Back in my thirties, I was fortunate to meet a young woman who liked me as much as I liked her. Marla and I vowed to be best friends forever. She eventually moved to Houston, Texas and I to California, but we managed to remain friends, even at that distance.
Marla 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. We whiled away some time in an enzyme bath at the Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary, and we had grilled cheese sandwiches at one of my favorite restaurants in Sebastopol, Hopmonk Tavern. But the highlights of our tour included a little bit of country and a little bit of town. Since I showed them to my best friend, I would recommend these sights to anyone:
Armstrong Redwoods State Nature Reserve - Marla is an active person so we decided to take a hike through the hundreds-years-old coastal redwoods of our nearby nature reserve. Marla said she forgot how majestic the soaring heights of the redwood forest are. The 805-acre redwood grove and adjacent 5683 acres of Austin Creek State Recreation offer everything from an easy one-mile hike to see the 1,400-year-old Colonel Armstrong Tree to a strenuous nine-mile hike that ascends to amazing views above the tree canopy. We also visited the Redwood Forest Theater and goggled at the data points on the slice of a centuries-old fallen tree.
Sculptures along Florence Ave., Sebastopol - Another site I had to show Marla was the playful, bigger-than-life sculptures made of recycled junk that line the residential street of Florence Avenue in Sebastopol. Created by urban folk artists Patrick Amiot and Brigitte Laurent, who live on the street, the sculptures are childlike and colorful and reside in the front yards of sweet cottages, lovely trees and gardens. You'll be amazed by what this pair can do with an old trash can.
Thirty years has gone by in a flash. I can't wait to see what the next 30 will bring me with this wonderful friend.
Click here for a map of the places we enjoyed.