A Little History of a Big Valley – Pleasanton California

History Pleasanton CA

Few towns or cities have been blessed with such a great name like the one in the Amador-Livermore Valley has. Pleasanton was sighted for the first time in 1772 by a Spanish foot patrol soldier and half a century later the land was settle on as Alisal. This beautiful place later changed its name to Pleasanton – an adaption of the name of a Civil War general, Alfred Pleasonton – and Spanish settlers were the first people to make their homesteads here. The town soon became popular among those stopping over on route to the gold fields of the Californian valley.

The railroad soon arrived in Pleasanton and this increased the population from a small 500 to a populace into the thousands. By 1870, the town was attracting many ranchers and breeders of thoroughbred horses. They loved the climate, the abundance of rain, fertile soil and agricultural-friendly land. Such an area also meant it attracted dairy farmers, hop-growers, wine growers and the economy of the town simply boomed because of it. Brewers across America heard of the fine hops that grew here and wanted them for its beers. So sought after were they that even brewers in the big markets of Europe began to import hops from Pleasanton.

It quickly became a place with a bit of international fame and by the start of the 20th century Pleasanton was about to make a bustling and thriving community complete with its own bank, world-renown vineyard at Ruby Hill, internationally famous hop industry and several top graded hotels.


It developed a main central area where business and communities became part of the town’s character. It was well on the way to becoming a thoroughly modern community and started to leave its agricultural roots behind.

However, raw industries like sand and gravel mining started to take place in the 1930s just on the town’s outskirts. It was the gravel industry that gave Pleasanton another 20th century economic boost. The ballast much demanded by America’s ever-growing road building industry. And so the profits for the town boomed and the community here began to grow strong.

Around the 1960s the population began to grow rapidly, and by the 1980s most of the town supported opulent homes, schools and international businesses. The Hacienda Business Park was completed in 1982 and this thriving, bustling network of industries created jobs for thousands. Today, the city is a legacy to what was once an agricultural backwater to today’s bustling community and city status.

It’s location is only a short drive from either San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and Palo Alto. If you get a chance, a visit to Pleasanton is a must do.

Contact Armario Venema Homes for more information on Pleasanton California.

Val Vista Park in Pleasanton CA – A kid friendly park in the Tri Valley

Val Vista Park Pleasanton CAThere are so many exceptional parks and recreation areas in the Tri Valley but the Val Vista Park in the town of Pleasanton California is an oasis for parents wanting to spend the day with the kids. A place to play sports, enjoy the snack bar and nature trails to take in the fresh air and unwind. It is the ultimate activity day where Pleasanton and East Bay children can play for hours to their hearts content.

There are two play areas within the park. There is also a large picnic area where families can gather and have lunch on any afternoon during the week. There are soccer fields here, a giant skateboard park, roller hockey rink and a climbing wall for the more adventurous.

Val Vista Park also has a nature trail walk and don’t forget to bring your swimwear to experience either one of its two water sports areas. There are three play structures to keep kids occupied all day and those coming from all around East Bay will be pleasantly surprised to learn there is plenty of parking around the park.

Val Vista Park East Bay

The approach to the park is down Stoneridge Drive where you will notice the roller hockey rink, several soccer fields and a skateboard park. These are just a taster of things to do within the park. Once you have parked, you will notice the two huge play structures, a big area for families enjoying a picnic and a water feature to take your selfies at.

The play structures are for kids of all ages. There are tiny tot swings, four slides for larger children and a small water feature boat. There is also one huge play structure for kids and juniors up to the age of 12, a main playing structure that has so many different ways of climbing up that children will be spending most of their day on this, and six different slides to accommodate all the kids. There is also a safe high bridge and plenty of wheels to spin on or just hang onto.

The play areas are a haven for the kids and there are areas specifically designed for smaller children (aged two to five). This wonderful park has a snack bar area and bathroom facilities and a lovely little stream running through the nature trail walking area.

If you are ever at a loss of what to do with your family one afternoon in the Tri Valley, you should bring them here to the Val Vista Park. It is what childhood memories are made of and makes for a complete day out.


The Pleasanton and Dublin California Farmers Markets


Dublin Farmers Market:

Dublin has one of the finest farmers’ markets in the entire state of California. And as of April 13th it’s back in its usual home too. Emerald Glen Park is the setting for the farmers’ market event and it could not be a finer place to hold the market, which runs right through the summer months until September 21st. The Emerald Glen Park is like walking in to a small part of the Emerald Isle itself. The green, green grass and trees give the visitor a small feel like you could be in Ireland.

The Dublin Farmers’ Market is for everyone. Even you can set up a booth by filling out an online form or simply by sponsoring a stall at the market to promote your services or goods. There are a number of weekly special events which take place through the summer at the farmers’ market and this year you can see musicians regularly performing while you stroll through the stalls and check out the newest unique items and freshest produce.


There will be beer tasting events, wine tasting and cooking demonstrations that will give you some great ideas for entertaining. The emphasis will occasionally center on the fun and competitive element, so you can cheer on their favorites. How fast can your partner cook and deliver an omelette? Will your friend be able to create a tasty burger in a quicker time than a competitor? It’s all good fun at the Dublin Farmers’ Market.


Pleasanton Farmers’ Market:

Unlike the Dublin Farmers’ Market, which is only open from April through to September, the market in Pleasanton is open all year long. Whether rain or shine, it’s always open every Saturday.

It sells fresh vegetables, delicious fruits and delicacies all grown in the lush California orchards and fields so close to home. You can buy delicious healthy blueberries by the pint; imagine sprinkling them on your morning cereal for breakfast to ensure a delicious treat and one that is considered superfood healthy too.


The Pleasanton Farmers’ Market also specialises in olive oils, delightful cheeses, ground or root vegetables, pastries, sausages, baked breads, chicken and you will always be entertained by live musicians performing as you browse the stalls and organic groceries on Angela Street.

So be sure to get out to the markets and support your local hard working vendors, and save time by picking up those items you need for the upcoming week’s dinners.

ArmarioVenemaHomes in Pleasanton California

A little History of our own Alviso Adobe Community Park here in Pleasanton.

The Alviso Adobe Community Park The Alviso Adobe Community Park is a recreational piece of land, measuring about seven acres, and located at the edge of Pleasanton in the Tri-Valley. The Alviso Adobe is actually a house that forms the center point of this park and remains on the Californian Historical Landmark registry.

Adobe houses are essentially made from mud and/or clay. It was once the primary building material of all homes that were built from our early existence until some point in the 19th century.
The park was due to be constructed in 2000 but lack of funds meant the park’s construction was not even started until 2007. The project began with a total funding pool of $4.4m and opened to the public in late 2008.

The adobe was originally built a century and a half ago in 1854 by father of ten, Alfred Alviso (whom the park is now named after). He, his wife and children only owned the property for a couple of decades before selling the adobe to the soon-to-be Mayor of Oakland. New land developer John West Martin allowed the Alviso family to stay at the property right up until 1888.

Pleasanton CA Parks

The historical home suffered – as did many properties in the area – in 1906 from a massive earthquake. Cracks in the walls, a chimney that was falling apart and several other damaged fixtures Walter Briggs purchased the property cheaply in 1919 and turned it into a dairy.
Briggs sold the adobe on to the Great South and West Corporation and the organisation toyed with the idea of building an amusement theme park at the location of where the park is today.

This concept was met with protest and fury from the local residents and many small businesses. Eventually, the idea of an amusement park was scrapped and GSWC saw little use for the land, so sold it on to a land development company specialising in building affordable homes. A number of small housing lots were constructed, all of which surrounding the original Alviso adobe, which was protected by the state as an historical monument.

The Community Park tells a little history of the state of California, in some ways, as this was the place where some of the earliest activity took place. Native American settlements, building of Spanish ranchos and cattle farming all took place across the Amador Valley where the park is situated today.

Alviso Adobe is just another great historical gem, trenched in history, that we have in our beautiful home, the Tri-Valley. If you are thinking of moving to the Pleasanton, Dublin or Livermore areas of the East Bay, Contact Us. We would be happy to discuss our unique and beautiful community.

Bishop Ranch Regional Preserve – Beautiful space in the Tri Valley

Bishop Park East Bay

Bishop Ranch Regional Preserve, East Bay Regional Park District, Contra Costa County
The Bishop Ranch Regional Preserve is a hiking trail and dog walking land close to the Interstate 680 highway and near to the residential neighborhood of San Ramon. Its 529 acres are also perfect for jogging, exercising or picnic leisure under old oak trees.

Some of the reserve has pathways solely for hikers, others are for multi-use, such as horseback riders and cyclists, and there are unpaved routes where also for multi-use but wheelchairs are not suitable for much of the terrain on the reserve.

There are a few options for taking a route through the reserve: the Stream View walk is a loop around the reserve which changes to the Grey Fox Trail and its midpoint. If you take the start of your hike from the south eastern boundary, you can fulfill the Red Tail Hawk Trail.

Map of Bishop Ranch

The entire reserve can be completed in about three hours, making it perfect for those with a free afternoon to spare. At one point, where the Red Tail Hawk Trail and the Stream View Trail meet, you can actually see uninterrupted views of the foothills of Mount Diablo. Here the rolling hills and natural landscape block out the civilization, so you can see no sign of freeways or housing developments.

There is ample parking available at the edge of the residential neighborhood. Entry to the park is free but there are no permits issued for overnight camping as the reserve strictly closes at 10 pm each day.

The reserve will be closed to cyclists and horse riders during wet weather. Indeed, the fall season here sees the deciduous valley and black oak trees mark the season appropriately. Springtime is best here as the grass is lush green, wildflowers bloom everywhere, nature is at its very best and the temperature is warm but not too hot.

It is the perfect setting for a general stroll through lush countryside pasture and the distance you’ll cover on the trails is approx. 2.5 miles (if you loop the reserve). If you need gas, a pay phone, restaurant, café or dining services, you should visit the nearby Bollinger Canyon and San Ramon Valley Boulevard.

There are no restrooms on the reserve and maps are only available online. It is strongly recommended you stick to any of the three trails within the reserve and cross into the adjacent boundaries, as this area is private land.

Shadow Cliffs Park in Pleasanton California


With all of the rain and icky weather this past week, we thought a forward look to better weather and spring time would be a good idea. One of Pleasanton’s favorite warmer weather past times is Shadow Cliffs Park and beach.

Shadow Cliffs was once a gravel quarry pit, given away to the Park District Association in 1971. It has since been developed into a luxury boating, fishing and swimming park, less than one mile from downtown Pleasanton. It should come as no surprise this park has been a very popular spot for residents of Pleasanton, particularly at weekends.

Many East Bay Parks and Recreation areas:


There are many smaller lakes in Shadow Cliffs where boating and swimming is not permitted. These quiet areas are reserved for wildlife and those looking for a more peaceful retreat from the heat of the afternoon sun in summer.

The park covers a whopping 266 acres, which includes the massive 80-acre lake for boating and fishing. There are plenty of parking spaces, even at busier times and several picnic tables which can be reserved in advance through the park authority’s website. Usually, families can cook on provided bbq pits and play on the grassy areas beside the reserved areas. No alcohol is permitted on the park at any time.

There is a swim beach here where bathers will find soft white sand and a lifeguard on duty. The lifeguard is only on duty during the summer months, so winter swimmers must bathe at their own risk.


There are a few restrictions for swimmers to consider: pets are not permitted on the sand and any glass or bottled liquids must be transferred to a plastic container. No swimming is allowed in the arroyo (smaller lakes) areas of the park.

Shadow Cliffs is a superb place to fish. Anglers can expect to see plenty of trout and even some catfish here, as the fish are replenished on a weekly basis to keep stock levels high. Blue Gill and Black Bass fish are a common catch in the lake too. Every year the park holds a Fishing Derby which can attract hundreds of onlookers and picnickers to the event. All anglers must apply for a Park District Daily Fishing Access Permit.

Boat owners may also launch their own vessels here too. There is a 17-foot boat limit and only electric motor-powered boats are allowed. Jet skis are not welcome on the lake, ever.

Shadow Cliffs is also a peaceful recreational area to see a number of wild birds along its two walking trails. So whether you are a fisherman, birdwatcher or just want a relaxing day with your family, then Shadow Cliffs is a must see.


Color Trends in 2016 – It’s all about the White but How Do You Choose?

Color Palette

It should be simple as black and white. You need to use a white paint to decorate your apartment but upon your arrival into the do-it-yourself store, you are faced with so many different shades of white paints. Confused? You will be.

It wouldn’t be so bad if it boiled down to being simply “spoiled for choice”, only here you are left wondering whether to select an eggshell white, ivory, brilliant white, bright white or even a beige. How on earth have paint designers and manufacturers come up with so many different whites? Apparently, there are over a hundred different ones to choose from.

Shades of color white

Now, we can accept there may well be 50 shades of grey or several shades of just about any other color (save black) but over a hundred different whites? Surely there has to be some sense in this somewhere?

Believe it or not, there are people out there who call themselves colour consultants. These sort of artists will definitely help you out on the best colors to use when designing a living room, bathroom or bedroom.

White paint colors

These color consultants and paint manufacturers even have a Color of the Year award. We find it jaw-dropping to believe there are those who actually dress up in a tux, attend a gala award night with individual private cabaret seating and listen to some CEO guy unwrap an envelope and announce the winner of this year’s Color of the Year…awesome.

Glidden white “And the winner is [long pause] Cappuccino White!” Apparently that was the color selected by paint manufacturer Glidden Paints for its 2016 award. But seriously there really are ways where you can select the right white for your room. Think about crisp white for a country kitchen, using too much sheen on your white may show up flaws and a warm and creamy white for bathroom or living rooms. Go down this road and it really will be all white on the night! 🙂

Just be sure to have fun and get your family and friends opinions too. Happy painting!!