The 20-minute drive was the perfect appetizer to a peaceful, refreshing escape at the beautiful Martinez Marina. Depending on which route you take, you go up and down and around the curvy roads and into downtown Martinez where you can enjoy the antiquated buildings, little antique shops, and the Farmer’s Market they have every Sunday on Main Street. I personally love taking the backroads because there’s hardly any traffic or as much as a shopping center in sight until you get into town. There’s something beautiful about long, lonely roads. I guess it’s because they’re guiding you to a destination that’s just as beautiful.
Immediately, from the road leading into the park, the first thing I saw was a big, vibrant kite (the rainbow circular one with spikes on the right) flying through the air bouncing on the ground from one side to the other. I had to laugh only because it looked like the weapon of a clown. I saw a family kicking a ball in the grass, couples taking a walk along the trail, people walking their dogs, going fishing, kayaking, wind surfing, and hanging out with their friends. It really is the perfect retreat on a sunny, warm Sunday.
I spent some time sitting on the pier taking in the experience of it all. I sat on this reddish brown bench with what looked like water stains? I hope it’s not bird poop residue… That reminded me of when I went to the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco and a seagull decided to poop directly onto my forehead…It was traumatizing. The air is so fresh but the wind seemed relentless. The sun was directly above me (thank goodness no birds were there) kissing my skin while the cool wind pulsated against me and danced with my hair. The water was agitated making uneven vibrations under me, hitting the pillars that supported me, making tiny waves that made their way to the sides of the boats behind me. I heard people chat in back of me walking hand in hand down the pier but I couldn’t help but think, how many people have walked on these worn and tired wooden boards?
I always thought what it would feel like to be a wooden board or a pencil or a tree. What would it feel like to see the many things a tree would see, how it would feel like to live hundreds of years and feel all the seasons as my leaves grow, die, and fall. The poor, faded and jaded boards. Bored of the life they’ve lived, yet they hold so much character. Black spots and sores here and there, hearts with names carved in them, even the groans they make when you lean on them to see the water below.
Back in the day the city of Martinez was a gold rush and shipping boomtown. Early settlers of the county bought, sold, and shipped their goods here. One of them created the popular drink known as the “Martini.” Martinez was one of the oldest cities in California before California became a state. Martinez catered to gold searchers who arrived on the Carquinez Strait’s south shore to take Dr. Robert Semple’s horse-powered ferry boat to Benicia on their trek to the gold country.
Right across the marina is the city of Benicia, another town like Martinez that’s full of charm and history. There’s also a view of the Benicia-Martinez Bridge that connects the two.