Placerville's Cemeteries Part 1

After stopping at Placerville's Chamber of Commerce, we learned that this historic town has four cemeteries, each demanding an explore and a share that I will do in a series.

The gals at the Chamber were incredibly helpful arming us with a map and a tombstone directory. Our first stop was the Old City Cemetery, whose oldest dated burial is 1850.


What I love most about cemeteries is that they preserve history and, in most cases, are peaceful, park-like places.
This location, perched over-looking the City, was a lovely final resting spot.
This tombstone and its history really impressed. Buried here is Benjamin Franklin Keene (1809-1856). Quoting from the History of Eldorado County, California, p. 22.
Honorable B. F. Keene, M.D., died of paralysis in Placerville on the 5th of September, 1856. Dr. Keene came here as a pioneer, at a time when society was yet quite unsettled, and the laws very little observed; by his own example and mental influence he helped to find the way out of this sordid and selfish interest towards the wholesome state of affairs that surrounds and distinguished a well-governed State. His talents and virtues were appreciated, and in 1851 he was called away from his active professional duties and important private enterprise by the vote, of rare unanimity, to fill the Office of Senator in the State Legislature.
Perhaps his most notable achievement will live in his organization of the Medical Society of the State of California, the first such Society on the Pacific Coast. Having served many years on the State Board of Physicians in Georgia, he saw the need of such a society in California and was well qualified to perfect and preside over such an organization. What an incredible man whose history is forever here.
One inspirational tombstone was that of Lizzie Baldwin who died in 1865, at the young age of 15. The inscription reads, 
My child I so loved has vanished away
Like the dew on the rose bud just open today
Her brow is now pale and departed her breath
And her life light gone out in the darkness of death

Her obituary in the Mountain Democrat read, “Deceased was a resident of Georgetown, but had been for a considerable time, an attendant of the Placerville Academy, and during her sojourn here, by her gentle disposition and winning manners, made for herself a circle of warm friends. The loss of one so suddenly stricken down in the bloom of youth, is sincerely mourned by her class-mates and companions, who paid their last tribute of respect by following the body in procession to its final resting place.”

How wonderful to have 'met' these two individuals introduced to because of this Old City Cemetery. History is found everywhere if we just seek it out.

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Library Proclamation...

I am a passionate supporter of the Friends of the Library and libraries in general. When I was told that our little nonprofit "that does" was getting recognized, Karen and I headed back to Placerville.

County-wide results show that I'm not the only one who views libraries the way I do.  The survey showed that "The service with the greatest impact on the quality of life was the library".
The tremendous good the Friends does was recognized today in a Proclamation. The take away line for me was:
NOW, THEREFORE, LET IT BE PROCLAIMED, that the Board of Supervisors of the County of El Dorado recognizes and sincerely thanks the dedicated volunteers of the Friends of the Library of El Dorado County for all they do on behalf of our library and county.
A number of us from various branches attended. This was a very cool start to our day!


To build up a library is to create a life.
It’s never just a random collection of books.
–Carlos María Domínguez

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Eagle Rock & A Star Wars Talk

Our final destination today was Sierra Nevada College in Incline, NV but on the way we detoured for a hike.

Eagle Rock was a much different terrain from the last time we hiked to the top of this amazing volcanic plug (a volcanic land form created when magma hardens within a vent on an active volcano).

There is a wonderful Washoe legend told about this beautiful place that is worth reading. And the views were breathtaking.
Our goal for the drive around the Lake was to hear Dr. Carl Rubino's presentation "From Mythology to Star Wars". Dr. Rubino’s teaching and research interests include ancient Greek and Roman literature, comparative literature and literary theory. Tonight he shared snippets of his article, Long Ago, But Not So Far Away: Another Look at Star Wars and the Ancient World, and discussed the films’ roots in mythology. 

It was a very intriguing discussion, yet it made Steve and I painfully aware that we are not too up on the Classics. However, the ancient themes of fate and destiny and some angst-filled parent relationships were very understood. This was an interesting way to end our day.

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Livermore's Light Bulb...

Wanting to see a bit of history, before leaving town, we visited Fire Station #6 and the famous Centennial Light, the world's longest-lasting light bulb. This was so up my alley!

Maintained by the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department, who claims that the bulb is 115 years old, it has been turned off only a handful of times. Due to its longevity, the bulb has been noted by The Guinness Book of World Records, Ripley's Believe It or Not!, and General Electric.

There are books written about and a movie made showcasing this light bulb. The firehouse is very proud of it and welcomes tourists with a museum-like display. It was certainly worth our stop.

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Livermore for a Sale-abration...

In 2009, when our nest emptied fully, we decided to take our sorrow on the road and bought a 5th wheel trailer. It was spacious and roomy. We traveled a great deal and needless -to-say, numerous happy memories were made because of it.

Our travel needs have changed so we have sold our beloved RV. When Steve placed the ad, he offered to deliver it and I accepted the challenge of turning our first trip to Livermore into an event (130 miles from home).
Livermore is, like most towns, so much more than one can do or see in an overnight but we did our best. After a delightful dinner, alfresco, we strolled through its downtown, while the sun was setting. When we stumbled upon St. Michael's Church (1916), we were surprised by its grandeur and beauty. 
Looking for a theater experience, we found the Bankhead, a 500 seat performing arts center that just happened to have something going.
The evening's exceptional performance was presented by the Livermore School of Dance Ballet and Jazz Division Companies. For over two hours, it showcased classical and contemporary styles of ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap, musical theater, and contemporary dance. The ballet dancers told the classic tale of Into the Woods, but with a few twists and turns along the way. For Out of the Storybook, the jazz dancers brought to life classic books such as The Giving Tree and Harry Potter. The musical score included everything from Tchaikovsky to Prokofiev, and from The Great Gatsby to Taylor Swift.

The theater was full of families cheering on their children, dads on dates with very dressed up little girls and us, impressed and delighted by it all. This was the perfect way to celebrate.

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Happy Year of the (Sock) Monkey

I have some very clever and quite funny friends. Today, I received this chuckle in the mail.

Karen creates amazing fabric greeting cards. This one is layered in several different patterns, depicting Chinese themes. Note the monkey in the upper left corner.
Knowing Karen's vast selection of fabrics, I can just see her picking that Sock Monkey and writing this very funny sentiment. And how fun to be wished a Happy New Year, again.

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Meg Crofton: Retired Executive with The Walt Disney Company

When we saw Meg on the Squaw Valley Institute's events calendar I knew we had to attend.

Arriving early afforded us the pleasure of one-on-one time with this wonderful woman and her neat husband, Rich. To know more about Meg Crofton, you'll have to check out her Wikipedia page. Wow!

This presentation was one about Walt, his impact on her life and career and his amazing miracle called "The 1960 Winter Olympics". It was also about Meg's astonishing opportunities to make magic moments during her 35 years with the company.

The tales of her inspiring life were accentuated with quotes (as most know, a favorite of mine) and stories of the magic that was her career. For almost two hours, I was truly on the edge of my seat, mesmerized.

One of the biggest messages we departed with was, "Have adventures. Without them you will only become who you already are, not who you can be." This was an exceptional night in the company of an exceptional woman.


“You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world.
But it takes people to make the dream a reality.”
-Walt Disney

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Fun Things Found at Squaw...

Spending the afternoon in this iconic Village had us discovering new things that made us smile.

Since we have been coming to here, I have always loved its Disneyesque feel. It is a great substitute for the real "Happiest Place on Earth".
Squaw is one of the most dog-friendly venues so this sign is rather appropriate.
Note the "How's My Driving?" question on the sign.
Sometimes the obvious is best said simply!

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On Lake Tahoe...

Every now and then I need to get to the Lake.




Today was exceptional... dramatic and beautiful.

“...Surely the fairest picture the whole world affords.”
-Twain speaking about Tahoe

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Last Stop... Calistoga

Leaving the valley, we couldn't help stopping here.

In 1920, Giuseppe Musante, a soda fountain and candy store owner, was drilling for a cold-water well when he struck a hot springs geyser. In 1924, Musante set up a bottling line and began selling Calistoga Sparkling Mineral Water.


I couldn't miss one more opportunity to meander in the mustard whose hues of color are absent in the Sierras. What a weekend!

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History is Found Amongst the Vines...

One of the most surprising finds, for me, was the amount of incredible history that exists in Napa Valley.

We began our lessons at Chateau Montelena whose rich history began on a chilly fall morning when Alfred L. Tubbs spaded over and inspected the soil where he thought of planting estate vineyards. He had heard the Napa Valley was the best place to grow grapes in California. A deal was struck, and in January of 1882 the San Francisco entrepreneur owned 254 acres of rugged land just two miles north of Calistoga at the base of Mount Saint Helena. The soils are well drained, stony and loose - perfect for the vines he would plant.
Its final chapter began with the renaissance of Chateau Montelena Winery and the Estate vineyard in the early 1970s. Under the leadership of Jim Barrett, the vineyard was cleared and replanted, and the Chateau outfitted with modern winemaking equipment. He assembled a team to oversee the vineyard and winemaking, then grew and contracted for the highest-quality grapes in the Napa Valley. In 1972 wines were made for the first time. Decades later, this celebrated family-owned winery continues to thrive with Jim's son Bo Barrett at the helm.
For those who are oenophiles, this winery was the subject of the movie, Bottle Shock. The 2008 American comedy-drama film is based on the 1976 wine competition termed the "Judgment of Paris", when Chateau Montelena's Chardonnay defeated French wine in a blind taste test. The competition put Napa on the map.
Over the years and for various reasons, the Chateau changed hands. Prior to its final chapter, the Franks bought it as a retirement place and created Jade Lake as a reminder of their home in China (1958). This serene place is considered one of Napa Valley's most beautiful sanctuaries, home to a variety of fish and wildlife, and surrounded by weeping willows and native fauna.
We found ourselves in the Bothe-Napa Valley State Park exploring the Pioneer Cemetery, resting-place of some of the original settlers. The cemetery is an interesting place to visit and is currently under restoration to return it to its original, mid-1800’s condition.

It exists on the grounds of White Church, named after Asa White, a Methodist-Episcopal saddlebag preacher, better known in history as a circuit rider or itinerant clergy (arriving in 1850).
Son of Reason Tucker, Stephen was one of the pioneers of the State, having crossed the plains in the Summer of 1840, in company with four of his other brothers- so interesting!
Our final history lesson of the day involved a to visit California Historical Landmark NO. 814 BERINGER BROTHERS WINERY.
Built by Frederick and Jacob Beringer, natives of Germany, this winery has the unique distinction of never having ceased operations since its founding in 1876. Here, in the European tradition, were dug underground wine tunnels hundreds of feet in length, thus demanding a future explore.

This amazing home, completed in 1884, was Frederick Beringer's former residence and is now the centerpiece of the expansive Beringer property. Exhibiting the fine, detailed craftsmanship of the period, the Rhine House has beautiful exterior stonework, stained-glass windows and interior wood paneling. Built at a cost of about $28,000 (with the 40 panels of stained glass accounting for $6,000) the Rhine House is a classic example of ornate Victorian architecture with its many gables, turrets and ornaments. And the perfect stop in our history tour for today.

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Some Natural Beauty of Napa...

Bob and Jenny are mushroom hunters. Being with them demands an explore of foliage which involves tramping through the woods. One never knows what one will find.



The beauty of these funghi is undeniable.





While not a mushroom, this banana slug was equally as slimy and intriguing.

The view that took my breath away and had me yelling, "Stop the car!" was the profusion of yellow. During winter, a fine carpet of mustard blossoms overtakes Napa Valley vineyards.
More than just a feast for the eyes, mustard is a feast for the vines, as it thrives just until bud break, when it is then turned under to mulch and provides valuable nutrients and phosphorus to the emerging grape plants.
I'm loving Napa Valley!

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