Located in Watsonville‘s bucolic Larkin Valley, the 1850 Castro Adobe State Historic Park has been brought alive through a restoration project and archeological work. Now for the first time in 168 years, the original home of Juan Jose Castro, a Mexican rancher who settled in the area, is officially open to the public. Free monthly tours of Castro Adobe offer visitors a unique opportunity to witness its captivating restoration, and experience a glimpse of what life was like in the 1800s. This former Castro home is one of only four adobe structures-and of that the only two-story one-in Santa Cruz County. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the designated California State Historical Landmark includes an original rancho cocina, a traditional Mexican kitchen and a rarity in California. Upstairs, an expansive fandango room hints at the many parties hosted at the house, which sits at the crest of a hill offering glimpses of Monterey Bay. The home is surrounded by clusters of cacti adorned with crimson-red prickly pears, a small orchard blossoming with apple, persimmon, and walnut trees and a peaceful garden dotted with magnificent old cork trees, and purple blooms of wisteria wrapping the adobe’s wooden posts. Visitors can learn to rope, make tortillas in the cocina, and enjoy speakers, music, and family-friendly events.