I haven’t written much in the last few weeks, mostly because I am consumed with house-hunting. While that has given me loads to write about I am just too distracted to do much about it. I’m not even sure how far I’ll make it through this post but I thought I’d at least try to get some words down and some random photos from our recent adventure.
Jon and I have spent the last several months trying really hard to find our new home. This is difficult from afar and, as it turns out, not that easy from nearby. Apparently we’re not the only ones who think it’s time to move to western Sonoma county.
Listings are few and far between and anything decent gets a handful of offers within days, often far over asking price. On our recent visit we walked through a handful of homes but the trip was a roller-coaster of emotions as I went through the Goldilocks phase of house-hunting. Too nice, not nice enough, too big, too small, too expensive, too noisy, too close, too far. In the end, there was just nothing we loved. Ugh. I don’t discourage that easily, but by Sunday afternoon I was feeling pretty down.
And then we spoke to our realtor Craig and he mentioned an as-yet unlisted home in a tiny nearby town I’d never heard of. He had spoken to the owners weeks before and knew they were planning to sell. He thought maybe we’d like it. “It’s farther out than you were looking,” he said casually, “but the house is in pretty good shape and it has some land, and there are a couple cool old barns.” He wanted to know if we’d want to see it. HOW WAS HE SO CALM??? Hells YES we wanted to see it! And so on Monday out we went, winding through the back roads to emerge at this little blip of a town out towards the coast.
Visited a friend’s beautiful garden and met his cute doggies
As soon as we arrived my heart sped up. I was feeling… hopeful? Was it possible? As we walked through the little house, poked our heads into the big broken-down barns and wandered through the garden I experienced this rush of excitement and then… peace. Calm. Warmth. For a brief second I wondered if I’d wet my pants but no, it wasn’t that, it was a different kind of relief. I could feel myself breathing more deeply, my chest expanding to take in the cool, fresh air as I gazed across the meadow at the rolling green hills of Western Petaluma. I felt like I was home. And so did Jon. Even as I think of it now I get a little twinge behind my eyes.
That afternoon we went back and visited the nearby town of Valley Ford, a town I’d previously described as being way too far from everything… and smelling too much like cow. We sipped cappuccinos at Estero Cafe, a wonderful, totally unpretentious farm-to-table restaurant, and contemplated our potential life in the rural outskirts of Petaluma. We went for breakfast the next day too, and took a walk around the neighborhood.
Turns out it’s a great location for us, 15-20 minutes in any direction from all of our favorite places in west county – Freestone Artisan Cheese Shop, Baker Creek’s Seed Bank and downtown Petaluma, the monarch overwintering site at Bodega Dunes, The Barlow, Community Market and Peter Lowell’s restaurant in Sebastopol. It is not too big, not too small. It’s not too close to or too far from anything. It’s in our price range, has a garage/workshop, vegetable garden and even a chicken coop. It’s pretty close to perfect but there’s still plenty of fun to be had making it our own. (*You’ll notice there’s just the one photo of the barns and a bunch of random pics from other places. Since it’s not “ours” yet and, honestly, there is a LOT of cleaning up to be done, I didn’t take many photos of the actual property.)
I do think we would be very happy here. The question of whether or not the owners will consider an early offer remains, but we decided to go ahead and give it a try. The offer has been submitted. Now we are patiently (ha!) awaiting word from the owner. If anyone reading this would just toss up a little positive thought for us we would appreciate it. Maybe, just maybe, we have found our home.
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