Thursday, August 28, 2014

Colonel Allen Allensworth State Historic Park captures a unique social experiment that took place in the San Joaquin Valley in the early 20th century.
The Park has restored an Black American community that was founded by Colonel Allensworth whose personal history  makes remarkable reading.
 He was born a slave in Louisville, Kentucky in 1842.  Despite laws that prohibited the education of slaves he learned to read and write and during the Civil War joined the U.S. Navy and left it as a Petty Officer.  After the war he completed his education and became a minister and then joined the U.S. Army as chaplain for the 24th Infantry,  the Black Buffalo Soldiers.  He retired as a Lt. Colonel the first Black American to achieve that rank.
So he founded Allensworth in 1906 by purchasing 800 acres along the railroad in San Joaquin Valley.  At first the town prospered but a steadily dropping water table resulted in a serious water shortage which then worsened when arsenic was discovered as well.  So people moved away.
The State Park was established in the last 1970s to restore and preserve the buildings of the town.
This demanded investigation by this Writer while en route to Northern California.  We took Highway 43 from I 5 and soon arrived at the Park.
There we met Jerelyn Oliveira, a State Park Ranger who is interpreter for the District.  She pointed out some of the restored buildings which include the school, church, hotel, library, restaurant, barber shop, retail stores and individual homes.
The Park also includes  a campground and picnic area.
For more information on the Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park call 661 849-3433, on the web at

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Last year Pinnacles National Monument became a National Park, a name change that has already increased visitor interest.  This was our first visit with Pinnacles new name adding it to over 400 U.S. national parks.
But over the years we have enjoyed frequent visits to this interesting region of long ago volcanic activity and geographic turmoil thanks to its location where two tectonic plates collide, the North American plate and the Pacific Plate.
There are entrances at both east and west sides of Park but if you wish to camp or learn about activities at the Visitor Center you must use the East entrance from State Highway 25.
On this visit, which was short, we talked with Ranger Mike Brindeiro and enjoyed a picnic lunch at the day use area.
For more information on Pinnacles National Park call 831-389-4455, on the web at

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

     It was a delight to be back at Tasso's Old House Restaurant in Gilroy.  We had first experienced its outstanding Continental cuisine some years before and now we were back
     Tassos and Maria Perakis are long time restaurateurs and while the menu features Greek cuisine it also includes excellent Italian and American entrees.  Located in a vintage Gilroy home it offers the ambiance for a fine dining experience.  There is a full bar and an exceptionally good selection of wines, some from local Santa Clara wineries.
     This time our dinner opened with some wonderful fried calamari, tender and served with both red and white dipping sauces.  At our table entrees included pasta with salmon, lamb shank and my red snap;per grilled in olive oil Greek style.  We were all so satisfied with this repast we had to take our dessert home with us.
     Tasso's is located at 383 First Street in Gilroy with off street parking.  For more information call 408 847-7527, web