November 9, 2004 > Seasons Greetings from Niles
Seasons Greetings from Niles
A nip of winter is in the air and as the days grow shorter, thoughts turn towards traditional Thanksgiving homecomings and the following months of merriment and holiday festivities. Niles is dressing up for the occasion and will, again, become a focus for visitors looking for the ultimate gift and shopping experience. Known as a haven for antique hunters, Niles has expanded its business offerings to include a wide variety of shops that cater to anyone looking for unique, artistic and distinctive articles for everyone on a holiday gift list.
Trees that glisten with ornaments from around the world, fanciful and serious art, a cozy fireplace for those frosty evenings, and "baubles, bangles and beads" can be found at shops along Niles Boulevard in this scenic district of Fremont. Visitors can stop for a warm cup of coffee, a pot of tea or a bite to eat at Niles cafˇs and restaurants then stroll along the street. Browsing in Niles can be a serious pastime when looking through a variety of stores that offer everything from Native American artifacts to the manufacture of glass figures made in public view. Here too are art galleries and collective businesses of new and old items that guarantee a shopping experience that can extend to almost any category or style imaginable.
Known throughout the Tri-Cities and far beyond as a treasure trove of history - Charlie Chaplin, Broncho Billy and many other Essanay Studio notables made Niles their home during the early days of motion pictures - Niles has become a magnet for those who appreciate antiques, collectibles, art and yearn for businesses reminiscent of an era when small town courtesy and service were the rule. In Niles, these values survive; visitors can spend a day strolling through shops and enjoy the unhurried atmosphere of the district.
The Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum & [Edison] Theater (37395 Niles Boulevard) offer a glimpse into the colorful past of this area. During the holiday season (November 27 - December 19), museum hours will be from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Christmas short films (circa 1901 - 1915) will be shown at 12:00, 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. A special "Sandlot Concert and Picture Show" featuring Michael McNevin singing Niles songs and stories along with Charlie Chaplin (and others) films will be held on November 21st at 2 p.m. at the Edison Theater (Admission will be charged for this event).
A visit to Niles is a pleasant event at any time of the year, but the winter holidays are special. This year, a "Table-Top" Trees Silent Auction is being held at participating merchants. Eclectic decorations are available for viewing and bidding throughout November; trees will be sold to the highest bidder on December 5th. A Niles tradition, the "Festival of Lights" parade sponsored by the Niles Merchants Association, held on the Friday evening following Thanksgiving (November 26th), continues this year. The parade, starting at 6:00 p.m. is a blend of marching groups, bands and lighted vehicles that ends with the appearance of Santa Claus and lighting of the 80 foot pine tree on Niles Boulevard. Downtown shops are open late the evening of the parade.
Two holiday "home tours," one arranged by the Niles Merchant's Association on Saturday, December 4th and the other by Niles Main Street Association on Saturday, December 11th, will allow visitors to view unique homes in the area featuring decorations for the holiday season. Niles also offers an evening "Art Walk" on the first Friday of every month. Artists, shops and art galleries are open to the public from 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. on these nights.
This unique corner of Fremont is filled with an impressive history that rivals any found in the "wild west." Storefronts are reminiscent of the days when transportation was fueled by hay and the transcontinental railroad was connected through Niles Canyon. Niles welcomes visitors to explore their distinctive town and shop in stores where ideas for unique gifts and accessories for home and office are plentiful for all interests and pocketbooks.
Directions to Niles:
From Central Fremont, take Mowry Avenue to Mission Boulevard. Turn left turn at the intersection of Mowry and Mission; travel over the bridge and turn left at the first stoplight. This will take you under a railroad crossing and onto the main street, Niles Boulevard.
To enter from Union City, travel southeast on Alvarado-Niles Road and it becomes Niles Boulevard once entering Fremont.
For more information about Niles Holiday events:
Niles Art Walk (510) 793-8782
First Friday of the Month
5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum
Saturdays & Sundays
11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
November 27 - December 19th
Niles Merchants Christmas Home Tour
Saturday, December 4th
Niles Holiday Home Tour
Saturday, December 11th
12 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Niles Tree Lighting Festival and Parade