Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Benicia Summertime Scenes

Last week when the Hub and I were taking our evening constitutional we saw a sight we had yet to see since moving to Benicia. This happy little seal was basking in the evening sun. Just laying there smiling at us as we walked by. I said hello and snapped a pic or two. I would love to have seen him bobbing through the waters of the Benicia Harbor.

Here is a pic of the back of Benicia City Hall. I just love this building. It was designed in 1925 by George Sellon of Sacramento in the Tudor Revival style. It's made of beautiful adobe bricks. The interior is reminiscent of the Mission Style, with many of the offices coming off a center courtyard. It is the most architecturally distinguished public building in Benicia, and was originally the Benicia High School. There is a plan to renovate the parking lot because, man, it's ugly. Rippling blacktop, leaning retaining walls and, hold onto your hats, Quonset huts. I'll shove a pic of the Quonset huts on a later blog. They're actually pretty cool, but detract from the Tudor style just a tad.

As promised in a previous post, above is a better picture of our gorgeous firehouse, built in the Craftsman style.

A couple of days ago, while walking with The Dot, we noticed this freighter going under the Carquinez Bridge. It was moving along very quickly and it was HUGE.

At the end of West F Street, there is a little park with some picnic benches. One evening The Hub and I sat for a bit and enjoyed the breezes. The tide was high and it was refreshing.

This is my favorite house on West E Street. I don't know why. I guess I like the fact that you can't see the front door. I think you have to meander down a walkway to the right and happen upon it almost by accident. I haven't tried it yet.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I Sail!

The Brother-in-Law sailed his boat into the harbor last week for a nice long visit. It was a lovely stay. He offered to take us out on the boat so we could see Benicia from the water. I took a bazillion pictures. Most of them looked just like this one. Mostly I'm a pretty awful sailor. Mostly we were tipped rather precariously. He said we were at 15 degrees but I happen to know it was more like 45. We didn't take on any water, though. And we made it back to shore without getting wet, so I count that as a success.

It was glorious.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mushroom House

I was on the quest for information about a commune in Aptos, California when I happened on this little mushroom house. It's one of many mushroom houses designed by Earl Young in the 1930s in Charlevoix, Michigan. More info on this Charlevoix Blog more pics (like above) here. Earl Young wasn't even an architect. He just went to the site, looked around at the topography and trees and sort of merged a house into the existing landscape. He used local boulders and timber and even recyled old barn doors and discarded materials. He was eco-friendly before it was fashionable.

The commune in Aptos about which I was seeking more info is called Trout Gulch. I heard about it on a Canadian podcast, Spark. It's fascinating. These people live off the land in little huts. Their kitchen is outside. One guy lives in a grass shack with a 4 foot door. But the most amazing part is that from this commune, they operate a CGI studio called Encyclopedia Pictura. Aptos is only about an hour's drive from Wellington. And it took listening to a Canadian podcast for me to find out about it. I might just zip over there sometime and take a snurk.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Googling Wellington

It finally happened! The new pics of Wellington are up on Google!

It's a big milestone for Wellington, and one he's been waiting for. He wanted to show off his new landscaping.

This was probably taken about six months ago, before we had the rocks in the front. But he looks great. And now he's officially ours. :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Is This Wellington?

No, this is not Wellington, but it sure looks familiar. It's sort of a similar color, has the urban sidewalk, elevated landing, front porch, upstairs window. But if you know Wellington like I do, you can see a lot of differences.

I'm always looking for similar bungalow plans, and today one of my favorite blogs features bungalow plans from this site.

Of course I'll never find Wellington's exact plan online, since he was designed by his own architect just for us. (Not really for us, but he may as well have been.) And besides, I have his plans in my possession. But that doesn't stop me from looking for similar bungalows all over "The Web". It's one of my favorite ways to waste time.

Thanks Hooked on Houses and The Plan Collection. That was fun.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy Birthday USA!

It was recently the 4th of July here in Benicia. In the true Small Town spirit, Benicia really celebrated! We had a good old fashioned parade on July 3rd, complete with the Armed Forces and the Firefighters. Unfortunately the police were only working, they weren't represented in the parade. I wonder why. Police get a bum rap. They always get the worst facilities and the least praise. Our police department is actually housed in a pretty cool historic building. It's the old Benicia High School, right up the street (pics to follow in a different post), but it's an old building that also houses other city services. As we've seen before, the fire fighters have a new, gorgeous facility built in the Arts and Crafts style. AND they're represented in the parade. :( Poor police. Anyway, here are some of our armed forces.

And a pirate ship (it's only pretend), courtesy of Pizza Pirate. I didn't win the free pizza.

There were lots of classic cars, like the truck above, and these Mustangs.

Last night there were fireworks down at the pier. They shoot them off over the water. We usually walk downtown. Well, we've lived here one year, through two Independence Days and have walked downtown both times. I keep thinking I'll try to see if I can spot the fireworks from my bedroom balcony, but I don't want to miss anything, so I usually (two out of two) go with the fam to the end of 2nd Street and view the fireworks from there. Here are two completely inadequate photos, but they're all I have.

It was better in person. I just love this little old town.