Make Time for Millsmont
Visit Mills College, experience the life aquatic, and enjoy some treats.
Photos by Pat Mazzera
Near the convergence of Highway 13 and Interstate 580 and offering sweeping views of San Francisco and the bay, Millsmont is a lush, sunny place where neighbors always have time to stop and say hello. A weekly neighborhood meetup, Coffee @ the Curb, has been occurring every Friday at the corner of Buena Ventura and Delmont since 2013 to give locals an opportunity to chat about neighborhood issues over coffee from Get Goes Mobile Cafe. So pull off the highway, step out of the hustle and bustle, and see what Millsmont is all about.
Visit leafy Mills.
Mills College is a liberal arts and sciences college with a reputation for being among the best in the West. Founded in Benicia in 1852 and relocated to Oakland in 1871, Mills features a green, rolling campus that contains many architectural jewels, including several buildings designed by renowned Bay Area architect Julia Morgan. Stroll through campus to a chorus of songbirds and visit the Morgan-designed El Campanil, believed to be the first freestanding bell tower on an American college campus. It even withstood the 1906 earthquake. Catch a public concert at Littlefield Concert Hall, a stunning 1928 Spanish Colonial Revival building that boasts murals, frescoes, and ornate ceiling tiles by Depression-era artist Raymond Boynton. Be sure to check out Mills Hall, the oldest and most impressive building on campus. Mills Hall is a large French Second Empire-style building that once housed the entire college and today is used for administrative offices and classrooms. 5000 MacArthur Blvd., 510-430-2255, Mills.edu.
And no visit to the campus would be complete without seeing the Mills College Art Museum. “Ars Longa, Vita Brevis,” is the inscription above the front entrance, a quote from Hippocrates that means, “Art is long, life is short.” It is a dedication to posterity that informs the collection. The Art + Process + Ideas exhibition running from June 28 to Aug. 27 features work that probes the destabilizing effects of war, the parallels between deep sea and outer space exploration, and what would remain of Earth following 1,500 years of environmental decline. 5000 MacArthur Blvd., 510-430-2164, MCAM.Mills.edu.
If you watched Finding Dory last summer and got inspired to add some aquatic animals to your life, then you should visit Mei Lan Aquariums. Mei Lan is dedicated solely to fish and fish accessories, and with over 70 years’ experience caring for and selling fish, the owners are perhaps the most veteran tropical fish sellers in the Bay Area. 6625 Foothill Blvd., 510-638-7283.
For foodies who want to pick up seasonal vegetables and fruits, stop by the Millsmont Farmers Market. It runs 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturdays, June through October. 7700 Mountain Blvd., 925-465-4690, Facebook.com/MillsmontNeighborhoodFarmersMarket.
The word hoagie supposedly derives from Hog Island, a section of Philadelphia once populated by Italian immigrants. They would fill loaves of bread with meats and cheese, sometimes lettuce and tomato, thus creating the “hoggie,” which eventually morphed into the current spelling and pronunciation, hoagie. Mill’s Hoagie & Deli Shop is the real deal. Fresh bread loaded with meat, crispy french fries, and a cold soda are a perfect meal after a long walk through the Mills campus. 5930 MacArthur Blvd., 510-635-5238.
If you are looking for something more vegetarian-friendly on your visit to Millsmont, check out Old Weang Ping, a unique Thai eatery dedicated to “country cooking.” There is no way to miss Old Weang Ping. It looks like a storybook house that was dropped in the middle of a residential stretch of MacArthur. The interior is funky, too. Try the Barbarian Soup—a sweet, sour, spicy soup with chicken and vegetables that gets spicier as you near the bottom of the bowl. 6217 MacArthur Blvd., 510-430-8771.
For a sweet treat, visit Loard’s Ice Cream, a local chain full of some delicious surprises. Ube is a frozen treat made from purple yams, great on its own or with hot fudge. Lemon chiffon is a customer favorite, sweet and refreshing. Loard’s ice cream is made in San Leandro. Loard’s also offers smoothies, breakfast sandwiches, chili dogs, and more. 5492 MacArthur Blvd., 510-632-8951, Loards.com.
If your sweet tooth is not yet satisfied, That Takes The Cake can help you out. This coffee shop and bakery offers espresso and cold drinks, fresh-baked pastries (the cinnamon rolls and buttery croissants are heavenly), and a rotating cast of cupcakes, including the Sassy Sister—a fusion of red velvet, chocolate, and vanilla. That Takes The Cake also sells custom cakes to order for birthdays, weddings, and any special occasion, in service of their mission to bring cheer to the world, one bite at a time. 5855 MacArthur Blvd., 510-969-0189, ThatTakesTheCake.co.