Banquet Piece, Pieter Claez

Friday, November 13, 2015

Visiting Niles and the California Nursery Historical Park

Are you wondering what else you can do in Niles?

Sunset magazine recently ran an article about the Niles district. Check out their article

Not listed in the article are Devout coffeeBroncho Billy pizza, the Nile Cafe, and Mr. Mikey's.  What can I say?

Coming on a special day? 

Coming with tree enthusiasts?

  • There are lots of interesting trees on the grounds. Before you go, check out the tree map that the Boy Scouts put together. It's not totally accurate any longer since trees have died. It's possible to use this map on your phone, sometimes, maybe, so check it out before you go.
  • Check out the owls that live in the 140-year old Canary Island palms.
  • If you are missing out on the guided palm tree walk, there is an online version of it. 
  • Close by, well-loved Shinn Park & Arboretum (1251 Peralta Blvd. ) has some very old must-see trees - Chilean bellota, two HUGE Chilean wine palms, gingko, Moreton bay fig among other trees. The Japanese garden was just pruned by Merritt students.

Coming with kids?

  • Kids like to explore the grounds of the California Nursery park. There is no playground equipment, but there are lots of sticks, rocks, and nuts. No bathroom except for tour days. We see kids out there all the time moving sticks, rocks, and nuts.
  • Niles finally has an ice cream shop, Niles Sweets & Eats. I cannot vouch for it myself, but will someday get over there.
  • Devout Coffee makes a hot chocolate that I've seen kids drink. Great espresso drinks, too.  Good bathroom. Nice patio. Check out their instagram pics.
  • The Niles Film Museum sometimes has comedy talkie shorts on Sunday for the kids and adults. Their facebook page will also keep you current about talks and movies. You can pop in and check out their exhibits for free and also their gift shop. Good bathrooms. Near Devout coffee.
  • The Niles Train Depot has model trains and is free. No bathroom. Across the street from Niles Film Museum.
  • If you want to ride a big train, check out the Niles Canyon Railway. During the holiday season, you can ride the train all decked out in lights.
  • The Niles tree lighting parade is awfully fun - Dancing conifers, vintage cars and engines, Boys and Girl Scout troops, floats by the Essanay Silent Film Museum, Kris Kringle, Harleys, Star Wars stormtroopers. Date is forthcoming here. I think it is November 27.
  • Another Fremont city park, Shinn Park & Arboretum, is fun to explore and has a nearby play struture. 
  • Ardenwood Farm is not too far away and is a favorite with kids. Farm animals alway amuse: bunnies, goats, horses, chickens, other birds. The horse-drawn train is a good ride and not to be missed. Check for their special activities.
  • Broncho Billy Pizza in Niles has lots of old movie memorabilia on the walls. You can sit at the counter and it's like you are back in 1950. What they call a "slice" is enough for two people, unless you are lumberjack or a teenager.
  • The back patio of The Vine is advertised as kid-friendly and nice for adults. Check the menu out and check out the back patio to see if it will satisfy. There are some Canary Island Palms shading the patio. Heaters in winter?
Make an evening out of it?
  • Dinner at The Vine is fine either inside or on the back patio. Check the back before deciding where to eat. 
  • The Niles Film Museum is the only theater in the U.S. that shows weekly silent films with live accompaniment. If you are new to silent films, the comedy shorts are always enjoyable. Douglas Fairbanks movies are pretty rip-roaring. Popcorn is a $1 donation. Admission is reasonable.
  • There are some Airbnbs in Niles if you want make an overnight out of it. 

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