Saturday, April 4, 2009

My Neck of the Woods ~ Old Town Sacramento

When I moved to Sacramento, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the city… or what I might find. About all I knew was that Sacramento is the capital of California and it is in north central California. The longer I live here, the more I find out about its amazing history.
The ‘new’ Sacramento city is to the right (east) of the yellow box and freeway in this picture. The yellow box designates Old Town Sacramento.
Being from New England, I had visited reconstructed colonial villages – some with original structures. Even some towns were of the colonial genre. But nothing compared to the thrill of the “Old West” that I found in Old Town Sacramento and then in more of the small town communities I have visited since.
There is so much to show you too… The buildings (with all the great shops to browse… tourist trap souvenir stores, also), fantastic restaurants (yum) and real cobble stone streets with wide plank sidewalks…
The Railroad Museum and the vintage trains that run through Old Town…

But today, I will tell you about the Delta King. Although I have never had the pleasure of spending the night in/on this luxury hotel, I imagine it would be a marvelous experience.

“The Delta King is an authentic 285-foot riverboat. The King and her identical twin, the Delta Queen, were christened on May 20, 1927, and began their daily river voyages between San Francisco and Sacramento in June of that year. At 6:00 p.m. each evening, the grand ladies of the Delta left their docks for the 10 hour trip that included prohibition era drinking, jazz bands, gambling and fine dining. A stateroom was $3.50, but for a dollar and "’your own blanket" the night could be spent on the Cargo Deck.
“The King and Queen reigned on the Sacramento River until the late 1930's when an increase in the number of roads, bridges and automobiles made riverboating a less efficient means of transportation. Depression and World War II signaled the end of the sternwheel era and both the King and Queen were drafted into the U. S. Navy to serve on San Francisco Bay as net tenders, floating barracks, troop transports and hospital ships.
“At the conclusion of the War, the Delta Queen was purchased and taken via the Panama Canal to the Mississippi River where she still serves. The engines of the Delta King were taken for spare parts. The King was shuttled between Canada and California as a derelict with hopes of becoming a floating Ghiradelli Square or Chinese Restaurant dashed at each turn by sinkings and litigations.
In 1984, after being sunk for 18 months in San Francisco Bay, the Delta King was towed to Old Sacramento, where it underwent a complete renovation. Five pain-staking years later the Delta King reopened to reign, once again, as the heralded monarch of the Sacramento River.”
Today, The Delta King is permanently moored in downtown Old Sacramento and offers a retreat to a bygone era, with an emphasis on contemporary amenities (such as free wi-fi). A dedicated crew, committed to first class service, makes your stay aboard the Delta King a nostalgic memory of days gone by.
Accommodations: The Captain’s Quarters is the Delta King’s deluxe suite. It is located on the upper deck at the bow of the boat in the original wheelhouse. Two additional bedrooms can adjoin the Captain's Quarters through a private passage-way – all this for a mere $550 per night. (There are also single rooms -- with attached bath -- available.)
The Pilothouse Restaurant: Even if you are not spending the night aboard this nostalgic paddle wheeler, Chef Julian Vasquez’s menus are drawing rave reviews. Julian is focused on fresh, healthy, local food. His plates include grass fed beef, local lamb, the freshest seafood and free-range chicken combined with dazzling sauces. There is a great wine list in an old sea world atmosphere and beautiful setting. There is even a drawbridge just south of the King’s mooring.

As much as the setting is of the Old West and the Old Town, everything you find in Old Sacramento is pretty much up-to-date. What’s that song from Oklahoma! … Everything’s Up To Date In Kansas City, it’s gone about as fer as it can go… Old Town Sacramento is a trip that I take a few times a year (never on a weekend in tourist season, though). It’s difficult for me to get around and I tire easily, so I am pretty happy that I live in THESE days instead of THOSE days. And, even if I only sit on a bench and watch the river traffic and the tourists go by, it’s a trip I enjoy a lot.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting a spot in My Neck of the Woods.


  1. wow, i didn't know there was a delta king! i do know the cabins in the delta queen are tiny though...

    smiles, bee

  2. I've dined on the Delta King and the food is wonderful. If they still do the "mystery" nights either on the King or on the boats that do lunch and dinner cruises on the river, try to do one of those. It's tourist trap crazy, but the Dixieland festival in Old Town is great fun.

  3. When my parents came out to visit me in 1985, one of the places that I took them was to Old Sacramento and the Railroad Museum. My Dad loved both of them and I remember that trip very fondly and with lots of good memories. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. I've had dinner on the Delta King and toured the boat. Very nice.
    I've also taken a couple of trips on the Delta Queen, which unfortunately is not out of service due to loss of its exemption as a wooden hulled passenger vessel. Jim Oberstar, head of the House Transportation Committee, refused to bring an exemption renewal before the committee, due primarily to the fact that the Queen is non-union and he's in the pocket of the National Maritime Union. So the boat has not gone out of service and ended up in Chattanooga where it will be simply a hotel. A real shame. Shame on you Jim Oberstar.
    The Queen has an excellent safety record, has been upgraded on its fire systems, etc and has been caught up in federal legislation resulting from the burning of the Yarmouth Castle in the Bahamas back in the sixties.


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