Posts Tagged 'Occidental'

2250 Joy Road, Occidental

front house (2)I have been remiss in getting this lovely listing on this blog.  I have no good excuse.  The listing has been promoted every other way that I know and I have let my blog lag.  2250 Joy Road is about a half mile down the road from where I lived before my move into Sebastopol.  The current owner has loved this home and spot but has come to the realization that it is time to move into town.  Does that sound familiar? through the trees (2) While I drove passed this home every day on my way to and from work, I did not know it was there.  Situated on the back half of a 1.18 acre lot, there is a cover of trees and a lovely meadow between Joy Road and the home.  Ample parking is along the driveway and a large paved turn around area at the front of the house that leads to the two car garage.

deck-denThe home has three bedrooms and two baths to the right of the entryway.  The entryway has oak flooring with inlaid detail to give a touch of style to the home.  The oak flooring extends into the hallway to the bedrooms, the kitchen and the den/office.  The living room, dining room and master bedroom open to the sunny meadow with a deck off of the master bedroom for lounging in the sun.  Off of the den is a large deck for shaded afternoon entertaining or just a nap in nature.

Living is easy in this home.  The laundry room and powder room are off of the den which Denis easily accessible from the kitchen, side deck or garage.  The den is currently used as an office but I see it as the place I would live year round with its oak floors, great lighting, slider to the deck and spot for a wood burning stove.   Of course, there is the sitting area in the kitchen with cabinetry and TV unit where I could sit right in the middle of the household activity.

This is a beautiful home on enough land to feel private but not so much that it is a large undertaking to maintain.  I can dream about living here – maybe you can, too,  If you want to see additional pictures, let me know.  Of course, I have them.


Artist Profile – Alexandra Jacopetti Hart

ImageLast night was the opening of the retrospection exhibit  of textile arts from Alexandra Jacopetti Hart.  It was spectacular.  I would say that even if Jennifer Beckham had not been the curator.  The show was a wonderful collaboration between Alexandra and Jennifer.  Congratulations to both.  You can see the exhibit on the weekends until July 7.  Make it a point to go.

Here is my article that is published in the Sonoma County Gazette.

ImageAlexandra Jacopetti Hart took the 60’s by storm and led the crowd in making the most of the times.  But do not think that Alexandra is locked into the era that formed her.  Here is a woman who can provoke innovation today and know that the path continues into a new realm.  Beginning June 7, Alexandra’s past will be only the step to a new and exciting future at the opening of a retrospective exhibit of her Funk and Flash creations.  During the last 50 years, Alexandra has participated in the art scene of Northern California through painting, performing and participating.  But what will keep her in the forefront of creativity to many of her admirers is the large contribution to the textile arts – weaving, embroidery and design.  Thus is the focus of the installation at Occidental Center for the Arts from June 7 to July 7.

The early years of Alexandra’s life were spent in Southern Idaho and Salt Lake City.  She learned the craft of sewing and creating with fabric by spending time with her grandmother and grandmother’s friends as they quilted.  She dissected the tailored garments that her great aunt gave her and learned how clothing was created.  Still a teenager, she discovered the value of quality fabric when she designed and constructed an embroidered dress for her younger sister.  She became interested in weaving to provide the substrate that she needed for creating original art with needle and thread.  At age 18, Alexandra was a mother with a second child on the way and newly divorced.  A person she met said “you belong in North Beach.”  She had never heard of North Beach but she left Salt Lake City for The City by the Bay and never looked back.

It was not long after coming to San Francisco that Alexandra met Roland Jacopetti and the two of them began fast friends.  Roland taught her the ins and outs of San Francisco and Berkeley.  They were then known as Ben and Rain which may have been their names given at birth.  Rain combed the beaches of Berkeley and used driftwood to create art.  With the acceptance of a collage on driftwood for display at Vorpal Gallery in San Francisco, Rain/Alexandra felt she was an artist.  Until that time she did not feel that she “qualified” to call herself an artist as she did not meet the high standards formed by the admiration of artists within her family.  The Open Theater in Berkeley began in July of 1965.  Founders Ben and Rain Jacopetti had formed a group called the Berkeley Experimental Arts Foundation “for the presentation and study of new art forms and trends”.  The Open Theater began presenting shows every weekend, and sometimes on weekdays as well.  This venture may have introduced Psychedelic  Music to the 60s counter culture as an advertisement in the Oakland Tribune is the first known printed reference.  Alexandra recalls that the average audience size was around 10.  Everything changed with the Trips Festival at the Longshoreman’s Hall in San Francisco in early 1966.  The organizers included Roland and Alexandra and Bill Graham. Accustomed to audiences of less than twenty, they were overwhelmed when the line to get in wrapped around the building.  Ten thousand hippies showed up to the three day event .  Not only were lives changed but the world changed.  Bill Graham went on to rent the Fillmore – Roland and Alexandra went another direction and relocated to Morningstar Ranch outside of Occidental.

attendeeA dream of Alexandra’s was to live in a compound with her family where they could grow their own food and create life and art.  This dream was realized at Sunshine Camp in Forestville.  Alexandra  returned to her roots of textile art.  She embroidered jeans, jackets, ethnic inspired garments.  She founded Native Funk and Flash, Folkwear Patterns and Dharma Trading Company.  She was in the beginning of Baulines Craft Guild.  She created the Macramé Park to the delight of children in Bolinas.  Her energy seems endless and her enthusiasm is contagious.

The exhibit at Occidental Center for the Arts is a celebration of Alexandra’s creations and contribution to our collective culture.  The Native Funk & Flash book reissue featuring unpublished material will be in conjunction with a gallery exhibit and a film event featuring The Saga of Macramé Park and Eric Christensen’s Trips Festival. This will be a fun time – full of nostalgia for the old hippies and history for the local youth.  For Alexandra this is a transition time – while she is no longer able to do the delicate manipulations of needle and thread, she is not willing to stop her time of creating.  Her next project is to be a “social” artist – creating by who she is – not what she makes.  I think that she began this project the day she stepped into North Beach.

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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.


Today is My Birthday

ImageI don’t often talk about my personal life on my blog but today is a major exception.  This weekend was the birthday weekend.    Thursday was the anniversary of my sister Edyth’s birth.  Friday is the date that my sister, Jane, married her high school sweetheart, John.  Today is my birthday. Tomorrow is Jane’s birthday.  Seldom do we get to spend this special time together.  But this year is the 50th anniversary of the first wedding of our family.  I was 13.  Edyth was 17.  Jane was 22.

Friday was a wonderful reunion of my sisters, their husbands, my brother and his wife.  I do not remember the last time we had sat together for a meal.  It might have been at our parent’s home shortly after our father’s death.  That was in 1989 – quite a while ago.   While the celebration was for our birthdays – there were about 50 candles on the cake – the day was actually the anniversary of John and Jane.  Saturday was the official celebration of the Gibson anniversary.  The party was splendid.  Lots of family – friends – terrific food and great fun.

Today was  the icing on the cake.  I spent the night along with my daughter and son-in-law at my sister’s outside of Lodi.  Today we set out to come home to Occidental while avoiding the race at Sear’s Point.  We went through Davis and Winters – along Lake Berryessa – onto St. Helena.

We stopped in St. Helena to pick up olive oil.  If you have never been to the Napa Valley Olive Oil Manufacturing Company, you must go.  Not only does it have the best olive oil at the best price but a full display of Italian imported food stuffs and local products of similar quality.    The next stop was the Hydro Grill in Calistoga.

Calistoga is a quaint town in Napa County with much less hustle and bustle than St. Helena.  It is just over the hill from Santa Rosa.  We had a great lunch in a relaxed atmosphere.  Lunch with my daughter and her husband is always a treat.  I got home in time to rest up for dinner in Occidental with my friends Gail and Katy.  I am going to need days to recover from all of the celebration.  I hope that you have a spectacularly wonderful birthday when yours comes around.

Pruning Roses in 2012

How is your garden reacting to this strange weather pattern?  I finally watered my plants in the ground last week for fear that they would dry up.  They were thankful to receive some moisture and I am thankful that we had a bit of rain and I see more in the forecast.

Pruning should be coming to the end.  I have not started mine and am anxious to find time in the next few days. Between work and the common cold, I have been having some difficulties in getting this done.  But then, I am not sure the roses realize that we have had the “cold” of winter.

The one question that has kept going through my mind is “Do I put down the Osmocote with the weather being so warm?”  I really have not come up with an answer as of yet.  The theory behind fertilizing at the time of pruning is that it is easy to spread before the mulch is put down and that it would not start releasing until the weather warmed up  –  well past the time that we would have a freeze that could damage new growth.  With the days as warm as they have been, the fertilizer should start releasing immediately.  If we don’t have any freezes, the plants should start sprouting new leaflets and we could have roses in April.  But, alas, who is to know if we will have a freeze and all of the new growth would be lost.  I keep going back and forth.  Since I will probably not get my roses done for another week, I am thinking I might go ahead with the Osmocote and cross my fingers.  My other option is to do half the roses with Osmocote and wait to fertilize the other half nearer the end of March.

Winter Bouquet

I fear that we will be seeing greater and greater variations from our known and constant weather patterns.  Right now I have hellebores, azaleas, camellias, calla lilies and roses in bloom.  Yes, roses.  Ribbons and Roses, a large miniature that I grow in a pot in the middle of my garden and Dainty Bess, also in a pot, have buds that will open in the next few days.

What is a gardener to do?  I have decided to do the best I can and let nature take its course.  Which is wise since what I do has so little affect compared to our magical planet.

A Weekend at Home

The Beverage Bar at Howard's Station - Occidental

There has not been much time to post interesting things in the last few weeks.  I have been busy with work which is a very good thing.  In addition to having some active escrows, I am taking a class on all the latest techniques in real estate.  The class is Sales Power and the developer is Tom Ferry – coach to some of the most successful real estate agents in the world.  With all this intensity,  I decided that I was in need of a mini vacation this weekend.  Am I ever lucky to live in the best place to vacation in the world.  I read today that Sonoma County is one of the top ten places to vacation according to Traveler Magazine – no news to me!

So what does one do when they have two days blocked for just fun?  It started Friday evening in Pleasanton.  My class is in Danville (about an hour from my office in  Rohnert Park) so I just stayed over and watched the final game of the World Series.  My hostess is a St. Louis native so the game was a great omen for the weekend.

Watching the Penguins Eat

Saturday morning I hopped in the car and met my son and his family at the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park.  I had not visited since my children were in grade school.  The new building opened about three years ago so it was a wonderful surprise.  We got to watch the penguins be fed as well as the large fish in the rainforest.  I don’t know which Maike liked best – the macaws or the ramp that wound around the rainforest.  I can vouch that the climate was like Borneo as the sign announced.  We had a wonderful lunch at the cafe in the museum and then played in the special area for the Under Age 5 crowd.

Maike Loved the Macaws

After a fond farewell, the kids headed home and I ran up to Harding Park where the Charles Schwab Cup Tournament will be held this coming week.   The evening ended with a tasty dinner at the bar of Underwood Bar and Bistro in Graton.

With such a great day, what could I do to follow it up?  My daughter was available to partake in breakfast at Howard’s Station in Occidental and a long walk at Shell Beach.  This is my favorite relaxation morning.  What a treat!

This afternoon I ran a few errands, visited friends outside of Forestville and hung around the house.   Is there any place else that I could vacation and feel ready to take on another very full week?  I love Sonoma County and the whole Bay Area of Northern California.

The Pacific Ocean Off Shell Beach

Betty Ann Sutton – Artist Profile

Betty Ann Sutton and a new Pastel at the Donkey Barn Reunion Show

Betty Ann Sutton is known by many names – Elizabeth Ryder Sutton, E Ryder Sutton, Betty Ann.  Then there are the less personal but equally as distinctive monikers – owner of Donkey Barn Studio, proprietor of Mr. Ryder & Company, rescuer for Forgotten Felines, organizer of the Graton Pet Parade, sponsor of the Mr. Ryder Spay and Neuter Fund at the Sonoma County Humane Society.  I could go on and on about the many contributions that Betty Ann has made to our community.   But this column is about artists and their art and I want to give appropriate emphasis to the artist who has given so much to many.

Betty Ann is such a recognized personality in the West Sonoma County world that I would never have guessed that she came to us via Florida and Southern California.  With a minor in Art from the University of Miami, Betty Ann traveled to Los Angeles and began her career as a teacher of art.  She eventually relocated to South San Francisco where she continued to be involved in the artist community.  She taught at Fort Mason for two years.  She migrated from the paintings of her early training to pastels where she has exclusively focused her efforts since arriving in Sonoma County in 1990.  In her first years in Camp Meeker, Betty Ann met a broad spectrum of animal lovers and helped a great many cats by volunteering with Forgotten Felines.  In 1993 Betty Ann purchased a desirable property east of Occidental with a small cottage and much wanted space.  Her animal family of cats and the much beloved Mr. Ryder was expanded by two donkeys.

A barn was built.  The intended purpose of the barn was to have studio space for Betty Ann since the home had no room.  When Betty Ann’s vision was realized, the space was far greater than she could fill and invited others to join her.  Soon there were 20 local artists painting weekly.  It started with a few friends painting for a few hours – then the potluck lunch was added – next was a band to keep the creative juices flowing – finally a professional model was part of the package.  Figurative art flowed.  Betty Ann engaged her pastels and enhanced the subject with wonderful hats and demure dresses.  The last of the Donkey Barn Studio gatherings was in 2002.  But these festive events are still in the minds of all who inhaled the euphoria of the day and created beautiful memories as well as drawings.  This group of friends and colleagues include artists whom I have included in this column – MaryLu Downing, Jack Stuppins and Jerrold Ballaine.

Painting by MaryLu Downing at Reunion Show

Betty Ann, MaryLu and Diane Senia are planning to recreate the camaraderie with a reunion showing at the Occidental Center for the Arts this month.   The Donkey Barn Reunion Art Show runs from August 5 to September 4.  The opening reception is Sunday, August 7 from 3 to 6.  You will have the opportunity to view the works of some of Sonoma County’s most acclaimed artists and take in Occidental and all it has to offer.  If you have not been to the Occidental Center for the Arts, it is located at the old Harmony School across the street from the Occidental Community Center. This beautiful venue opened earlier this year and has quickly become a successful location for art, music and theater.  The trip to Occidental is an invitation to eat the local fare, browse the shops and take in the overall beauty of the area.

A wonderful side effect of this Show is that Betty Ann has picked up her pastels and has created a new body of work.  Friends within the animal rescue community have benefited from Betty Ann’s talents with portraits of their beloved pets.  Mr. Ryder is no longer sitting watch over the antique shop but he is captured beautifully in many representations.  In 2001, Betty Ann participated in The Object of My Affection, an ensemble of Pastels and writings on the relationship between humans and pets at Quicksilver Mine Co.  Some of you may know of Betty Ann’s art through Art Trails in which she participated for nine years.  Her new pastels depict nostalgic scenes of family, home and nature which come from the pictures and memories of youth.  You will not want to miss them.  Whether it is starting a gallery, teaching a class or decorating her home and store, Betty Ann is in the thick of creativity in Sonoma County.

I greatly enjoyed getting to know yet another terrific person through this column.   Thank you, Betty Ann for allowing me into your home.

Theater in Santa Rosa

Theater on the Santa Rosa JC Campus

Each summer a group of friends attends one of the musicals produced by the Summer Repertory Theater at Santa Rosa Junior College.   We have seen Bye Bye Birdie, Kiss Me Kate, Forever Plaid – to name a few.  All have been terrific.  This year we saw Hairspray.

I remember seeing snippets of Hairspray, the movie, when I had teenagers but I had never really paid attention.  I recall dancing, a lot of teased hair and  Ricki Lake making it in the Big Time.  I had no idea that it had become a Broadway hit over a decade later.  Well, what a performance was put on at the JC.  I am always amazed at the incredible talent in this area.  For as little as $12 a ticket you can see top notch performances at the JC, in Sebastopol at the Main Street Theater, in Monte Rio at a couple of venues and Santa Rosa’s 6th Street Players.  We are not only blessed with a beautiful place to live but one full of arts and other delights.

Tomorrow I am planning to attend the opening of the Donkey Barn show at the Occidental Center for the Arts.  It is featured in my column in the Sonoma County Gazette this month.  Watch for it here in a couple of days.

What is Happening this Weekend in Sonoma County?

Sebastopol Farmer's Market

Every weekend in Sonoma County is packed throughout the year but once summer has hit (which it has!) there are so many things to do that I have a difficult time deciding which to take in.  There are signs along the roads in every community with a Pancake Breakfast or a dance at the Grange.  And then there are the Farmer’s Markets.  I like Occidental on Friday night and Sebastopol on Sunday morning.  But others are probably just as good – these are the ones close to home.

Just to give you an example – In THIS WEEK SONOMA COUNTY which is only four pages long are three unique events.  The Lavender Food and Wine Festival is happening in Kenwood at the Lavender Barn at 8537 Sonoma Highway.  There are cooking demonstrations, music, lavender products and wines by Chateau St. Jean, Kenwood Winery and B.R. Cohn.   Sausal Winery is celebrating the 1956 purchase of Sausal Ranch by Rose and Leo Demonstene on Saturday from 11 to 4 with a 1950s themed diner-style lunch, classic cars and Elvis Presley music at 7370 Hwy. 128 in Healdsburg.  Right here at Bill’s Farm Basket and Pony Espresso at 10315 Bodega Hwy between Sebastopol and Freestone is the Hoe Down with Three Legged Sister performing at 6:30 on Saturday.

Lavender in the Garden

One great place to find something to do is to the Sonoma County Gazette.  The Calendar is always full of ideas.  If you do not get a hardcopy of the Gazette, you can find it on line at:

I plan to see friends, play 9-holes at Northwood Golf Course in Monte Rio, maybe visit the Di Rosa Preserve on the way to Napa and work in my garden.  Oh, maybe I won’t be able to fit that all in!  But I will be happy trying.  Have a wonderful weekend.

The Beginning of the Season in Sonoma County

Occidental Center for the Arts

Many an evening I am entertained by the various renditions of Jane Austin’s stories.  Storylines are filled with discussions of “the season.”  I don’t think that just London in the early 1800’s had a season but so does Aspen, the Hamptons and our own Sonoma County.  Looking at the number of activities happening in Sonoma County this weekend, I can state that “the season” has begun.

Today was a full one.  The Apple Blossom Parade was in Sebastopol.  Butter and Egg (yes, that is the correct name) Days is happening in Petaluma.  Sunday is the Cotati third annual Old Fashioned Chicken Barbecue. Earth Day Fairs and Festivals are occurring in Santa Rosa, Windsor and Sebastopol.   The Burbank Gold Ridge Farm is holding their plant sale.  Whatever your special interest may be, there is a place for you to enjoy, find like-minded friends and take in the beauty of Sonoma County.  I am sure that if a dozen West County people were asked what they were doing this weekend, a dozen different events would be mentioned.

Golden Nest by Jennifer Beckham

Last evening (that would be Saturday) I attended the Spring Fever Art Show opening at Occidental Center for the Arts.  The Center for the Arts is located across Bohemian Highway from the end of Graton Road in Occidental.  The complex that houses OCA is part of the school conversion to community resources that allowed the development of a small plot of land by Orrin Thiessen (known best as the restorer of Graton downtown and the developer of Windsor Town Green).  OCA is one of many locally created organizations that showcases the talent within their community.  The Opening of this show started at 5:00 PM.  By the time Jen and I arrived at 6:15, the savory snacks were consumed and tiramisu was being served in abundance.  For a small local event on a very busy weekend, there was a good crowd.  I got to chat with a few local artists who have become friends over the years,  MaryLu Downing, Tony Spears and Lisa Beernsten to drop a few names.  I was very pleased to see some of Jen’s cigar boxes displayed –   glad to have her back in the showing mode.  This show is until May 31.

Discussing Art

Many years ago, I met a young man and his girlfriend at the Forestville Firemen’s Breakfast.  It was one of those regular pancake breakfasts with sausage and scrambled eggs.  Boy Scouts scurried around the tables pouring orange juice and maple syrup was everywhere.  Anyone who has been  to one of these feasts knows exactly what the scene was.  To get on with my tale, the fellow informed me that the two of them went to a $5 breakfast every weekend throughout the summer.  They never needed to travel beyond the county.

Peeking into the Occidental Center for the Arts

So the season has begun.  In addition to pancake breakfasts, there will be crab feeds, spaghetti dinners and other food feasts.  Next weekend will bring another round of activities.  The following weekend even more.  Check here regularly as I plan to be the reporter of the “Sonoma County Season”.


September 2021


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