Visit the East Bay's window into rural 19th century life at Ardenwood farm

Visit the East Bay’s window into rural 19th century life at Ardenwood farm

Visit the East Bay's window into rural 19th century life at Ardenwood farm
Take a guided tour of the Patterson House Museum, a restored Queen Anne Victorian farmhouse at Ardenwood. (Pete Cruz photos)

SAN FRANCISCO EAST BAY (Oct. 20, 2021) — As autumn sets in, lots of enjoyable seasonal programs are scheduled at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont, East Bay Regional Park District’s window on 19th century rural life.

For example, Ardenwood is a stopover for many fall migratory birds. Naturalist Christina Garcia will lead a bird-watching safari through Ardenwood’s gardens, woods and fields from 8 to 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23.

For this program, admission to Ardenwood is free of charge, and no registration is required.

Ardenwood’s centerpiece is the Patterson House Museum a restored Queen Anne Victorian farmhouse once the home of the estate’s owner, George Patterson, and his family.

Free tours of the Patterson House are offered between 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, including Oct. 23 and 24, led by docents in 19th century clothing.

Ardenwood’s admission fee applies. Reservations aren’t necessary, but check for tour availability at the train station when you enter the park.

Farmers used stilts for some of their chores. You can try walking with stilts yourself during a free program at Ardenwood from noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23. Again, Ardenwood’s admission fee applies, though parking is free.

Ardenwood is located at 34600 Ardenwood Boulevard, just north of Highway 84. Besides these programs, Ardenwood schedules lots of others that illustrate life on a 19th century farming estate. For information on programs and entrance fees, call 510-544-2797.

Coyote Hills Regional Park

“Discovery on Demand” is the theme of a free program from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 23 and 24, at the visitor center in Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont.

Drop in any time during those hours to join in hands-on activities, nature investigations and crafts. Watch a live animal feeding; learn about wildlife habitats and how to protect them. All ages are welcome.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, masks are required and social distancing is obligatory. All ages are welcome. Parents must accompany children.

Coyote Hills’ visitor center is at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway. There’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. For information, call 510-544-3220.

Roberts Regional Recreation Area

A moderate, naturalist-led Saturday stroll through redwoods, chaparral and oak is on the calendar for 10 a.m. to noon on Oct. 23 at Roberts Regional Recreation Area on Skyline Boulevard in Oakland. Meet at the Redwood Bowl.

The hike is free of charge, and registration is not necessary. For information and directions, call 510-544-3187.


One of a monthly series of nature journaling workshops will be from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Sunol Regional Wilderness in southern Alameda County with naturalist Erica Stephens.

A staff member from the park district’s land stewardship department will bring nets and materials to help with an exploration of Alameda Creek.

Recommended items for participants include a backpack or bag with the journal, field watercolors or other color medium, folding chair, closed-toe shoes, hat and sunscreen, water and binoculars.

Anyone wishing to enter the creek will have to go through decontamination and cleaning to prevent spread of aquatic pathogens, and COVID safety measures in general will be required.

The workshop is free of charge and registration is not required. For information, call 510-544-3249.

Sunol Wilderness is at the end of Geary Road off Calaveras Road about five miles south of I-680 and the town of Sunol. There’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. For the workshop, meet at the visitor center.

These are just a few of the activities planned in coming days in the regional parks. For the full calendar, visit and click on “Activities.” Ned MacKay writes a regular column about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at