Posts Tagged 'Bodega Bay'

Bodega Harbour Women’s Invitational

20130917_093355 While I do not live on the coast, Bodega Harbour is one on my favorite hangouts.  The Links golf course is beautiful and usually one of my best scoring courses.  That is a surprise to most golfers as the Links at Bodega Harbour has a reputation of being a ball eater golf course.  I do well because I don’t hit the ball very far and I mostly hit it straight.  I am lucky enough to be invited to the annual Invitational tournament.  This is a money maker for the local charities and I do my part.

Katy & PhillipMonday evening is the cocktail reception and auction which benefits the Analy High School (which is in Sebastopol) Girls Golf program.  The theme this year was Midnight in Paris and the Parisian magic was in the air.  The Invitational chair is none other than the lovely Katy Karrenbrock who spun her hostess web with all things French.  A good deal of French champagne was consumed to provide the flower vases for tables.

My Team - Pat, Lorraine, Jean and me

My Team – Pat, Lorraine, Jean and me

Foursomes dressed in the theme and I was part of the French Maids.  We were a big hit at the party and were a contrast to the stripped shirts and red neck scarves. With the gale winds, we did not play very well but we had a great deal of fun and were pleased to not come in at last place!If you are out at the coast and have a morning to play golf, you cannot pick a better activity.  The scenery is beautiful and the course is interesting.  I definitely suggest a cart as the hills are significant and the folks behind you will be unhappy.

The Bluewater Bistro is a cut above the usual golf course fare.  It has the best view in Bodega Bay.  We ended our round with a luncheon of prizes, wine and great food – all with wonderful company.

The Sign of a Good Party

The Sign of a Good Party

Preparing for the Holidays

ImageEvery time of the year I marvel at the beauty of Sonoma County.  The scenery is diverse and always stunning.  The picture above is taken on Occidental Road just east of High School Road outside of Sebastopol.  The lighting was so perfect that every driver with a camera was pulled to the side of road to take a snapshot.  Cold, foggy and flooding all disappeared with the serene beauty of the Laguna de Santa Rosa.

With the love of my local area at front of mind, I decided that my shopping for holiday gifts would be focused at home.  I shunned the Internet and headed to Bodega Bay for some shopping.  I hit the jackpot at East Shore Outfitters and Gourmet au Bay.  Sissy does a great job of selecting wonderful merchandise without the “tourist trap” prices.  I then headed to Occidental to the annual craft sale.  I must admit that I bought two sweaters for me – one from Wild n’ Wooley out of Mt. Shasta to keep me warm on those cold and windy mornings and a light weight one from another vendor that will be perfect in Hawaii.

Dec12 044The next day I ventured all the way to Sebastopol.  It was a Sunday and the Farmer’s Market was in full swing.  Today (Sunday) the rain is coming down and a thick fog has enveloped the garden.  I have built a fire to conserve on propane and I will be home long enough today to enjoy the ambiance.   But last Sunday the temperature was 70 degrees and I was thinking I might never wear the heavy knit hoodie that I had purchased the day before.  The Sebastopol Farmer’s Market is a year round event.  The number of stalls is less in the winter but the atmosphere is always Sebastopol.  I wandered Main Street and found a few more gifts and bopped into Whole Foods to see what the latest in food goodies they had to offer.  An absolutely spectacular day.


My Christmas shopping was almost complete but yesterday I stopped by Forestville to visit Frame of Mind – the best framing shop in my overall experience of framing.   Leslie is not just a framer of great talent but a creative artist in her own right.  She doesn’t let a piece leave the shop that does not look spectacular. Then I dropped into Moshin Winery for  the best pinot noir along the Russian River.    I was blessed to have a lovely dinner at Cork’s outside of Forestville with dear friends on my way home.

P1020815The magical barn down the way on Joy Road is open for local artists the weekend after Thanksgiving weekend (does that make sense? 9 days after Thanksgiving.)  It is the closest shopping available with clever surprises for young and old.  If you live near or are visiting that time of year, you should put it on your calendar now for 2013 so that it isn’t missed.

It looks like I will have my shopping complete before I leave for the holidays and will not have purchased anything further than 12 miles from my secluded home.  The evening sunset through the redwoods on Joy Road is a frequent reminder of the magnificence and peace my world holds.  Wonderful community, great friends and local products abound in my life.  In case I do not have the opportunity to say it to you in this upcoming week, may your holidays and the coming year be your brightest.  Peace on earth to all.


Celebrating 200 Years at Fort Ross

When was the last time I posted at My Wine Country Village?  I guess I was riding in the 1913 roadster in the parade.  So much has happened since then that I don’t know where to begin.  Real estate is keeping me busy but not so busy that I miss out on all that is happening.

This year is the 200th anniversary of the Russians establishing a settlement at Fort Ross.   The region is in full swing of celebrating  this occasion with a variety of events.  The first was the visit of the tall ships to Bodega Bay.  Thousands of locals headed out to the coast to see these beautiful replicas in our harbor.  I made it out one day to see them sailing out to sea with a load of excited school children and beaming retirees.  I don’t think the sponsors expected such a wild response as tickets were sold out weeks in advance for the excursions and the lines were long to just get on the boat for a look at life at sea in 1812.

Being the lover of dishware that I am, I could not pass visiting the Sonoma County Museum in Santa Rosa for a look at the china servings of the Romanov Dynasty.  This exhibit spanned the reigns of Nicholas I, Peter the Great, Catherine the Great to the last tsar, Nicholas II.  Each tsar had at least one set of china commissioned.   The craftsmanship and detail were exquisite on each piece.  The first sets where made in Germany at the famous Meissen factories.  But the Romanovs wanted their own Russian porcelain producers and brought the artistry to Russia.  One dinner set had over 4,500 pieces including accent pieces as well as dinnerware.  Portraits of the tsar as well as depictions of battles and scenery were found on the plates, cups, tureens …..

The factories produced a variety of porcelain items.  One of the favorite gifts of the era was an egg.  The most famous of these were the Tiffany eggs that have toured the great museums of the world.  But the painted porcelain egg has been around much longer and is just as stunning.   We, also, saw snuff boxes with portraits of the user and decorative boxes.

The exhibit ended on May 27 and that was the day I managed to get there.  Nothing like a deadline to get something done.

Since this celebration is about the establishment of Fort Ross, a trip to the old fort has to be on the agenda.  On a beautiful, warm day a few weeks ago, we visited Fort Ross.  Fort Ross is north of Jenner along the rugged Sonoma County coastline.  I first visited the fort in 1958 with my parents.  I have a wonderful picture of them standing on the bluff with the wind in their hair.  Oh, if my scanner were working, I would find that picture right now and add it to this post.   As a college student at UC Davis coming to Fort Ross and shooting pictures of the church and the various detritus of the settlement that was abandoned in 1841 was a favorite weekend outing.  In those days, Highway 1 went through the fort and there was free reign to see the ruins.

If you want to visit Fort Ross, you will need to come on Friday, Saturday or Sunday as the hours have been limited along with all the other California State Parks due to budget cuts.

Today there is a parking lot, a visitor’s center and a path to the recreated fort.  The original church burned in a fire but the replica is indistinguishable from the original – at least to the eyes and memory of an “older” woman.  The armory is rebuilt and you can look at the guns and equipment used to defend the fort from intruders.  The Russians were very successful at working with the local Indians and it seems that the defensive actions were taken to protect the settlement from foreign enemies and not the local population.  The storeroom shows the farm implements and the cooking methods of the day.  The head of the settlement built a sturdy home for his family and brought the best of furniture and accouterments that the era offered.

The visitor’s center has an informative display about life at the fort and the lives of the native Indians. All in all, it is well worth visiting even if it is not the bicentennial year.   The fort was full of school children on a field trip to learn how the settlers and Indians lived.  Fort Ross is alive and well these 200 years after its establishement.

Take a beautiful drive along the coast and take in some local history.

Sebastopol Cemetery Walk

Our Tour Guide in Front of the Cottage at the Luther Burbank Experimental Farm

Last night I had the delight of visiting the Sebastopol Cemetery located on Bodega Highway.  The first weekend of each October for the last seven or eight years, the Western Sonoma County Historical Society has entertained lucky observers in the historical cemetery.  The evening was wonderful.  We began with a dinner of vegetable soup and salad.  Thirty-two eager walkers gathered at St. Stephens Episcopal Church in Sebastopol.  The Hubbub Club with their brass instruments and multi-century attire  led us through the parking lot of the Senior Housing that occupies twelve of the acres that once was home to the Luther Burbank Experimental Farm and on to the cottage that provided shelter for Luther Burbank and is still the center of the remaining three acres of the Farm.

Consoling the Widow of Baxter Berry by her Daughter

This walk strolls by six graves with vignettes telling about the lives of those buried there.  The earliest resident in the line up was Baxter Bell Berry who lived until 1891.  He was elected to the Sonoma Board of Supervisors and boasted that Abe Lincoln attended his wedding.    Two of our honored residents died in 1978.  That doesn’t seem to be that long ago until you realize that it has almost been 35 years and that these people are part of the history of Sebastopol –  Joseph Giammanco of Joe’s Budget Store and Sarah Smith Ballard, daughter of William Smith, founder of Smith Bros. fishing fleet at Bodega Bay.

John Peter McDonell Argued for Incorporation

John Peter McDonell was the publisher of the Sebastopol Times from 1985 until 1911.  He argued that Sebastopol should become an incorporated city to insure that there was a sewer system and fire protection.

As we walked through the cemetery, we passed the area designated for infants.  The section is called Babyland and violinist, Michael Kane played “Brahm’s Lullaby”.

The evening ended with Apple Crisp in the cottage of the Farm.  It was a special ending to a special evening.  The vignettes change each year.  Residents are asked to tell the story of their ancestors.   We sat with a woman who comes each year.  She volunteers for the historical cemetery in Santa Rosa.  Their tour is a couple of weeks before the Sebastopol tour.  Maybe I will need to try that one next year.

Celebrating Independence Day

Every Parade Needs Vintage Cars

4th of July is a terrific holiday.  Every community in America celebrates by either a backyard barbecue, a patriotic parade or spectacular fireworks.  Many communities do their firework displays on the 2nd or 3rd to get a less expensive celebration and extend the festivities.  This year I took in the Bodega Bay fireworks, the San Jose Parade and a neighborhood barbecue in Mountain View.  I am not one to miss a party!

The Beginnings of the July Celebration

The weather was perfect for fireworks watching at Bodega Bay on July 2.  The pyrotechnics occur at the harbor but on a clear night they can be seen from many a deck.   There has not been a clear night in the last eight years but we had one this year.  The party began at around 6 pm and the sun was streaming into the house from cloudless skies.

The Night Was a Success

A great omen for a great evening.  By 9 the sun was down and the table cleared.  By 10 the fireworks were over.  It was a wonderful evening that lasted into the night with a game of Mexican Train.

Sunday was a transition day from Sonoma County to the City of San Jose.  I lived in San Jose for a number of years during my time with IBM and Lanx.  Okay, everyone knows what IBM is but who knows about Lanx?  Lanx was a great startup that was way ahead of its time.  But we had great fun and passed a few years of research and innovation in perpendicular magnetic recording.  I have wonderful memories of my time in San Jose.  I now return to the old haunts (and hardly recognize the place) to visit my granddaughter and her parents.

Maike enjoying the Parade on the Shoulders of her Daddy

We decided to take in the parade in Downtown San Jose along with the following street fair.  I don’t think that I had ever done this before.  Thankfully, we found a great patch of grass in the shade to watch the floats, politicians and cars go by.  There were more vintage VW Beetles than there were Model Ts.  I was surprised that there were no marching bands (probably due to cuts in the music budget but maybe since it was during the summer break) but we did have a couple of combos on flatbeds.

The parade had a number of entries from the local Reserve Unit and some great vintage military vehicles.  The diversity of the day was emphasized by the Muslims for Loyalty contingency and the Thai statue decked out as the Statute of Liberty.  Uncle Sam was an African American and Miss America was Asian.  The WWII veterans were represented by a selection of photos carried by descendents led by a WWII veteran of Mexican heritage.  This was a display of American at its best.

We enjoyed Pad Thai noodles, chicken satay and scoops of ice cream at the Street Fair.  There was a booth for Friends of  the San Jose Rose Garden as well as theater groups and local businesses.  Music was sponsored by First Tech Credit Union which was recently merged with what had once been the HP Credit Union.

We all needed a nap after the midday sun and were up and raring to go in time to hit the neighborhood barbecue in Mountain View.  It was a wonderful 4th of July that will be remembered by all as a terrific day with friends, family and extended community.

Our Troops On Display - USA Style

Small Things Make Me Happy

Blue Skies through the June Clouds

Two things have happened today that made my heart go pitter-patter and brought a huge smile to my face.  Numero UNO is that I saw blue sky through those nasty clouds that have dropped an unprecedented amount of rain.  A friend who moved to California about five years ago complained to me that it rains as much here as it did in Oregon.  I told him that the wet weather of last summer and this week was very unusual.  He retorted, “That is what all you Californians say.”  But, really, I don’t ever remember having rain at the end of June before last year.  Is that getting old and forgetting?  Or is this a sign of the global weather patterns changing?

Grilling on the Patio

Whatever the case, I think that summer is for outdoor dinners with cloudless skies.  Just three evenings ago, we were enjoying the barbecue in wonderful warmth.  Today I had on the furnace.  This last weekend was beautiful.  I was able to work in the garden, toast the sunset in Bodega Bay and life was good.  Don’t get me wrong, you can do many wonderful activities when it is raining – but isn’t that supposed to be in the winter when you live in California?

A "minor" hole in Joy Road

On to Numero Dos.  My joy leapt to new bounds when I drove towards home and saw the County Road workers filling the potholes on Joy Road.  This may not seem like such a big deal to people who do not come up here but the biggest complaint I get from friends and family who visit me is that the potholes are huge.  I must admit that one had gotten so big that I could not straddle it in my car.  One or the other – or both – wheels had to hit it.  It had become an obstacle course to drive in either direction.  But as of today, at least 99% of the major holes are filled.  I wonder why they do not fill the minor holes so that they do not become major ones.  This is one of those mysteries that I guess will never be answered.

So today was a wonderful day.  The rain is gone. The road is somewhat smooth.  All is right in my world on Joy Road..


Father’s Day

Bodega Head from Bodega Harbour Club House

When your father is no longer available for celebration and the father of your children is not a part of your life, what does one do on Father’s Day?  Having moved into the “older generation” of the family and no longer having an “intact” family, this is the question that I pondered on Sunday.  I love celebrations so the loss of one is in the bummer category.  But why can’t I have an “un”-Father’s Day like the un-Birthdays of Alice and the March Hare?

I must first say that after months of rain and cold weather, the warmth of this Sunday was incredible.  The day started with a round of golf with a friend (who is a father so I didn’t feel guilty about getting the Father’s Day Special) at the Links at Bodega Harbour.  This course is one of my favorites and an early tee time is usually a good choice to avoid the midday winds.  The downside is that even in the summer, the temperature is nippy.  Not this week – it felt like it was 68 degrees at 8 AM.   I didn’t play my best 18 holes but it was wonderful weather, good company and terrific scenery.

My son-in-law, Dan, at the barbecue

I arrived home in the heat of the day.  For those who live in the San Jauquin Valley our 80 degree weather does not sound so hot but for those of us used to mild temperatures every day, it feels like a scorcher!  It was all I could do to water my potted plants before hiding from the sun.  Around 3:30 the troops arrived with beer, potato salad and energy to start the barbecue.  Not a one of us is a father but we did the evening up as if we had one amongst us.  It was a fabulous dinner of ribs, fresh vegetables and potato salad on the patio.  Can’t ask for better than that.

I hope all of you fathers out there had an equally great day.

Dinner Fit for a Father

Another Great Weekend in Sonoma County

View from Mozzafiato By The Sea

Two weeks have passed since I have posted to this blog. How can that be?  Every day I  see something that I think I should share on my blog.  Alas, there are only so many hours in the day and somehow they get filled with the many things that need to be done.  But today was such a marvelous day that I need to get a post immediately.

Roses to Celebrate a Birthday

The morning began with a spectacular brunch at Mozzafiato By The Sea.  Mozzafiato By The Sea is a private home that is available for celebrations.  You can learn more about it at  I am so fortunate to know the owner and be invited on this special event. Birthday balloons and left over asparagus were the signs  of a wonderful party the day prior.  But today was about moving on and to celebrate the beauty of this area.  I went from the wonderful Mozzafiato By the Sea to the Bodega Bay Fisherman Festival.  The Boedga Bay Fisherman Festival is an annual event (this is year 38) with the locals raising money for community services.  Small town, local artists, wine and mimosas flowing – as they say “Bodega Bay is a drinking town with a fishing problem.”   Bands played and the Coast Guard helicopter entertained the crowds.  The fleet paraded out in full regalia – not up to the House of Windsor but festive none the less.

The Blessing of the Fleet

Rhododendron in My Garden

This was a beautiful in the area and there had to have been over a dozen plant sales for such causes as Harvest for the Hungry, the Healdsburg Garden Club and Occidental Arts & Ecology Center.  Everything is in bloom.  We are having a wonderful spring.

Taking in the Best of West Sonoma County

Western Hills Nursery

Western Hills Nursery

I cannot explain the fabulous weather that we are having right now.  Of course, it is what the weather is most of the time in West Sonoma County.  Our office tour took us to Bodega Harbor and then back to views over one of the many spectacular valleys west of Sebastopol, into Graton for a midcentury classic and then back to Sebastopol to a classic Craftsman bungalow.   What a great way to make a living.   Our broker hosted a barbecue at the office parking lot.   To finish the day off, I took a little diversion visit to Western Hills Nursery outside of Occidental.  Could there be anything better for a late May day?


September 2021


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