Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sacramento's Old Town offers fun, frolic, history, horses, railroad, food

TAKE A TRAIN RIDE, CROSS A GOLD BRIDGE, TASTE GREEK TREATS AND SPLENDID TAFFY

Candy by the barrels awaits sampling in Sacramento's Candy Heaven, with hundreds of varieties and flavors.

STORY By CHRISTENE MEYERS
PHOTOS By BRUCE KELLER
Tourists board a horse drawn carriage to tour Sacramento's Old Town.

THE BRIDGE with its golden mustard arches gets your attention.
Painted the color of Dorothy's yellow brick road, it evokes a sense of fun and exploration.
And that's what awaits you in Sacramento's Old Town.
The historic area of California's capital dates back to the gold rush days of 1848 when prospectors, entrepreneurs and gamblers headed for fortune if not fame.
The last stop on the Pony Express, Sacramento was also the terminus of the transcontinental railroad and -- like most gold rush towns -- Sacramento boasted a handsome array of saloons and bordellos.

Kristen and Zach clown
in Sacramento's Old Town.

The stately Capitol Building in Sacramento. 
TODAY'S OLD Sacramento pays homage to the local color that keeps the city in the eye of tourists and locals alike. Music and film festivals are booked months in advance. Our fun begins with the 1935 bridge, painted a playful gold in 2002 to honor California's "Golden State" moniker.
Just over 28 acres, Old Town houses 53 historic buildings ranging from hotels to candy shops, jewelry and clothing venues and specialty shops with gifts unique to Sacramento.  Old Town brings out one's sense of fun.
WE STROLLED and enjoyed for five hours with Keller's daughter and her boyfriend, Kristen and Zach.
The four of us strolled Front Street, dipping in a leather store, a throw-back to a hippie head shop with beads, oils and incense.  Then we checked out the delightful Old Sacramento Excursion Train Ride, a 40-minute round trip along the levees of the Sacramento River.
The Tower Bridge in Sacramento connects Yolo and Sacramento counties.
Horse and carriage rides are also  offered and there were takers for these as we enjoyed the art and antique shops -- "Penny Farthing" caught our eye.  Toy and kite shops and a fascinating emporium, G Willikers, were doing booming business.
WE SATISFIED our sweet teeth at Candy Heaven on Front Street, where young hawkers pass out coupons for free samples of salt water taffy -- including my favorite licorice, Keller's chocolate and a mint and jalapeno the kids discovered.  It has an interesting zingy aftertaste!
For lunch, we happened upon the small and wonderful place Happy Pita Cafe. Terrific lamb wraps, Greek style, complete with both tasty mint and yogurt sauce and spicy hot sauce.
A view of Sacramento and the lovely delta in earlier days.
Mountain men, and a variety of Spanish, English and Portuguese explorers visited the area, and the usual complement of Catholic priests seeking converts to the faith.
Sacramento is, proudly, California's capital. The State Capitol also has a Museum.  The complex houses past, present and future elements of the state, serving both as a museum and a working seat of government. It's a popular day trip for students and tourists alike, where one can watch history in the making.
SACRAMENTO'S recorded history begins in the decade of 1839-1848 with an embarcadero, constructed at the confluence of the American and Sacramento Rivers.  But long before Europeans and Mexican-based adventurers such as Samuel Brannan and John Augustus Sutter Sr. and Jr., the Native American Maidu inhabited the fertile valley.
Humpbacks, including a mother and calf, Delta
and Dawn, swam into Sacramento's Delta.
Whales have also ventured to Sacramento, swimming 90 nautical miles up the Sacramento River, attracting international attention.
Finally, a nod to the aforementioned golden bridge. The handsome Tower Bridge is a vertical lift bridge across the Sacramento River, linking West Sacramento in Yolo County to the west, with the capital of California, Sacramento, in Sacramento County to the east.

This fledgling entertained travelers Keller and Cookie, in their Nye yard.


COMING SOON: California's coast offers some of the most delightful rooms you'll ever check into -- for spectacular views. Then off to Lisbon for a look at the lively arts and culture of this proud Portuguese city. And Montana's bird life is burgeoning with baby birdies.  We visit some fledlings and mature woodpeckers, eagles and more. Join us for travel off the beaten path, with a sense of fun, and an eye for nature and humor. Weekends and Wednesdays at: www.whereiscookie.com  

1 comment:

  1. San Francisco FrequentorsJune 7, 2017 at 11:02 AM

    Fun foray to a favorite city. Will return for more entertaining perspectives.

    ReplyDelete