“A Great Day in Point Richmond”

By Erin Caslavka Deinzer

From its delightful downtown corridor to the impressive model train museum to its expansive shoreline with amazing views, Point Richmond delivers surprises at every turn.

BATW’s May meeting took place on a semi-drizzly morning in downtown Point Richmond. Approximately 25 hearty souls turned out for the meeting at the Up and Under Pub, a fun and funky local watering hole with a special-event room upstairs. A guest speaker from the Richmond Museum of Art shared the tale of a recently rediscovered mural by artist Victor Arnautoff, which had been left in storage in the basement of the local library for 40 years.

Afterward, members broke off into three groups: hikers, bikers and kayakers. Here’s what some of them had to say about their activity-filled day:

Lee Foster on Bicycling Point Richmond

Our bicycle trip around Richmond was an enjoyable 12-mile ride led by Najari Smith, whose rental bike shop Rich City Rides is near the Richmond BART Station. So anyone in the public could BART to Richmond, rent a bike and ride about 1.5 miles down Marina Way to the Rosie the Riveter/Assemble Restaurant area for a start. Similarly, we rode from Up and Under over to Rosie.

The pleasing part of the bike outing is south from Rosie along the Richmond Shoreline on the dedicated bike/hike path. It’s quite scenic and safe, with water, sailboats, parkways and plenty of fresh air. This waterfront ride is what I would most recommend for the public. This Bay Trail ride can proceed south to Berkeley and Chavez Park.

After a few miles we turned into the city to a major ceramic studio, Jered’s Pottery, a good story in itself.

Then we crossed the city to the Red Oak ship and the Riggers Loft R & B Winery. This was a longer stretch, due to the configuration of the harbor. A consumer would need a good map to cross the railroad tracks and skirt the immense parking lots of cars coming off ships from Asia.

Stu Wilson on Hike and History Tour of Point Richmond

Those who joined in the Point Richmond History and Hike learned that Point Richmond is the oldest neighborhood in the city, beginning around 1900 as a railroad town followed quickly by an oil refinery that still operates. And so does the railroad that serves the Port of Richmond, where huge vessels off-load massive shipments of Asian-manufactured automobiles to be distributed around the country by truck and rail. Our vivacious and loquacious guide, Karen, a volunteer with the Point Richmond History Association, demonstrated this by manually operating the wigwags, historic crossing signals on West Richmond Avenue.

Karen also educated us on the Baltic Saloon dating from 1904, the city’s first firehouse and jail dating from 1910, and the Natatorium, also called The Plunge, built in 1925 and recently restored, before leading through a tunnel. We walked along the Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline (with a stop for a picnic lunch and another for a visit to the Golden State Model Railroad Museum), ending up after about three miles at the Paint Shop in the former Kaiser Shipyard #3. Here we recuperated over some tastes of wine at the Riggers Loft Winery, its lively tasting room affording perfect views of the Bay and San Francisco skyline. Education and exercise, capped by scenic beauty and a little fruit of the vine, made for a memorable afternoon.

Suzie Rodriguez on Hike and History Tour of Richmond

About 10 members participated in a 5-mile guided walking tour of Point Richmond. Led by local resident Karen Buchanan, the tour started in the historic and architecturally diverse downtown and then swung along the East Bay Regional Park Shoreline, with a stop at the Golden State Model Railroad Museum. The tour ended with a raised glass at Riggers Loft, a collective wine and cider tasting room located in a shipyard.

Many thanks to Stu Wilson for coordinating this fun, informative event.