Archive for the 'Sebastopol' Category
Sonoma Hort (www.sonomahort.com) is a must see but only if you love beauty and lots of flowers, in this case, masses of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, hostas and more, all on 8 acres in South Sebastopol. The second owners have had it since the seventies and it is a retail/wholesale nursery masquerading as an amazing park, with 1.5 miles of trails winding through it, a pond and a meadow and altogether enough picnic tables and benches to have a lovely meal or snack (Just make sure you take all your leftovers with you.) Sonoma Hort is just one of many truly special gardens and large scale nurseries which make Sonoma County such a wonderful place to be.
My friend Hollyn D’Lil moved to Sonoma County ten or 12 years ago. She has fully embraced life in the community of Graton, in West Sonoma County. She knows I work with many newcomers to Sonoma County to help them find their ideal wine country homes. Consequently she referred me to the new book by Dewey and Susan Watson called “Shift and Shout: Two Urban Boomers Prove You Don’t Need to Retire to Move to Paradise.” I moved to Sonoma County from the Bay Area and my high tech career in the late 90’s and Hollyn was right, Dewey and Susan have really captured much of the essence of life here in Sonoma County from a newcomer’s perspective. While some of the emphasis in the book is on the Watson’s boomer niche, I personally think that many of my younger non-boomer clients/newcomers to the county share many of the same sentiments, e.g. Chapter 9, “Why is Everybody so Darned Pleasant?”. I remember being shocked that the mailman would stop to shoot the breeze with me as he made his way through his route! Anyone with an ounce of garden can relate to “Finding your Inner Gopher”. I had no idea that one of the reasons the Russians may have abandoned their agricultural pursuits in Sonoma County were the gophers, though I can relate. And who knew that Caddyshack was based on the truth about gophers!
And seriously, Dewey and Susan give a nice overview of the varied communities and the high points of Sonoma County’s history. Good stuff for anyone considering moving here.
Here is a link to Hollyn’s Review in a local paper. Let me know what you think!
Here is a look back at residential real estate sales in the Sebastopol area of Sonoma County, including Graton and Occidental, from April 2010 through April 2012. The reason I usually post county wide numbers is that it is easier to discern pricing and other trends on a month to month basis with the numbers for the county as a whole. You might be interested in just your town, so from time to time I will pull just the numbers for a specific locale, in this case the greater Sebastopol area. Though a small sample size makes it difficult to spot month to month trends, in general inventory is declining and sales activity rising, resulting in only 2.4 months supply of homes for sale in Sebastopol. Two years ago there were 4.6 months supply of inventory. Sales activity is strong but declined slightly (by one house–see what I mean?) in April 2012 compared to April 2010. Take a look through the reports and let me know if you have any questions! By the way, I archive these reports at a document sharing site called Scribd
My friend HolLynn D’lil is like many of my friends and clients who have moved to Sonoma County from successful lives elsewhere. She had a vision, a feeling, a sense of the possibilities that her new life could be in our pocket of country paradise a short hour north of San Francisco. She wanted room to garden and a studio for painting and a home environment that nurtured her creativity.
More so than many, she did not allow a bare flat patch of dirt and a dated home deter her from realizing her vision. Now she lives in a creekside sanctuary in the heart of the small Sonoma County community of Graton. I first walked on to HolLynn’s property for a dinner party last fall, which was my first meeting with her as well. Within five sentences I said to her–have you ever thought of having your home on the West County Garden Tour ? (a benefit for Food For Thought in Forestville). She said–I have always wanted to do that but didn’t know who to approach. This May 15th she was one of eight gardens and homes in West County featured on the tour. Yesterday, the Press Democrat newspaper did a feature story on HolLynn’s journey. I thought I would share it with you as a wonderful example of the creation of a dream in Sonoma’s West County.
This year marks the 100th! Anniversary of Sebastopol’s first ever Gravenstein Apple Fair in 1910. Billed as “The Sweetest Little Fair” in Sonoma County, it is a celebration of Sonoma County’s long tradition of agricultural delights. Now many of the apple orchards have given way to vineyards, and Sonoma County apples have long been less competitive on the world markets than those from Washington State and China, but the early ripening Gravenstein apple is still a hallmark of the best in local farming and fruit! Thanks to Sonoma County Farm Trails for keeping this tradition alive! If you can’t make it to Sebastopol this weekend, Sonoma County Farm Trails offers a great on-line and printed guide to year round food tasting activities and events at Sonoma County’s many small farms and markets.
Many of my friends and clients are entrepreneurs and small business owners in the community. From time to time in 2010 I plan to showcase them so that you can learn about some unique and vital services to Sonoma County and beyond.
Christian Wright and Gerald Simpkins were friends and fellow Vizsla owners long before they became clients in 2003 when we found them an astonishing 1915 farmhouse on acreage in Sebastopol, since lovingly restored. We sold their charming cabin in Guerneville near the Russian River so that they and their dogs would have more room to roam, and also to be closer to their full-time home in San Francisco, where they ran a successful interior design business, Wright-Simpkins, Inc., serving clients all over the United States.
Gerald and Christian have progressed along a path somewhat typical of second home owners in Sonoma County. At first they left San Francisco on Friday evenings and returned home Sunday afternoon. Eventually Friday reverted to Thursday and Sunday became Monday, stretching the weekend to nearly four days. Holidays meant two week stays whenever possible and they became increasingly involved in the community of Sebastopol and Sonoma County. The house had already had some extensive restoration by the previous owners and Gerald and Christian took it and the grounds to the next levels, so much so that the house and gardens have twice been featured on the West County Garden tour sponsored every year by Food for Thought in Forestville.
In 2008, Gerald and Christian decided to move to Sonoma County full time, and sold their home in San Francisco. The recently opened a small studio and shop in Sebastopol at 2833 Old Gravenstein Highway on the way to downtown Sebastopol. If you care to stop by and visit, you might call first, to 707 829-9177 to make sure they are in.
Oh, and in their spare time in 2009, they neared completion of a project in Kohala on the Big Island of Hawaii. If you, like I, are thinking of tropical weather these winter days, take a look!
Before I ever moved to Sonoma County, I looked forward to my annual expedition to buy a fresh-cut Christmas tree at one of the many family-owned farms here. Many people from all over the Bay Area make the annual trip to Sonoma County’s 20 plus Christmas tree farms. It is a far superior alternative to visiting the mall or Home Depot for a tree. It’s a great excuse to get out doors in the fresh air and have some fun with the family.
Farms from Knights Valley to Petaluma, Santa Rosa to Sebastopol offer stunning wine country vistas and a chance to cut your own tree, or buy a live tree. Many have picnic areas and other attractions such as tractor rides for the kids. You can find Christmas trees of every variety, wreaths and cedar garlands.
What a great way to spend a day or two this holiday season! Drive through some of the most gorgeous country on earth, take a hike in the fresh air, drink some free cider, gobble up some candy canes, and come home with a very fresh Christmas tree for your holiday celebrations.
There are at least 20 farms in Sonoma County that offer cut your own or live Christmas trees for sale. Most of them offer free apple cider, candy canes and coffee. Many offer tractor rides to the kids and Santa Claus is even know to visit a few. There are farms in Sonoma, Petaluma, Penngrove and Santa Rosa, but Sebastopol is the Christmas Tree Farm capital of Sonoma County with 12 farms in all. Tree farmers seem to be a dying breed as many folks go to a parking lot at a mall to buy trees trucked in from who knows where. Visiting a local tree farm sure is a lot more fun. Follow the link below to Sonoma County Uncorked for a beautiful slide show, map and guide to all the Christmas tree farms in Sonoma wine country.
Feel free to comment with your favorite Christmas tree farm!
Sebastopol, like Healdsburg, is one of the strongest markets in Sonoma County real estate. The number of units sold per month over the last two years ranged from a low of 6 units in December 2007 to recent highs of 26 units with sales generally in the teens and twenties. A bit bigger supply then Healdsburg but not much. Over the last two years the median price did not see the wide swings that Healdsburg did (Healdsburg has more outlier properties for sale well into the $3 to $6 million range). Sebastopol median price was $824,000 in October 2007 and is $575,000 today. Overall the median price decline was 30%, but I think it has been more affected by the preponderance of sales at the lower price points and on small to no acreage. Market values have declined somewhat but many sellers were able to withdraw their more expensive homes for sale. The market for those appears to be picking up. The median price hit a low of $475,000 in February of this year, as elsewhere in the county.
Interestingly, Sebastopol had only 5 months of inventory for sale in October 2007, trended above 7 for a few months and is now at 3.8 months supply. Inventory never really got too out of hand.
Please come join me today at 5850 Gilmore Avenue in Cotati, my latest listing and a fantastic country property that is well-thought out, secluded yet convenient and very up to date. You and your family and critters could just move right in. When I looked for my current country property home I wanted a property like this–lots of usable land, nice house, really cute second unit and most importantly I wanted scenic beauty and a really peaceful location away from traffic so my cats and dogs would be safe, not to mention humans as well.
I also wanted to be convenient to town and services, and to commute to the Bay Area. Don’t be mislead by the Cotati address on this cool property–it is actually on the west side of 101, north of 116 on the way to Sebastopol. Don’t get me wrong, Cotati is a neat town with lots of fun shops and restaurants, but this location on Gilmore would just as easily appeal to someone wanting Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, Penngrove or Petaluma. This little country pocket in Cotati is peaceful, has lots of horse properties and small farms as well as vineyards surrounding it, and many of the neighbors have been here for years. My clients have owned the property since 1977 and their meticulous care and updating shows. Yet this home is about5 minutes to 101 so it is a great commute location that feels miles away.
It is my experience that people looking for Sonoma County country property don’t first think of places such as Rohnert Park/Cotati or Windsor, but you can uncover some gems by searching and thinking a little outside the box. Come see for yourself today. This property could accommodate horses (and does with a 2 acre pasture (+-), stalls and tack room. It also is home to roller pigeons and has two coops and a small aviary. There is a shop for painting autos with air compressor and 220 power plus another shop (called the “man” building) for hanging out. Plus a cute 2002 small modular with kitchen, den, bedroom and bath, all in its own fenced in, redwood lined yard at one corner of the property for privacy. There is only one home past this property on a sleepy lane, and many bigger parcels surround it, with views of the hills, vineyards and trees. See you soon!
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