If you are looking for a pitstop with a roadside attraction you should stop at the rest area on route 80 near Vacaville, Peña Adobe Park. The bathrooms are okay for a public park, but the location holds the oldest structure in Solano County!
The first settlers in the Lagoon Valley were the Vaca and the Peña family. Both houses were built in 1842, but only the Peña house remains. Vaca’s house was destroyed in an earthquake in 1892.
Next to the Peña house is an adobe oven, an early open air kitchen. In 1880 another kitchen was added. This little house is now the Mowers-Goheen Museum, showing off artifacts of the archeological dig that occurred in the 1960s. On the first Saturdays of each month February thru December from 11:00am – 2:00 pm, the Mowers-Goheen Museum is open and volunteers offer tours of the historical park.
The adjacent Willis Linn Jepson Garden is being restored by UC Davis. There are a lot of native plants in their beginning stages, and the signage promises a wide variety of plants.
Not surprisingly the archeology digs in the 1960s also found remains of indigenous peoples, who were buried in the Burial Grounds nearby.
If you can’t make it to the public tours you should check out the YouTube channel for the Peña Adobe Historical Society. While the house and the museum are only open on the first Saturday of the month, you can still peek into the windows on the first floor.
The nearby Lagoon Park charges $5 for parking; there is no charge or admission to see the historic park.
Peña Adobe Historical Society
Eagle Scout Project by Jason Hanson, 2006
City of Vacaville