Ardenwood Historic Farm has a little something for everyone to enjoy. You can’t help but feel as though you have been transported to another time, when you arrive on the grounds, and suddenly for the first time you notice the patterns on butterfly wings and the distinct fragrance coming from the flowers in the manicured gardens. This is a place you may put on your list of places to visit once, but you will find yourself returning quite often. It’s really hard to stay away.
In 1849 when George Patterson arrived, he found the farm field in what is now southern Alameda County. Some would say that he essentially stuck gold with the fertile soil here. The original Patterson House was constructed, which consisted of only five rooms then. In 1889, the Queen Anne addition was added, offering beautiful elements, including a “spoon arch”, tower, carvings and a variety of windows. In 1915, a final portion was added. On 28 July 1985, the entire park was opened to the public, which includes the mansion, a farm and a forest.
The Farm Today
What’s so special about the farm is that not only does is still grow produce that it would have offered 100 years ago, it manages to achieve this using many of the agricultural practices from back then. The staff and volunteers wear Victorian clothing to guide you through and show you a real glimpse of what life would have been like then.
This is a working farm, so it is ever-changing. This is all the more reason to visit at least once every season.
There is a lot more to the Ardenwood Historic Farm than you might expect. Not only can you tour the mansion, explore the grounds and buy some freshly picked organic vegetables to take home, there are quite a few other features to enjoy as well.
- Train Ride – This is not your typical train ride! You can board a horse drawn train at the Arden Station for a ride that will rewind time.
- Gardens – Aside from the obvious beauty, the reason why the Victorian garden is so magical is because it continues to look almost the same as it did a century ago.
- Animal Farms – If you have kids, they will love the opportunity to interact with farm animals, including cows, goats, pigs, sheep, chickens, turkeys and rabbits. Kids can pet them and even feed some. For this reason, dogs are not permitted in the park.
- Pumpkin Patch – People drive pretty far just to admire the massive pumpkin patch here.
- Blacksmith Shop – Again, you step back in time when you see the blacksmith fire the forge up. Explore the vintage equipment or watch a demonstration in the shed.
- Butterflies – Visiting the park at the right time of year will award you the opportunity you may never again see in your life. Monarch butterflies overwinter here. On a warm day, you can see an abundance of them flying around, but if it is cold, look for the trees where they gather. Just be certain never to touch them!
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