December 2022

Vol 6: Issue 12


The Shadelands Scene
Your place for community news, updates, and insights


When you enter Pretty Tea Parties & Events at 520 Lennon Lane from the parking lot, you enter a welcoming, understated lobby, showing little signs of what’s ahead. When you round the corner and step through the double doors into the elegant banquet room, you enter another place entirely, one that transports you to a world of fantasy and fairies, of royalty and romance, of distant eras and culturesthink 18th century Europe.

This is a place where ladies dress for tea, and little girls wear princess gowns and crowns, and the guest of honor sits on a golden throne, and friends enjoy tea and scones and fruit and finger sandwiches on 70-year-old china. This is a magical place tucked away in Shadelands that offers an experience to please all the senses.

Founder and owner Denise Munoz opened the venue in the fall of 2021 and originally intended it for young girls and their fairy princess tea parties. But she adapted the space and offerings once adults saw its one-of-a-kind charm and wanted parties of their own.

Now, Denise also offers bridal and baby showers, weddings and receptions, birthday parties and Sweet 16’s, anniversaries, book club meetings, ladies’ luncheons, and get-togethers in the banquet room among friends who want something different and like no other place they’ve been.

For young girls attending a birthday party or tea social, their first stop is the Dress Room, where sparkly princess dresses await to be chosen.

Then they're escorted to the salon for a princess hairstyle and keepsake crown before stepping inside the main room where they enjoy tea and lunch, music and dancingall with a princess flair.

"We're a one-party-at-a-time venue," says Denise, whose 4,300-SF space was formerly office space before she transformed it into a magical world of high tea and fantasy. "We take great care to create the best party experience possible and the most lasting memories for the host, the guest of honor, and the attendees."

Celebrations take on a special feel and flair

The elegant banquet room guarded by two knights in shining armor

Pretty Tea Parties & Events

520 Lennon Lane, Suite B

Walnut Creek


A surprise party for the guest of honor, who sits on a golden throne

First stop: the Princess Dress Room

A fantasy experience for the guest of honor and her friends, assisted by the fairy godmother

Click here to take a peek inside Pretty Tea Parties & Events.


Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation's (ARF) Board of Directors has announced that Executive Director Elena Bicker is retiring at the end of 2022 after leading ARF since 2006, and that Susan Lee Vick of Santa Rosa has been named CEO of the organization, following a nationwide search.

Ms. Vick is currently serving as chief operation office at Hugh Futrell Corporation (Santa Rosa), and has served in leadership positions at several prominent nonprofits, including Canine Companions (Santa Rosa), Point Blue Conservation Science (Petaluma), and Church Investment Group (New York).

Ms. Vick will step into the role following Elena's successful 16-year leadership. During those years, ARF enjoyed unprecedented growth and national recognition for, among other programs and projects, its innovative Pets and Vets program, which Elena co-created. ARF also completed an $18.7 million campus expansion and created a sustainable endowment for future growth.

"I'm incredibly proud of everything ARF has accomplished," says Elena. "[I] know Susan's experience and enthusiastic leadership will take it to even greater heights. ARF's amazing staff and dedicated volunteers are always driven to do more, save more lives, and make an ever bigger difference. There is truly limitless potential for this remarkable organization."

Read the full ARF press release.

Look for profiles of Elena Bicker and Susan Lee Vick in early 2023 issues of The Shadelands Scene.

Tony La Russa's 

Animal Rescue Foundation

2890 Mitchell Drive

Walnut Creek


Retiring: Executive Director Elena Bicker led ARF's unprecedented growth, 2006–2022

(Photo credit Walnut Creek Magazine)

Incoming: Susan Lee Vick has been named ARF's new CEO, "ready on day one to build on ARF's national reputation for excellence and innovation," says Board President Gregory McCoy.



In October 2022, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals Walnut Creek Outpatient Center welcomed fellowship-trained pediatric orthopedic hand surgeon Gopal Lalchandani, MD, to the campus.

Known to his young patients as Dr. Gopal, Dr. Lalchandani treats upper extremities, everything from the elbow down to the fingertips, through a variety of options including outpatient surgery.

Raised in Sacramento, Dr. Lalchandani earned his bachelor's from UC Berkeley and his medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis), and completed his residency at UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

In addition to his pediatric work at the Walnut Creek center, Dr. Lalchandani works with adult patients in San Francisco and Oakland offices.

"I was inspired to become an orthopedic hand specialist because hands have a big impact on people's everyday lives. Any hand injury is debilitating," says Dr. Lalchandani. "I see kids with acute fractures and repetitive motion sports injuries, and adults with degenerative issues, and everything in between."

And, he notes, that hand injuries and conditions affect people from all walks of life. "They're not exclusive to any one group of people. Anyone who works with their handswhich is everyonecan have a hand surgical issue. I'm particularly inspired by the chance to get people back to doing what they want to do. To get kids back to playing and to get employees back to work and everyone back to their daily lives."

Dr. Lalchandani, who is currently the only pediatric orthopedic hand surgeon at the center, also treats children who are born with congenital disordersextra fingers or thumbs, or no thumbs, for instance. "It's challenging, but very gratifying to help these children through reconstructive surgery early in their lives."

One hope of Dr. Lalchandani's is to grow the congenital work, "so more kids with disorders that can be taken care of at a young age will be taken care of because they will have greater access to specialists and medical services."

Dr. Gopal Lalchandani, pediatric orthopedic hand surgeon, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals Walnut Creek Outpatient Center

UCSF Benioff

Children's Hospitals

Walnut Creek Outpatient Center

2401 Shadelands Drive

Walnut Creek


Dr. Lalchandani's clinical pediatric expertise includes acute upper limb trauma, congenital disorders, and post-traumatic reconstruction of complex injuries of the hand, wrist, forearm, and elbow.

UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals Walnut Creek Outpatient Center recently completed a multi-year expansion and is the only full-service pediatric outpatient center in Contra Costa County.

"One of the benefits of working in the Walnut Creek location is that we're not just seeing a certain population we're seeing kids from all across Contra Costa and northern California. In many areas, there's not a lot of access to certain specialities. So, we're fortunate here to be able to take care of children from all around."


Viamonte at Walnut Creek, Shadelands' first residential community, is reaching a milestone.

The Shadelands Scene was on the scene at Viamonte's May 2018 groundbreaking, and followed up with regular construction updates as Contra Costa's first certified Life Plan Community came to life.

Bay Area nonprofit Sequoia Living had spent nearly ten years planning and building the new vision in retirement living, and a full year before it opened, Viamonte had a waitlist of more than 200 future residents. Then the pandemic hit.

"When we opened our doors in December 2020 during the pandemic, we knew it was going to be a long road ahead," says Executive Director Melody Allan.

Despite the early challenges brought on by the health crisis, shelter in place, and social distancing, Melody and her team offered outreach activities that showcased Viamonte's exceptional residential options and amenities.

They held virtual tours and Lunch & Learns with private tours, and as people became comfortable getting out and about, residency grew.

Resident councils and committees formed within months of Viamonte's opening, which, Melody notes, gave residents a voice in the direction of their new community.

"Fast forward to 2022, the feedback we receive from new residents is that they are glad to be at Viamonte, and it feels like home."

In December 2020, Viamonte welcomed its first residents; now it's preparing to welcome its 200th.

Congratulations to Viamonte!

Viamonte at Walnut Creek

2801 Shadelands Drive

Walnut Creek


Viamonte at Walnut Creek is Contra Costa's first certified Life Plan Community.

Viamonte residents celebrated at the community's festive grand opening event held in December 2021.

Executive Director Melody Allan and Sequoia Living Board of Directors member David Jamison admire a photograph of Viamonte's December 2020 ribbon cutting.


The food drive at Kaiperm Credit Union benefiting Loaves and Fishes of Contra Costa, a nonprofit that's been feeding the hungry since 1983, continues through December to January 15, 2023. The big food drive barrel is located in Kaiperm's lobby, just inside the front doors at 325 N. Wiget Lane, Suite 130.

Please consider picking up a few extra non-perishables the next time you make a grocery run, and then visit Kaiperm on your lunch hour to help keep the pantry shelves stocked and our hungry neighbors fed.

Suggested items:

• Bottled water

• Peanut butter

• Mac & cheese

• Tuna, rice, beans

• Pasta, pasta sauce

• Snack cups, snack bars

• Canned proteins, fruits, veggies

Please, no glass or expired food.

Donating food is an easy way to make a profound difference in the lives of others.

Kaiperm Credit Union

325 N. Wiget Lane, Suite 130

Walnut Creek


Kaiperm food drive runs through January 15, 2023, for the benefit of our hungry neighbors.



Want to delight those on your holiday gift list? Join the Center for Community Arts at its annual two-day Handcrafted Holiday Sale, showcasing hundreds of handmade artworks including ceramics, glass, jewelry, fiber arts, photography, prints, and much more, all created by Community Arts students and teaching artists.

A portion of the sales will benefit Center for Community Arts, the Clay Arts Guild, and the Community Arts Foundation.

Handcrafted Holiday Sale

Shadelands Art Center

111 N. Wiget Lane

Walnut Creek

Saturday, December 3


Sunday, December 4


Center for Community Arts

Shadelands Art Center

111 N. Wiget Lane

Walnut Creek



Holiday Teas are back!

Featuring a three-course luncheon with scones, homemade lemon curd, and secret Shadelands Tea Blend held inside the historic 1903 Hiram Penniman home.

Luncheon Teas

Now through December 11

Two seatings every day

11am & 1:30pm

Weekday teas are still available.

Weekend teas are sold out.

Cost | Reservations required

Call for reservations


Holiday Craft Faire 

Now through December 11


The Holiday Craft Faire has been a seasonal tradition at the Shadelands Ranch Museum since 1983. During this two-week event, the historic 1903 ranch house overflows with handcrafted items and gifts, offered by dozens of artisans and vendors. Admission and parking are free.

Walnut Creek

Historical Society

Shadelands Ranch Museum

2660 Ygnacio Valley Road

Walnut Creek



Join Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) for Yappy Hour, a fun and festive evening for animal-lovers 21+. Enjoy cold drinks, tasty treats, and trivia games in the company of two-legged and four-legged friends.

Yappy Hour

An evening of fun for

animal lovers ages 21+

Thursday, December 8 | 6pm

Attendees will have the chance to visit ARF's rescue dogs and cats who are looking for homes. Proceeds benefit ARF's lifesaving programs for pets and people

Tony La Russa's 

Animal Rescue Foundation

2890 Mitchell Drive

Walnut Creek




2022 has been an extraordinary year of growth, activity, and innovation in Shadelands, and The Shadelands Scene has been there at each step to bring you news and updates, to showcase the people and places that make Shadelands special, and to introduce you to your Shadelands neighbors.

Now as we close out the 2022 calendar year, The Shadelands Scene Team wishes you and yours the very best in 2023! We look forward to continuing our conversations with you and sharing the stories of your Shadelands!

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