Two State Councils, one in the Fall and one in the Spring, connect California Questers to the rich history of our state through local speakers, displays, and visits to homes and historical locations all over California. Meeting Hosts:Contact our Second Vice President for information or if you have trouble printing the forms.
The Spring Council meeting is being held in historic Sonoma in the storied Valley of the Moon, 45 miles north of San Francisco. The meeting’s host chapters are Don Castro, Valley Harvesters, and Valley of the Moon. We welcome you to springtime in Sonoma! Our headquarters will be in the Sonoma Valley Women’s Club, housed in an historic building designed by Brainerd Jones, constructed exactly 100 years ago. Our meetings and evening meals will be held in this clubhouse which reflects the architecture of the early 1900s. The natural redwood walls and floors give the clubhouse a warm glow. It is located half a block off the Sonoma Plaza, which has many core historical sites within walking distance.
Two hundred years ago, Sonoma Valley was home to the Miwok and Pomo Indian tribes. Then the lure of the West brought more people from the East and South. Spain ruled Mexico, including Alta California, and wanted to extend the reach of the Catholic Church through the California Mission system. In 1821, Mexico gained its freedom from Spain. The mission at Sonoma was called Mission San Francisco Solano and was the last mission to be built. It was dedicated in 1824. In 1834, the Mexican governor of the State of California sent a young Lt. Mariano Vallejo to lead the establishment of a village and protect Mexican interests in this remote location. In 1835, the Sonoma Plaza was built as a parade ground, covering eight acres.
There are many historic structures around the plaza, all within a short walking distance. The Toscano Hotel and kitchen, the Mission San Francisco Solano, and General Vallejo’s home all have docent tours, and the Barracks has a video narrated tour. Nearby you can find historic wineries such as Buena Vista, founded in 1857, and Sebastiani, founded in 1904. The Depot Park Museum, just north of the plaza, is run by the Sonoma Valley Historical Society.
You have a choice of two hotels, the Best Western Sonoma Valley Inn, one block off the plaza, and the El Pueblo Inn, a half-mile from the plaza. The Best Western has a strict cut-off date of January 6 to get the Questers’ special rate. El Pueblo Inn extended the special rate to January 15. This little town is a tourist favorite and usually has a 60-day cancellation date for room blocks.
Please reserve your hotel room ASAP. See Registration Form for details.
The highlight of our Council meeting will be the Friday, March 3, private Questers’ tour of Jack London State Park, including the House of Happy Walls museum and the London Cottage. (Be sure sign up for this tour on registration form). This 1,500- acre park, once known as Beauty Ranch, was where Jack London wrote and oversaw a variety of agricultural enterprises. Plan to arrive in time on Friday, March 3rd, to pick up your box lunch (be sure to mark the Box Lunch option on your registration form). Then continue by carpool to Jack London State Park, an 8.3-mile drive from the plaza:
A short drive from Jack London State Park is the Quarryhill Botanical Gardens, an Asian botanical garden, featuring one of the largest collections of documented, wild-collected Asian plants in the world. Also close by, the Bouverie Preserve features a 535-acre home to diverse native ecosystems including oak wood
Experience Jack London State Park
Jack London (1876-1916) lived an adventurous and colorful life. His credo began, “I would rather be ashes than dust!” Jack London State Park has preserved much of Jack’s and his wife Charmian’s Beauty Ranch in Sonoma Valley’s town of Glen Ellen.
FRIDAY, MARCH 3, TOUR:
Sign up now (on registration form) for The Questers private group tour Friday, March 3, 2:00 p.m. We have reserved a tour of the House of Happy Walls Museum and London Cottage. Outbuildings are included for you to explore as time permits. Entire tour is 1.5 miles, though much less if outbuildings are omitted. No charge to you. You may also visit the park on your own, or join public tours on Saturday or Sunday (see park website). Please sign up now. We need to know how many will be on the Friday tour.
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, MARCH 4-5:
There are public tours on weekends, as well as golf cart transport to locations, and tours on a first come, first served basis. Tours and rides begin at the House of Happy Walls. Admission fee to the cottage is $2 Seniors, $4 others; other tours are free. See park website for times and details.
- Wear sturdy footwear and be prepared to walk if possible. Be prepared for possible rainy or cool spring weather.
- Accessibility: golf cart available first come, first served. Please save for those in need. A lift provides access to the first floor of the museum and a ramp provides access to the cottage for people with limited mobility. Doorways at both locations have a maximum width of 30 inches.
- Ten dollar entrance fee per car to the park (or California State Park Pass) required, so please carpool if possible.
- Self-guided visit between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
- Audio tour downloadable to phone app, must be done prior to visiting the park as wifi is limited.
- Maps and further detailed information will be distributed at registration.
- If you order a box lunch (Friday only), you could pick it up after 11:00 at the registration table in the Women’s Club and take it to the park for a picnic. Tables on site.
- If you wish to visit the Wolf House (1.2 mi round trip with 200 foot elevation gain/loss), you might want to do so before the group tour on Friday. Allow 1-2 hours.
Please see Park website: https://www.jacklondonpark.com for attractions and more information.
“A LITTLE FUN IN VISALIA”
The California Questers State Fall Council Meeting was held in Visalia, hosted by Kaweah Kollectors #1428and Sierra Searchers #1305.
Early Bird Thursday
Carpool trip to nearby Exeter to enjoy its outstanding murals and antique stores. Visit the TulareCounty Museum at Visalia’s Mooney Grove Park.Two mini-lyceums were offered on Tea Leaf Ironstone China and an impersonation of Mary Clark Graves, Donner Party survivor.
California Questers State Fall Council meeting. Tthree more mini-lyceums - Vintage Quilts & Their Care, Victorian Mourning Traditions, and Strange and Weird Show and Tell.
Saturday evening banquest included “Weddings of Yesteryear.” Wedding gowns were modeled and displayed. A special ‘surprise’ wedding event was presented.Jan Braley and her husband renewed their vows.
Your Spring Council Meeting was held in historic Paso Robles. Host Chapters were Agua Caliente (Hot Springs) in Paso Robles, Cinco Ciudades (Five Cities) in the Arroyo Grande area, and De Tolosa (from Bishop of Toulouse, France, founder of Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa)
On Friday, members had the opportunity to visit the Shinn Historic Park and tour the 1876 Victorian farmhouse with Bavarian accents.
The McConaghy Estate, in San Lorenzo,was another tour option. Niles was the Saturday destination.
The Hilton Hotel in Pasadena was the venue for the 2014 Spring Council Meeting in March, Hidden in Plain Sight - Pasadena Treasures.
For those Questers arriving early, Friday was taken up browsing the local antique shops or the Bustamante Antiques Show, taking a tour of the Tournament of Roses House or visiting the USC Pacific Asia Museum.
The Friday night reception and dinner was at the Pacific Asia Museum.
On Saturday afternoon members could choose a tour of the Fenyes Mansion or Gene Autry Museum.
For those Questers with energy - and money - left, the following day was the monthly Sunday Rose Bowl Flea Market, a real opportunity to shop.
The Live Oak, Sleeping Indian, and Rancho Monserate chapters planned an assortment of events. They toured two local homes: one with rare antique spool cabinets, vintage mini-sewing machines, and doll collection; the other is the home of a recognized authority on Terri Lee dolls.Each evening,showcased collections from members,They also visited the Rancho Guajome Adobe (below), which all three of our chapters were active in furnishing.
Council attendees visited the Santa Clara Mission and the
the Harris-Lass House.
Quester visitors toured the original Carnegie Library History Museum
A visit with “Abraham Lincoln,” a tour of the Forestiere Underground Gardens, and wine tasting at California’s premier producer of Portuguese-style port wine highlighted the activities for the Fall Council Meeting in Fresno.