Alameda: Walk Down Memory Lane

On the 26th, SMS and I decided to head out and explore.  We had our day of rest after traveling on Christmas Eve from Colorado and it was time to take advantage of what the local area has to offer.  We were going to go to Oakland to roughly follow the recent “36 Hours in…” article from Dec 2015, but when I saw the exit sign for Alameda, a wave of nostalgia hit me and I wanted to check it out.  I had lived in Alameda from 1987-1989 and I wanted to see my old school and the former Navy base.

Almost 30 years later!

St Philip Neri playground

First, we went to St Philip Neri.  I was surprised at how little I remembered in terms of the layout.  Gradually, things became a little clearer as I remembered the march from the classroom to the Hall where we had our square dancing classes (really!).  I also remembered the playground in vivid detail once I saw it from a certain corner.  The games of tag, hopscotch and my terrible attempts at tetherball made the playground indelibly etched in my mind.  One thing that really surprised me though was how small everything seemed.  I’ve heard of people talking about the perspective change in size between childhood and adulthood, but this was the first vivid example for me with respect to a place.

As SMS said, not the type of van you want across the street from a school!
Another view
Back gate, totally open!
Old house!

We headed over to the base, although I’d like to head back at some point and check out the historic Alameda movie theater and Park St shopping district.  We drove through the housing area and I managed to remember how to get to our old house.  It was still there (it was rumored to be condemned after the 1989 earthquake).  I was really surprised at how derelict everything looked.  Nothing looked unsafe but everything was so rundown and dingy- peeling paint, dirty houses, tons of stuff piled up.  It was a definite contrast to 30 years ago and pretty amazing to me that things can change so quickly.  I also looked at the tree in the front yard and I think it’s too big to climb on now.  Back in the day, it was the perfect climbing tree and we were in it all the time!

Slightly different signage than the 80s.
View from the patio of Rock Wall Winery

We headed over to the old squadrons and the runway, which is now a protected bird habitat.  The hangers are mainly commercial businesses now, focussed on booze.  There’s the Faction brewery, where we had a sampler before going on a tour of St. George’s, a artisanal distillery.

At the brewery, the sampler was delicious and the coffee stout was the best I ever had.  We picked the brewery because we were hoping the corn dog stand would open but we were disappointed since the set-up was taking them awhile.

Entrance for St. George.  I love the sign under Visitors.

We went over to St. George’s where we went on one of the best tours I’ve ever been on.  Our tour guide’s name was Andie and she was so well-spoken, informative, hilarious and very quick on her feet with witty responses and serious answers to questions that came up along the tour.  I was super impressed at her tour guide skill!

Safety first- I agree!

SMS had a sampler flight and I had a few micro-sips.  The spirits are excellent and the gins are delicious and super-flavorful and herby.  The pear liquor was probably my favorite and one I’d buy on another day.

The masher
The still
Our day was cut a little short in regards to making it to Oakland so we decided to head home and save Oakland for another day…like the next one!

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