Have you ever driven by Tripp Road in Woodside and wondered what the general store was all about?
The old general store, post office, and community center constructed in 1854 by Robert Orville Tripp and Mathias Parkhurst is now a California Historical Landmark.
Tripp also was a dentist and winemaker. The store flourished; it was the only general store and stagecoach stop between San Francisco and Santa Clara.
Today, school groups can explore what it was like in a general store. The Woodside store is also open for the general public, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to 4 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12 pm to 4 pm. I really enjoyed the fact that you can go behind the counters and take a closer look at the packages on display.
The little gift shop in the corner is appropriate – with books from that period and arrowheads. But the best offering are the candy sticks. I have been told that bubble gum is one of the favorite flavors. At 25 cents each they are a true bargain and a welcome souvenir to take away.
The back rooms are a tribute to the lumber industry with large saws on the wall, but also skunk and racoon fur to touch.
As a monument to the engineering of the Hetch Hetchy Project, that brought water 160 miles from the Sierra Nevada to the Bay Area, the Pulgas water temple is a tribute to the ancient architecture of Greece and Romans. The 20 year project finished in October of 1934.
The inscription “I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people.” underlines the importance of drinking water after the 1906 earthquake and the raging wildfires that followed the quake.
I was surprised at how many people were exploring the monument. Some relaxing on the lawn, some horsing around the pool. The reflecting pool, a great backdrop for wedding photography and other photo opportunities was widely used as such.
The water temple is open seven days a week, from 9 am – 4 pm, but on the weekends the parking lot is only available for permitted events.
Currently there is also the 20th Annual Botanical Art Exhibition until May 20th, 2018. I enjoyed the drawings very much, and even found some of the tulips depicted.
The $20 entrance fee ensures the place will be open for the public. They have about 800 volunteers on the estate. Some of these volunteers create the flower arrangements in the house each Monday when Filoli is closed. So, if you come on Tuesdays you can admire the fresh bouquets.
The gift shop sells homemade jams and other products from the estate. The cafe has a wonderful selection of salads and sandwiches. You might also consider a stop here for coffee and dessert.
Water in California is a major topic. Coming out of a drought that gave us wildfires and restrictions on water use, we now have had a lot of rain. This downpour was a huge test for the tallest dam in the U.S., Oroville, CA. My thoughts go out to the people affected by flooding in all of California.
This is probably not the reason why there are two water temples in the area. But if you like the sound of running water and are looking for a peaceful place this might be your next stop.
So far I only visited the Sunol water temple. I was there by myself (except for some city workers next to the field who had their picnic lunch). The water temple was modeled after the ancient Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy, by Willis Polk. Built in 1910, in its early years half of San Francisco’s water supply would pass through it. Today only a small amount is used for San Francisco’s water and sewer needs, the rest flows into the Alameda Creek.
Unfortunately the Sunol Water Temple is no longer accessible, closed until November 2018 for construction of the nearby Sunol Corporation Yard. This can only mean that we all have to explore the second water temple in the area: The Pulgas Water Temple 86 Cañada Road, Woodside, California.
Sunol Water Temple, 505 Paloma Way in Sunol, California