Petaluma’s downtown merchants inbite you to stop by for Petaluma’s Harvest Days and “Scarecrows on the Town,” — October 24th -26th, 2014. Events will be taking place in merchant locations at various times all three days, as the community celebrates Fall bounty.
Highlights include pie tasting, pumpkin carving, delectable Harvest menus, a cupcake cook off and bake sale and for the 3rd year Scarecrows will be donning their best attire and taking up residence throughout downtown. Download a map of all participating merchant locations at www.petalumadowntown.com/harvest.html.
Participate in a plethora of events including I Leoni’s “Hocus Pocus Cupcake Bakeoff” and sale from 10AM to 3PM. Show off your ghoulishly great baking skills or simply stop by for some pre-Halloween treats. All proceeds will be donated to Petaluma COTS. For more information or questions, call I Leoni at (707) 762-9611.
Petaluma Market will be hosting a FREE pumpkin carving and decorating contest. All supplies will be provided. Just bring yourself and a little creativity for a frightfully good time.
Also, Petaluma Pie Company is holding its annual “Guess the Weight of the Pie” contest as well as hosting a blind tasting of sweet potato vs. pumpkin pie; will you be able to tell the difference?
Free Range Provisions and Eats is having an Heirloom Apple Tasting; come and enjoy rare apples with heritage beginnings. Gallery One Petaluma is holding a fall show, featuring a wide selection of hand-blown glass pumpkins, hand carved gourds, and sculptures by Steven McGovney based on The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe. Enjoy a taste of fall bounty for dinner at Graffiti restaurant, where they will be featuring a harvest menu.
In addition to Harvest Days, Petaluma is host to many fall destinations. Visit the Petaluma Farmers Market from 2PM-5:30PM in Walnut Park. Also, check out the Petaluma Pumpkin Patch and A-Maze-Ing Corn Maze, The Great Peter Pumpkin Patch of the Spring Hill Cheese Company, and McClelland’s Organic Dairy for all of your pumpkin and corn maze needs. Don’t forget about The Petaluma Art Center’s “El Dia de Los Muertos Exhibition and Celebration all month long.
Jason Jenkins hosts his hot ticket item event — the 8th Annual Vine & Barrel Champagne and Oyster Tasting extravaganza, featuring 30 houses of the finest sparkling from around the world, on Saturday, December 6th, 2014.
"Some of these wineries include: Louis Roederer Estate Brut Premier Rose’ – amazing, Roederer Brut Premier(92 pts Wine Enthusisat, 91 pts Stephen Tanzer, 91 pts Wine Spectator), the beautiful and organic, Andre’ Jacquardt from Champagne, Bailly La Pierre brut and rose’, Roederer Mendocino, Scharffenberger Brut, Grandial, Iron Horse Brut, Schramsberg, Domaine Carneros, Moondrops Prosecco, Mcfadden Biodynamic Mendocino, Steven Morvai’s, Clos Saron – arguably the finest California sparkling wine produced….(I said it!)…(come taste and judge for yourself)…and many more," says Jason.
Joining the downtown Petaluma Vine & Barrel team that afternoon is Hog Island Oyster Company gracing guests with 1000 small and delicious oysters, as well as the Sift Cupcakery – with sweet treats. Fine cheeses from around the world, caviar with crème fraiche and capers will be paired with Petaluma’s Della Fattoria breads. "This is my finest event, every year," says the host.
Vine and Barrel Champagne and Oyster Tasting is set for 3pm, SHARP, and runs until 5pm.
"We pour small pours – this is a professional tasting event," says Jason. "Guest are welcome to taste through and back around for more. There are no (half-event) tickets available for late arrivals. This is a serious wine enthusiast and foodie event and we sell out every event every time we host one".
Jason recommends purchasing tickets in advance as he does expect to sell out. Cost is $45 per person. $35 per person for Vine and Barrel Wine Club Members. Credit cards accepted by phone. Call (707) 765-1112
There's a new store on the block this holiday shopping season. As we continue our focus on shopping locally, especially when out and about buying gifts, it's good to have lots of options around town.
Petaluma Home & Garden is located at 516 Petaluma Boulevard South, Petaluma. Owner Alonda O'Kane has exquisite taste, I can testify to that. I've seen this Sonoma County style-maven's interior design in action around wine country and it is extremely well curated and distinctively elegant.
Alonda will be carrying in her stylish new store a wide range of internationally sourced home AND garden items, including the store's signature Miele vacuum cleaners.
Other items to look for in Petaluma Home & Garden include:
Fermob Bistro Sets - Made in France
Treasure Garden Umbrellas and Stand - Sunbrella Fabric
Jayne Moye's August 2104 intro to Fodor's Travel 10 Best River Towns guide offers food for thought on the ongoing status of the jewel in the sadly shabby crown that is the Victorian ironfront downtown pedestrian area of the Petaluma River.
As we approach local elections here in Southern Sonoma County this November, let us not be so entirely focused on roads and railways and other rights of way that we forget the vital shot in the heart that restoration of the symbolic, old Santa Rosa and Petaluma Railroad Trestle would undoubtedly be.
Mayoral Candidate Mike Harris responded to my wondering about the current state of affars with Petaluma's Trestle Rehabilitation Project: "With the SMART train coming to town in 2016 and the Station Area Plan passed and an interest in a Floathouse in the turning basin, along with all of the Water Ways projects along the River planned," he replied, "this Trestle project is a natural piece of the revitalization of what we are trying to accomplish in that core area."
Mayor David Glass has not yet responded to my request for his take on the stalled Trestle Rehabilitation project, but I hope he does and I will update this post when I hear back.
Let's take a look at our river town competition and why we need to re-energize our civic as well as people-powered efforts to restore our priceless, historic (fenced off) riverfront treasure that runs along the side of Petaluma River from the Yacht Club to the Balshaw Bridge.
"The best river towns in the U.S. have a natural exuberance, a playful energy not unlike the bubbling water that flows through them," wrote Moye in her compelling Fodor's feature. "Maybe it’s the towns’ proximity to the mountains, like beacons beckoning adventure, or the fact that river town residents live there by choice, not chance, having made quality of life, scenic beauty, and active outdoor pursuits like kayaking and whitewater rafting a priority. Then again, it could be the beer—microbreweries tend to open up near rivers, which provide a plentiful source of pristine water for making handcrafted brews".
Fodor's first selected Salida, Colorado, a former mining town, inhabited today by artists and athletes, home to the country's oldest whitewater festival that takes place on the mighty Arkansas River.
Missoula, Montana presides over the scenic Clark Fork River. Founded as a trading post, this mid-sized town has evolved into an outdoor sports mecca, in part, undoubtedly to the novel and film A River Runs Through It written by Missoula native Norman Maclean. "Besides the world-class fly-fishing and ample whitewater rafting, residents also enjoy hiking and biking, not to mention the progressive college-town mentality complete with a farmers market, a thriving arts and culture scene, a fierce sense of environmental stewardship and a half-dozen local craft breweries". Sounds somewhat familiar, doesn't it?
The Deschutes River remains the biggest attraction of beautiful Bend, Oregon. Flowing from deep inside the Cascade Mountain pine forests to the high desert haven of Bend, world-renowned fly-fishing, mountain biking, camping and hiking are big deals to tourists and locals alike, but it is the Deschutes River that puts Bend on the map.
Small town Talkeetna, Alaska is located at the confluence of three rivers: Talkeetna, Chulitna, and Susitna. Used as a basecamp for climbers attempting to scale the 20,237-foot Denali Mountain, Fodor's says: "What really makes Talkeetna special is its authentic frontier vibe—a National Historic Site with iconic landmarks like the Talkeetna Roadhouse and Nagley's General Store that really haven’t changed much at all since the early 1900s". Well, we have plenty of pioneer spirit here in Petaluma.
More of a city than a town, as is Petaluma, Boise, Idaho's 25-mile biking and walking path located along the river links 850 acres of parks and natural areas in the heart of the city. "Locals enjoy rafting, kayaking, tubing, fishing, and stand-up paddleboarding on the river, as well as using the path for alternative transportation (to, say, brewpubs like Tablerock and Highlands Hollow)", wrote Moye.
Tiny Tallulah Falls, Georgia: "takes its name from a series of six waterfalls that drop the Tallulah River 500 feet in one mile—a natural phenomenon made possible by the rocky chasm known as the Tallulah Gorge that the river runs through". Located in wine country of the southern tip of the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, Tallulah Falls draws its regions best kayakers and whitewater rafters.
Petaluma River being in fact, a tidal slough, doesn't offer any whitewater excitement, but rowing and paddleboarding and other water sports are becoming increasingly popular on the historic waterway that once transported extensive boat loads of farm fresh food to the Gold Rush era Barbary Coast during its Victorian heyday.
Fodor's paints Asheville, North Carolina as the: "hipster of America's best river towns pulsing with an active, outdoorsy vibe that permeates everything from its farm-to-table restaurants to its work-hard, play-harder tech firms". We can do that here in Petaluma!
"Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, at the confluence of the Swannanoa and the French Broad rivers, Asheville boasts 18 craft breweries—the highest number per capita in the nation," wrote Moye. Rafters and paddlers are spoiled for choice with three acclaimed rivers (French Broad River, Nantahala River, and Nolichucky River) offering a range of activities from family canoe outings to faster-moving whitewater.
A little closer to home, Kernville, California is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where the town's namesake river is fed by snowmelt from Mount Whitney. Fodor's says it packs a fun, wildwest flair: "and is legendary for its voluminous whitewater." Its popular Kern River Brewing Company is owned by a group of Kayakers.
Positioned at the central cascade range of the rather chilly sounding Icicle and Wenatchee rivers, Leavenworth, Washington, is by Fodor's account: "the most unique river town in America". Modeled after a Bavarian village, its gingerbread house architecture was styled on mountain villages of the Alps. All sorts of river sports abound, alongside the attraction of area wineries and of course, craft Icicle Brewing Company.
If that's not enough of a competitor's visual, I don't think it can be emphasized enough that we're seriously lagging in our grasp of getting the ball rolling again, post recession, with our city's general plan in the downtown riverfront district.
There is so much to be gained in rebuilding the Trestle. Not only from a tourism perspective, but as a much-needed expansion for any number of annual festivals and fairs.
The City of Petaluma does not have the finances to fund what it believes would be a close to $5 million total rehabilitation project of the 500-foot-long 1922 wooden Trestle, closed off and considered a hazard since 1994 and currently owned by The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit.
Back in 2010 the California Coastal Conservancy funded a $475,000 grant for the Trestle's initial rehab, apparently a mere tipping off point for this potential as a National Register of historic place candidate. Since then, not a lot has happened, except for a current "This Place Matters" (National Trust for Historic Preservation) campaign by Petaluma Trolley Living History Railway Museum's Chris Stevick and Trestle supporters that draws attention to dwindling civic efforts in that core location of the riverfront arena.
"Everything that the city says won't work, will work and Trestle rehabilitation can be accomplished for half of the city's estimation," says Stevick, challenging the city-appointed engineering findings and questioning how far Coastal Conservation grant instructions have been followed.
Stevick and fellow Trestle fans are reaching out to merchants and other business owners in the city's historic shopping district to add their voice to jump-starting this important project. Downtown's independent store keepers and restaurateurs being more involved in putting pressure on the city and the Smart train to tackle this crumbling treasure is likely key.
"We should first and foremost thank Christopher Stevick for all of his efforts over the years. His singular focus on this project and keeping it on the forefront is greatly appreciated", said Harris. Petaluma's Trolley can't be saved by a mere handful of folk. It is time that this major eyesore takes a more prominent role in the realization of the general plan through its rehabilitation and potentially great next chapter.
Reset Go offers a phenomenal, free program consisting of a 12-hour workshop, life coaching and an online support community to veterans to empower them to thrive as civilians and transition into civilian life more successfully.
The program was launched in Marin by the daughter of a career army officer, Petaluma resident Ann Moreno and the mother of an active Marine and a Blue Star Mom, Marilyn Spoja. The impassioned, non-profit business partners have worked on "perfecting" the workshop and will now be offering it in Sonoma County.
Co-founders and life coaches, Ann and Marilyn are offering a new two-hour free introductory course to veterans on October 21st, 2014 from 9 am -11 am, at the Santa Rosa Veterans Building under the auspices of Sonoma County Vet Connect, Inc."We will be speakers at the statewide MOAA (Military Officers Association of America) conference in San Luis Obispo on November 4th and we are also walking in the Petaluma Veteran's Day Parade on November 11th, in addition to giving workshops between now and then," says Ann. Click here for the Reset Go website.
Petaluma-based artist Shannon Abbey whose illustrated works have featured in the Wall Street Journal and Pottery Barn, brings chalk board art to a new, affordable level, locally, this Fall season.
Her beautiful, one-of-a-kind chalkboards are meticulously created with durable chalk ink paint. They wash off with water and a cloth but don't rub off, enabling them to be stored and brought out for years to come.
"Chalk paint is easier to work with than chalk, and I get integrity of line and a nice sharp edge," says Shannon, whose boards are now available in French Hen Antique store, on 218 Petaluma Boulevard North, downtown Petaluma.
"I am also working on creating sets of boards for a frame so images may be changed out with the seasons or subsequent holidays," she says. "Customers may purchase a frame and have a board for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas... Chalkboards are big in decorating this year and I am always on the lookout for unusual old frames. In addition, if someone has a frame already I'm happy to create a board or boards to fit that frame."
Shannon brings 20 years of experience as an illustrator and fine artist to her new line of work. "I love to tell a story in my work and this is the perfect opportunity," she says. "Many people wish they could afford original art for their home. If they can't stretch for my paintings, these pieces offer original art for a lot less money."
Blood Orange infused into the spice blend of eggnog...a holiday classic
1.5 oz. Charbay Blood Orange Vodka 4 oz. eggnog
Mix ingredients; if possible, allow to sit for 30 minutes for flavors to bind. Garnish with an orange wheel/cinnamon stick. Excellent at room temperature or warmed (do not boil)
I visted the Charbay distillery a few years ago. A warm and welcoming family-style enterprise in the hills above Saint Helena, heart of neighboring Napa wine country!
Charbay, which introduced the U.S. to flavored vodkas made from 100% whole fruit in 1998, has announced the finishing touch for its collection: a signature bottle designed by its founder, 12th Generation Grand Master Distiller Miles Karakasevic.
The bottle is being introduced for Charbay Clear Vodka, as well as Blood Orange and Meyer Lemon Flavored Vodka.
“The traditional definition of ‘artisan’ has always been about the artistic quest to bring an internal vision into reality - in any genre,” says Miles. “To create a signature bottle, my goal was to raise the bar tangibly for flavored vodkas - to go beyond the loud packaging and bubble gum flavors to present our vodkas how we envision them: as timeless classics.”
In 1997, father and son distillers, Miles and Marko Karakasevic, began sourcing and extracting ingredients such as organically-grown Meyer lemons and blood oranges, whole leaf green tea and fresh raspberries to create the flavors for their vodka collection. Charbay’s proprietary process involves extracting the whole fruit (including citrus’ skins for their essential oils) - an incredibly complex molecular profile that the nose and mouth recognize as pure and real.
“We chose flavors that represent the best of Nature - Blood Oranges for their spicy sweetness, Ruby Red Grapefruit for their unforgettable sophistication of sweet, sour and bitter...Meyer Lemons - so sweet & intense - were unheard of when we launched in 1998. It’s a thrill to get year’s harvest and to watch them transform into these vodkas,” says Charbay’s co-owner/GM Susan Karakasevic.
At Marko’s insistence, Charbay Clear Vodka was released in 2002. It was quickly recognized by critics and bartenders as a classic. Over the years, Charbay Clear Vodka has received ratings such as #1 Vodka in the World by Spirit Journal (two years in a row), ‘Vodka of the Year’ by Food & Wine magazine, and ‘100 points’ from Wine Enthusiast.