Spring is the perfect time to head East of the San Francisco Bay Area to the Central Valley Delta. On a sunny Saturday we packed a lunch and headed out with Robbie in our truck to get a taste of nature and sunshine.
Some background…..a bit more than an hour from our home, hundreds of little islands sit below sea-level in this spread of sloughs where fresh water rivers feed into Suisun Bay. This area is nicknamed “California’s Holland”. Most of the land is now agricultural. On a visit, you can take to the water for tours, a houseboat vacation, fishing, and water skiing. Greg spent his childhood skiing behind a boat up and down many of the water ways. My mother and I took to the land and drove to the Delta to buy produce for eating, canning, and jam-making.
For today’s trip, we headed out to visit two particular towns: Isleton and Walnut Grove. Both are known for historical Chinese and Japanese districts, left from bygone years when canning plants processed produce grown in the area. We had heard that there is rich history but neither of us had visited these towns.
Our drive was just over an hour – easy for a Saturday or Sunday outing. Once we were off the freeway, the green pastures and windmill farms filled our view.
The trip we mapped out took us from Antioch to Isleton and Walnut Grove Since our goal was to explore, we took a side road before heading over the bridge and drove the levy road around Sherman Island. It was the perfect “slow down” and set the tone for a great day.
What a treat! It’s a small town with a great community park and access to fishing along the Sacramento river. We met a fellow and his dog who were heading out to set up for a day on the banks with his pole in the water. I had read that it was a MUST to check out the local bait shop and take a photo of the sign by the front door. What a hoot!
We parked at one end of town, got Robbie on his leash and walked the length of main street. What wonderful, friendly people! We were invited into a great vintage shop for cookies and coffee AND left with a bag of fresh-off-the-tree oranges that a customer brought it while we were browsing.
I love to see the Chinese cultural buildings being renovated. A time in history that is worth its own story on another day.
One of the best parts of the day was driving the backroads around the different islands. There are two ferries that shuttle cars back and forth. The ferries are part of the California Transportation System and considered to be extensions of the highways. The J-Mack ferry took us from Andrus island to Ryder island and back. It’s a cable-drawn ferry that runs 3 minute across the water.
We hit the jackpot here. On a back street, off the main drag, we found an iron works shop. In the former building of the Imperial Theater, between the Chinese and Japanese historic districts, we found this beautiful store and came home with a beautiful piece for our yard. Now, when staying in Hensong Nest, a wall of hens is the view from the dining nook. You’ll have to visit to see it!
I hope this has enticed you to take a drive and explore. We’ll be taking to the water this summer to show you a totally different view of Delta life.