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China Camp, San Rafael
Fishermans Wharf, San Francisco
A Short Visit By The Bay
October, 2004

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China Camp, only 5 miles East of San Rafael, holds a special place in my memories, from a time long before it became a California State Park in 1972.

When my sister and I were young and living in San Francisco, our parents would take us there on one of our Sunday drives to get us out of the city. I remember walking along the short sandy beach there, and along the dock that led to the shrimp fishing boats tied up at the end. I also remember the winding road that looped around from cove to cove along beautiful San Pablo Bay.

Although the park became official in 1972, there were still a handful of residents living in the houses that had been built on the bluffs above each cove, most of them no more than windswept cabins, plus a couple of more substantial homes. My former husband and I had the good fortune of living there for a year or so, leaving only when the State of California evicted us prior to tearing down our rented house and replacing it with a picnic area. Some of the photos here are of that bluff where we had lived.

There are many sites on the Web with information on the colorful history and current facilities of this beautiful 1,640 acre park.

As for Fishermans Wharf, so much has been written about it, that I won't even try here. But it also is large in my memories from throughout my life, and a place I frequently return to when I'm visiting San Francisco, most often very early in the morning. Later in the day, it becomes an overcrowded, noisy area, full of buses, cars, tourists, and mostly junky stores selling overpriced souvenirs. But in those lovely early morning hours, you can walk the docks and see the sights, hear the sounds, feel the wind, and smell the smells that haven't changed in a hundred years. I recommend it to anyone who visits San Francisco.

- Rosie McGee


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