Visited my son last Thursday thru Sunday in Cotati in Sonoma County, a small township where the beautiful campus of Sonoma State University is right next door at Rohnert Park, California. (Read about their amazing high tech library named after cartoonist Charles Shultz.) This is a rich community like so many in Marin and Sonoma Counties where mommy and daddy’s ability to pay whatever drives the housing and rental rates sky high.
The campus is built around parklands with trees 150 years old. The Adlai Stevenson building is one of the newer structures, but a $36 million construction project is underway for a new music center. A la-dee-dah fundraiser was held the second night and we attended and made some very valuable contacts ( i.e., for our return Italy trip in February we will be able to stay at a small villa in the outskirts of Florence and the same couple will be staying at my house when they come to visit the Grand Canyon), so that was good.
Sebastopol is another unique community. I characterize it as a place where the hippies of the ’60’s went to live their lives without compromise from the ideals of their youth and stayed to raise their next generation the same way. As a result, one can really feel the vibes of these kind souls who are respectful of all living, breathing things, health conscious, artistic, peaceful, friendly and well read.
Patrick Amiot and Bridgette Laurent, urban folk artists in Sabastopol, put a unique sculpture on their front lawn one day and what evolved became an entire street permanently decorated with their work. A drive down Florence Avenue is like a holiday treat, but its there every single day for all to enjoy. 🙂
Napa and Sonoma Counties are where the great California wineries can be ingested visually and gastronomically. We visited three: the huge Benziger Family Winery (restaurant chains such as “Olive Garden” carry their wines); the medium sized Matanzas Creek Winery with its outrageously beautiful hilltop wine tasting room and flowing pastures of fragrant lavender; and the small husband and wife owned Eric Ross Winery. The latter property is in Glen Ellen, and has the house where Joan London (Jack’s daughter) moved into after being beaten up in Oakland at the age of 88. In fact, Jack London is a main figure of the town’s history as he bought and maintained a 1,000-acre ranch and died there in 1916. The Jack London Historical Park sits between an old hotel and an old saloon dating back to 1905 filled with pictures of this still controversial writer. With the locals, he is either scorned as a plagiarizing Socialist or revered as a talent akin to Hemingway. I’d call it 60-40. 😉
In short, my “Sideways” style 4 days in California Wine country was a memorable one and I look forward to my return there later this year.
Next travel agenda has me in Dallas for an electronics trade show and since I’ll be at the Hyatt in the West End, I’ll re-visit the “Sixth Floor Depository” Building and see what’s been added at the JFK Museum. There’s a new theory afloat that asserts JFK was really killed by a crushing blow to the head with a fine cabernet wielded by some distraught maiden named Lizzie. But it’s just a theory. 😉