Monday, August 14, 2006

Santa Rosa, California

For those of you not familiar with the area, let me give you a little background on where I live. Santa Rosa, my current hometown, is about an hour's drive north of SF, in the middle of the beautiful Wine Country of Sonoma County. It's right off of 101 North, and is a small city of about 150,000 people.

I had a bride once ask me, "So, why DO you live in... Santa Rosa?!". It's true it doesn't necessarily sound like the most glamorous address, particularly when seen only from the freeway. I grew up in Petaluma, which is the first Sonoma County town North of Marin, and is becoming more and more Marin-ized all of the time. No offense to Marin or Petaluma, because I love the nature and chic of those areas as much as those of San Francisco. But here in SR there is a little more room for backyards and gardens, art studio and music practice spaces, and community bike rides! We have a lot of friends in their 20s and 30s who are musicians, artists, cooks, bakers, crafters, and so on. There's a lot of young creativity in our area, and it has really helped us nourish and grow our art.

Aside from my personal connections to this area through friends and family, there is a good deal of beauty in local vineyards and wineries, delicious restaurants and cafes, and great stuff to do ranging from ice skating at Snoopy's Ice Arena to a huge variety of classes for everyone at the Santa Rosa Junior College (we live across the street, and I keep meaning to sign up for a class to keep my brain active: I'd like to practice my French, take a History class, try to relearn my lost Ballet...).

There is a community farmers' market every Wednesday night during the summer season, and you can go dancing on several nights (as I sometimes do). Plus, we have countless sushi restaurants and are only about a half hour to the beach and/ or the river!

You can drive East for the beautiful, hot town of Sonoma or the gentle hills of Napa County; North for the Russian River and up and coming Healdsburg, Windsor and Cloverdale, or Mendocino beyond; West will take you to where the river meets the Pacific Ocean and Bodega Bay; heading South you can get to the Bay Area in less time than you might think, and there are millions of beautiful nooks, crannies, hiking trails, beaches, lakes, places to eat or picnic, and anything else you can think of on the way...

Anyway, I'm sure you can tell that I am happy living here and glad to make Sonoma County my home. I know a lot about this area, as well as Marin County and San Francisco/ Oakland/ Berkeley, and I would love to tell you whatever you want to know about any of them! I am happy to help brainstorm dining venues, hotels for out of town guests to stay at, walking or hikind paths, picnic spots, fun activities for tourists, the best places for wine tasting or art viewing, the best thrift, clothing or record stores, as well as all of the best wedding vendors this whole area has to offer.
Just ask!

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