Oh, Sonoma!

There is a bit of backstory to today's trip, part of which involves getting lost coming home from Vacaville a week ago, and part of which involves a medical appointment. But I'm going to skip the details today, and go right to the photos, mostly because I'm tired and anemic and I have a whole lot to say about the General, about the Bear Flag Revolt, and about living history museums and amazing rangers and docents, which I just don't have the energy to get into right now. So, do what I'm doing. Enjoy just a few of the 6 dozen photos I took today:

a corner of the rose garden in the town square.  It also holds a seating area. The square has a number of fountains, two ponds, a playground, an amphitheater, and the city hall, and every inch of it is amazingly beautiful.  Unlike many town squares, this one was very much in use, families playing, tourists taking photos with the flowers and fountains, and elderly people sitting and just enjoying the afternoon weather. 

The Bear Flag Monument in the town square. You can make out the playground and the amphitheater behind it.  California was it's own nation for 25 days as a result of the Bear Flag Revolt. 

The barracks.  This is on the property of General Vellejo, who owned the rancho which is now Petaluma Adobe State Park.  The general lived in Sonoma, and retired to a newer house in the "back" of the park (I didn't get there today) and the day to day operation of the rancho in Petaluma was left to his hirelings.

a caretta in the courtyard.  I pretty much end up photographing every caretta I see.  I haven't figured out why.

a very old reproduction of the original Bear Flag.  The one intact original flag known (story goes there were four made) was sent to San Francisco to the museum for safe keeping decades ago, where it subsequently was destroyed in a fire as a result of the Great Earthquake.

The Mission.  The LAST mission on the mission trail, and the only one to be built under Mexican (as opposed to Spanish) rule, and an important barrier to the southward spread of the Russian Orthodox Church, which had been working it's way down from what is now Alaska.

Across the street from the mission is the old gold-rush era saloon. It's closed and used for storage.  The building belongs to the park system, but since it hasn't been retrofitted to meet earthquake standards, it can't be opened to the public.

The mission chapel.  The chapel itself has been reworked a number of times, and contains elements from Spanish, Mexican, Miwok design.

California wild poppies. They're EVERYWHERE.  These are in front of the mission.

I'm guessing this is where the Bear Flag was actually raised.  There's a huge timber flag poll a couple feet from this marker, which sits across the street from the barracks. 

I hope, at some point, to revisit some of this and tell some of the history and describe better some of the points of interest in Sonoma.  I look forward to visiting there again.