"Poplar grove" (Spanish). Alameda is an island in the San Francisco Bay, with a population of about 80,000. It has less traffic than most other Bay Area cities, since it has no freeway. But it's just a short tunnel or bridge away from I-880, so it's easy commuting. Luckily, though, it doesn't seem to have turned into too much of a Silicon Valley bedroom community, retaining its gorgeous and ornate Victorian houses. Seriously, if you like the style, take a little drive through the city sometime. Some of the houses are truly magnificent, and they are among the only relics of the California coastal style that was largely destroyed during the Great Quake of 1906.

Points of interest to come as I find them. Local companies include: Manex Visual Effects and MicroProse.