Gem of a Library: Ella K. McClatchy

20160413_174824I only just discovered Sacramento’s hidden gem in the Ella K. McClatchy Library. The Sacramento Public library system hosted a booth at the Midtown Farmers Market and handed out the cards with a list of libraries and their hours. (This is important since the hours have been crazy for some time.)

In the Delta there are some lovely libraries. The Clarksburg library in Yolo County is my favorite. The Walnut Grove library is also fine community resource. I have yet to visit the Isleton library at the Elementary School.

When I heard about the Ella K. McClatchy library at 2112-22nd Street on Poverty Hill, I was intrigued and made plans to visit.


The children’s section is very inviting. Family Storytime is every Tuesday from 10-10:30.

I cycled over on a Wednesday and discovered a jewel of a library in an circa 1900 home. I picked up a calendar and discovered a knitting circle and a Jane Austen Reading Group. Both are held in an upstairs bedroom converted to a parlour. The calendar also lists a Tolkein Book Club, Lego Mania! (for children), and Shakespeare Sonnet Reading.

You might wonder what relevance a library has in today’s high tech world. It is a meeting place, a source of free books, dvds and books on tape, and a place to use the computer. The best communities have well-resourced libraries. The Ella K. McClatchy library is worth seeking out.


Knowing library hours are critical: http://www.saclibraryorg for a complete listing.


Photography on the Delta

Guest Blog by Bill Reid

Boat dock at Walnut Grove with bridge beyond

Boat dock at Walnut Grove with bridge beyond

Google Earth Walnut Grove, California and you can’t miss the dock to the north of the bridge where these pictures were taken. Everyone has Google Earth, right?  The stroller we recently bought for our future granddaughter has an iPad holder!

Joking aside, You don’t need an iPad or fancy SAT NAV to get to the River Road, just follow your nose south from the intersection of Broadway and Freeport Boulevard in Sacramento and enjoy the scenic route through the Sacramento River Delta. The scenic route is about 30.4 miles and 44 minutes on a relatively curvy levy road (state highway 160).  A faster route down Interstate 5 to Twin Cities Road is also a pleasant drive at 28.5 miles and 36 minutes.

The River Road south from Sacramento is one of my favorite local drives. I still remember one of the first times I drove it in an old VW convertible in the late seventies. No NAV then. Those were the days of typewriters and whiteout.

Walnut Grove Bridge taken from dock with sun setting behind.

Walnut Grove Bridge taken from dock with sun setting behind.

One morning early in the new year, I decided to take photographs of the sun rising over the River for a website I’m building. I left a little too late and missed the best light so returned later in the day for some sunset shots.

Walnut Grove is a pleasant stop along the Sacramento River.  There is ample parking and a selection of restaurants with tables outdoors, even an art gallery or two. I enjoyed an ice cream while waiting for the sun to set.

The boat dock is accessible to the public although children must wear life jackets. There is a lift for handicap access and there is a portable toilet. The boat dock affords a good vantage point for photography with ample space for tripods and equipment.

I have returned a few times since to test different equipment and media. In the age of tablets, digital cameras and smart phones, I am going back to using film, but that’s another story. The light is different on each occasion and the sunsets can be spectacular as the weather changes.

Bill is an architect by day.  He lives in Sacramento with his wife, Claudia.  His images can be purchased on his website:

Wimpy’s Marina near Staten Island

Wimpy's Marina near Staten Island

If you like onions then you’ll enjoy Wimpy’s new Brewhouse Onion Burger. I stopped for dinner the other night and enjoyed the 1/4 lb sirloin beef patty with sweet raw red onion, sauteed yellow onion and deep fried brewhouse onion rings on a toasted onion roll. No other produce fits in this big burger. The menu said “american cheese” but mine came with swiss cheese. An improvement no doubt; however, the substitution was made without warning. The fries were hot and plentiful. My view of the river Moukolumne River was lovely (sit by the window if you can). This marina restaurant is just a stone’s throw from the entrance to The Nature Conservancy’s Staten Island and a convenient place to grab a bite to eat if you are bird watching. Sandhill Cranes are in residence September-February.

Here’s my review on the Urban Spoon.

Walnut Grove on a Lazy Thursday Afternoon


On a recent Thursday afternoon I spent some relaxed time in Walnut Grove on the Sacramento River.  It is an easy drive from Sacramento; taking Twin Cities Road is the most direct route.  I parked on River Road next to the welcome sign and map.  After a deep breath and a long look at the river at “lazy” stage, I checked out the map and then crossed the street to Mel’s Mocha & Ice Cream for a cappuccino.


Check out my review on Urban Spoon.


The people in front of me in line ordered ice cream and it looked good. I stuck to something lower cal and checked out the restrooms while I waited for my drink (very clean).  I ordered my drink to go, but next time I’ll make time to enjoy at the cafe because the drink did not benefit from the to-go cup and plastic lid.  And there is a lot of atmosphere to enjoy in this authentic local hangout.


If you drop in at 7:00 a.m. you wil be joined by local farmers with their own personalized mugs.


I picked up the brochure for the walking tour of Walnut Grove but got back into my car to drive to the local library in search of Wifi.  Fortunately the Sacramento County Library is open on Thursday afternoons and they do have Wifi.


They also have an small but mighty used bookstore.  I picked up “Knitting for a New Arrival” in hardback circa 1960. Lucky me: the used bookstore is only open on Thursday afternoons.


I was about to return to my car when I realized that the Walnut Grove Iron Works, located across the street in an old theater, was open!  It is normally only open on the weekends so I had yet to be able to check it out.  The proprietor/iron artist was in the office so he opened the gallery.


My mini break in charming Walnut Grove drew to a close and I pointed my car toward Davis determined to return to try Tony’s for dinner another time.

The town of Locke, an interesting treasure on the River, is just a stone’s throw down River Road from Walnut Grove and also worth visiting with more food choices for dinner.

Dining at Alma’s River Cafe in Walnut Grove

I attended a meeting of the Delta Conservancy in Walnut Grove and was looking for a bite to eat at lunchtime.  Walnut Grove is a larger town by Delta standards so I drove around a bit and then decided to give Alma’s River Cafe a try.  It is right on the River Road just a stone’s throw from the Georgiana Bridge and one of the docks where you can leave your boat tied up while you go ashore and explore.


The atmosphere is local diner.  I was greeted warmly by the waitress/hostess.  She brought my diet coke immediately.  While I was there I sent a few e-mails; there is no wi-fi but the reception for Verizon was strong.  Locals came in, ate very large helpings of pastrami sandwiches or breakfast (served all day) and then went back to work.  I ordered the tri-tip sandwich special with a choice of fries or potato salad.  I asked if I could have just a taste of the potato salad, which is made homemade at the cafe.  (Rarely do I find potato salad as good as my Mom’s but this one was alright after adding a little salt and pepper.)  The sandwich was delicious and a good value at $8.99.

If you are from out of state you may not be familiar with “tri-tip”.  It is a cut of beef that benefits from marinade and barbeque.  Made popular first in Santa Maria, California, it is now enjoyed in restaurants around the state.

The cafe is also clean (including the bathrooms) and has a pleasant atmosphere, with not just one, but two photos of Marilyn Monroe.  It isn’t a huge place, so if you have a big group you’ll have to split up to be seated.


It’s a solid American menu, a good value, friendly and clean.  Check it out.

Alma’s River Cafe

14147 River Road

Walnut Grove, CA 95690

(916) 776-1323

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