Set Scene: Petaluma, California. Lead characters Jon and Sheri are sipping tea in a quirky little cottage (which used to be a henhouse) found on Airbnb, awaiting their first meeting with a realtor. Shit is getting real. Let’s check in and see how they’re faring as they begin their search for a new piece of land to call home. Cue voiceover…
It’s crazy to think we are about to uproot our lives, dismantle our wonderful, colorful home, empty our new workshop and trek off to a piece of land in a place we barely know. Yikes. I should definitely put that another way or I’ll just sit here petrified. Okay, deeeep breath in…. BIG exhale…. aaand repeat as needed.
I’m sitting here staring out the window, watching goats, chickens and roosters roam and peck about this cute little farm just a few minutes outside downtown Petaluma. I’m simultaneously browsing (more like consuming) real estate listings on three different sites. I keep hoping our perfect home will appear but at the same time hoping it will wait a bit longer, give me a chance to prepare myself for this huge transition. I’m completely overwhelmed.
(Side note: Remember how I was just staring out the window feeling completely overwhelmed? Now there are tears of laughter streaming down my face as I watch two little girls trying to avoid the attention of a friendly goat only to end up being chased by an angry rooster! I know I shouldn’t be laughing but it’s hilarious! Yeah, I’m really gonna like living in the sticks.)
Our first stop on this journey is Petaluma, a cute town about 45 minutes north of San Francisco, on the west side of 101 kind of opposite Sonoma. The Petaluma River runs through the historic downtown, which has recently been spruced up and offers lots of cute locally-owned shops and restaurants. It’s the third or fourth time we’ve been here and it’s not quite so sleepy as it seemed at first glance. For better or worse, we can definitely see the influence of a younger, hipper crowd bringing this town to life. There’s a crop of new restaurants making the most of the incredible local bounty – grass-fed beef, fresh organic cheese, olives, handcrafted beer, homegrown veggies and eggs that are practically still warm from the coop.
I have resisted taking photos of our food, but here’s a snap of the menu board at a fantastic little spot, The Secret Kitchen, which is hidden behind a market off Bodega Ave. This was some seriously fresh and flavorful food! Who knew you could blend Latin and Asian and end up with perfection? Locally raised pastured pork, organic chicken, incredibly tasty spices and sauces. The Korean BBQ tacos and the Banh Mi were so freaking delicious I licked my paper tray, no joke.
We also feasted at the Wild Goat Bistro where we sat at the tiny bar and watched them make magic in a tinier kitchen-space. These folks must get along well because it was really close quarters. We devoured Neiman Ranch sliders on local bread with homemade ketchup, a huge field green salad with fresh beets and goat cheese, all topped off with the wood-fired pizza of the day. We thought we’d have leftovers… we did not. Same for the wild salmon and lobster mac-n-cheese at Speakeasy. Yum.
We’ve been strolling thru town trying to get a feel for things, see if it feels like home. I can’t yet answer that but it sure is a pretty town. I love how they’ve maintained the historic buildings, like the library (above) and this bank-turned-antique shop:
We’re making the most of our short time here. If it seems like we’ve spent most of our time eating it’s only due to the lack of potential properties to visit. And we just really love eating.
Tomorrow we’ll spend the day driving out to the coast then back through the winding roads of Sebastopol to see if our future home is tucked away in the hills there. I kind of hope it is, if only so I can stop poring over real estate listings all day, every day. I’m trying to be patient, enjoy the process and let the perfect spot find us, but I can honestly say that this horse has smelled the barn and I am ready to BOLT! Luckily Jon, and reality, have a pretty firm grip on the reins… for now. We shall see what the day brings.
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