(Literally) Tons of Fun

The great thing about living in American Canyon is that we are centrally located, amid the best that Solano & Napa counties has to offer. Whether it’s heading “Up Valley” to go wine tasting or just a few miles south to the Pirate Festival over Father’s Day Weekend along the Vallejo Waterfront, there is not shortage of things to try or events to go to. A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of going with the Cub Scouts to the Western Railroad Museum in southern Suisun City (between Suisun proper and Rio Vista on 12).

The WRM, set in the middle of nowhere, is an homage to all things Railroad. There is an 11 mile circuit for a stable of electric trains. During the spring they have a wild flower tour; in October they have a pumpkin patch and in the winter…best of all…they have a Santa Train! At only $15/person it is a great deal especially for those of us who have multiple kids.

What is most amazing to me is the history that is stored in the special barn built for the rail cars that are being (or have been) restored. With the passing of time, it’s very easy to forget how much World War II affected the entire Bay Area but these cars bring the history back to life. Of course, my favorite of all was the locomotive that was used in the movie Pollyanna (staring Jane Wyman & Hayley Mills) – shown above moving through Napa Junction (aka American Canyon) on its way up to St. Helena.

The WRM is all volunteer run and is sustained primarily through memberships and donations. Family memberships – good for 2 adults and 4 kids – is $70.

Coming up this weekend…

The Christmas season is one of my favorites for local events. There are some older traditions – like Christmas Tree Lightings – and some newer ones like the Mad Hatter Parade in Vallejo or Snow Day in American Canyon (both on Dec. 2nd this year!). Santa comes to visit throughout the region and their are wonderful choral assemblies for your listening pleasure…and then there’s the Meyer’s year end sale for your inner Alice Waters or Guy Fieri.

The Meyers sale begins today (Nov. 30th) at 10am and lasts through December 11th. If you haven’t been and you like to cook you should go. If you don’t like to cook you should go for the person in your life who enjoys cooking…because the place is just awesome. It’s located at the bottom of Curtola Parkway. The deals are outrageous!

On Friday at 6:30pm is the American Canyon Tree Lighting Ceremony at Shenandoah Park. This is one of my favorite traditions in town. If you have the chance to go, come find me at the Lions booth where we’ll be providing hot chocolate and cookies for the kids!

Come back to Shenandoah at noon on Saturday for some Snow Day fun, sponsored by American Canyon Orthodontics. Dr. Nichelini gives back a lot to our community and this is a great example of how much he cares.

After sledding don’t forget to get your party on. The 8th Annual Mad Hatter Festival in Vallejo begins at 2pm. There will be food, games, music and Alice in Wonderland characters throughout downtown Vallejo! The Mad Hatter Parade is scheduled to start at 4:30pm with pictures with Santa beginning at 5:30pm in front of the Empress Theater. Vallejo will have its own tree lighting at 6pm and then at 6:30pm, there is the lighted boat parade.  This will be the first year I’ll have the chance to go and I’m really excited!

Here we go a Caroling…

Over the weekend – while trolling Facebook (you know you do it too!) – I came across an event over at the Recreation Center in American Canyon called Carols and Cocoa. Having two sons who both like to sing and who both love hot chocolate, I thought that I’d give it a try.

The oldest one backed out last minute because he’s too cool (teenager, right?!) but my youngest came along with. I was under the impression that it would be us drinking hot cocoa in the back, listening to semi-professional singers. Instead, as we walked through the door Artistic Director, Rebecca Kincl, handed us sheet music and invited us to sing!carols and cocoa

It was one of the best times that Miles and I have had together. We sang Christmas Carols like we were part of a choir for over 90 minutes (in between sips of hot cocoa of course!). All the while, Rebecca conducted the group (about 20 of us) to greater and greater heights. We had the opportunity to sing most of the Christmas classics ending with a rousing rendition of We Wish You a Merry Christmas.

The singers will be out and about at Snow Day on Saturday, caroling beginning about 3pm. They are a non-audition community ensemble for people who simple love to sing. If you love to sing and are interested in learning a bit more about music theory then I think that this is a great group for you. The American Canyon Singers meet on Tuesdays from 7-9pm beginning January 9th. Their spring concert this year will feature a full mass (6 parts) but will take each part from a different style, including Jazz, African and traditional European.