The Derringo family lives in Berkeley and puts many of us to shame. There’s little, if any, slouching around drinking wine or playing video games for them. The family — dad Merriweather, mom Annabel, 13-year old Nettie, and 7-year old Peabody, all of which are noms de plume by the way — are adventure-seekers. And they chronicle their expeditions and experiences — whether it’s bug hunting in Strawberry Creek or traveling in Japan — on their blog: The Derringdos: Everyday Adventures.

We tracked down dad Merriweather and asked him a few pertinent questions.

What part of Berkeley do you live in?

We live in the Gourmet Ghetto. Our circa 1890 house is tiny but has a huge (by Berkeley standards) jungle-of-a backyard.

Are you native Berkeleyans?

Nettie and Peabody are natives, but Annabel and I grew up in St. Louis. We lived in Washington DC for a while and moved to Berkeley when Annabel was pregnant with Nettie 14 years ago.

What made you start the blog?

We started the blog to keep us in touch with family and friends and to share a few ideas and recommendations. But what it really does is remind us to have fun and be a deliberate with our time. When the pages are empty for too long, we feel the push to do something worthy of writing a post.

Who writes most regularly?

I take most of the pictures and write more regularly, but Nettie’s entries are much more fun to read.

Do the kids enjoy contributing or is it a bit of a chore?

Nettie is a writer. And we’ve been keeping the blog so long now, it’s just part of our lives.

What have been some of your most successful adventures?

Anything worthy of posting is a successful adventure. Some of these are just simple activities together; playing games, cooking, geocaching. We love traveling. Our most memorable trips involve visiting family and friends who open their homes and neighborhoods to us. We’ve also found that travelling with our kids off the beaten path opens us up to the locals who might otherwise ignore a couple of adult tourists.

What have you got planned for future adventures?

This week Nettie is on a field trip to rural Mexico with her 8th grade class from school. This summer we’ll be heading to England. Our theme is “Romans, Rowan and Rails”.

Who reads your blog?

It’s pretty random. We get a lot of traffic during Halloween, mostly people looking for costume and pumpkin carving ideas.

Do your kids always love going out and about with their parents or do you meet some resistance?

Not really, in fact they’re often the ones who want to get out and do something new.

You sound too wholesome to be true — are you couch potatoes sometimes too?

Of course! We don’t watch much TV, but we play video games and watch movies like any other family. Nettie and Peabody don’t have a lot of programed time. After school, Peabody spends time digging holes and climbing trees in the back yard. Nettie has homework to do.

Tracey Taylor

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...

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  1. As one of the grandparents of Peabody and Nettie I can vouch for the fact that this family has a better approach to “living” than most. I am a bit reluctant to swim in the stream of Berkeley politics but these Derringdoes are products of a great family, fabulous schooling and finely honed tastebuds. That tiny house is filled with a whole lot of innovative thinking and, did I mention, LOVE!!!