Saturday, September 4, 2010

Weekend Getaway: Sensational Sebastopol

I am constantly amazed by the endless possible day trips in Northern California where I live. This weekend, we chose to explore the region surrounding one of my favorite small towns, Sebastopol, which lies between Bodega Bay and Santa Rosa.

We started our trip at the popular Wild Flour Bread bakery in Freestone, which is just outside Sebastopol, located on the aptly named Bohemian Highway. Opened in 1998, this bakery has been been given many awards and has a loyal following for their moist scones, gooey sticky buns, and quality breads.

The chalkboard menu

The lady behind the counter was friendly and let us sample the breads before we bought them. We bought a Bohemian Bread (a sticky bun flavored with apricots, pecans and orange peel) and Garlic Rosemary Bread for some sandwiches the next day. Then we meandered around the garden in back, where we saw everything from rows of ripened raspberry vines to leafy green kale, apples trees, herbs, and tomatoes. They use coffee grinds from the coffee they sell, along with kitchen scraps, to make the compost that helps their garden thrive.

was our next stop. This is a quirky town, where you can find unique stores like Bee Kind, source of beekeeping supplies and all things bee-related, like candles, health supplements, and every kind of honey imaginable.

There are many vintage clothing shops, like this one, which made us feel like we were transported back to the 70's. (Always wondered why everything was so hideous back then. Theories, anyone?)

For lunch, we ate on the patio at the beautiful French Garden restaurant. The landscaping was immaculate-

The atmosphere was supremely relaxing, and the food would fit in at the Louvre as an example of fine art! See for yourself...

Vegetable tabbouleh with quinoa

Beet salad

Buckwheat Crepe with Nutella and caramelized fruits from their farm

Did I say "their farm"? I did! The restaurant grows most of their own produce on a 30-acre bio-intensive farm just up the street. Then- quelle chance (what luck)! Our waitress informed us that the farm was offering free tours that day! After falling in love with the food we had eaten for lunch, we couldn't resist visiting the farm itself. Here it is...

After soaking in the view of the ideally situated farm, we met Farmer Don. Here he is on his old 1940's-era tractor.

Don was in the middle of doing some old-fashioned weeding, but he took the time to explain to us that bio-intensive farming means that before planting their seedlings, they break up the bottom soil, add compost and then replace the top soil, thereby improving the quality of the soil. The food we eat, he explained, is only as good as the soil it's grown in. The farm uses no pesticides. Don seemed to genuinely enjoy his work, and we were impressed that he took time from his work to chat with us. He even generously told us that we could help ourselves to whatever vegetables we wanted! So we scouted out some produce....

And left with two kinds of sweet peppers, crisp romaine lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, shockingly bright yellow squash, perfect zucchinis, and multi-colored potatoes and carrots.

Everywhere we went, we met kind, friendly people, such as the people who run Rose and Thorn, a little shop that sells garden supplies, eggs, chickens, and has a small farm attached.

The chickens and roosters wander around the farm and the beautiful picnic area, mingling with the customers and posing for pictures, and sheep and goats graze peacefully alongside them.
At last, we had to move on, but made one last stop in Petaluma. This town is an antique hunter's dream, one of the biggest stores being Vintage Bank Antiques.
Another hidden treasure? Cucina Paradiso, where you can get delicious Italian food like rigatoni with sausage and roasted red peppers...
Or the Ravioli della Casa, filled with Swiss chard and topped with fried sage, butter and tomato sauce.
Right next door you will find Cocolat, purveyor of all things chocolate. Peruse their selection of truffles and chocolates, or try a dessert or European sipping chocolate. They even offer a chocolate fondue for two, although we went with chocolate cake and hot chocolate.

This was a wonderful day trip for us. What's your favorite one-day getaway destination?


  1. This sounds incredible! But I think the most incredible part is how you can find all these places and string them together to make a delightful experience. I love local finds and you have a gift for turning that into an artful experience on multiple levels.

  2. What a wonderful way to spend the weekend. I especially like Farmer Don and his generosity with his produce.


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