Industrial Deals Beauty MagazinestoInspire STEM nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc Starting at $39.99 Grocery Handmade Wedding Rustic Decor Home Gift Guide Off to College Home Gift Guide Book House Cleaning TheTick TheTick TheTick  Introducing Echo Show Limited-time offer: All-New Fire 7 Kids Edition, starting at $79.99 Kindle Oasis Trade it in. Fund the next. Tailgating STEMClubToys17_gno

Customer Review

on March 1, 2007
Thanks to the Internet, it's easy these days to compile and publish lists of things, such as bed and breakfast getaways or suspension bridges or pet friendly parks, but rarer for authors actually to visit the venues they write about. That's what impressed me about "Best of California's Missions, Mansions and Museums" ($21.95 in paperback from Wilderness Press) by Ken and Dahlynn McKowen out of Sacramento.

The couple, along with Dahlynn's two children, 9-year-old Shawn and his sister, 14 year-old-Lahre, hit the road for four months, visited some 200 sites and racked up 10,000 miles on the odometer. The result, after some editing, are chatty descriptions of 135 family-friendly California missions, mansions and museums. This is a good guide to consult if one is planning a summer vacation in the Golden State.

The listings, write the authors, "provide a broad geographic and subject-matter selection of California's missions, mansions and museums, primarily as they relate to California's history and culture." Picking the "best" was difficult, subjective of course, and a lot of places were not included (such as most science and technology museums) that didn't meet the criteria of illuminating state history.

In the area of missions, "our final choice came down to 13 missions that we felt included not only wonderful museums, but retained much of their original or at least their early 20th century restored historic fabric. ... We chose our favorite mansions in much the same way as the missions, but we added accessibility -- how frequently they are open to the public for tours."

For museums, the authors concentrated on smaller collections. "We didn't choose them because of their size or the value or rarity of their collections, although we certainly considered those things. ... We considered their uniqueness, not only in the types of collections and the variety of artifacts, but also in how they relate to California's overall history or to their local community's history."

The book is divided geographically, from the North Coast, through the Great Valley and on to the South Coast and desert. Each section has a numbered locator map, trivia questions and introduction. Each two- or three-page entry features a "what's here" list, a "don't miss this" note, a description of the venue, usually a small black and white photograph and a box providing operating hours, cost, location and the Web site. The book also features an index and a list destinations by category.

The chapter devoted to the Great Valley includes entries for the Turtle Bay Exploration Park (including the Sundial Bridge) in Redding, and Chico's own Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park.

The authors note that the second floor of the mansion "features several of the home's 12 bedrooms. That was not a good location for bedrooms in a town where summer temperatures reach 100 degrees, and upstairs rooms become even hotter. Possibly, the plantation windows served as summer escapes to cooler sleeping arrangements on the outside balcony. The indoor toilets that Bidwell included were thought strange by his neighbors and visitors. Many believed that having to perform such bodily tasks inside a house, rather than in an outhouse, was unsanitary."

And there is some Great Valley trivia. "Where can you find the very first Pony Car (Mustang) manufactured by Ford?" It's at the Towe Auto Museum in Sacramento. The car is a white convertible, the first to roll off the assembly line back on April 9, 1964.

See you on the road!

Copyright 2007 Chico Enterprise-Record. Used by permission.
0Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse| Permalink
What's this?

What are product links?

In the text of your review, you can link directly to any product offered on Amazon.com. To insert a product link, follow these steps:
1. Find the product you want to reference on Amazon.com
2. Copy the web address of the product
3. Click Insert product link
4. Paste the web address in the box
5. Click Select
6. Selecting the item displayed will insert text that looks like this: [[ASIN:014312854XHamlet (The Pelican Shakespeare)]]
7. When your review is displayed on Amazon.com, this text will be transformed into a hyperlink, like so:Hamlet (The Pelican Shakespeare)

You are limited to 10 product links in your review, and your link text may not be longer than 256 characters.

Please write at least one word
You must purchase at least one item from Amazon to post a comment
A problem occurred while submitting your comment. Please try again later.

There was a problem loading comments right now. Please try again later.