I've jumped the groove and hit the road for a quick hello to loved ones in Santa Rosa. Mighty fine day in the land of wine and roses. Lots of wine. Floods of wine, countless vineyards, but not so many roses yet. For now, it's mock pear trees exploding with white balls of flowers. It's as if a wacky band of nature's elves got the same idea: It's Spring - Do Something! And they flew around gluing popcorn, massive amounts of popcorn in large balls, all over every available fruit tree in the area.
I had lunch in Graton (a few miles west of Santa Rosa, north of Sebastopol) at the Willow Wood Cafe on the tiny main street (Graton Road) in this tiny town of 700 people. It's not your average burger-and-fries cafe but worth every penny - the service is warm, generous and very attentive. Artists bursting with talent display their work on the walls. One painting's subject was a tyrannosaurus rex hiding in some treetops looking down on four Victorian women who looked up with frozen screams, all set in a lush green forest. Kind of like Jurassic Park Meets Pacific Grove. Somehow, it worked.
Lunch was a pile of sauteed-to-a-turn eggplant and bell peppers hugged by crisped foccacia bread. I didn't lick the plate, but I really, really wanted to.
An artists' co-op gallery just up the sidewalk served as further creative inspiration. I bought a vase - handmade and exquisite - to hold budding flowers from my garden when I get home again.
I'm driving home tomorrow, back to the Groove. Every time I get to poke around in this area, especially in Spring and Fall, I find plenty to feast my eyes on. If I hadn't filled up on a delicious lunch, I surely would have been all topped off with panoramas of vineyard prettiness and screwball creativity to a degree that seems unfair to compare to the rest of the world.
Causes Christine Bottaro Supports
The Nature Conservancy, California State Parks, The United Way