The International Writers' Magazine


• Paul Dale Roberts

Travel in California


I am always looking for a little weekend get-a-way and someone suggested Martinez.  Hmmm...Martinez, I wondered...what could that possibly offer?   So, I told my close friend Debra Lynn Scott aka Dee Kee about this little town of Martinez and if she wanted to go with me during the weekend for a small excursion to Martinez.  She said...'hey, why not."  My brother Andres lived in Martinez for about 6 years, but never elaborated about the city, so it was up to me to find out what kind of town Martinez is. 

Dee and I arrived first at Starbucks on Main Street for a frappachino.  The weather was hot and nice, we decided to walk down to the Marina where they placed many benches to sit and look at the waves come in.  This was quite serene and peaceful.  After a while, we decided to walk back into the town and found many quaint shops to look at, one of my favorites was called the Bad Girl Antiques, filled with all kinds of items that touch upon history.  In the background we could hear music, some Creedence Clearwater Revival from a live band.  Hmm..there are flyers about town mentioning the Martinez Peddler's Faire, but this isn't until May 21 and August 6, the date is May 14, so it couldn't be the Peddler's Faire.  As we followed the sounds of the music, we found a place called the Ferry Street Station.  We stood outside and watched people do a little bit of freelance dancing, touch dancing and even the hustle.  Everyone had a festive attitude and the people of Martinez gave us outsiders a feeling of belonging.  We decided to go inside the Ferry Street Station and to our surprise, there was a party going on inside, celebrating one of their locals, a sweet lady named Sheila who used to own the Ferry Street Station for many years and is now moving to Nevada. 

We were invited to the buffet and I highly enjoyed the teriyaki chicken with pasta, while Dee engaged the tossed salad.  They had exceptional singers at Sheila's going-away party and one of the songs that still reverberates in my mind is "Let's Get it Started".  Sheila who didn't even know us, came over and gave us many hugs with tears running down her eyes, she excepted us into her 'family'.  I can see why so many people showed up to honor this woman, even the Mayor of Martinez showed up and gave a speech outside.  Dee said this woman had 'grace', the grace to except people for who they are and she sure excepted us with open arms, I felt like I knew Sheila for years.  All of the people in this bar, were very friendly and Dee and I felt at home at this bar.  The live band got everyone dancing and what I enjoyed the most was the "Coyote Ugly" type of female dancers that jumped on the bar and danced for all of the patrons of the bar.  Of course, I assisted every lady that went up dancing on top of the bar with pleasure.  One of the songs that Sheila took to heart, was when they sang a Supremes song for her..."Ain't no Mountain High Enough" and the 3 ladies that performed this song were dressed like the Supremes, it was a touching tribute to a fine lady. 

Where Dee and I live in Elk Grove which touches upon the borders of Sacramento and we even met some Sacramenteans in this bar, we actually met up with the Honorary Mayor of Old Sacramento and his family.  Ferry Street Station can be compared to "Cheers", where everyone knows your name and when your a stranger, you are welcomed with open arms.  When I say open arms, I haven't been hugged that much since I went to my family reunion in San Jose in 1989.  Martinez is a wonderful place to visit, it's not just about the town, but it's about the people.  Yes, Dee and I will go back to visit, Martinez has a lot to offer!  We still haven't explored the whole town yet! 

© Roberts, Paul Dale - June 2005 

See also Calistoga

Editors note: About Martinez Established in 1876, Martinez is the County seat of Contra Costa County. It is located along the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers in the central part of the County. The Cityıs roots can be traced to the late 1840ıs, when it served as a ferryboat transit point across the Carquinez straits on the way to the gold fields. By the time of its incorporation, Martinez had evolved into one of the areaıs most significant trading posts and shipping ports. Today, the City covers 12.5 square miles and has approximately 36,700 residents. See the City website here

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