I Wanted to Mansion Something

Continuing my Oakland focus (and seeking appropriate subjects that also work for VeryHighDPI.com) I headed out to the historic Dunsmuir Mansion. To be honest, I knew almost nothing about it other than having seen photos of the building and thought it looked nice.

Dunsmuir House, Oakland, CA (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)
Dunsmuir House, Oakland, CA (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)

So I drove out there – turns out there is further away than I thought out in the outer reaches of Oakland near the zoo and near the San Leandro border. When I arrived, the gate was closed and I went online only to find that the place didn’t open until 11am- another half hour or so.

Dunsmuir House, Oakland, CA (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)
Dunsmuir House, Oakland, CA (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)

I sat in the car and perused maps, a travel app TravelWithMe which came with my Maps.Me app and Foursquare. I figured I’d use the time to see what else is out there. And low-and-behold I found another location deeper in the burbs. There’s a beautiful mansion in Hayweird I’d never even heard of: Meeks Mansion.

Meek Mansion (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)

Well, my time had come, it was 11am and I drove to the gate which was still closed. And I waited 10 minutes or so assuming the gate would open. But it didn’t. So I called the number on the webpage and a lady informed me that there are two gates. Alright, problem solved I guess- though I’m not sure why there’d be a gate with a big sign reading Dunsmuir Mansion on it that stays closed and an entrance that says Dinkelspiel House that’s the actual entrance, but hey, whatever.

Meek Mansion (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)
Meek Mansion (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)

This is yet another unexpected Oakland experience. The Dunsmuir Mansion is a handsome bit of architecture. And it’s about as un-urban as you could imagine- on a quiet and lush ground with only the hum of the freeway in the background.

Meek Mansion (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)
Meek Mansion (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)

So I got a few shots and panos in of the Dunsmuir mansion and booked it over to the Meeks Mansion about 20 minutes away in Hayward. I’d add that hashtag that I’ve been playing around with: #thesuburbsaremoreinterestingyouthink.

Meek Mansion (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)
Meek Mansion (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com) p.s. Graphic Designers, look – room for type

Sure, San Francisco has the bulk of the attractions in the Bay Area. But it has far more than its share of tourists. For those seeking a slight detour from the beaten path, some of these suburban gems might make more sense than being trampled by camera wielding outsiders.

Meek Mansion (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)
Meek Mansion (M. Halberstadt / SiliconValleyStock.com)

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

Spring has sprung….or at least that’s what I thought. The cherry blossoms are blooming in my neighborhood. So I figured it was a good time to go and get some photos in Japantowns and Japanese gardens in the Bay Area.

Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

I’ve been meaning to visit Hayward’s Japanese Garden for a while. So it was first on my list for today. What a surprise! Hayward’s Japanese garden was delightful. You’ll have to forgive me that I am so surprised…. It’s just Hayward isn’t high on any list of must visit sites. The garden was pretty large and quite pleasant indeed.

Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

In addition to the koi fish I expected to see there were also plenty of turtles too. Unfortunately the cherry trees weren’t in bloom there. The bonsai trees were numerous and well groomed, I don’t regret having gone.

Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

Next I drove on to Japantown in San Jose, the third remaining Japantown in the US. And once again, no blooming cherry blossoms. Ok, well I’ll visit San Jose’s Japanese Friendship Garden in Kelley Park. I drove into the parking lot and strike three….I’m out.

Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Japanese Gardens, Hayward, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

Guess I’ll try again in a couple weeks.

(on another note)

Intel Santa Clara (Michael Halberstadt)
Intel Santa Clara (Michael Halberstadt)

Some other business brought me to Sunnyvale. Returning to my car I noticed a street sign that read: Altair. For those not familiar with computer history, Altair is generally considered to be the first personal computer (PC.) The Altair was assembled by the purchaser and was extraordinarily primitive by today’s standards, inputs were made by switches and outputs were displayed on LED lights (if memory serves).

Altair Way Sign (Michael Halberstadt)
Altair Way Sign (Michael Halberstadt)

Since I actively seek out computer related signs for my photo library, I assumed that the street sign was honoring the historic computer- until I noticed the cross street sign is Aries. Bummer.

Farmland in Silicon Valley- Sunnyvale (Michael Halberstadt)
Farmland in Silicon Valley- Sunnyvale (Michael Halberstadt)

I also stumbled upon a tiny orchard in Sunnyvale, complete with old farm hardware. I remember when much of Silicon Valley was orchards and greenhouses, until about the 1990’s.