Have you ever walked into a space that made you stop and wonder if you were dreaming? Did you look around to make sure you'd not passed a sign that said, "do not enter"? Have you ever gone on an adventure only to be taken somewhere else altogether and the adventure turned into more than you could have thought?? All of these things happened to us last Sunday. We walked into a reality that didn't seem real and yet was so alive that you just sat in awe.
We'd been wanting to check out the Japanese Friendship Garden at Kelly Park for a while now, so we packed a picnic lunch and set out on our adventure. Once we arrived we set out in search of the perfect picnic spot before we headed into the gardens. We walked the tree lined path of the park in search of a sunny spot while passing other families who were setting up for birthday parties, people riding bikes or strolling along or just couples enjoying the sunny day.
Once we reached the top of the hill and made our way down past a group of girl scouts fluttering about, we spied some rooftops and thought we'd left the park and were about to enter a neighborhood but yet the path led us further along and of course we didn't stop...we're curious like that!
As we turned through a run down ticket booth of sorts we were hit in the face with a place that was deserted yet the sounds of a string band filtered through the abundance of shade trees. The streets were swept completely clean, not a speck of trash anywhere and slowly we began to see life here and there. A few people coming out of the most beautiful California cottages I ever did see. The streets were filled with roses of every color and trees everywhere. A 1930's car soon filled our vision and a little squeak of a horn greeted us as we stood there in stunned silence. I looked at Mike and said, "Did the rapture really happen last night and is this Heaven??" He laughed and pulled me further in.
After a few minutes I had to sit down and absorb everything!!!! We opened up our picnic, sat back and let our little cricket run off and enjoy the grassy area. I repeated over and over that I felt like I was going to cry because I really felt this was so real and yet so not. It was so beautiful. So perfect. Not a few minutes into our sandwiches we saw a trolly slowly going by with the driver waving his hello to us. Instantly we looked at each other, jumped up and said, "let's go explore!!!!"
Wandering down the sidewalk we were stopped by the gentleman driving the 1930's car and asked if we'd like to check it out and he welcomingly opened the door and invited us in. Of course I started in with 20 questions!!!! He filled us in on this most incredible history park/museum, (History San Jose) that is replica of the streets, homes, businesses and cars of San Jose. But this is no museum...you don't look at pictures on the walls or artifacts through a glass case....not here!! You can go into the homes and see, feel, smell, and absorb everything!!! And of course my questions didn't go unanswered because there were docents in every open building willing to tell you the history of their pride and joy.
There was nothing left out. Original homes of the founding families of the area that were filled with the homes prized pieces of San Jose's history. A gas station that was located on some corner long ago. The dentist. The stables. The trolly shed. The hotel. The soda shop. The bandstand. The bank. The one room school house. The Portuguese Hall. The firehouse. The print shop. The Chinese temple. Horse troughs. A covered wagon. Each fitting together like someone picked up a neighborhood in 1936 and put it here and treated it like a doll house. Never changing a thing. Just polishing the pieces every now and again.
After what felt like minutes we realized we'd been walking around for hours and knew we had to jump on that trolly for a ride through real life "mayberry". We weren't disappointed in the least! The trolly driver filled us in on all the details of his pride and joy and he would have driven us around in circles all day if we'd asked. Our little cricket LOVED it and kept pointing all around and saying "trolly, trolly"! Every square inch of this beautiful car was lovingly restored to it's original condition. In fact everything in this history museum was filled with pride of volunteer work and hours of dedication. No detail left out. Oh and did I mention it was free? No not just the trolly....the entire day.
So if you're ever in the area, make a point to find this gem of a history park! I'm sure you will feel like I did and be taken back to a time of slow walks through town where everyone knows your name. You'll stop to smell every rose and walk away with a sense of simple pleasure.
Ahhhhh....I'm ready to go back! Anyone want to join us?? :)
Here it is Wednesday again! Love Black and White Wednesday's!