Archive for the 'Wine Country Living' Category
Last year’s inauguaral Benefit BBQ for the Sonoma CHANGE Program (Coins to Help Neglected and Abandoned Equines) was a great success!Â A fun event in a beautiful venue that raised significant money to help coordinate efforts in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties to save neglected horses from abuse and neglect.
In 2009, your help is needed more than ever. It seems that ticket sales are down this year due to the economy, and the need to help abandoned horses is greater than ever.Â This year’s event is at the beautiful Shone Farm of the Santa Rosa Junior College, on the border of Healdsburg, Forestville and Santa Rosa.
Please visit the Sonoma CHANGE website to buy your ticket for this fun event coming up soon on Sunday, September 20, 2009. Â You’ll enjoy a great day with wonderful food, friends and family and lots of equestrian entertainment from dressage and jumping demonstrations, the chance to see and learn about all kinds of horses from Mustangs to Percherons and Friesians.Â Enjoy drill teams, vaulting and carriage driving.Â There will even be a Unicorn!Â What a great way to spend a September Sunday and to benefit a great cause–the health and well-being of horses throughout the North Bay.Â See you there!
If you can’t make it on the 20th, the CHANGE website will still accept your donation. If you would like more information about CHANGE, the video below will fill you in.
You can take advantage of Cyrus’ two Michelin stars and have less than a 1/2 mile walk home.
…..Or Starbucks?….one half of a mile, the Tuesday night Farmers Market? …1/2 mile. The Raven Theater ?….only .32 of a mile.
These are some of the nifty facts you learn, for example, about my classic Healdsburg bungalow listing at 414 Piper Street when you visit Walkscore.com, one of the coolest real estate search tools I found in 2008.
Because their WordPress support for this template is lacking at the moment, you will need to plug in 414 Piper Street, Healdsburg to the widget in the upper right hand corner of home page of Wine Country and Horses to generate a map, walkscore and a true view of an addresses’ nearby amenities. I also use Walkscore to convey to country property clients how near (or far) shopping, schools and restarants are. Generally in Sonoma County wine country, people like to know that their lovely country home is still pretty close in to conveniences.
It’s another mashup–combining mapping technology with local directory services–the purpose?
To promote walking, health and help people to reduce their carbon footprint by choosing homes with high walkscores! I think you’d have to live in Manhattan, downtown Seattle, Boston’s Back Bay or Pacific Heightsi in San Francisco to have a higher walkscore.
The company is expanding it’s services to realtors by making a programming interface (API) available for custom use of the Walkscore engine. What a great tool to add to your real estate search portfolio (or if you are marketing a property,to add dimension to your listing promotion.)
Walkscore generates a map or street view of your targeted home and shows you the distance to all the local restaurants, shops, schools and other amenities. It can help you get to know a neighborhood you might be considering.Â I can’t imagine anyone looking for property who wouldn’t want to know their Walkscore. (and no, I don’t work for the company! )
The mustard is about a foot high with brilliant yellow flowers, the daffodils have just begun to bloom after pushing up since early December, and it was 74 degrees the other day. We have had two weeks of unbroken glorious weather which is lovely but we are finally getting some severely need rain. Grapegrowers are worried about early bud break, because we still have frost at night and will for some time.
Today my thoughts turned to the pair of mallard ducks who spend their spring break by my pool, bordering some old vine zinfandel that belongs to a neighbor. Generally the last few years, they seem to miraculously show up right around the same time they spring into my mind. Perhaps they are not the only ones tuned into the lengthening days and warming weather?
One of the things I love about living in the country, and being out and about early every morning to feed the horses at more or less the same time each day, is that I feel tuned in to nature in a way that I didn’t quite get living “in town”.
Maybe I should set up a duck cam so I can capture their arrival this year? Last year they showed up on February 25th. I’ll keep you posted when they return, meanwhile, here they are in 2008.Â Â I guess I have intermittent spring fever.
Good friend and photographer Robbin Satterlee was able to capture a range of photos from the Sonoma County Wine and Horse country outside Santa Rosa, with dramatic views of snow covered Mt. Saint Helena in Napa and towards the mountainous Geysers of Lake County to the north. Vineyards, horses and snow covered mountains. Not bad. The snow has melted now as warmer rains have come in but enjoy. We have these snowstorms at the higher elevations (1500 to 2000 feet) a couple of times each winter.
|Snow on hilltops|
At long last both Marin County and Sonoma County voters have approved a 1/2 cent increase in the county sales tax to fund the development of the SMART train which will run on already existing train tracks from Cloverdale in North Sonoma County to Larkspur in Central Marin county, where it will be easy to connect via bus or ferry to San Francisco’s financial district.
Imagine a North Bay with a transportation network of buses, shuttles, ferries, trollies, bike paths and sidewalks all connected with a centralized rail line that makes it possible to easily travel around Marin and Sonoma counties without ever getting behind the wheel of a car.
Itâ€™s hard to envision such a network in 2008, when driving on Highway 101 is virtually the sole alternative for travel between the two counties. But the public already owns an asset capable of changing that reality.
The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District â€“ SMART â€“ proposes a 70-mile passenger railroad and parallel bicycle-pedestrian path along the publicly owned Northwestern Pacific Railroad right of way through the two counties. The rail line runs from Cloverdale, at the north end of Sonoma County, to Larkspur, where the Golden Gate Ferry connects Marin County with San Francisco. Along the way SMART will have stations at the major population and job centers of the North Bay: San Rafael, Novato, Petaluma, Cotati, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Windsor and Healdsburg.
For a cool video view of a similar system in San Diego click here.
When I found out my favorite Healdsburg brunch spot, the tiny Ravenette, is closed for a while, I wanted to find a new Sunday brunch spot to meet some friends (and clients) who just moved to Headsburg full time from San Diego. Google turned me on to a handy website, healdsburgmenus.com with menus and links to most of the good dining spots in town. I think Healdsburg has more quality restaurants per capita than any place I know outside Manhattan or Paris. (OK it is a small town but you can’t walk more than a few steps without finding great food and wine.)
The site is called healdsburgmenus.com
I thought we might meet at the Downtown Bakery and Creamery. This spot has been serving up great breads, cakes, cookies and ice cream since 1984 and was one of the first “gourmet down home” spots in Healdsburg. I always made a pit stop here on my way to Mendocino. They have expanded their bakery operation (open since 1984) to include table seating and a nice breakfast menu. Or maybe we’ll head to Bovolo behind the new Copperfield’s Bookstore for some of John Stewart and Duskie Estes (of Zazu fame) robust fare. Or maybe we’ll head to Barndiva for some stylish country food. Hmmmm.
Well we actually had a nice breakfast at the newly and greatly expanded Costeaux French Bakery a block north of the Plaza. The place was packed indoors and out with a crowd of mostly locals and a few tourists. I don’t know how you can spot tourists exactly, but you can. 😉
While we’re at it I’ve got to let you know about my classic Healdsburg bungalow listing at 414 Piper Street, only 4/10ths of a mile from all these yummy spots. Well this is a real estate blog you know. Honestly, with a Walkscore of 83 think how much fine dining you could have and how much gasoline you could save? Good for you and good for the planet!
Ok it must be getting close to dinner, but I promised pictures of Sunday night’s home made pizza made entirely with veggies from my Sonoma county wine country garden.Â Harvesting the garden right now is nearly a second full time job after realtor.Â Had a very casual dinner Sunday night with good friends.Â Here is the before picture (before it was devoured.).Â Yummm.Â Three kinds of cherry tomatoes, garlic, onions, orange bells, poblano, beefsteak tomatoes, pine nuts (not from the garden) basil and some fresh mozzarella.Â Maybe I will figure out a tie-in to real estate blogging AFTER dinner.Â Bon appetit!
You decide–these photos were taken by good friend Robin Satterlee this morning in the Saitone Vineyard, Russian River Valley Appellation, Sonoma County, California. Â The fog was very thick and burned off by noon, but it made for some beautiful contrast in the photos.Â Sometimes Photoshop isn’t necessary, just a good photographer and a good eye.
For the one year anniversary and its first fundraiser, yesterday’s BBQ fundraiser and show at the gorgeous Sonoma Equestrian Center in Glen Ellen was by all accounts a great success.Â Rather than the sales of 100 tickets hoped for, 400 tickets were sold and many of us enjoyed a beautiful fall Sunday afternoon under the oaks, eating, visiting and enjoying the entertainment, from vaulting (gymnastics on the backs of cantering horses) to musical freestyle dressage and a demonstration of some of the medieveal equestrian arts. Â At the same time we learned of the concerted horse rescue efforts of many Sonoma county volunteers including client Betsy Bueno and Sonoma County Animal Control.Â Whether through ignorance, hard luck or hard times, many animals in addition to many people are suffering these days, and when the animal is a 1,000 pound horse, the sheer logistics for any public agency, not to mention the expense, are daunting.Â Obviously the volunteers at CHANGE have struck a nerve, and it is impressive to see such rapid growth and professionalism in a young charitable organization.Â (Subtle hint:Â Your donations are tax-deductible and go straight to the horses’ mouth.)
This event also marked the PUBLIC Sonoma County debut of good friend and client Sir William Hamersky and his trusty steed, Rohan, as they demonstrated some of the medieval horsemanship arts.
Below–Sir William’s squire hands him his lance for the quintain, an event which enables the knight to practice his jousting technique without knocking his foe off his horse. Â Sir William and Rohan teach their medieval arts at the ranch we found for them in Sebastopol, Full Tilt Farm.Â Â Prior to the quintain, Sir William remembers to dedicate his efforts to the lady of the manor this day, Laura Ponter, of the Sonoma Equestrian Center.Â Bottom photo:Â The quintain spins after a successful hit. (Photos thanks to Robin Satterlee)
One of my favorite clients is Betsy Bueno. In 2003 she was running her horse rescue operation out of a lovely tract home near the golf course at Shiloh Greens in Windsor.Â I wish I had taken pictures of her front porch–it looked more like a tack room.Â Betsy leased some easement land literally down the block from the city of Windsor for about a dollar a year, and there she cared for and nursed back to health many abandoned horses. Â Â Most of them found new homes and happy lives thanks to the hard work of Betsy and the volunteers at Lost Hearts and Souls Horse Rescue.
It was really a challenge to care for the horses from such a location. Twice a day, or more in hot weather, Betsy would have to drag the hose from her house down to the corner and across a busy road to fill the horse watertroughs.Â Meanwhile, she was searching for a home where she and the horses, and her kids could all live together.Â Within a few months the house in the suburbs was sold and Betsy and her kids moved into a beautiful old farm house on over four level acres in a beautiful southeast Santa Rosa location.
Fast forward five years and Betsy has joined forces with CHANGE (Coins to Help Abandoned and NeGlected Equines) in order to create a powerful network of veterinarians and volunteers who assist Sonoma County Animal Control in dealing with equine cruelty, abandonment and emergency cases. Â They are also providing support in law enforcement cases to try and prevent more abuse in the future.Â With many people having economic difficulties, having a robust volunteer action network to assist the Sonoma County officials when neglected or abused horses are discovered, is an important link in the equation for horse health in Sonoma County.
This Sunday in Glen Ellen Anthony and Laura Ponter, co-founders of CHANGE, are hosting a benefit to support CHANGE at their lovely ranch in Glen Ellen, the Sonoma Equestrian Center from 11 am toÂ 3 pm. Â Tickets can be purchased at the CHANGE website above, or by calling 707 364-2575.Â I will be there along with many horse friends and clients, including the incomparable Sir William and Rohan who will be putting on the first public demonstration of the MEDIEVAL JOUSTING arts in Sonoma County. For an exciting preview, click here.
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