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Sonoma County Gazette
vallejo home

An Inexpensive Day of Sites
& History of Sonoma County

Jun 27, 2018


By Denise Fowler-Horsfall

Pack a picnic lunch to wander through early Sonoma County at Sonoma State Historic Park & Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park for just $3 a person!

Begin your day in the town of Sonoma. Mission San Francisco Solano is the 21st mission built in California and the only one established under Mexican rule, rather thanSpanish rule. The mission museum is part of Sonoma State Historic Park and is on the northeast corner of Sonoma Plaza. Your tickets are good for both parks the entire day. $3 adults, $2 6-17, 5 and younger are FREE.

 The Mission is used for 4th grade students California history lessons. Inside the cool, adobe building are: exhibits about Spanish colonization; a wonderful collection of California Mission watercolor paintings done in 1903 by the artist, Chris Jorgensen; a sweet chapel, designed to look as it would have during Mission times (take particular note of the wall paintings); and a peaceful courtyard where one can reflect on the impact Spanish settlers had on Natives.

From the Mission, cross the street to the Soldier’s Barracks. Here is where you can imagine life in the 1800’s as California transitioned from being governed by Spain, toMexico, to the upstartBear Flag Party, and finally the United States. Docents are stationed in the Barracks on weekends to tell stories of the Mexican and American military forces who lived within the adobe walls. Be sure and pop in to the Barracks Store. You will be delighted with a wide assortment of books, souvenir items, and mementos of the Golden State.

Drop in to the Toscano Hotel and Kitchen. Staffed with volunteer docents on weekends, this old hotel, furnished with 1890’s period furniture, stands tall on the north side of the Plaza. Imagine bellying up to the antique bar!

The next stop is the Vallejo Home. General Mariano Vallejo built the Gothic Victorian house on property he named Lachryma Montis in the 1850’s as California became a new state in the Union. Fully furnished with many Vallejo family pieces, the iconic home is one of the loveliest public properties in the town of Sonoma. Also on the property is the brick and wood-beamed Chalet. It houses a small museum where State Park staff and docents dispense stories about the family and the turbulent times following the Bear Flag Revolt. Though only 3 blocks from downtown Sonoma, the Vallejo Home is along the Sonoma bike and walking path. Picnic tables are available at this park too.

 The final destination for your Vacation at Home day is the Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park. Located to the east of Petaluma (a 20-minute drive from Sonoma), the Adobe is a standing tribute to the Californio era. Constructed of adobe brick, the two-story building displays rancho life from the 1830’s-1840’s. Displays share the story of the 66,000-acre rancho, its operations, and the people who worked there. The exhibits on the lower level reflect the work life of the Adobe—leather work, large-loom weaving, and a granary. The exhibit rooms on the second floor show living quarters of varying stations in life—from the single servants, who slept on mats on the floor, to the Vallejo family whose quarters are finely furnished for the time period. One can enjoy views to the north, south, east, and west while walking along the wide, second-story verandah.Conclude your day of history in the peacefully wooded picnic area of the Petaluma Adobe. You will have learned a lot about the history of our home.


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