Friday, March 5, 2010

Dining at Steinbeck's Home

We did leave the Salinas area today, driving past San Jose and and through the Santa Clara valley. Our rig is now parked west of San Francisco. It was great that the rain had stopped and the sun came out for our scenic drive here. We are now noticing that it is a bit cooler here, but the the sun in the afternoon warms everything up. Spring flowers and fruit trees are in bloom. Our last rv park had many blooming plum trees which were quite pretty. Right on our site where we are parked now there are several blooming trees, I have as yet to find out what they are. The picture below is that of the plum trees at our last site.
Even though we have moved on to another area I still want to mention our visit to the Steinbeck house yesterday. We came there wanting to tour the house. However, upon entering it, the lady who greeted us wanted to know where we wish to sit for lunch. We soon figured out that if you want to see the house it is necessary to sit down and order a meal. Well, it was lunchtime and we had not eaten yet. We ordered our meal and then started doing some wandering around, which we were encouraged to do. That was a bit difficult to accomplish as there were diners in all of the rooms! There were three front rooms. The front parlor room was where John was born. The room next to it was where we ate lunch. It has a fireplace around which John, his parents and sisters often gathered because it was their only heat source during the winter. There is a picture on the wall there which has that family scene. The picture below is of the front entry hall that leads back to this room.
In the foreground are the steps leading to the upper rooms. We were not allowed up there because the steps were too narrow and steep (the inference being that visitors could fall and sue). I was disappointed with that because one of those rooms up there was where Steinbeck wrote his first stories. On some of the walls downstairs are the Steinbeck family photos. In several of the rooms are also a few furniture pieces which had belonged to the Steinbecks. In one old cabinet are a few objects which belonged to John,such as his reading glasses. After we ate I decided to visit the gift store which is located in the cellar. To get there I had to go out the back porch and down some steps- it was raining when I did this. And yet if I had not made the effort I would have missed seeing some more of the Steinbeck furniture. Displayed in the gift shop is a desk which John's mom used, as well as a table and the frame of the bed where John was born. It was the strangest tour I have ever taken of a historic house. At least our waitress was friendly and willing to answer our questions about the house. She  is a volunteer, as well as all the other workers who cook and serve. We were told that the money which is made from the restaurant is given to the community. I must also add that it is a group called the Valley Guild who has restored the house and is now running the restaurant. I think there could be a better way of showing the house. Maybe a brochure could be given for first time visitors explaining the historical facts and important features of the house. I wish I had made that suggestion when I was there.

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