If you have to have pipes anyway, why not make them colorful? You can make the world a little better wherever you are. That’s what some people in downtown San Jose think. You can find these colorful and functional pipes on Third Street.
Possibly the most popular neon sign in San Jose is this one for a company that has not been active for years. The beloved sign, however, with its dancing neon light pig has been preserved.
How long has this wooden fence post been standing that it has eroded so?
Pole and Wire
John Muir’s House
John Muir himself planted this redwood tree about 120 years ago. This is his home in Martinez on the San Francisco Bay. I was happy to learn how close it is and happy to find that you may walk around the property and throughout the entire home at leisure here during open hours.
A statue of John Muir in the visitor center on the property of Muir’s home, now a National Historic Site maintained by the U.S. National Park Service.
Muir has an impressive story you can read about elsewhere. For a few reference facts, he co-founded the Sierra Club, wrote numerous naturalist books, and played important rolls in the creation and protection of Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. If you can imagine, John Muir took then President Theodore Roosevelt on a three day back county camping trip to convince him to make Yosemite into a National Park. It worked. I find it amazing to imagine a time when a president would agree and be able to go off on foot with a naturalist to just camp and be in nature for three days out in the back country. It is a pretty fascinating form of lobbying.
John Muir himself use to ring this very bell from this cupola above his home to let the workers on his orchard know to come in for lunch. Today, you are welcomed to go on up and ring the bell as much as you like! Of course, they keep the windows closed now. Not that there are acres and acres of orchards anymore to call in the workers from. From the windows of the cupola you can now see part of the town and a 7-11 across the street from Muir’s home. Times change and so it is all the more wonderful that this part of the property is preserved.
Each bedroom had it’s own sink.
The view out the front window onto the porch.
It’s neat to imagine John Muir also using this door knob to enter his front door as I use it.
Part of the Muir property includes this historic two story adobe house called the Martinez Adobe built in 1849 as part of the Martinez land grant.
These are the thickest, and presumably the oldest, grape vines I have ever seen up close in person.
Door knob to the Martinez Adobe where John Muir spent plenty of time visiting his eldest daughter and her family who lived there.
Visiting and exploring this park and historical site was a treat. Walking around, touching and appreciating nature, thinking, and absorbing a part of a glimpse into another time in our history was wonderful. Muir’s life is fairly fascinating and intriguing to learn about. To walk around and within his home was special.
Inside the Pacific Grove Natural History Museum, one of the many interesting things to look at is this well aged donated collection of carefully labeled sand from around the world. There is a list with the location of sand origin and the corresponding label number.
There are a lot of sand samples that this collector had gathered.
Sandy, the gray whale, was celebrating a birthday during our visit. Sandy was used for years as an educational model that could be disassembled and reassembled to spread knowledge. Today, Sandy rests permanently assembled to greet visitors of the museum.
Santa Cruz Boardwalk
Almaden Winery – A First California Winery
The first winery in California is in San Jose. So much agricultural history is here and around here and still I was extremely surprised to learn that we had a historic winery in our city as well. The first winery…
Now, to be fair, there are several “first wineries” in California. For example, there are the first wine producing wineries created by Spanish missionaries, the first commercial wineries, the oldest and still producing winery, the oldest still producing that has continuously been producing winery, and so on. Lots of first wineries in this state and a lot of words on the internet declaring such firsts. So, where does this particular oldest winery in California fit in; the one with a plaque that you can go and visit as a city park called Almaden Winery Park here in San Jose, California?
This historic San Jose winery established in 1852 was, I gather, the first commercial winery in California to go into operation having planted French sourced grape vines that were praised for their qualities in making wine. This style of quality focused wine making in California would eventually become the norm and expand to make it a hub of some of the finest recognized wineries in the world. The missionaries who established vineyards before this in California had used a type of Spanish sourced grape vine that was known for being hearty but was not as impressive in wine making.
So there you have it. One of the several first wineries in California is right here in San Jose and you can enjoy a picnic, play on a swing, and admire some pretty old trees and structures while walking around the old property. Most of the old vineyard is now a neighborhood around the city park that centers around the wine cellar of the old Almaden Winery.