March 27, 2006

Spring has sprung in Sunol—but you would not have noticed if you lived in the higher elevations, which received quite a bit of snowfall just a few days before. It’s always an unexpected joy to see those white flakes accumulating everywhere. The snow usually doesn’t stick to the ground or stay around very long before melting, but not this time. The kids on Upper Kilkare Road enjoyed making snowmen from the dusting of snow we received and one of them even made a snowball and stored it in the freezer. She takes a peek at it every so often just to make sure its still there.

The much-anticipated railway link to Niles has created a historic frenzy for the Niles Canyon Railway. After many years of hard work and planning by members of the Pacific Locomotive Association, passengers who board the train in Sunol can now depart in the historic hamlet of Niles, take a tour of all their antique shops, gift shops and restaurants then hop back on the train for a return trip to Sunol. Passengers can also board the train in Niles and visit Sunol as well. What a great way to spend a beautiful spring day. The grand opening of the Niles Station will be April 9th when PLA members will re-enact the “Golden Spike” ceremony. If you plan on attending the event you must board the 10:00 a.m. train in Sunol which will take you to Niles for the 11:00 a.m. ceremony. Check out Niles Canyon Railway’s website, www.ncry.org, for their regularly scheduled.arrival and departing times.

Niles Canyon Railway gets very busy when the weather turns sunny and of course there are lots of annual springtime traditions such as the School Trains. Each year volunteers lead school children through an informative presentation on railroading and rail crossing safety. The children then get an exciting and interesting trip aboard the train. This educational field trip is presented every Wednesday in the months of April and May. There is a small fee per person. Please call 408-249-2953 to make reservations for your school.

Another annual event on the Niles Canyon Railway is “A Toast to Spring”, when they offer wine tasting on board the train as you travel down Niles Canyon. A different local winery will be pouring every Sunday (except April 16 and May 14) through May 28 at 12:00 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. beginning this Sunday with Elliston Vineyards. Then it’s Little Valley Vineyards on April 9, Wente Vineyards on April 23, Fenestra Vineyards on April 30, White Crane Winery on May 7, Murrieta’s Well Winery on May 21 and Chouinard Vineyards on May 28.

The Sunol 4-H is holding their 40th annual Pancake Breakfast this Sunday at the Sunol Glen School’s cafeteria from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. They are also offering a bake sale, plant sale and prize drawing during the breakfast.

Another spring ritual is Sunol Regional Park’s 4th annual Wildflower Festival being held on April 8 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The festival will take place at the Old Green Barn Visitor Center where you will enjoy a slide show presentation, nature exhibits and naturalist led wildflower hikes. They will also have arts and crafts and face painting for the children. It is suggested that you bring a picnic lunch. Best of all, besides a small parking fee, this event is free. For more information please call 925-862-2601.

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