One of our favorite walks is the Santa Rosa Creek trail in the Laguna de Santa Rosa. It is a spectacular trail that allows bikers, walkers and dog owners a peek of the characteristics that make Sonoma County a wonderful place to live: vineyards, horse and cattle pastures, corn fields and ponds full of ducks and geese.
One of the things we’ve appreciated since moving to the Russian River Valley six years ago is the embrace we’ve felt from this warm, welcoming and authentic community. It’s a community whose people make their homes and living in this rural and small town area and whose lives involve more than what out-of-towners see when they visit wineries on the weekends.
One of the coolest summertime activities was rock climbing on the Sunset Boulders at Goat Rock State Beach along the Sonoma Coast. Our oldest grandson, Gabriel, got into rock climbing a couple of years ago and even inspired his Grandpa Clay to join a rock climbing gym here in Santa Rosa. Sunset Boulders provided a beautiful, outdoor spot for all of us to act like mountain goats.
The scenic and bountiful land, the world-recognized wine and food, and the warm-hearted people make us feel blessed to live in this nook of Sonoma County. Recently, we’ve been enjoying another benefit of this area: we are just three right turns and a 12-minute drive from the world-class entertainment offerings of the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa, Calif.
What better way to enjoy Halloween in Sonoma County than to take the kids to California Carnivores, the largest retail carnivorous plant nursery in the United States. We took our grandkids this summer, and were blown away by the alien-like plants housed in a large greenhouse in Sebastopol that doubles as a carniverous plant museum.
We were again fortunate to have our grandchildren stay with us for several weeks. As they grew into their teens, we were concerned that keeping them entertained and interested was going to be more of a challenge. Once again, Sonoma County came through with more terrific things to do and wonderful places to eat.
On a recent Wednesday morning, my daughter and I decided to try out the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market. We’re both hitting notable birthdays this year, and one thing we’ve noticed about ourselves as we’ve gotten older is our aversion to crowds. So we were both delighted to find that the Wednesday morning version had all the things we love about a farmers market -- local produce, quality meats, delicious fresh-cooked food and interesting goods -- without the one thing we don’t: swarms of people.
My best friend came to visit this weekend, and we realized that this was the thirtieth anniversary of our meeting. In two short days, I wanted to show her the best Sonoma County had to offer.
On Saturday and Sunday last weekend, we took our first walks along the new Laguna de Santa Rosa trail. Laguna de Santa Rosa is the largest freshwater wetlands complex on the northern California coast, and we can thank its collection of marshes, creeks, ponds, riparian forests and wetlands for collecting much of the Russian River’s floodwaters.
After many days of fun in the sun in Sonoma County, we finally have taken a couple of days to do the things that are necessary at the ranch. It was a hard lesson to realize that we can’t play all the time, but that reality seems to be enjoyed by our grandchildren