By: Miriam Kishi
Join us for the 2014 Annual Event
Do you know the way to San José? It’s in the heart of Silicon Valley. For some of you those words bring a catchy melody to mind, but for everyone “Silicon Valley” says leading-edge technology. From its founding in 1777 as California’s first city, San José has been driven by a spirit of innovation. For many years, when the valley was filled with pear, plum and apricot orchards, and later when grapes were planted in the hills, it was known as the Valley of Heart’s Delight.
As Silicon Valley, it’s the home of a myriad of startups with 60-plus tech companies, including Hewlett Packard, Intel, Apple, Google, Netflix, Facebook, Yahoo, Cisco, Oracle, EBay, Intuit, Adobe and many more, even DreamWorks. During your stay you’ll enjoy the benefit of downtown San José’s Wickedly Fast free Wi-Fi Network created right here.
The program of the 2014 APCE ConnectED Annual Event, from plenary speaker Brian McLaren to the ecumenical ConnectED-Bay Area on Friday and Saturday, is reason enough to come to San José. But enjoying the late days of January in Northern California offers not only great weather (45–65 degrees, some possibility of rain) but also a wealth of great sites to see.
If you come early, you can travel in two directions for memorable experiences. Head south to Monterey and enjoy Cannery Row and the Monteray Bay Aquarium featuring 200 galleries and exhibits, including a three-story living kelp forest, great white shark exhibit, spectacular jellyfish and the popular freshwater otters. Head north to San Francisco for lunch in Chinatown and a visit to Donaldina Cameron House, whose unique ministry fighting trafficking of young, Asian, immigrant females began in 1874, often necessitating hiding them in a tunnel that you’ll see.
Choose a winery tour and taste the uniquely expressive wines of California or tour the Winchester Mystery House, a maze of Victorian craftsmanship— marvelous and eerily eccentric. The miles of twisting hallways are made even more intriguing by secret passageways in the walls. Mrs. Winchester traveled through her house in a roundabout fashion, supposedly to confuse any mischievous ghosts that might be following her.
The location of our event at The Fairmont puts it right in the middle of downtown San José. Our welcome evening will be spent a few steps away at The Tech Museum of Innovation with a delicious buffet dinner and more than 100 hands-on interactive exhibits. Explore genetics, virtual design, earth sciences, alternative energy, microchips and more. You can design and ride your own virtual roller coaster or guide a robotic rover across the Mars landscape. It will be a great way to spend the first evening of the Annual Event.
Offsite workshops and free time will allow you to see some of San José’s most interesting spots. The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum houses the largest collection of authentic ancient Egyptian artifacts (over 4,000 including a mummy) on display in western North America. An Interfaith Exploration Tour will visit the unique Gurdwara, the Sikh House of Worship, a spectacular building on 40 acres near San José, as well as the Muslim Community Association Mosque. Another tour will visit San José Buddhist Church Betsuin and the Japanese-American Museum.
You can also visit nearby places, some on a city walking tour. See the San Jose Museum of Art; St. Joseph’s Cathedral whose fascinating history began in 1803 and was designated a Basilica by the Vatican in 1997; the Children’s Discovery Museum with over three floors of hands-on learn-as-you-play experiences for toddlers through pre-teens; the restored 1797 Peralta Adobe house showcasing the city’s Spanish and Mexican roots; San José’s modern domed City Hall; and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, a collaboration between the city of San José and San José State, with special collections including the Beethoven and Steinbeck Studies, a California History Room, and a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Civil Rights Collection.
A special treat is discovering the Downtown Doors Project featuring the art of middle and high school students. The gallery of artwork covers service doors and utility boxes and can be toured with a special map. Last year’s competition drew 166 entries. It’s a showcase of budding talent.
A great selection of eating spots begins within The Fairmont with Café Express for a quick “on the run” breakfast or afternoon tea in The Lobby Lounge to the Bijan Bakery and Cafe to restaurants featuring steak and pasta, seafood or sushi. Other restaurants abound including 16 connected with the San Pedro Square Market, which often offers live bands. Entertainment ranges from the San José Repertory Theatre to the Center for the Performing Arts, and the Pavillion, home of the San Jose Sharks.
We hope you will find your way to San José. You’ll be welcomed into the heart of Silicon Valley!
An incorrect photo appeared with Miriam’s article in the four-page print version of the Advocate. We apologize for the error.
Miriam Kishi is a retired educator having served in six churches. She is a former regional representative from Northern California and Nevada on the APCE Cabinet. Miriam and Mary Jo Blazek are co-chairs of the San José local committee for the 2014 Annual Event.