Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Welcome to Sacramento, California!  Sacramento is the capitol city of California, harboring almost half a million people in the city limits, and over two and a half million people when the total metropolitan area is counted.  Yup, it's big!  But that doesn't mean that it is a huge, concrete jungle like some large cities.  As you can see in the above photo, there are big, beautiful trees in this city.  In fact, a nickname of the town is the "City of Trees."

The love affair with the natural beauty of this place was born from the beginning.  When the Spanish explorer Gabriel Moraga with his expedition team entered into this river valley back around the year 1800, he found a land with towering oak trees and cottonwoods, with wild grape vines, with clear river waters teeming with fish, with the cheerful chirping of birds, and with a floral aroma wafting through the air which was reminiscent of champagne.  The blissful experience prompted him to say “Es como el sagrado sacramento!"  This is like the Holy Sacrament!  With that sentiment, he bestowed the name Sacramento to the principle river running through the valley.

As impressive as this land was, it was not settled until around around 30-40 years later.  It wasn't a Spaniard, but rather a Swiss immigrant by the name of John Sutter who initiated the settlement of the area.  Sutter built a trading post and stockade which became known as Sutter's fort.  With business partner John Marshall, Sutter set up a saw mill, Sutter's Mill, to begin harvesting some of the great timber available.  One day at the mill in 1848, John Marshall found some loose flakes of a shiny yellow metal which changed everything.  Gold!

John Sutter and John Marshall were two of the men who sparked off the great California Gold Rush.  Despite trying to keep their find a secret, word leaked out.  Soon people were migrating to the region to make their fortune.  Recognizing the large influx of people, Sutter's son, John Sutter Jr., got together with a man named Sam Brennan and together laid out the plan for the city of Sacramento.  In February 27, 1850, the city was incorporated.

Sacramento has an impressive capitol building.  I think it looks better than the White House!

Downtown at the courthouse, lady Justice is flanked by oaks.

In 2002, Time magazine rated Sacramento as America's most ethnically and racially integrated city.  They have a large Asian population, including the decedents of many Chinese immigrants who had fled  their country back in the 1840's and 1850's due to the Opium Wars.  Below you can see the seafood section in an oriental supermarket there.  Wow!  It is quite large compared to most U.S. markets.

Let's get back to nature for a while, which is very easy to do in Sacramento.  They have an great walking path along the American River, a large tributary of the Sacramento River.

Along the walking path, wild flowers greet your eyes, and your nose.

Wild grasses, with their own type of beauty, also share the landscape with the flowers.

And speaking of flowers, Sacramento has a delightful rose garden near the heart of downtown.  I took the time to smell a few.  ;-)

Besides natural adornments, several of the houses in town were a feast for the eyes as well.  Gingerbread decor and bold paint colors make these houses inviting homes.

Even houses with more simple architecture often had eye-catching palettes.

And sometimes, far less often, it was the content of the yard, not the color of the house, which caught the eyes.  Check out this crazy, larger-that-life lawn art.  Funky!  I like the big yellow kitty.  OK, well I am off to my next adventure.  Travel on!

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