Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Having Fun in Sac

In Napa, I drink wine.
In Sonoma, I drink wine.
In the Central Coast, I drink wine.
But in Sacramento, I see the sights.

Wine country and I were made for each other: I love it for the wine, the vines, meeting like-minded vino aficionados and did I mention the wine? Wine Country is my DisneyLand: the happiest place on earth. 

On this particular trip to the land of the vine, I traveled by plane through Sacramento and got to spend some time in the capital city of California, or as the locals call it: “spending time in Sac”.  

Sacramento was named after the Sacramento River, which the Spanish explorer, Gabriel Moraga (1765-1823), called the Rio del Santissimo Sacramento. However the city of Sacramento should have been called “Gold Rush City” because that’s why it was developed in the first place, as a place where miners and get-rich quick adventurers went in 1849 to stock up on supplies before heading to the American River to pan for gold. 

To honor this historic element, the present-day city of Sacramento has preserved and developed a small area of town with wooden sidewalks, saloons and horse-drawn carriages. “Old Sacramento”, as it’s known, is popular among kids, western history buffs and people pretending to be cowboys. I didn’t see a single miner.

The city of Sac is found at the confluence of the Sacramento and America Rivers both of which have deltas that are rich for farming. This proximity to agriculture and organic farming has led to a farm-to-fork movement among Sacramentans, which we could partake in at the local Farmer’s Market (under the 80 freeway) and at some really delicious restaurants. I ate well in Sacramento including at the Magpie Cafe. Their baked goods are worth checking out as is their roasted chicken for two and espresso-infused cream brulĂ© for one.  

Finally as the capital city of the Golden State, I had to see the Capitol Building. Built in the 1860s and retrofitted in the 1950s, I relished walking the marbled halls and seeing the old-style Assembly and Senate Chambers. In addition the hallway walls are lined with portraits of California governors including Ronald Reagan (one term 1967-1975) and Jerry Brown (two terms 1975-1983). I especially liked comparing the official portraits. Reagan’s looked like a photograph while Jerry Brown’s, painted by artist Don Bachardy, resembled a modern, expressionistic work. Hanging next to each other, Jerry Brown’s portrait really popped. Not only was it a portrait it was a work of pop art.  

Now that Jerry Brown is finishing a third term as California governor and likely will get a fourth, the question is, will the famously frugal Brown have a second portrait painted of himself for the Capitol. Or not?

As for the answer to that question, I’ll mull it over while drinking a glass of wine, in Wine Country.

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