By Emerian Rich
Rancho El Sobrante used to be the home of the Huichin, an Ohlone Tribe. Spanish missionaries took over the land around 1795, and after Mexico independence from Spain, it was deeded to Juan Jose and Victor Castro. El Sobrante is Spanish for “remaining land” and it’s fitting, given the three odd -shaped pieces of land it covers in-between Pinole, Richmond, and San Pablo.
El Sobrante used to have the reputation of being wild but in recent years has become a more family oriented with many parks in the area. Kennedy Grove, for example, is a great place to have picnics or toss around a football. They also have hiking trails and excellent bird-watching opportunities. For water sports, San Pablo Reservoir offers fishing, boat rentals, kayaking, and canoeing. Water birds abound at the reservoir including white pelicans, geese, ducks, and shorebirds. Along the trails, you can see wild turkey, quail, and dove, as well as predators such as eagles, ospreys, hawks, and owls. You might even spy a deer or a bobcat.
The annual El Sobrante Stroll is an event…continue reading in the Fall issue for 2017.
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BAY AREA, Maritime Museums
By Sumiko Saulson
As a world-renowned seaport, the San Francisco Bay Area is home to several maritime museums. The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is home to two maritime history museums: the J. Porter Shaw Library of Maritime History and the Maritime Museum across from Ghirardelli Square.
Aquatic Park Cove, is an encased area with swimming between Hyde Street Pier and Aquatic Park Pier. There are several historical vessels one can visit along Hyde Street Pier. The oldest, the 1886 squarerigger Balclutha, looks like a pirate ship Vallejo’s Mare Island Strait is home to a haunting series of partially deconstructed naval vessels called the Razorblade Fleet. The Mare Island Museum gives a glimpse into the island’s history with tours of maritime vessels and officer’s quarters. The Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum showcases the city’s long history as a naval port. …continue reading in the Summer issue for 2017.
by Emerian Rich
This summer, adventuring doesn’t have to involve expensive plane tickets or resort stays. In this article, we will bring you some amazing places to go, play, and explore right in our own backyard. If you enjoy walking, cycling, camping, or beach combing, we’ve got you covered.
Camping in Mount Diablo State Park ~ Family Fun
Bordered by Walnut Creek and Clayton, Mount Diablo State Park often goes unnoticed by locals. An excellent place to camp close to home, with the added bonus of spectacular Bay Area views. The park offers many nature trek and biking trails. Mount Diablo’s peak at 3,849 feet, is visible to most of us in the Bay Area, but few know the history of the mountain. What we call Mount Diablo (Devil Mountain) is a sacred mountain to many Californian Native Indian tribes and is fabled to be the point of creation. Known by many names, it was never considered a bad place for the tribes, who often pilgrimaged there to hold ceremonies. Legend has it that Mount Diablo’s negative connotation originated in 1805 when the Spanish soldiers had trouble tracking the Indians through the willow thicket. Today Mount Diablo is known for a place families can picnic, hike, and camp as well as an excellent workout for cyclists. The park offers many walking trails and …continue reading the Summer issue of SEARCH Magazine.
BAY AREA, The Palace of Fine Arts
By Emerian Rich
Walking under the grand arches of the Palace of Fine Arts is so breathtaking, I find it hard to compare it to anything in the Bay Area. Sure maybe if you visited the Pyramids of Giza or the Pantheon in Rome, you would feel the same inspiring experience, but this is in our own backyard.
For those of you unaware of the palace’s history, it was constructed in 1915 for the Panama Pacific Exposition. Its purpose was to exhibit art and was to be torn down directly after the event. As one of the only surviving structures of the fair, it’s amazing to note it’s still in the same spot as originally built. Designed by Bernard Maybeck, an arts and crafts movement architect and instructor at UC Berkeley, the structure was inspired by Roman and Greek architecture. While most of the exhibition structures were torn down or relocated after the event, the palace had a friend in Pheobe Apperson Hearst (Mother of William Randolph Hearst). Phoebe, always the activist, founded the Palace Preservation League even while the exhibition was still running. However, while Phoebe had saved the structure, it wasn’t stable…continue reading.
Bachelor to Grandfather in a Blink
By Tim Reynolds
On my 41st birthday, I was a childless bachelor with a long history of living loose of foot and free of fancy. On my 42nd birthday I was four months into a terrific relationship that would last another thirteen years. Then, without any warning whatsoever from a certain inebriated palm reader or the sweet Psychic Tradeshow Tarot reader, I celebrated my 43rd birthday as a grandfather. Yes indeedy, I went from childless bachelor to grandfather in a blistering eighteen months. Somehow this old dog had managed to skip parenthood completely and jump straight down the rabbit hole to grandparenthood.
Baby Jake was born very suddenly due to an abruption his mother suffered. They were only a couple hours from either one or both of them not surviving. He was a lot of weeks early and spent most of it imprisoned in the Neonatal Care Unit under heavy guard. It was a long time before I was allowed to hold this little bundle of wonder, but I did get to see him incubating a few hours after his hatching. He was wrinkly, and red, and so tiny I was afraid to even breathe near his chamber of life. As time passed, he grew strong and bigger.
When Jake-the-Snake…continue reading.
Tech to Help Organize Your Life
By Ron Vitale
We are all busy with one thing or another, but what if there were tools to help make things easier? Thankfully, with a little bit of ingenuity, you can now solve some simple problems that take up time. Efficiency equals more time with how busy we all are in our day-to-day lives, using these tech tips can help make a dent into earning back some of the day. Minutes saved here and there add up to less stress and frustration as well as more time. Whatever you decide, give these tech tips a try, and then sit back and relax with that extra time you’ll gain. Want to learn? Here we go!
TO DO LISTS
Another great free app for your smartphone is Wunderlist. With the free version, you can create simple “to do” lists tied to your phone. Once you get started, you can create as many lists as you want and even build reminders.
With Wunderlist, you can plan out, not just recurring events, but one time issues. With each list, you can add a file, comments, subtasks, and set the reminder to be repeated or for one time. I often use my smartphone as extra…continue reading.
by Emerian Rich
Niles was established in the 1850’s as a junction point for the Southern Pacific Railroad from Oakland and San Jose to Southern California. It was home to the first flourishing mill of the area and California Nursery, the largest rose plantation in the state. It is situated in what is now the city of Fremont in Alameda County.
Nile’s big claim to fame started in 1912 when it was home to Essanay Studios. At the height of its movie making fame, the studio produced famous movies of the time starring Charlie Chaplin, Wallace Beery, and Ben Turpin, as well as many Broncho Billy westerns filmed along the main streets of Niles. Charlie Chaplin’s famous film, The Tramp, was shot in Niles Canyon.
In 1956, five towns in the surrounding area were incorporated into Fremont including Niles, Irvington, Centerville, Mission San Jose, and Warm Springs. Niles still managed to hang on to its roots and is home to the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum which keeps the spirit of silent films alive, showing tourists and locals the magic of the early days of film.
Today, Niles is a four block strip…continue reading.
New Year Celebrations Around the World
by Elliot Thorpe
Jules Verne’s cosmopolitan extraordinaire, Phileas Fogg, went around the world in 79 days but we’re going to do it in a mere 26 hours–except we’ll be following midnight itself, specifically that one midnight every year when the whole world (more or less) celebrates the beginning of the New Year together.
We start our journey on Christmas Island, so named because it was discovered on Christmas Day, 1643, and it’s the first part of the world to see the turn of the year. The island’s 2000 residents are a multicultural society and, as such, no specific celebrations are had. While this may appear to give a slow start to our 26 hour party, the island itself is testament to so many cultures becoming unified.
Head to New Zealand where you’ll find their outdoor festivals are a must. Wellington, the first capital city to see the New Year, has family-friendly festivals and, in true artsy city style, the entertainment consists of iconic local movies and the Wellington Orchestra during the countdown to the fireworks. Elsewhere, you can find the bars and occupants spilling out onto the balmy streets, and we can’t carry on our journey without giving the “Party Capital of New Zealand” a mention. Queenstown’s nightlife buzzes well after the lakefront celebrations, music event, and fireworks.
Then it’s to Australia…continue reading.
5 Great Books to Read this Winter
by Valarie Kinney
You’ve been working all week and finally have some time to yourself. It’s cold outside, fat white snowflakes are drifting down from the sky, and you’ve got a cup of hot cocoa that is calling your name. What could be a better use of that perfect winter evening than to curl up with a thick fleece blanket and a good book? Winter nights and reading go together like peanut butter and jelly. With so many options available, how do you choose which books to read? Check out this list of great, winter-themed books of various genres.
1.The Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere.
Robert is the proverbial workaholic who has lost touch with his family. Nathan is a little boy clinging to the mother he is about to lose. When they cross paths on Christmas Eve, Robert must make a decision that will impact the rest of Nathan’s life.
Plainly put, this is a beautiful story that…continue reading.