above a long blue stretch of Carquinez Strait, the 1.5-mile Franklin Ridge Loop Trail traces a wildflower dotted ridge, where grasses sway in the breeze and raptors soar overhead. From the Nejedly Staging Area on Carquinez Scenic Dr. in Martinez, follow the California Riding and Hiking Trail for 0.3 mile, then turn left on the Franklin Ridge Loop Trail and circle back around; ebparks.org

STOP FOR DINNER

You'll be ready for veggie lasagna or steak and potatoes at downtown Martinez's Haute Stuff. $$; closed Sun; 925/229-0521.

-ANN MARIE BROWN

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NORTH BAY

TAKE A HIKE Fernfilled, redwood-and madrone-shaded Dawn Falls Trail (1.6 miles round-trip) takes you from Larkspur into Baltimore Canyon and up up up to--surprise--Dawn Falls, a perfect turnaround point. There's no way to get lost; simply follow Larkspur Creek. Trail starts on Madrone Ave., off Magnolia Ave., Larkspur; marinopenspace.org

STOP FOR DINNER

Go for one of Bruce Hill's all-local-ingredients pizzas (try the housemade sausage), followed by some Straus Family Creamery soft-serve ice cream, at Pizzeria Picco in Larkspur. $; 415/945-8900.

-AMY WOLF

PENINSULA

TAKE A HIKE At the top of Skyline Boulevard, with views stretching to the ocean, is Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve, where a 3.4-mile loop cuts through craggy oaks and across open hillsides illuminated by the evening light. From parking lot on Alpine Rd. at Skyline Blvd., hike the Bay Area Ridge Trail to Borel Hill, then to Mindego Trail, Ancient Oaks Trail, and back to Bay Area Ridge Trail; openspace.org

STOP FOR DINNER

Cruise down the hill into Woodside for burgers and beers at the low-key Little Store. $$; closed Sun; 650/851-8110.

-RACHEL LEVIN
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Title Annotation:California nature trails and restaurants
Author:Levin, Rachel
Publication:Sunset
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Jun 1, 2009
Words:283
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