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San Francisco County, California
October 27, 2010
From journal saying "Hi" to Shamu
August 27, 2009
From journal Weekend in San Diego
June 27, 2008
From journal Jen and I in San Diego
September 3, 2005
Many of the old buildings in the state park contain shops selling trinkets to the visitors. Sure, the buildings themselves are authentic, but the stores inside them aren't. In fact, the stores get in the way of one of my favorite activities at a historic park, which is trying to imagine what it would have been like to live in that place and time.
Nevertheless, the Historic Park has many good points. It is quite large, and you could spend all day there--or more--if you were to examine every building and exhibit thoroughly. The park consists of restored homes and businesses situated around a LARGE public square, the Plaza de las Armas. One interesting old building is the San Diego Union Printing Office. Wood was scarce in old San Diego. Most of the original buildings were made of sun-dried adobe. Yet, this building—and some of the others—is a wooden structure that looks like it belongs in New England. Well, that's because this building DID come from New England! It was prefabricated in Maine, then shipped around Cape Horn. What a story! You'll also visit a school, a blacksmith shop, stables (with an old-fashioned carriage display), a wood shop, a sheriff's museum, and a dental display. There are original homes and also original businesses, such as the Colorado House, which was a hotel, saloon, and gambling hall. (It now houses a Wells Fargo History Museum.) There's the interesting Casa de Estudillo (es-too-DEE-oh), which once was the home of the commandant at the nearby Presidio. There are restaurants, but these, too, are in a state of flux as the park prepares to "authenticize" further. Entrance to the park and exhibits is free.
From journal San Diego's budget-friendly activities
Bayside, New York
March 23, 2002
We took the trolley blue line and got off at the Old Town Transit Center . From there we walked past the station, and headed toward the entrance to the State Historic Park. As you walk on the graveled path you will begin to see very old trees, and unusual cacti. There will be a large lawn in the center, with shops all around and in one corner, the famous Bazaar del Mundo . That’s a must-see for everyone.
It helps a lot if you pick up a copy of the Old California Gazette , which is free, and ubiquitous. It has a great map of the old town and gives a good overview of what is where. Thus, following our path on the map, the first place we hit was "E" on the map, and called the Herbal Soap Shoppe, where we learned about the courting candle; then we saw the Wells Fargo Museum which is "H". At one time it used to be a hotel; you’ll see an old West Fargo coach on display; the coach was built to withstand the rugged roads of the newly developed territory and inclement weather. We saw old lock boxes and coins, and the Treasure Box which carried valuable documents and gold.
Another very interesting site was the Casa de Estudillo which typified the adobe housing built by the Presidio. Also fascinating were the Steeley Stables which have an extraordinary collection of coaches. If you stay in the area, there are 8 hotels to choose from.
And when we became hungry, we found El Fandango in our trusted gazette, where we ate al fresco.
Once we left the historical area, we hit the other area, and realized there was yet so much more to see and enjoy. We were mesmerized by watching the glass blowers at Lowery’s Hand Blown Glass Studio as we saw a vase take shape after several trips into the kiln, polishing, rubbing, blowing, back to the kiln…
As we walked past the restaurants, cooks were making tortillas on the sidewalk, or behind glass enclosures for people to be able to watch the process. Strumming a guitar near the Old Town Saloon was a grey haired singer who clearly made bad music. But great fun to watch.
From journal San Diego with IgoUgo