We recently helped some dear friends buy a really cute home in Benicia. Their home is the one on the left, and we just love the historical aspect of many of the homes in town, and how they have been updated to keep their original look but have been modernized inside. And they’re a great value too! Make sure you take the time to drive around and look at some these. See below for the other reasons we just love Benicia…
Beyond our favorite subject, beautiful homes, there are also many other things that Benicia has to offer.
Did you know that Benicia was one of the wandering Capitals of California before the seat of California government finally settled in Sacramento? It served for nearly 13 months between 1853 and 1854. A bustling town at the time, it was an important seaport in the Bay as well. There are a number of other historic sites from this time period that merit a visit:
The Clock Tower Fortress on Washington street was strategically built upon Army Point to control the area of the Carquinez Straight – a key waterway to the gold mines of the interior. It was originally built to help fend of Indian attacks – yes there were Indians in the Bay Area!
Commanding Officers Quarters Mansion – Built in 1860 by Julian McAllister and was used as the residence of the Commander of the Arsenal, part of a compound including the Clock Tower Fortress to protect this key area of the Bay.
There is also Downtown’s First Street, a Shopping, Dining and Spa mecca in the East Bay! Diablo Magazine recently named it the “Best Shopping Block” in the recent Best of the East Bay edition.
There is no shortage of great restaurants to explore. Some of the top rated on Tripadvisor, and we’ve probably been to all of them and loved them, are: First Street Cafe, Rosanna’s European Delights, Camellia Tea Room (a favorite), Sailor Jacks (the kid’s favorite), Matsuri and Rellik Tavern.
We haven’t tried any of them, but Benicia is known as a Spa destination with over 40 spas within the city’s relatively small boundaries. Who knows, we may have to slip in a visit to one on our next trip to town!
Finally, we wanted to hit on one of our favorite areas of town, the famous and beautiful Waterfront. We’ve been coming to Benicia for more years than twenty years with our kids, and one of the first things they always want to do is go down to the waterfront. You could always sense the romance, mystery and intrigue of its past days as a bustling important maritime port, shipyard and access point to the interior of the State. However it was, let’s just say. a little rough around the edges back in the day when we were trying to navigate it with strollers…
Benicia has done such an outstanding job of revitalizing the Waterfront that we don’t even recognize it from those early days. It is literally just a few steps from downtown which makes it super-easy to explore everything without having to get back in the car. They have built a beautiful and scenic Promenade right at the water’s edge so you can get up close and personal with the Straight. The is the Marina and Yacht Club. There are 3 parks along the waterfront providing lots of space for picnicking and fishing, and this area also connects to the San Francisco Bay Trail System so there are many hiking options. Here are some great shots of the Waterfront to end with. If you haven’t been before, we hope you’ll get over to Benicia and fall in love with it yourself!