Sebastopol and the surrounding area
There are way too many good things to do in Sebastopol for anyone to get to do all of these, but this is a little guide to some of my (our) favorite things to do. This can and will be edited—if we are missing something let us know. There’s also this little thing to read in the NY Times, too, with Sebastopol ideas and praise.
Florence Street Local sculpture spectacle. Very necessary stop on the tour, especially if you are wondering what all those bizarre scrap-metal characters are doing sprinkled throughout town.
The ocean in Nor Cal is perhaps a little too chilly for much swimming, but we have a gorgeous coast with sandy beaches and rocky cliffs. How can you get this close to the Pacific (about thirty minutes drive) without dipping in a toe? As for beaches, we like Salmon Creek, Doran and also serendipity… !
California Carnivores The biggest carnivorous plant nursery in the US. Let’s just say we don’t have fruit flies in the kitchen anymore, ever.
Lone Pine Nursery A gem, and in the middle of nowhere which always feels great to find. Not only is it chock full of fascinating and unusual succulents, but they are arranged with dreamily neurotic precision. Always something in bloom. Oh, and bonsai.
There is a nature trail in Ragel Ranch, a regional park. I haven’t been in this park except since I was a kid, so I am only 90% sure that my adult self would find it more interesting, now that I am enlightened and I like birdwatching and flower spotting and the occasional encounter with grasshoppers.
A favorite spot is Hardcore coffee at the corner of Bloomfield and Bodega Highway. It’s grungy and the coffee maybe isn’t as good as in SF, but it’s authentic. Bloomfield is a lovely back road that can also get you to the wedding spot, hidden shops, a town, the ocean, etc.
Hopmonk Good local spot for a beer and perhaps a bite.
For wine there’s also Underwood in Graton, which our friend Katie (who lives in Sebastopol) say is THE BEST.
Wildflour We absolutely will be eating bread from this bakery on the Sunday after the wedding. It’s in Freestone—on the way to the beach.
Screamin’ Mimi’s Classic Sebastopol. Just ice cream, but when I was at the age when I should have been getting in trouble (high school) it was on the way home from this particular watering hole that we were pulled over by the police.
Sunday Market Beauty of a farmers market with food to cook, food to eat, baskets and music. If you are into that kind of tourism (and we are) then this is not to be missed. Sunday, from 8 or so til 1:30 in the center of town.
Fircrest Very old school grocery store. Kind of a relic, and therefore awesome.
Fiesta (now Pacific) is where we used to shop all the time. It has been renovated since I was a kid but still somehow looks dated when compared to Whole Foods. I love this little independent grocery store. There’s also Andy’s Market just down the road, which features lots of fresh and preserved fruits and nuts, many of them quite local, and has a sweet coffee cart outside.
Sequoia Burger Old school burger joint on the side of the road. Their french fry and burger quality have varied over the years but this used to be one of those exceptions to my vegetarian rules. The thing not to miss, however, is their seasonal fresh fruit milkshakes (hello, blackberry??!?).
This burrito spot just got new owners, and Bob says it’s yummy again.
Dressers, just down the street a bit, is great for ladies clothing. A small-town boutique with really caring staff.
Frizelle-Enos is a very aged, cosy and interesting feed store. They also sell gifts and clothing! I always loved coming here as a kid (we’d get chicks and goslings and feed). Now that I know the store opened in 1938 I am even more excited to go there next time I’m in town.
Aubergine World class vintage clothes shop. It’s vintage so it’s a hunt, but sometimes a very rewarding one.
Antiquing is a popular Sebtown pastime, and down the road there is a fabulous antique mall (also very very close to the aforementioned California Carnivores).
Petaluma also has one of those fabulous downtown areas. My favorite spots are the Seed Bank, which is truly spectacular, and this kind of church-sale mall that is full of what you could call really good garage sale finds (I always stop there if I can). Also there’s a cafe, Della Fattoria, which is where the bread for the wedding supper is coming from.
We haven’t spent any time wine tasting, which is really a shame because it’s quite good and much less touristy than in Napa. I did some research and these are the spots I meant to try so I could recommend them to you all.