Jack London State Historic Park

Hello there! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. It’s hard to believe that it’s mid November already, but here we are, right in the heart of autumn (which I’m realizing might be my favorite season).

Fall leaves.

I love the cold air, thick with fog and mist; the warm red and gold hued fallen leaves; the mesmerizing lullaby that is a gentle rain.

Autumn is comfort food, sleeping in, cozy sweaters, Thanksgiving, and Halloween. In Northern California, where there are truthfully only three seasons, autumn is the pretty little dance between summer and el niño. 🙂

This past week we stayed in a small cottage in Glen Ellen, which is right in the heart of Sonoma’s wine country and only ten minutes away from Jack London State Historic Park, where the famous author best known for The Call of the Wild and White Fang once resided and ran a sizable farm complete with a horse breeding ranch and “pig palace” (his term, not mine!). I’ve wanted to come here for awhile, but it’s a little far for a day trip.

Hiking for me is less about physical exertion and more about enjoying natural beauty and history. That being said, Jack London State Historic Park has a historic “beauty ranch,” a grave site (where the ashes of Jack London and his wife were spread), architectural ruins, and a museum. There’s a lot to see here and lots of signs chock full of information along the way.

The highlight of this trip for me was visiting Jack London’s Wolf House.

The Wolf House.

These are the ruins of particularly lavish house he had built at the turn of the 20th century. Four floors nearly two dozen rooms.

Due to a stroke of terribly bad luck, the house burned almost completely to the ground before the London family even moved into it.

I’m not a religious person, but it’s hard not to imagine the fire as a deliberate act of God cracking down on materialism, greed, and living in excess.

A side of a smokehouse, located near the pig palace.

London’s winery also burned down some fifty years later, long after his questionable death. Despite extensive fire damage, there are a few buildings here that have aged very well, including his pig palace– a circular structure of seventeen pig pens designed to minimize animal stress levels.

This building is was the center of London’s “pig palace”.

The interior of the same building.

London was a pioneer when it came to animal husbandry and was laughed at by his peers by believing that well-cared for, stress-free animals yield higher levels of productivity. He was ahead of his time.

An individual pig pen.

Overall, this was a nice, easy, educational family outing– a walk in the park, literally and figuratively. I recommend taking a look if you’re in the area. 🙂

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