Come to this San Francisco Bay Area town for the festival, stay for a lakeside stroll

In the East Bay town of Lafayette, it's a straight shot downMt. Diablo Boulevard from the "Res" to Margaret and Elam BrownPlaza, but savvy travelers can devote the day to getting there.

Start at the boulevard's west end. The "Res," as the LafayetteReservoir is affectionately known, is one of the East Bay's bestmultiuse recreational sites. There you're bound to find localsstrolling around a duck-filled lake along the paved 2.7-mileLakeside Trail. If you're feeling ambitious, tackle the 4.7-mileRim Trail; your reward will be stunning views of Mt. Diablo and thesurrounding foothills.

Next, head east for a walking tour of downtown. Indulge in apiece of warm coffee cake from Millie's Kitchen (1018 Oak Hill Rd.;925/283-2397). For a good cup of coffee, those in the know head toPapillon Quality Gourmet Coffees (67 Lafayette Circle;925/283-0466). Once you're wired, catch a flick at the vintage-1941Park Theater (3519 Golden Gate Way; 925/283-7997).

Time your visit for the weekend of September 14-15, during the7th annual Lafayette Art & Wine Festival, featuring 200-plusstalls offering arts and crafts, food, wines, and microbrews.

Or just visit on a weekday, when the town feels more like thehumble hamlet it's always been. Fifty-year resident Mary McCosker,co-author of A Town Called Lafayette, recommends heading fartherwest to the plaza dedicated to town founders Margaret and ElamBrown (at Moraga Rd. and Mount Diablo Blvd.). Look for the griststone from Brown's mill, Lafayette's first business. "Before themill was built, local farmers had to travel to San Jose―ajourney of several days―to grind their grain to flour,"McCosker says.

Across Moraga Road, a plaque commemorates Pony Express riderswho stopped en route from San Francisco to Missouri to pick upfresh horses. They had good reason to stop in Lafayette. Thesedays, so do you.

Paddle around the "Res" and feel worlds away from the hubbub ofthe East Bay.

TRAVEL PLANNER

WHERE: From State 24, take the Oak Hill Rd. exit from thewest or the Central Lafayette/Moraga exit from the east and followfestival signs; or take BART to Lafayette station. To reach thereservoir from downtown Lafayette, head west on Mount Diablo Blvd.and look for an entrance on your left.

COST: Reservoir: $5. Festival: free.

FYI: A free round-trip shuttle runs from the Lafayette BARTstation on festival days.

CONTACT: Reservoir: (925) 284-9669. Lafayette Chamber ofCommerce: (925) 284-7404 or www.lafayettechamber.org.

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