NAPA VALLEY MUSEUM
All aboard for the model train exhibit
Put on your conductor's hat and head to the Napa Valley Museum. There you will find a first-rate exhibit of HO gauge trains and model railroad layouts from Coastal Valley Lines, paired with a collection of railroad memorabilia.
The exhibit occupies 1,500 square feet, in which model trains climb steep grades, shunt freight cars and take side trips onto branch lines. Trains stop at a variety of stations and industries along their routes.
"HO gauge is the most popular railroad scale, so named because it is half of the size of O gauge, the scale of the once very popular Lionel train sets," said a museum spokesman.
The small-scale model trains have their roots in the 1930s, when "Depression-era budgets had modelers searching for a way to operate model trains in tight quarters," said the spokesman. "Today about 74 percent of modelers are in HO."
The Napa Valley Museum is at 55 Presidents Circle, Yountville; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. The model train exhibit runs through Dec. 16.
Admission is $5 for adults, $2.50 for children 15 and younger. Free admission for everyone Dec. 8. For more information: (707) 944-0500, www.napavalleymuseum.org.
SAN MATEO COUNTY
A Highway 1 escape
San Mateo County is always a solid day-trip destination. We like to cruise the 25-mile strip of Highway 1 between Montara (south of San Francisco) and Pescadero (north of Santa Cruz), promoted as "Coastside" in the handout literature. In between is Half Moon Bay, the largest of the towns along Coastside.
Stop at Pillar Point Harbor at 5:30 p.m. Saturday to catch 50 recreational and fishing boats decked out in holiday lights.
The occasion is the annual Boat Decorating Contest, which means judging and prizes. The Princeton Seafood Company will pour hot apple cider; caroling will be involved.
Look for the action at No. 9 Johnson Pier in the harbor at Princeton-by-the-Sea; (650) 726-5727.
Farther along Highway 1 will be the Harley Farms Christmas Faire in Pescadero, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and next Sunday.
Look for cakes, jams, chutneys, sauces and cheeses made by local growers. Also: handmade textiles and garden salves, beeswax candles, sea glass jewelry, pottery and more. Children will enjoy hands-on gift-making workshops. Find it at 205 North St., Pescadero; (650) 879-0480, www.harleyfarms.com.
In celebration of the Dungeness crab season, San Francisco's famed Fisherman's Wharf will host its annual Crab Fest, noon to 3 p.m. next Sunday.
Given the city's Barbary Coast history, the fest "will hail the delectable crustacean with three hours of eating, drinking and celebrating." Featured will be crab dishes by chefs from Fisherman's Wharf restaurants, cooking demonstrations and exhibits.
The feasting will be on the third floor of Waterfront Terraces, 145 Jefferson St. Cost is $25 in advance or $30 at the door. For tickets and more information: www.sfcrabfest. eventbrite.com, www.visitfishermanswharf.com, (415) 693-0583.
Travel club potluck
Bring a dessert to share and enjoy an evening of socializing and conversation with fellow travelers at the No Reservations Travel Club's annual dessert potluck, 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Arcade Library Community Room, 2443 Marconi Ave., Sacramento. Everyone is invited to this free event. Information: (916) 457-1426, www.noreservationstravelclub.blogspot.com.