The Sonoma Valley is often referred to as The Valley of the Moon, named by Chocuyen Indians who settled there back in the early 1800’s, and is home to Jack London State Historical Park. With over 1400 acres of hiking trails and located among fabulous wineries (next door to Benziger Family Winery), it’s a visit you must take when headed to the area!
Jack London, the prolific novelist behind The Call of the Wild, wrote with a passion and shared his stories from life adventures and experiences. He had rugged good looks and had a strong work ethic that proved him to be most popular in his day. The “Beauty Ranch” (what London called it) honors his spirit and character and you can understand why when you walk about.
I suggest taking a very informative docent led tour, I learned about the determination and vision of a man whose life ended too early.
Structures still on the property include the Sherry Barn (originally built by Chinese laborers with the flat exterior walls typical of Chinese stonework) for the Kohler and Frohling winery in 1884 where London converted it to a stable for his English Shire mares. The Stallion Barn housed six highly prized Shire stallions and the Manure Pit was an innovation designed by Jack in 1914 to collect and store manure for later distribution in the fields.
It was enlarged after 1911 until it included some 3,000 square feet of living space. Many of his later stories and novels were written on this location on the Beauty Ranch.Once the Kohler and Frohling winery before 1906’s bay area earthquake, London salvaged the space as a carriage house and sleeping quarters for his farm workers.Jack London stumbled upon sustainable farming and didn’t even know it, his Pig Palace is proof positive. The piggery was designed for efficiency to care for prized breeding pigs in a sanitary environment.Jack London died of uremia at the age of 40 in 1916. His wife lived on the property until her death in 1955, their ashes are buried under a rock on the property.
There is so much to see and do at the park, I need to return with my husband! Every month there are ongoing special events at Jack London Park-concerts, themed hikes, and a lecture series as well as daytime family events. Event calendar is always updated on the website. Admission to all events at Jack London Park benefits the park and helps keep it open.
To purchase tickets for ALL these events: reservations are recommended in advance-online www.jacklondonpark.com or tickets purchased at the Museum store. Tickets can be purchased on the day of an event as long as space is available. (for most hikes and outdoor events space is not an issue). Visiting the park also requires a $10 parking fee.
Tour and accompanying wine event was hosted, all photos and opinions my own.