Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Visiting Enchanted Lands In Mountain View, California

Recently, I've been a visitor to enchanted lands, brought to life through the magic of theater - the Peninsula Youth Theater - to be exact.

Puss In Boots - Photo by Lyn Flaim
I have visited a kingdom run by an overbearing queen and a long-suffering king. I have witnessed the story of a man-child prince and the bold princess who rescues him.

Once Upon A Mattress - Photo by Lyn Flaim
I have come to know a most charming and clever cat, a princess who loves books beyond compare and the noble peasant who loves her.

Puss In Boots - Photo by Lyn Flaim
I have witnessed wizards, both funny and scary, heard singing minstrels and watched dancing skeletons.

Puss In Boots - Photo by Lyn Flaim

But most of all, I have been amazed at the incredible talent of the actors, who range in age from eight to eighteen. They are so gifted; many of them will go on to have a theatrical career. The production value of these plays is also incredible. The directors, stage managers, lighting, sound and costume designers are professional. The sets look professional and the parent volunteers (I must admit I'm one of them), are very dedicated. And best of all, the plays are shown in the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, a mid size theater where nearly every seat has a great view of the stage.

Actors From Once Upon A Mattress - Photo by Karen Gough

Did you know that there are other benefits to viewing live theater besides the sheer enjoyment of it all? According to a study by the Education Reform Department at the University of Arkansas, students who viewed live theater gained an "enhanced knowledge of the plot and vocabulary in those plays, greater tolerance, and improved ability to read the emotions of others."

Photo From Peninsula Youth Theater's Facebook Page

Soon I will be venturing Into The Woods to hear music by Stephen Sondheim and learn what happens after "happily ever after." You can too! It's playing July 25 - August 2. Note - this is not a show for young children.

Rehearsal Photo From Into The Woods - Mobile Photo by Barbara Koch

The 2015-16 season of Peninsula Youth Theater will have plays the whole family can enjoy:

Annie plays Nov 14 - 22
Mary Poppins plays March 5 - 13
Seussical plays May 14 - 22

Tickets average $20 for adults and $16 for children and seniors.
For more information, check out the Mtn View Performing Arts Center website
or call 650-903-6000

The Theater is located at
500 Castro Street
Mountain View, CA 94041

Hope to see you there!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Slow Down And Relax At Wilder Ranch State Park

During special living history days, you can ride in this horse drawn wagon.
Located on the Santa Cruz coastline, Wilder Ranch State Park is a hidden gem. Our family spends a day there every 4th of July, but you can tour the historical park on other weekends, and hike the nature trails any day of the year. I have yet to hike at Wilder Ranch so this blog will be about the historical preserve.

The Victorian home of Melvin D. Wilder 1896/97
The Victorian Kitchen, 1897
During living history days, docents dress like they did in the late 1890s. You can tour the Victorian homes, barns, and  cabins that were built by the various families who owned the land.  It was a bit confusing for me to figure out the history because I didn't take the time to study the signage in the Interpretive Center -

The Interpretive Center
 -  but with later study, this is the jist of it:
In the 1830s, the land was run by Maria Candida Castro and her husband Jose Antonio Bolcoff and was known as Rancho del Refugio. The ranch was known for its butter and cheese. Then in the 1850s, a large portion of the ranch lands was sold to Moses Meder. He expanded the dairy and farming production. Then in 1871,  partners Levi K. Baldwin and Deloss D. Wilder bought 4,160 acres and built a new creamery. Five generations of The Wilder family continued to work the land over the years. In 1974, California State Parks bought the property to preserve its natural and cultural environment.

Now back to the fun part -

The Bunk House - Inside is a blacksmith shop and woodworking shop powered by pulleys and water wheels.
They sell different sized iron hooks made by the blacksmith.
A master docent at work

The picture says it all
This drill is powered by a water driven belt system - no electricity!

We can attest - the home-made vanilla ice cream is delicious!
A spinning wheel demonstration
Our children always loved the old-fashioned games - nothing digital about them!
We always enjoy the wagon rides powered by these beautiful draft horses.

The cabins were built in 1932 by the Wilder Family.

The first time they built the chimney they used too many rocks and it collapsed.
Most people don't realize you can walk inside the cabins to take a look.
I believe this is the Cowboy Loop Trail
A Beautiful View
Old farm machinery can be viewed throughout the ranch
And I cannot leave out the best climbing tree around -  this red Cedar, 100-year-old beauty
This clump is even bigger than in the picture, and it has tunnels!

The Nitty Gritty: Wilder Ranch is free but parking costs $10. The Interpretive Center is open Thursday through Sunday from 10 AM to 4 PM.  The ranch grounds and hiking trails are open from 8 AM to sunset every day. There are living history tours during specific days on the weekend. Check out their calendar and call 831-426-0505 for more information.

Directions: google maps is the best!

Don't Forget: sunscreen, water, a light jacket, sunglasses or a hat. You can also bring folding chairs and a picnic. During living history days such as July 4th and the Harvest Festival, they usually have delicious food stands as well. And tell your kids to leave the electronics at home! ;-)