(Northern) California Parkist

The dogs and I are avid park visitors. Join us as we document our wanderings, mostly in northern California. We visit all jurisdictions -- United States National Parks, State Parks, County, Regional and City Parks -- we love open spaces!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

California State Parks: Lachryma Montis (Sonoma)

I was the docent on duty this afternoon at General Vallejo's home. One of my favorite buildings to point out is this tiny -- and I mean tiny - retreat used by Napoleon, one of the sons of the General. Napoleon was an artist and loved animals. I've been told that he had quite a menagerie here, where he also made many of his paintings.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

California State Parks: Toscano Hotel (Sonoma)

We were walking on Sonoma Plaza this afternoon and stopped to take photos of the Toscano Hotel. I've toured this one before - the tours are excellent - and like the 1800s ambience. There are wonderful furnishings - like the courting sofa where a chaperone sat right between the young couple! - and other gems that seem so quaint to us today. What's amazing is that, even in this day of budget cuts, the visit and tour are free!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sonoma County Regional Parks: Maxwell Farms (Boyes Hot Springs)

This morning a park naturalist gave a tour through the entire Maxwell Farms Park. Because I am a park monitor I visit often, but it is frustrating to know so few plant names. Our guide knew them all. I made notes as fast as I could so I can research the new ones and become more adept at my plant identification.

This tree, however, I already knew. This is an example of Valley Oak. There's a characteristic silhouette and gnarly branch structure that I find most appealing.

Town of Yountville: Yountville Park (Yountville, California)

We were in the heart of the Napa Valley a few days ago and happened across this local park in Yountville. Pleasant, green after so much winter rain, and nicely cared for - I was wishing we had time to stop for a sandwich so we could enjoy the place a little longer.