It's been one of those weeks, you know the ones where you are more than ready to run away. By Sunday I knew we needed a little escape, but I've been really tapped out for ideas currently.
We were getting a late start and I hadn't planned lunch, even time for a decent hike was a bit out of the question. So after glancing at the directions to the Mining Museum, I traced our route back to find a moderately priced lunch option. Legends Pizza on Almaden looked like a decent option, so after packing some small bags with a couple activities and filling our water bottles, off we went.
Legends Pizza was right on the way and we all shared a pizza, which didn't take too long at all. It was also pretty tasty. Both kids said they wanted to go back, so that was a nice bonus.
From there it was only another 10 minutes to the mining museum in New Almaden. The drive was easy, with the expressway going pretty quick and the speed limit decreasing gradually as we got closer to the old mining town.
Casa Grande which houses the Mining Museum isn't hard to miss, just past the post office, it's the largest building in the area. We spent an hour with one of the docents in the museum looking at some pretty cool displays and period furniture. Also, they had maps for the hiking trails right down the road and the historic houses you can do a quick walking tour of. We learned a lot about mercury, even seeing a little bit enclosed in a plexiglass case. The history was cool too as this was the first mining claim in the state, pre-dating the gold rush yet being very important to its success as mercury was the primary way they removed gold from ore at the time. There was also some exhibits showing what it was like in the mines and how they processed cinnabar to get mercury (Quicksilver). They even showed many of its uses which have since been discontinued.
We are looking forward to going back for a hike to see some of the old mine sites (sealed up now). The also mentioned on February 11th there is a History day where they will have extra staff bringing life to the long history of this former company town.