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Old Posted Nov 18, 2009, 6:40 PM
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Solano County, CA: Fairfield, Vacaville, Suisun City

Solano County is located in the northeastern extent of the Bay Area as it transitions from the Sacramento Delta. I previously featured two other cities in the county, Vallejo and Benicia, in a thread here. Vacaville and Fairfield are, for the most part, valley sprawl and I always dismissed them as such. But, when I decided to actually check them out, I found them to have some buildings of interest in their respective downtowns. Suisun City is an oddity I'll just have to show in photos.

Vacaville (pop 96,735)

Other than speeding by it on Highway 80 on my way to or from Sacramento, I never paid much attention to Vacaville other than as a rest stop. In fact, I only just recently learned it has a proper, if small, downtown and was quite surprised by it.







































































































































This building isn't in downtown and, in any other city, would be pretty unremarkable. But, I included it because I always see it from the freeway (it's on a hill and taller than it looks) and it's the only "landmark" that let's me know I'm in Vacaville when I'm driving through.



Fairfield (pop 106,521)

I am more familiar with this city as I have family who live there. Fairfield is the second largest city in Solano County behind Vallejo and is the county seat. It is located virtually equidistant between San Francisco and Sacramento. I was always given the impression that downtown Fairfield was a little "rough", particularly at night. But, to its credit, I was taking photos on a Saturday mid morning and most of the stores and local restaurants were open and there were plenty of people milling around (not that you'll see them in my photos).























I don't really know the story of this building other than it is an old prison, oddly located in the middle of the county courthouse parking lot and not open to explore.





































































Le Ballon Rouge?





















































Oops...what's this gaping whole in downtown?



















In addition to being the home to Travis Airforce Base, Fairfield is also the location of the Jellybelly Factory...good times



The pedestrian bridge to our next destination....



Suisun City (pop 26,118)

Located literally a mile from downtown Fairfield on the opposite side of CA-12, Suisun City (pronounced soosoon) is almost deliberately separated from it's sister city requiring a round about drive to get to. It is situated between the highway and the Suisun Marsh.

















The mountain in the background is Mount Diablo about 30 miles away, the prominent peak in the Bay Area with Walnut Creek and Concord, among others, at its base.























Downtown Fairfield "skyline"















Another downtown empty lot, with so little brick in California, it's sad whatever there was lost.





The sun was going down, so, the lighting isn't the best in some of these

























































































This building is Suisun City Hall







A minute drive out of Suisun and you're in the country, Mt Diablo again.



________________________________________________________________
Tour of California
1: Los Angeles, 2: Hollywood, Glendale, Pasadena, Beverly Hills, 3: Riverside, Santa Ana, Long Beach, 4: San Jose, 5: San Diego, 6: Fresno, 7: Stockton, Modesto, 8: Gold Country, 9: Eureka, Arcata, 10: Monterey, Carmel, 11: Santa Cruz, 12: Sacramento Pt One, 13: Sacramento Pt Two, 14: Roseville & Folsom, 15: Concord & Walnut Creek, 16: Tri-Valley, 17: Berkeley, Emeryville, 18: Fremont, 19: Santa Clara, Mountain View, Palo Alto, 20: Redwood City, Foster City, San Mateo, 21: Oakland, 22: Benicia, Vallejo, 23: Napa, St. Helena, 24: Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Sonoma, 25: San Rafael, 26: Larkspur, Mill Valley, 27: Sausalito, Tiburon, 28: Hollister, San Juan Bautista, 29: Long Beach 2008, 30: Venice, 31: Santa Monica, 32: Sacramento Pt 3, 33: Solvang, 34: Alameda, 35: Knights Ferry, 36: California Zephyr, 37: Colfax, 38: Davis, 39: Oakdale, 40: San Francisco Pt 1, San Francisco Pt 2, 41: Chico, Redding, 42: Kings Beach, 43: Merced, 44: Gold Country pt 2, 45: Gold Country pt 3, 46: Sonora
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  #2  
Old Posted Nov 18, 2009, 6:42 PM
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I also wanted to include this pano of the Suisun City waterfront, Scroll ----->

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Old Posted Nov 18, 2009, 6:54 PM
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Interesting, I knew that Suisun City had redeveloped its waterfront (it was published in alot of planning magazines at the time), but I've never seen it. Honestly, it also has never occurred to me to get off 80 and look at either Fairfield or Vacaville. Vacaville looks much more interesting.

When's the thread on Locke, Walnut Grove & Rio Vista? I always wanted to do a thread called 'Bridges of Sacramento County'.
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Old Posted Nov 18, 2009, 9:42 PM
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More interesting that I would have thought from looking at a map. All very distinctly Californian. Nice tour.
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Old Posted Nov 19, 2009, 1:40 AM
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Nicer than I would have expected! Thanks for sharing!
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Old Posted Nov 19, 2009, 6:14 AM
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Nice pictures. All three places look interesting. Vacaville looks like an all-American town.

Is that a real lighthouse in Suisun City?
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Old Posted Nov 19, 2009, 6:30 AM
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hella NorCal!

I've always been curious about Vacaville. Every time I'm on 80 I can't stop thinking about cows, for some reason...
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Old Posted Nov 19, 2009, 6:48 AM
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I eat at that Chinese spot whenever I'm at Travis. Also there is a sandwich shop near here that is also bad ass. Same goes for a place called monsoon burger

No Dixon though? Ohh that's right, Dixon gets its own thread
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Old Posted Nov 19, 2009, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plinko View Post
Interesting, I knew that Suisun City had redeveloped its waterfront (it was published in alot of planning magazines at the time), but I've never seen it. Honestly, it also has never occurred to me to get off 80 and look at either Fairfield or Vacaville. Vacaville looks much more interesting.

When's the thread on Locke, Walnut Grove & Rio Vista? I always wanted to do a thread called 'Bridges of Sacramento County'.
Regarding the section in bold, that's the primary reason why I'm familiar with Suison City. Overall, the city has had quite an improvement in comparison for what it used to be.

Great thread, stepper77. Have you ever attended the air shows held at Travis? I'm sure they still conduct them, perhaps.

This photo certainly reminds me of the East Bay. Well, at least Mt. Diablo.
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Old Posted Nov 19, 2009, 6:04 PM
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Another outstanding tour Stepper, these towns often times get a bad rap. I think Californians are bad about that. Smaller towns seem to be more celebrated in Texas than CA, but they are really pretty nice. Love all the bungalow shots. Good to see Diablo too...
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Old Posted Nov 19, 2009, 6:14 PM
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Thanks for all the comments! I too had heard great things about Suisun City. And while not necessarily photographically as interesting, downtown Fairfield had a lot more pedestrian activity than I would have imagined. But, Vacaville was by far the most surprising, particularly since there are such low expectations from the freeway. It's good these gems are kept and revitalized despite being in a sea of surburbia.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plinko View Post
When's the thread on Locke, Walnut Grove & Rio Vista? I always wanted to do a thread called 'Bridges of Sacramento County'.
Haha...actually, I've been talking to one of my friends about joining me on a photo trip in that area, taking 160 from Sacramento, back to the East Bay and hitting those places.

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Originally Posted by xzmattzx View Post
Is that a real lighthouse in Suisun City?
No, I think it's more or less decorative, though I believe there is an actual light in it at the top.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TWAK View Post
I eat at that Chinese spot whenever I'm at Travis. Also there is a sandwich shop near here that is also bad ass. Same goes for a place called monsoon burger

No Dixon though? Ohh that's right, Dixon gets its own thread
I grabbed a HUGE slice of pizza at some pizza shop downtown and it was really good as well. I was glad to see all those places open on a Saturday morning. Helps to draw people down there.

Ah, Dixon. For some reason I always thought it was in Yolo County and didn't realize it was in Solano until after I took all these pictures. I guess I should maybe check it out as I've clearly found you can't judge a place by its look from the freeway

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigKidD View Post
Regarding the section in bold, that's the primary reason why I'm familiar with Suison City. Overall, the city has had quite an improvement in comparison for what it used to be.

Great thread, stepper77. Have you ever attended the air shows held at Travis? I'm sure they still conduct them, perhaps.
Actually, no, I've not gone. My family that lives in the area are more race car fans, so, I don't often hear of such things.
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Old Posted Nov 19, 2009, 8:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigKidD View Post
Great thread, stepper77. Have you ever attended the air shows held at Travis? I'm sure they still conduct them, perhaps
They had one recently, and also held "Air Force Week" in Sacramento, had another show at Mather.
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Old Posted Nov 19, 2009, 9:10 PM
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Good stuff, stepper.

Vacaville for me will forever be the place where the mighty Nut Tree once was. Not the modern incarnation, but the one that was a welcome rest stop on the way to and from Tahoe when I was a kid. We also stopped at the Black Oak across the freeway and I think that's gone now too.

I had no idea it had such a nice historic downtown (and truthfully never even thought about it).

I have a friend in Rio Vista. It's an interesting little river town. And I think Bay Area Backroads once did a show on Locke. A lot of history in that place. A tour of small delta towns would be really cool.
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Old Posted Nov 19, 2009, 9:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peanut gallery View Post
Good stuff, stepper.

Vacaville for me will forever be the place where the mighty Nut Tree once was. Not the modern incarnation, but the one that was a welcome rest stop on the way to and from Tahoe when I was a kid. We also stopped at the Black Oak across the freeway and I think that's gone now too.

I had no idea it had such a nice historic downtown (and truthfully never even thought about it).

I have a friend in Rio Vista. It's an interesting little river town. And I think Bay Area Backroads once did a show on Locke. A lot of history in that place. A tour of small delta towns would be really cool.
It is funny that you mention the Nut Tree because, growing up in the Sierras, it was always a rest stop for me and family or on school trips to and from the Bay Area. So sad what they turned it into.
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Old Posted Jan 13, 2011, 11:18 PM
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I did the tour, three years ago. It was really nice. Good memories.
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