The Sonoma County that we love!

Posts tagged ‘beautiful’

The Hand Fan Museum of Healdsburg

hand fan hand fan museumI was in downtown Healdsburg, CA and spotted in a shop window a beautiful butterfly shaped hand fan. I wandered inside a small fantastical space that was filled with art. I had no idea that The Hand Fan Museum was there! In fact, it’s the first museum in the United States dedicated solely to hand fans and displays a permanent collection in addition to having a rotating exhibit.

The builder/owner of Hotel Healdsburg, Pamela Sher, has been a fan collector for over 30 years and is a member of Fan Association of North America. Open since 2002 and now a part of the h2hotel, this museum is a physical example of Sher’s desire to educate the public about the cultural significance of the hand fan as fans are snippets of our world culture and artistic representations of time.

The director, Liz Keeley was lovely to talk with about the beauty of what I was seeing as well as helping me understand the differences between periods and designs. Even though the space is small, about 1000 sq ft, the impact of these functional pieces of art is not lost on the visitor. Though the inexpensive but colorful folding fans brought me in, the displays of history took my breath away. Many are for show, some are for sale, the gift table is where I spent my money. With lots of options for the casual buyer, I bought a $1 fan for my little one and a more expensive Japanese inspired fan for myself. See my Flickr set of photos.

If you have the chance, drop by this free museum (non profit 501c3), learn a little and support their art programs for students. Or simply cool yourself off.

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My Stay at the Famous Painted Lady in San Francisco

Shannon Kavanaugh HouseThe Shannon Kavanaugh house is the anchor home of the most famous Painted Ladies in the world. Painted Ladies exist elsewhere and it describes brightly painted Victorian and Edwardian homes. Michael Shannon bought the anchor house at the corner of Steiner and Grove Streets in San Francisco in 1965. The Shannon Kavanaugh house (built 1892) was the personal residence of the builder, Matthew Kavanaugh, who owned all the adjacent lots to the south. When he finished his home, which is different from all the rest, he built three more on spec and finished them in 1896.

See my photo set on Flickr.

This ornate Queen Anne Victorian with Italianate touches sits across from Alamo Square and is well known for being featured in the opening credits of the TV sitcom “Full House”. Though the show never specifically references which home is supposedly theirs, if you were to say to someone “the Full House house” they’ll know what you mean. Featured in many other films, tourists are across the street and on the near sidewalk taking photos of the location all day, every day.

Author Alice Walker lived next door and offered to sell it to the owner about 1995. He regrets not buying it as the price increased dramatically by the next sale.

Postcard Row | Painted Ladies

The Shannon Kavanaugh is 1000 sq ft larger than the rest and has four bedroom, 3.5 baths. It has a garden au pair apartment and gas lamps. I stayed in a private suite which featured a king size bed, two sitting areas, a walk in closet, a large tiled bathroom with full tub, steam room shower and ornate finishing. Even the entertainment system was amazing with every attachment you could want.

I was blown away by the wallpaper details, the molding, fine furniture, and the amazing pictures in the bathroom. I just sat there staring at everything around me, feeling luxurious and spoiled by decadence. The experience was like staying in a hotel with all the creature comforts but also stepping back in time. Staying in a landmark that is upgraded for beauty and function spoils me for staying in a regular “box” hotel. They even gave me a balloon and sparkling wine to celebrate my birthday just days later.

Bathtub | Painted Lady

I met the marketing coordinator for the property in a social media class and we’ve worked together on multiple projects. He asked for my assistance in building a social media plan for the owners and partners in the property. My stay was trade for my services. But you can stay there too! It’s available on AirBnB, check it out.

This blog is normally about Sonoma County but we are so lucky to be just an hour away from some of the most amazing sites in the world! Occasionally I’m going to write about places that are within driving distance.

Here are some links to learn more about this house and it’s history:

Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Painted_ladies

SF Gate http://www.sfgate.com/realestate/article/Largest-of-S-F-s-Painted-Ladies-up-for-sale-3198728.php

See my photoset on Flickr.

Agriculture Day for Leadership Santa Rosa Class 27

I’m involved in this great program called Leadership Santa Rosa run by the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce. All chambers have leadership programs but we are going into our 28th year, which I understand is the longest running of it’s kind in the U.S. I was in Class 26 and am the incoming President for the Alumni Association. There are many theme days: government, business, green issues, health & human services, media & marketing, justice, education, hospitality & tourism (watch for a blog on that one), and the most popular is agriculture. I was on the committee to produce Class 27’s Agriculture Day on 5/19/11. See my blog from last year’s Ag Day.

We visited the Rancho Laguna Dairy and heard from Art Lafranchi about the dairy business. What is amazing about this day is that it starts so early in the morning yet we are halfway through their workday by the time we arrive at the dairy. Last year when I went through the program compared to today were very different experiences. Since earlier this year, I have been flitting between being a vegan and a vegetarian. Those cows looked a lot different, let me tell you.

Flickr Photo Album

Tierra Vegetables is this wonderful CSA farm in Santa Rosa. Community supported agriculture, or CSA, is basically a membership to a farm. You pay a monthly cost to get a set amount of veggies either delivered for you or available for pickup. Evie & Wayne James gave us a lovely tour and the thing I noticed the most, next to the beautiful vegetation, was the fact that Wayne walked his land barefoot. I was blown away at the thought that he knew how his land felt through his entire body. Sounds silly but it’s a grounding concept. If you know of anyone that is stealing their produce, they’d greatly like it to stop.

There is a secret in Sonoma County. The Gourmet Mushroom Farm is this enclave of amazing foodstuffs in the form of fungi. The GMF doesn’t open their doors for anyone really. That’s the beauty of LSR. We get to go places no one else could get close to. Bob Engel gives us a tour every year and the idea that mushrooms can grow on wood always blows people away.

Most of the people traveling on that day were by bus, I drove my car because I had to leave early. This day is even more special because of the bonding that occurs on the bus.

On to Shone Farm, the botanical educational laboratory for the JC agriculture, viticulture, and culinary courses. Leonard Diggs is a farmer through and through. The beauty here is striking. The students that get to learn about animals, farming, vineyard work, winemaking, the culinary arts, as well as having a location for large events within the horse arena in the Dutton Pavilion. Last year we were there during tomato season and got to taste some 🙂

We had a great panel of speakers to speak on Emerging Trends & Challenges of Agriculture. They were: Lex McCorvey, Sonoma County Farm Bureau; Dave Whitmer, Napa County Agriculture Commission & Interim Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner; Joe Pozzi, Pozzi Ranch Lamb; and Clark Wolf, Clark Wolf Company.

The day ended at DeLoach Vineyards with a panel on the Sonoma County Wine Industry with Brian Maloney of DeLoach Vineyards; Rhonda Smith of UC Cooperative Extension; and Nick Frey of Sonoma Winegrape Commission. There was a tasting but I’m sad to have missed that part of the day. The gardens, bees, vineyards, guesthouse, and pool were phenomenal.

Thanks to all the great hosts, speakers, and locations that are made available to this amazing program. We couldn’t do it without all of you!

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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Quiet in Armstrong Woods

You know quiet? No, real quiet. Nature quiet. Sure I hear can hear other people when I’m hiking in Armstrong Woods but the ambient noise is deep. It’s full of damp, decay, moss, wood, insects….life.

No electronic hum. No traffic.

Life.

Quiet deeper than you can imagine

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!

I am the Dance

Particulars:
8pm showing 3/11/09
Ailey II, Wells Fargo Center for the Arts

Modern dance. I love dance but even modern dance can be a tough pill to swallow if one’s not in the right mood. But the Ailey II troupe definitely packs in the best as quickly as possible. I saw another variation of Alvin Ailey many years ago at the same venue but I really didn’t care for that production. I just didn’t connect and kept wishing it would end. This version wisely had a “pause” and two intermissions. Plenty of time for us to appreciate the numbers yet not feel trapped by the never-ending darkness.

There was one piece in particular where a young woman (dancer Megan Jakel) couldn’t leave her man alone, just wouldn’t be dragged away from him. She would run at him and cling to him as if her whole body were velcro. A piece that really seemed to capture an issue that is prevalent right now. I say, “If he doesn’t want you, stop fighting it.” It had strange parallels to the current social discussion of dating violence, a la Rihanna and Chris Brown. The weird thing is, as this woman couldn’t and wouldn’t let go (she grasped onto his legs like a petulant child), it became comical and obvious that her choice was ridiculous. It made me glad that a large part of the audience was teenage girls. I laughed but looking back I wonder what the thought process was for all those impressionable females in the audience.

Get out! Get culture! Get thinking!

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