It’s springtime in Napa which means mustard flower and cleanup piles. I have always found Napa to be a spectacularly beautiful place. But, I’ve always found the views away from the large commercial wineries to be my favorites. The side roads and country in between the touristy places can take your breath away. Napa is truly the most beautiful big time small town in Nor Cal and I never ever get tired of it in any season.
The California Auto Museum, in downtown Sacramento, is boasting its Micro Car exhibit for the first time in seven years with what looks like double the micro cars on display! They were even hosting a clever Micro Cars and Micro Brews event the evening we visited. The museum underwent a refresh a few years back and I am happy to see it is alive and well.
The museum typically has a roaming exhibit (Micro Cars in this case), a race car exhibit, muscle car area, historical vehicles, and an area with cars on consignment (to help fund the museum itself and to hopefully fund some heat/air conditioning.)
It is also fun to see the addition of an area for children with several auto related activities which was a bonus for my little boy. Zoom. Zoom.
Spring is finally happening here in Northern California. It’s been lovely to get out and run around a little bit after what seems like months of rain. All good for the state of our drought in California…Enjoy a photographic representation of Fresh Air.
Folsom Prison Museum is a tiny and random museum attached to the current Folsom Prison in California. Parking and walking in isn’t for the faint of heart since you drive down Prison road and park in the same place as all of the visitors meeting with their prisoner loved ones. You even have to walk through the Prison Gate in order to get to the front door of the museum. From there things go up! You are greeted with a warm welcome to an obscure and interesting micro museum.
The museum boasts a number of interesting newspaper articles, photos, prison art, Johhny Cash memorabilia, prison contraband, and other historical artifacts of note even if some are somewhat macaub. It is an interesting stop one which won’t take you much time and might be coupled nicely with a walk or ride on the nearby lovely Johnny Cash Trail.
I cut my teeth photographing Joshua Tree National Park with my first medium format Hasselblad somewhere around 2000. Looking back the photos I was so proud of at the time have a lot of flaws. But, my memories are some of the best I have ever had photographing a National park or the outdoors in general. I fell in love with this park and its unusual and amazingly distinct Joshua Trees. It breaks my heart to see that the park has been shut down due to politics. And it is even worse to read reports of damage to the park’s treasured and protected Joshua Trees. I am disappointed in the people who would do such damage to a park and it’s innocent trees. And I am disappointed in our government for not doing what it has been charged to do. It is up to us individually to make good decisions and protect our treasures. Do no harm, Leave no trace behind and take care of our parks, P.L.E.A.S.E.
I stopped by CSU Sacramento for a visit to another Wide Open Walls Street Art piece.
I’ve seen photos of this one all over social media and finally made it for a visit! It’s pretty iconic for the city, the wide open walls project, and the university.
It seems to me that this wide open walls project has really brought a vibrancy to the downtown area that has re-energized some otherwise boring or run down buildings. It has also given artists the opportunity to show off their skills like this bright and cheerful example. I continue to stumble upon these hidden gems and hope to keep bringing you more.
Sacramento, particularly downtown, is full of beautiful old houses. Featured here are two completely different examples. The Leland Stanford Mansion and the Curtis Park Dragon House couldn’t be more different.
The Dragon House is a labor of mosaic love by owners who clearly take pride in eccentricity versus the Leland Stanford Mansion, a bastion of the old guard of Victorian Sacramento. I would venture to guess I wouldn’t be able to give away the Dragon House to some of my friends and family but somehow I find it more interesting than the pure and perfect architecture of the Stanford mansion.
The Stanford mansion, recently rehabilitated, is full of history and Victorian pomp and circumstance and stands as a magnificent example of the time. It is a well known Sacramento icon which represents the city and even the State for official functions and is a state park during other times. The mosaic Dragon House is a private bungalow with no official public history, at least not yet. Yet, when I ask around about it locals all know what and where it is. It’s more of an unknown Sacramento gem.
Which do you prefer?!
*Happy New Year Everyone! I hope 2019 brings all of you safe, peaceful, and memorable travels!
The Effie Yeaw Nature Center, located in Ancil Hoffman Park in Sacramento, has been around as long as I have…longer actually. It’s a small but mighty little center which helps preserve natural area, promote Indian heritage, and protect and aid local sick or injured animals. The center’s highlights were certainly the two beautiful owls lovingly cared for by staff.
The park sits on a glorious part of the American River Parkway which my young son greatly enjoyed. Once he threw what seemed like every river rock back in to the river he insisted we make a second visit to the owls again before we left! That’s a success if you ask me!!
Quarry Park in Rocklin, California has changed immensely over the last few years. What used to be an abandoned quarry filled with water and whatever else fell in there and a barren field full of rattlesnakes and poison oak is now a delightful local park and adjacent adventure park. Locals can enjoy summer concerts, a lovely short walk around the quarry, a climb on the children’s playset and train or for the more adventurous they can climb or zipline next door. I love this park and think what they have done with it is genius other than it still seems weird to be placed right in the middle of the city government.
UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden has been on my local list of attractions for a while. I can’t say why I haven’t gone before but I haven’t. And after visiting today looking for some fall colors I certainly regret not having gone sooner. I can say the Arboretum and gardens were not at all what I expected…in a good way. I expected just a large park with some glorious old trees and a place for my son to run around reasonably free. Instead, I found a lovely meandering creek called the Putah Creek lovingly surrounded by well maintained gardens and walking bridges. Visitors can walk the entire thing or sections and can follow both sides of the creek. They will be joined by runners, students, local residents, gossiping women, and visitors like me.
It is hard to be unhappy in a place like this even with heavy smoke in the air from the Butte Fire raging a small distance away. Several distinct gardens keep one’s interest while they get their steps in. Acacia gardens, redwood gardens, desert gardens, and plants and trees from China were the highlights. Ducks followed us everywhere we went. This perfect little park is a quiet oasis placed smack in the middle of one of California’s premier Universities.