Historical Tour of San Jose, the Capital of Silicon Valley
We visited San Jose on June 9. It has a rich history as the oldest civilian settlement in California (founded in 1777). It was the first capitol of California during 1850-1851 (the capitol moved to Vallejo in 1851, Benicia in 1853, and finally Sacramento in 1954 thru present).
It was also known for its huge agricultural industry with fruit production, packing and canneries. From 1950's, as part of Silicon Valley, it becomes a global center of technology innovation and entrepreneurial enterprise!
We toured around the Winchester Mystery House which was built by Sarah Winchester, widow of rifle manufacturer William Winchester. Construction began in 1884 and continued without interruption until her death in 1922.
The continuous building and remodeling created the mansion with 160 rooms covering an area of six acres. The mansion has unique structure including Victorian architecture, bizarre features and fine craftsmanship. The highlight within the Winchester House is the mysteries that nobody could explain!
For example, Mrs. Winchester kept carpenters' hammers pounding 24 hours a day for 38 years! We saw a door opening outward to an 8-foot drop (door to nowhere), walked on a strange staircase with 44 steps and 7 turns to reach a 9-foot high upper "floor", saw doors and windows opening onto blank walls, opened one window to a very small room then opened another window to a wide open area, her favorable number of 13 was used in some fixtures in the house, ............
Following the death of her husband and daughter, Mrs. Winchester was scared of the people who had fallen victim to Winchester rifles then became very superstitious. Thus the house was designed to accommodate and confuse the "spirits"!?
We walked around the historical district of downtown San Jose. It was relatively peaceful, less crowded considering an one million population city.
Also viewed the Cathedral Basilica of St Jose built in 1803 and had a quiet moment inside the church.
We visited Sonoma wineries in the Sonoma Valley which is the west from the Napa Valley on June 10. The Sonoma Valley is less famous and popular than the Napa wineries, but more peaceful and less crowded.
The history of the Sonoma Valley could trace back to 12,000 years ago with Native American ancestors. Spanish explorers arrived in 1542 and lived together with Native Americans, then it became part of Mexico when Mexican was independent from Spain in 1821. General Vallejo of Mexico founded the town of Sonoma in 1834. California became a state of the U.S. in 1850 after the Mexican-American War (1846-1848).
We visited three wineries, Domaine Carneros, Sebastian and Buena Vista. We learned an all year round working calendar for viticulture and wine-making, i.e. Jan - Pruning, Feb -Racking, Mar - Ploughing, Apr - Topping up, May - Frost, Jun - Suckering, Jul - Sulphur Vines, Aug - Prepare Vats, Sep - Vintage, Oct - Fermentation, Nov - Bottling, Dec - Tasting.
Do you know how many fruits of grapes are used to make a glass of red wine through a long and complex viticulture and wine-making process? The answer is 630! So don't waste any drop of fine wine!
We joined a wine tasting and wine tool museum tour at the Buena Vista Winery. It was founded in 1857 by Agoston Haraszthy who immigrated from Hungary in 1842 and was regarded as the Father of the California Wine Industry.
This is the oldest retail winery in California. It's a great experience in tasting six different kinds of Champagne, white wine and red wine although I know almost nothing about wine!
It's impressive to see many different kinds of tools for cultivating grapes and making wine, again, it shows how complex the entire process is!
We also quickly took a look at the town of Berkeley as well as UC Berkeley. On the way back to the South Bay Area, it was fantastic to see the big Moon "rise" from the horizon of the earth!
It's been an educational and enjoyable trip in St Louis and SF areas over the last three weeks. It's always great to be with our daughters and their respective families. It's also wonderful to meet the old friends in St Louis and relatives in SF including my wife's uncle, my brother and two cousins during the trip. Appreciate their hospitality to make our visit be fruitful and enjoyable!
Joyful Journey in Missouri http://blog.udn.com/jfeng13x/104069527
Touring the San Francisco Bay Area http://blog.udn.com/jfeng13x/104621316
Winchester Mystery House
A door opening outward to an 8-foot drop (door to nowhere 右方白門)
Cathedral Basilica of St Joseph
下方 4 圖
Buena Vista Winery, Sonoma Valley
下圖：Media tasting room品酒廳
下圖： Explore music’s power to enhance the enjoyment of fine wine.
下圖： Historic Wine Museum (tools)
UC Berkeley 加州大學柏克萊分校