If you’re like us, Walnut Creek hasn’t been on your radar as a city to explore and a hub of historic interest. Recently [now that we have seen almost everything there is to see in the South Bay/Valley of Heart’s Delight] we discovered that Walnut Creek, which is celebrating its centennial, is replete with historical buildings belonging to the famous and not-so-famous. It’s also home to a couple of noteworthy gardens.
On Lincoln’s birthday a couple of us toured the Penniman house at Shadelands Ranch, the art at the Bedford Gallery, and dined outdoors by a fireplace and waterfall at The Cheesecake Factory which resembled Caesar’s at Vegas for its beautiful ceilings.
Turns out Walnut Creek was also home to “a journalist, orchardist, winemaker, gourmet, connoisseur, collector, and admitted spy for the young CIA.”
So we'll start with a visit to Howe Homestead Park [still working on arranging a guided tour]
For three decades Jim Howe trotted the globe covering World War I, the Russo-Polish war, the Sino-Japanese war, the Chinese Revolution. He saw so many conflicts that his San Francisco Chronicle obituary began: "They used to say you couldn't have a genuine war until Jimmy Howe of the Associated Press got there." Jim Howe grew up in a diverse and distinguished family of American writers. His father, E.W. Howe, was a contemporary of Mark Twain and is remembered in journalism history as "the Sage of Potato Hill".
From there we will head on for a pot luck picnic at the former ranch of early Walnut Creek pioneer Frank Borges. At 2:00 we’ll join the ranger for his monthly tour of the home.
Both of these parks connect to walking/hiking trails and open space preserves, so we can try out new trails. We’ll plan on being home by 5:00, perhaps earlier – depending on weather, how much we want to hike, etc.