One of San Jose’s best kept secrets is History San Jose park. This mini, historical town features buildings which were saved from demolition, and brought here to recreate San Jose’s early days as an American town.
The buildings all have some sort of special meaning to local history. They were lived in by people who helped settle the area, or they were businesses which were a first in the area. Such as the first candy shop owned by the O’Brien Family pictured below. (apologies for the reflection, I took this photo through the window since the building was closed.)
The park is often used for events, picnics, and corporate parties. Some of the buildings are normally open to the public, and serve as mini-museums which tell their story, and how it fits into local history.
Of course right now, since we are partly shut-down due to the pandemic, only the outdoor areas are open. We will have to go back when things open back up in order to show the kids the inside exhibitions.
History San Jose is a beautiful park to spend some time walking around, and learning about local history. If you are local to the Bay Area, I highly recommend checking it out. There is free parking right in front-but it is limited. So arrive early. Otherwise, there is a fee lot a few feet away from the entrance. If you are traveling to the area, be sure to check it out, and learn about our early days!
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Have you visited History San Jose? What did you think? You can learn more on their website here.
I’m trying to get used to seeing myself in a mask. I wear a mask everywhere I go, not just because it’s a California State ordinance which requires everyone to wear a mask while outside their home, but because I want to stay safe while helping keep others safe too. While I wear one all the time outside, it’s weird to see a picture of me in one on the Internet. I posted this photo, to try and spread the word about the importance of wearing a mask, while normalizing what it looks like.
As we move from summer into fall, masks are not going anywhere; at least until we have our vaccines. So it is important for people to get used to them; and hey, let’s try and make them fashion!
I paired my watermelon printed mask with my favorite black, puff sleeve top and jeans. I wanted a touch of fall, so I threw on my fall snakeskin booties. This is definitely my favorite go-to look of the moment. It feels really good to wear high heel booties; especially since most of what we all do these days involves lounging around the house in slippers, hiking in hiking boots, or working out in athletic shoes. It’s a rare occasion these days to wear heels! I cannot even begin to tell you how good they feel after all this time. This was the first pair of shoes with a heel I walked around in since March. Crazy right? I used to wear some sort of heel all the time!
Talking about heels, I do plan on picking up a couple pairs this upcoming fall season. It feels normal to buy heels. I am looking forward to the fall season, not just for cooler weather, but because it feels like a new season filled with hope. The vaccine should start rolling out to our medical professionals this fall. I am hopeful more businesses will begin to reopen in the fall, and I am also hopeful that less people are unemployed. While my kids will all attend school online during the fall season, I am hopeful the vaccine has enough doses to start rolling out to the public in the winter so that in spring, our school district will start to allow sports again, as well as in person school.
It’s been hard for me to digest my kids going to school online. I home-schooled for five years, and last year was the first year my two youngest children returned to public school; only to go back to online school last March. They are both hungry to return to school and see their friends in person, as well as their teachers; and the entire experience that goes along with regular school. I’ll keep praying the vaccine goes smoothly, works well, and gets us back on our feet in the spring. This is why I am looking forward to the fall. I see it as the season of repair, and the season of moving towards getting back to our normal lives in 2021.
Are you excited for the fall season? How are you feeling about it all?
Have you ever been to Drawbridge, California? I had no idea it existed until my husband suggested we take the kids there, and explore the area. Apparently his Mom took him there when we was a child!
Drawbridge is a ghost town. The only abandoned town within the boundaries of the San Francisco Bay Area. It was originally a little vacation spot where people enjoyed duck hunting. It also had a train station, which made it fairly easy to get to in the late 1800’s through the late 1970’s. As the salt industry changed the landscape of the Bay, the landscape of the town began to erode, causing the town to begin sinking into the Bay. This was the main reason the town was abandoned.
Drawbridge sits at the bottom of the Bay, adjacent to Milpitas, San Jose, and Fremont. It’s slightly hidden from view, until you hop on an Amtrak train which speeds by the town. Although there used to be tours of the town, which is how my husband visited it several decades ago, it is now fenced off; with plenty of “no trespassing” signs around the area.
We parked at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in San Jose. This area offered a flat hiking trail filled with wildlife, which has returned to the area after massive restoration efforts over the past few years to bring the Bay back to life when many of the salt flats were removed. It’s incredible to be able to see so many different types of birds, and plants, in the area; which used to be desolate when I was a child. It makes the long hike into Drawbridge both pretty and educational.
Initially I was excited about this hike. Since it was flat, I assumed it would be fairly relaxing and easy. Apparently I was wrong! While wearing a mask helps cut down on the bottom-of-the-bay smell, it did nothing to shorten the length of the hike. The trail looks easy, but the surface is hard, and it’s roughly an hour and a half down the trail to get to Drawbridge.
Our kids were fine for the first two hours of the hike, the last hour was a little tough on them, and on me. Keep in mind, if it’s ninety minutes to get from the parking lot to Drawbridge, it’s ninety minutes to get back. The three hour, round trip trek was tough on a hot summer day. Thankfully I packed snacks and water, so we were at least fueled and hydrated-just really tired!
I don’t recommend bringing small children on this hike. My kids are teenagers, so they could handle it with a little grumbling. I did see people biking, and one person on a scooter. Those are great alternatives to navigating the trail and making it easier. I highly recommend being prepared, and going out to see Drawbridge at least once in your lifetime if you live here in the Bay Area. If you don’t live around here, and you love ghost towns, check it out!
Drawbridge can be viewed from a lookout which has a bench and signs detailing the ghost town’s history. It’s a fun little part of our local history, and it’s interesting to see a ghost town!
Have you visited Drawbridge before? What did you think? Do you enjoy visiting ghost towns?