The Sonoma County that we love!

Archive for the ‘Activities’ Category

Handcar Regatta: The Festival Santa Rosa was Lucky to Have

The Wonderment Machine

Sometimes a magical thing happens by accident. Sometimes by design.

Santa Rosa was lucky to have the Handcar Regatta for 4 years in Railroad Square.  It was an art festival, street fair, costume show, and creative event by Ty Jones and Spring Maxfield. A maker, steampunk event that asked it’s participants to create vehicles that could ride the rails under their own power. Timed trials and fun ensued. I was only able to attend 2010 and 2011 events, years 3 and 4. But it may happen never again. I expect that magic is over.

They used the train tracks for the timed trials and we have S.M.A.R.T. coming through bringing rail service with it. We desperately need a solution for mass transit but it is sad to see the end of a whimsical event. All I can say it that I know Ty will come up with more amazing events! I can’t wait.

See my photo albums from Handcar Regatta 2010 and Handcar Regatta 2011.

Farmer’s Market

Strange Fruit

I absolutely LOVE going to farmer’s markets. My favorite is Saturday mornings at the Santa Rosa Vet’s Building, Wednesday and Saturday mornings. Saturdays are like a street fair with music, prepared food, and lots of little kids. There are so many different markets, last season when the Press Democrat printed a list of where and when each was happening, I printed it and color coded it by day. It was really useful when I wanted to remember where I could shop depending on what city I was in. I found a list of the surrounding area markets for you if you want it.

Does anyone know what this fruit is? It was beautiful but I have no idea.

A Cowboy Meets a Zookeeper

Particulars:
Safari West
3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa, CA
Sunday afternoon

Apparently that’s how they describe Safari West. Or at least the owners.

I’ve been to this wildlife preserve on the very outskirts of Santa Rosa on several occasions (disclaimer: they are a client). All of my visits included being stuck in a meeting room and not getting the chance to enjoy the amazing animals that I would rarely get the chance to see. Cheetas, antelope, lemurs, birds, and more. I’ve even stayed in their tent/cabins. A wonderful experience and bring your earplugs! But I’d never gone on one of their official jeep tours.

I’m on their mailing list and I got notice they were offering $20 per adult + 2 kids for free on Sundays in November, I booked tickets for my family. We mucked in the mud and got to see some beautiful creatures.

I’m not going to pretend I know everything about them, check out their site, it’s really interesting but I really just wanted to show you a couple pictures. 🙂

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I Bike Sonoma County

Misty working it

Sonoma County is more than just wine. Here are some cool cycling links for you:

Sonoma County Bike Coalition
Santa Rosa Cycling Clubs, 10 Great Sonoma County Rides
Sonoma County Bike Trails, 28 Easy to Challenging Bicycle Rides for Touring & Mountain Bikes
Levi Leipheimer’s King Ridge Gran Fondo, just some dude who lives here, I heard he likes to ride bikes 😉
Getaway Adventures (wine and bike tours!)
Trek Store of Santa Rosa
Bike Monkey Magazine

Let me know if there are some great links or resources I should know about in the comments.

Small Town Parade

Particulars:
Sunday 5/15/10 10am
Downtown Santa Rosa
Luther Burbank Rose Parade

I just had to share this picture:

Loco-Bus at the Luther Burbank Rose Parade

Any day that you are outside in the beautiful California sun with your neighbors, kids, dogs and you get the chance to see a train-like bus, is a good day in my book!

Speed Demon

Particulars:
Tuesday 3/16/10 4pm
Driven Raceway, Rohnert Park
Leadership Santa Rosa Pretour

I don’t know about you but I’m quite competitive. Usually I only want to best myself but in this case, I wanted to whoop on others. Notably, I did not want to be last. Unfortunately, this is where I ended up. 😦

I went on a tour of Driven Raceway with my Leadership Santa Rosa Class as part of our Business & Economy Day. Our goal was to learn more about local businesses and how they conducted themselves. I’ll say out of all the pretours we’ve done, this was the one with the most adrenaline. I had been very excited to visit this facility ever since it opened last summer.

Here’s the jist:
indoor kart racing with high speed electric karts (up to 45mph)
corporate team building
birthday parties
fundraising events
dark light mini golf
mini bowling
arcade center
snack bar

Dark Light Racer

The one thing that kept me from going before was the price of racing (14 laps-$20 for members, $25 non-members). But when I visited, I learned that they also had all the other play stuff. I think I was more excited about the golf, bowling, and arcade than I was about the racing at the end of the tour. It’s totally affordable, I can bring my child that’s too small to race (must be 48″ tall+), and I can add it to my repertoire of fun family events that are owned by local businesses. Ride on!

Speed Demons

Buy Local Eat Local

I am part of the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce Leadership Santa Rosa program and there is so much information I’ve learned already that I’m simply going to have to share.

Agriculture Day was last week and we visited La Tortilla Factory (sadly we won’t get a tour of that location until later), La Franchi Dairy, Gourmet Mushroom Farm, Gabriel Farm, Shone Farm (JC farm), and Kendall Jackson Winery. Airport Express shuttled us from location to location and we learned a lot but only got to scratch the surface.

Lex McCorvey is the Executive Director of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau and he opened up our day for us. Seriously, I could have listened to him all day. I am a farm bureau member simply for the savings it gets me on my health insurance. I honestly don’t think after my insurance went from one carrier to another that I even need the membership anymore but after listening to what a wonderfully necessary organization this is, I will keep it simply to support them. With a Masters in Ag from Cal Poly and a vocational agriculture JC teacher, he spoke with such a mastery of the subject matter, I would’ve listened as long as he kept talking.

Art LaFranchi, owner of Rancho Laguna Dairy Corporation, was kind enough to show us his dairy farm, LaFranchi Dairy, a Clover Stornetta dairy. I came in a little urbanized and left with a high level of appreciation for the skill and yes, humaneness, that these dairy workers have for the animals that give them so much.

Happy Baby Cow
Happy Baby Cow

The Gourmet Mushroom Inc. farm was fascinating. As Bob Engel said, “We grow food from sawdust!” They’ve been doing it on the DL since 1977 and they have it DOWN. From alba clamshells ™ to trumpet royale ™, forest nameko ™ to maiteake frondosa ™, I’d never put much thought into gourmet mushrooms but now I want to taste them all. I wish there was a way to get them prepared by a chef and taste them all in their appropriate culinary environments.

Mushroom Caps
Mushroom Caps

Gabriel Farm is a classic hometown farm. Local, friendly, and a beautiful daytrip. They grown 9 varieties of Asian pears, have jam, juice, and other yummies from their bounty. I look forward to going back to their farm to pick my own apples and blackberries in the future.

I got a Buy Fresh Buy Local book printed by CAFF-Community Alliance with Family Farms-that really goes into detail about farmers’ markets, food seasons, CSAs or Community Supported Agriculture, and restaurants that support local agriculture. Please visit www.caff.org and www.foodroutes.org for more information.

The Gabriel Farm "Art Man"
The Gabriel Farm “Art Man”

We had lunch at the beautiful Shone Farm where we got a tour of the facility in addition to learning about challenges in agriculture, namely water and exotic pests. I was thoroughly impressed with the sheer variety of agricultural lessons contained at that farm via the Santa Rosa JC. Vineyard growth, winemaking, equine, livestock, crops, greenhouses, culinary, it goes on an on.

Shone Farm Garden
Shone Farm Garden

Last but not least, we visited Kendall Jackson and learned from a variety of people in the wine business the challenges and issues they face. We tasted several vintages and it ended the day nicely.

As you can see, there was so much I learned, I simply had to share!

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