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The Best Month In My Home Town, Or, Saturday Morning at 8:58am

June is California’s best month. Wait, I mean northern coast-adjacent California. Oh, to be precise, the San Francisco Peninsula (by the Bay, not the hills or the coast.) We have so many micro-climates, I can only speak to my own.

So, here, June is a drug. Champagne. Eyes-roll-back-into-head beautiful. Sure, March has hellebores, native iris, forget-me-nots, all the shy flowers. May brings hedonistic roses. And it is also true that by June magnolia petals are browning, lawns yellowing, things that grow are preparing for summer sleep.

But for we humans our June weather is almost too gorgeous to talk about.

Sky blue like crayons, cool mornings and cool enough evenings, the smell of the dry ground rising up by noon and slowing the breath.

I do imagine that nobody thinks, hey, it’s June, let’s vacation in Silicon Valley! I imagine June is probably pretty nice where you are. And this place, which once upon a time must have seemed like a wild paradise, (my son once sent me a paragraph written by some Spanish explorers who exclaimed over the area’s beauty and abundance) is long since tamed. First by farms and summer homes for San Francisco magnates, then as by Stanford overflow, then semiconductors – hence the “silicon” – then the Internet, now, well, industry persists.

We got cars. We got freeways. We got a lot of billboards.

But if you live here, and can carve out vacations in 3-minute increments, now is the time. Open your door, sit on the step, glass in hand, and watch the heated dirt give up water it didn’t even know it was hiding. Little bit by little bit we dry. It’s hard to describe, but we who are from here find peace in drying.

Have a very happy weekend. And if you’re planning business trips, no one would blame you if June brought you to Northern California by the Bay.

What, I wonder, is your place’s best month?

47 Responses

  1. In NY it’s October! The leaves are on fire when the sun hits the assortment of red, orange, yellow. The days call for boots and sweaters, but no coats yet, and mother earth sneaks in one or two last summer days. The air smells like campfire and football. It’s magical!

    1. @Kelly L, Oh I remember! In fact as I wrote this I thought, “October in Manhattan:).” Thank you for bringing it back to me.

  2. Oh, I’m envious of your weather. We had a few hours of sunshine yesterday, but otherwise it’s been June Gloom almost nonstop the last two weeks. But here are a couple of things that have been delighting me…some of the best nectarines I’ve had in years, and bodacious peonies from TJ’s. And seeing some dear friends soon… ;-)

    1. @Susan B, I was also thinking of June Gloom. I remember taking a vacation in Santa Barbara once with some friends, and it was FOGGY the whole time. But, you guys will be getting the LA summer soon, right? And I’m so excited for Vancouver:).

    2. And I can’t wait!
      But June is rarely our best month. I love a sultry August in Vanc’r, and sometimes March or April. Septembers. . . . Pretty much no month from November through February.
      Love your description of SF, June. And even more now appreciate that you’re giving up a few of those days to head north ;-)

  3. I would say late October is the best month in our part of Texas. The weather is cooler and, if we are forutnate, has just a hint of crispness some mornings.

    However, we are having an incredible June right now. The temperature is in the mid 70s and there is a cool breeze. The pastures are verdant and green. It is perfection!

    1. @Susan D., That sounds like our weather right now except our green has begun to fade. I bet it is just gorgeous out at your farm. I will have to remember late October for the next time I come to Texas.

  4. Here in northern Virginia, the best month is April. The profusion of blooming trees (cherry, peach, Bradford pears, apple, to name a few) is a stunning sight. It takes your breath away. On the other hand, if you are an allergy sufferer, it does so literally. The downside is that anything left outside (cars, lawn furniture) gets covered with a layer of yellow pollen. The weather is still mild and some days are like New England in the summer.

  5. You’ve taught me everything I know about weather in SF (Bay Area :-))
    Your June seems perfect to me
    I love September in Dalmatia-turists are gone,the sea is warm….
    It is funny how weather changes-I used to love May in Zagreb-it was something like your June,grass is green,flowers are blooming,it is warm during the day,nights for a sweaters,days are longer-but now everything is a lottery (or a box of chocolate :-)!)

    1. @dottoressa, Summer in Dalmatia sounds wonderful. Some day, maybe.

      And I hasten to point out that if you come to San Francisco, it will be different. The city is right on the Pacific and also the Bay, and is usually 10 degrees or so cooler than my house on the Peninsula. We giggle about tourists who come in August, expecting “summer,” and wind up having to buy awful big sweatshirts emblazoned in motifs;).

  6. Such beautiful imagery. Thank you, Lisa. For us in northern Illinois, the Magic Time is October. A thousand shades of orange, yellow, red. First a glowing canopy, then a carpet. The air is fresher than you remembered it could be through the muggy summer.

    1. @Linda, You are welcome. Thank you in return. I’ve never been to northern Illinois, and now I feel I understand the joy of a jolt of fresh air you’d almost forgotten.

  7. Its been quite the scorcher here in New Mexico, the hot days give way to warm nights. We’ve also experienced a bit more humidity then normal. One exceptional part of living in the Southwest are the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets.

    1. @Arabell, We’ve gotten more humid around here too, in general, but I’m trying to ignore it! We aren’t so lucky as you with sunsets or sunrises, but I always love the rare colored sky.

    2. Lisa, that explains why a blogger I read who moved from California to Franklin, Tennessee keeps taking photos of the sunsets – or the sky in general.

  8. Not June in LA or NY. I’ve been weighted under with the June gloom in both places this month. It’s honestly my least favorite month in Los Angeles.
    I love August and September, that’s when real summer hits, and we don’t have much humidity and it does cool down at night here. I also love November when it generally becomes Autumn.

  9. Oh, such envy! I bet June in your world (most years) is better than June in mine! Enjoy on my behalf please :-)

    On a side note, I often wonder if there are any people who actually get depressed by sun and blue skies (like that’s possible), who happen to live in California. I think of it as the unlikely inverse of the world in which I live, but if you know of anyone, let me know.

    1. @K-Line, To be fair, June here is better than June almost anywhere else. We don’t have very interesting Novembers, however. And there are people who get depressed by our brown hills, come summer, and who pine for snow come winter. I promise, they exist. Now, do I know any of them personally? I can’t say I do;).

  10. Here is my part of Texas, it’s Marcxh/April. The flowering trees are doing their thing and the wildflowers are doing theirs too. It is joyful to see the trees wake up after being bare all winter and to see the spring green leaves.

  11. Lovely post Lisa. In Carmel we are having our typical June Gloom weather. I’ll have to head up your way for some Vitamin D. ;D

  12. In KC, I am going to say May. Warm enough for peonies and irises to bloom, grass greens up, trees leaf out, bugs have not yet claimed the air, birds nest in available branches, temps are warm but with no humidity. In short, picture perfect and what we joke it must be like in California year round. ;)

    1. Ah gorgeous. But we don’t grow peonies so easily, no cold winter temps to help them along.

  13. My favorite California month is November. Autumn is my favorite season. The thought of our complex city and region microclimates makes me smile. When I lived in San Francisco, I often found myself in the position of attempting to convince people I did not live shrouded in a deep and constant Sam Spade-like fog. My South Beach neighborhood was sunny even when a friends reported fog at their disparate locales. I know the weather you are describing. It was beautiful, but too warm for me. The cooler weather in San Francisco was more my speed. Layering feels right. Currently, I am staying at the foot of the rise into the East Bay Hills, my door is open to the patio, the sky is medium blue with puffs of fast-moving white cloud shot through with the glow of evening sun, birds are chirping lazily, and there is a breeze swaying the trees, the day lilies and the star jasmine. It is, as you note, a beautiful evening. We are lucky in our Mediterranean variations.

  14. I’m up here with you Lisa and it is perfection. What glorious days both down here on the Penninsula and up in San Francisco. Couldn’t ask for anything more beautiful!

  15. I would like it to warm up a bit. It doesn’t feel like summer yet! It even rained Thursday, what’s up with that?!?

    1. @Hadilly, I take your point, down here the rain was more like drizzle, and I am happy to have the cool temps after our early 90s, and after last summer when I just wilted.

  16. Fall is my favorite season in Massachusetts. In October, the leaves are in full color and the air is fresh and cool. June in SF sounds delightful.

    1. @Susan, Nw England is so famous for its fall. And I don’t think I’ve been there that time of year since I was 4 years old. Hmm. Hope you make it to the Bay Area some June too.

  17. In my part of the world (northern Germany) May and June are the best months (according to my taste).
    There is a continuous flow of blossoms and scents from fruit trees to lilacs to roses to lime trees to honeysuckle. There are seasonal delicacies like strawberries and asparagus. There is the screeching of the swallows, only to be heard between May and July. And then there is the light – bright mornings, late sunsets.
    Of course, the weather is nothing to rely on. There have been icy Mays and glorious Junes and the other way round. This year, May was cold and rainy, but June is turning out just right – warm but not too dry.

    1. @Eleonore,” from fruit trees to lilacs to roses to lime trees to honeysuckle.” Sigh. How lovely. I feel like I’m getting a trip around the world today. Thank you!

  18. I grew up in Daly City, near Pacifica, and the smells of that region still bring back a flood of memories each time I visit. I get a melancholy thrill as I watch the late-afternoon fog roll in, and the smell of pine and eucalyptus with under-notes of ocean–that’s my favorite perfume. Here in the Puget Sound area we talk about June Gloom, overcast, cool, drizzly. But summer has visited, and will come again. When the skies clear, I take a break from my indoor pursuits to go walk along the waterfront.

    1. @Rhonda, I know exactly the smell you mean, and the way the fog comes in. You’ll get that same experience sometimes in the Presidio, right? And have you ever read House Of Sand And Fog? Tragic, novel, almost unbearable, but set right there and so odd to read a story in such a specific and tucked away place.

  19. April and May and September and October in the Appalachians. Unless your town is around 3500+ in altitude. Then you can add the entire summer which will mostly be in the 70s. Below that, summers are in the mid-80s. Our skies are gorgeous spring/summer/fall and even many days in winter.

  20. I always smile when I read about your ‘reverse seasons’ to ours. Here I am in Sydney trying to stay warm and chasing the sun when it chooses to appear.

    You are right, I need to get to your part of California on a conference soon.

    Stay well

    SSG xxx

  21. I can’t pick! Every month has some fabulousness to it in New England.

    January & February & March have the snow. Bluebird days or snowstorms – gorgeous.

    Late March/early April is kinda icky with mud season, but the promise of spring is in the air in April.

    May has lilacs and warm days and boat launching.

    June has everything in bloom and the grass isn’t scorched yet.

    July has beach days and nights and ice cream and fireworks.

    August has the white heat that makes you jump into the cool ocean.

    September still holds onto summer, but the beautiful cool nights are perfect for bonfires.

    October is leaves changing and great cool beach walks & mountain hikes into a fall wonderland.

    November is kinda grey, but the promise of snow is in the air.

    December is winter without the arctic temps.

    They are all perfect.

  22. Nope, not here (we are a little upstream from you). It’s all wind here. No chance at all of sitting on the doorstep with a glass in hand. The contents would simply be blown awaym, in a spray, much like seafoam. Hurricane alley all the way, ugh.

    Mid-March is perfect, as is October.

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  24. I’m in orinda – best month for my garden is April and May – when roses and true geranium are blooming. Right now everything is baking – zinnias and sunflowers are blooming.

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