The best brownies in town.

Moving to a new area is a busy time. A lot of changes, finding your way around town and finding your favorite stores. Time for comfort food. Brownies is a great comfort food, but not just any brownie, only the best will do.

Pearson and Company in Santa Rosa is your place to go. Besides great food, they have the best brownies in town. In case you rather have a cookie: their chocolate cookie hits the spot when in need of comfort food. Pairs well with a good cup of coffee.

You will find them at 2759 4th street and 2500 Mendocino ave in Santa Rosa.


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Movie time in Sonoma County

Over time Sonoma County has been a popular spot to film movies. A few Alfred Hitchcock movies were set in Sonoma County. The movie Shadow of a Doubt is mostly filmed in the JC area in Santa Rosa. Since it was filmed in 1943, it’s a great to see how little and yet how much has changed since then. Pollyanna is an other movie that played in the McDonald area. Bodega Bay is known for the movie The Birds.

Movies are great time capsules of an bygone era, fun to watch when you move to the area of a movie location.

Clickable movie map of Sonoma County




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Shopping for wine – Bottlebarn

Besides the fact that Sonoma County is a great place to visit wineries and taste their wines in the tasting room, there is also a great local store to buy wines: Bottlebarn. It’s located in an industrial area in North West Santa Rosa and frequented by local aficionados. You will find a great selection of local and not so local wines. There is also a great selection of beer and other spirits.

Sometimes you will find a special deal on a batch of wine a winery when a winery needs to make room for the new harvest. During the local harvest fair the local wines who won are specially featured.

I am surprised how many people who live locally do not know about this place. It’s a fun place to go on a discovery trip for that special wine, exotic whiskey or beer.



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Working from home

A lot of people work from home, that works great up to a point: you either need to meet with clients or simply want to get out of the house every so often. Renting an office space is not a good option. In Santa Rosa there is a place called ShareSpace. It is part of the Share Exchange, a California Consumer Cooperative. You can rent an office space, a dedicated desk or a shared cowork space for a day or a month.

ShareExchange houses a coworking space where entrepreneurs can collaborate and share ideas, a retail space that features products made by 270 local producers and artists, a meeting and event venue and its own Local Economic Institute, a nonprofit devoted to developing thriving local economies.

It’s great for people starting their businesses or working on projects and need space to work. Whether you new to Santa Rosa and starting over again, or not so new to Santa Rosa and are starting your own business, check it out, it’s a great venue.

Thank you Chelsea McKenna for telling me about this – btw she is a great graphic designer.


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Bounty of Sonoma County, local fruit and veggies year round

Sonoma County, as is often the case with coastal counties in California, has a great degree of climatic variation and numerous, often very different, micro climates. Santa Rosa has a Mediterranean climate with cool, wet winters and warm, mostly dry summers. The area has strong agricultural roots. Luther Burbank, a famous botanist, lived in the area for most of his life. His home, greenhouse, an gardens where he lived and experimented with plants for most of his 50-year career is now a museum. It is a great place to visit year round.

Coming from The Netherlands I was and am still impressed with the abundance of fruit and veggies that grow year round. Besides the long growing season in the summer, the colder seasons still have plenty to offer. It’s the end of December and when you walk around in the neighborhoods or look at rural properties, you will see lemon trees with an abundance of lemons and persimmon trees missing leaves but loaded with persimmons. And these are just 2 examples…

Sonoma County is known for the vineyards/wine. However historically it was known for dairy, produce and orchards. Over the last 20 years, vineyards slowly replaced the orchards with apples, prunes, pears… Someone once told me: even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can have a veggie garden in Sonoma County…

The pictures shown are from lemons and persimmons I received from friends, the avocados I bought on a local fruit stand.



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Sonoma County – Wine Country

Last weekend there was a special event at Windsor Oaks Vineyards. Windsor Oaks Vineyards sits on a beautiful property of 710 acres. Appr. 250 acres are planted with grapes, the remaining is dedicated to ‘Forever Wild Open Space’. The drive from Arata Lane to the tasting room is beautiful year round.

They are open only by appointment and on selected weekends throughout the year. We really like their wines and enjoy going to the winery, being surrounded by the beauty of nature while tasting some good wine, that’s true wine country living.

This year in August they organized ‘Tour the Cru’ and one could bike and hike the property. Plan is to do this more often in the coming year: you will find me hiking there during one of these weekends.

There have been some changes over the last year. Gary Finnan not only told us a bit more about these changes (the winemaker Margaret Davenport) but also let us try the ‘wine’ from this year’s harvest and is still in the stainless steel tanks. I never drank wine/juice this young and it was a great experience. 2012 is going to be an excellent year and you could already taste this.

Hiking/biking and wine tasting, it doesn’t get much better than that.


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Sonoma County and Living ‘Green’

As Kermit sang: it’s not easy being green. But it seems easier in Sonoma County. Daily Acts is a local organization who’s vision is to provide sustainability education and media, and thus help people to harness the significant impact of simple daily actions rooted in care for people and planet.

For instance, they help home owners change thirsty lawns into sustainable gardens that also provide food.  They give tours and do workshops and opportunities to volunteer. Volunteering is always a great opportunity to meet like minded people in the local community.

And besides meeting new people, it’s also a great way to learn about the local community and the resources available.


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Graton – off the beaten path

Graton is not necessary the first place that comes to mind when going out for dinner or lunch. It’s a small unincorporated town just north of Sebastopol. After a super recommendation  from a friend for Underwood Restaurant we finally went this weekend… And it was superb.

Entering the restaurant, it was busy, good busy. The ambiance was great, the service was great and the food delicious. The different dishes were a true party for my taste buds. So was the local wine we ordered with dinner.

Check the website, during the week they are open till 10 pm, on Friday and Saturday they offer a late night menu starting at 10 pm. For Sonoma County, this is special 😉


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Shopping for Groceries – go local

This week I was showing property in Sebastopol and by coincidence -sort of- ended up looking for a certain type of noodles at Pacific Market in Sebastopol. Could not find the noodles I was looking for – was a long shot anyway- but found a Dutch treat one seldom finds at stores here: beschuit! Or as it was called Dutch Rusk. Beschuit is delicious, a traditional treat is Beschuit met Muisjes -Rusk with sprinkels-.

Besides this they had an excellent selection of local meat, Dutch and other artisan cheeses as well as a great selection of other good stuff. If you are new to the area, there is a Safeway in Sebastopol. But if you like to shop local, try Pacific market, it’s fun, and you will discover a lot of local really good food!


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Boot Camp, great way to meet people

Sonoma County’s climate allows for a lot of great out door activities.

Recently a friend invited me to come to a bootcamp. LifeFit Boot Camp is a local company, the 2 founders Jaron and Jeff wanted to do something different than what was available.

And I have to say it’s fun, the groups are small, it’s a great way to meet new people while exercising.  Kim our trainer was super nice and really made it a fun experience.

There are Boot Camps in Healdsburg, Windsor, Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Kenwood and Novato. There are morning and late afternoon sessions.


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