California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - 76

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA ROAD TRIP

37

California History
Travel back through the centuries to experience the Golden
State's better-than-fiction tales of the past

settlers revolted against the Mexican government in 1846, they
imprisoned General Mariano Vallejo and established the California
Republic, raising a homespun grizzly bear flag in downtown Sonoma.
Visit a monument to the short-lived territory on the plaza, then walk
over to Sonoma State Historic Park to tour Lachryma Montis, the
estate where Gen. Vallejo lived for more than 35 years.
After California became the 31st state in 1850, its first capital was 20
miles south in Vallejo, reached today by following Route 37 through
the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Named for the general
who welcomed American rule, Vallejo's Old Town is a historic district
where you can wander past homes dating back to the late 1800s.
With a quick hop east on the 780, you'll land in neighboring Benicia,
which Gen. Vallejo named for his wife. Benicia also did a stint as state
capital in the 1850s. Around the same time, the U.S. Army launched
the Camel Corps, using animals shipped from the Middle East for
supply runs and expeditions. When the corps disbanded, some
animals were auctioned off from the city arsenal, now home to the
Benicia Historical Museum and a perfect place to stop after lunch at
One House Bakery, helmed by a former French Laundry baker.
California's enduring capital eventually landed 60 miles away in
Sacramento, which once served as terminus of the Pony Express. To
get a sense of life back then, wander the Old Sacramento Historic
District where more than 50 preserved buildings house shops, restaurants, and museums. Take an Underground Tour, which shows how the

OL D SAC R A M E N TO

city fought floods by raising the streets, then spend the night aboard
the Delta King, a 1927 riverboat docked on the Sacramento River.
Francisco de Asís, dates back to 1776, when Father Junípero Serra

An hour east are the Sierra Foothills, full of towns whose fortunes
rose and sometimes fell with their mineral output. The "Jewel of the

established a string of missions to convert indigenous populations

Mother Lode," Sutter Creek was dedicated to mining for almost a

and bolster Spain's presence in the New World. Nearly 250 years

century. Today, its town center makes for a charming pit stop, with a

later, it still hosts an active congregation, and visitors can stop by for

meal at Buffalo Chips best chased by homemade pie. An hour south,

services or tour the historic cemeteries and gardens.
Cut across the city to the Presidio, set at the mouth of the Golden
Gate, where native peoples lived for millennia before the Spanish
established a fort in 1776. Today the former military post is a park
where you can hike 24 miles of trails through eucalyptus groves, visit
a working archaeology lab, and admire large-scale art installations.
Cross the Golden Gate Bridge and trace the shore of San Pablo

brothers John and Daniel Murphy struck it rich in the town that bears
their name, though the saloons and halls that once lined Main Street
have given way to tasting rooms featuring highly acclaimed wines.
It's only 20 minutes south to Columbia State Historic Park, a "living
Gold Rush town" where costumed characters welcome visitors to an
immersive glimpse of U.S. history. Pan for gold, ride a horse-drawn
stagecoach, or taste hand-dipped chocolates. Finally, if you're visiting

Bay through Marin County to a lesser-known landmark: the site of the

on the weekend, go back in time at the nearby Railtown 1897 State

Bear Flag Rebellion on Sonoma Plaza. When a few dozen American

Historic Park, where a locomotive pulls visitors on a 45-minute tour.

2-3
days

S TA R T San Francisco
F I N I S H Columbia

M O S T T R A N S P O R T I V E S TO P Columbia State Historic Park

76
VISITCALIFORNIA.COM

241
miles

I N S I D E T I P Every
Sunday from March through
October, the Presidio hosts a
pop-up picnic party with 30
food trucks serving everything
from Korean rice bowls to
wood-fired pizzas.

PHOTOGRAPH: CHON KIT LEONG/ALAMY

T H E O L D E ST B U I L D I N G I N S A N F RA N C I S C O , Misión San


http://www.VISITCALIFORNIA.COM

California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures

Contents
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Cover1
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Cover2
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - 1
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Contents
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