Have You Met Luther?

The Luther Burbank Center for Arts is best known by locals for it’s world class Ruth Finley Person Theatre. Praised for its national and international touring performances ranging from shows such as Tony Bennet, Brain Candy, to the Moscow Ballet. With a range live comedy specials taped by HBO to some of the hottest television hits translated to the stage like Move Live on Tour, its no secret that the performers love her as much as we do! But did you know that the Person Theatre is just one of four on-site theaters? With the East Auditorium, Carson Cabaret, and Left Edge theatre there’s something for everyone. Presenting a wide array of performances, the Center’s three resident theatre companies, North Bay Stage Company, Roustabout Theater, and Left Edge Theatre offer reasonably priced entertainment for children and adults alike.

When you add in the 9,000-square-foot Atrium, three conference rooms, the Fireside room, Pavilion, The Anova Center for Education, Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmer’s Market, and outdoor Sculpture Garden, the LBC is as big a figure in square footage as it is in the community. The Luther Burbank Center is a nonprofit organization owned and operated by the Luther Burbank Memorial Foundation, a established in 1979. With revenue generated from performances, venue rentals, concessions, sponsors, and private contributors, their education programs flourish……..going straight back into the center with an emphasis on education the LBC has thirty six school shows during the day with busses provided for the students, a Music for Schools instrument lending library (for low-income students to participate in bands and orchestras), free events including Fiesta de Independence and pre-show crafts for kids. With almost 5,500 members, donors, volunteers (14.000 hours of donated services, and sponsors who help sustain the center its easy to see and feel the love many have for the center.

 

Written by Rachel Wilcox

Single Restaurant Decision – will it be Thread or Tree??

Written by Barbara Barrielle

There are two distinct restaurants in Healdsburg beginning with the word “Single.” They could not be at farther ends of the spectrum in style and in price.

Singletree Café is a longtime Healdsburg breakfast and lunch destination. Their scrambles and early bird $2.99 breakfast special are legendary among locals. Food is fresh and borders on gourmet for a diner. Go there anytime and you will see someone you know. It is definitely a locals destination with an endless coffee cup and a $5.99 burger special at lunch.

Because of the construction around the impending roundabout at the south entrance to downtown Healdsburg, Singletree has suffered mightily. The parking lot and signage and easily missed because of barricades so, as a local, we beseech you to drop in a tell them we sent you. Here is a recent posting on their facebook page that is both sad and delicious at the same time….crab benedict? We are there!

“To our wonderful customers they are digging up the streets to put the new water and sewer lines in. I know it’s difficult to navigate around us, but please don’t forget about us! This past month business was terrible! We need your help to keep our doors open! We look forward to seeing you. This weekend is Corned beef Hash, Fresh Crabmeat Benedict, our new Cuban Sandwich and our CHILI. Thank you for your support!”

If Singletree is your daily daytime chow hangout, SingleThread is your once-in-a-lifetime, post-bonus, impress-your-friends/date/in-laws celebratory splurge. To walk in the door, prepare to shell out $295 for the only thing they serve, an eleven course menu based on a Japanese approach where ingredients are elevated and presented with care.

SingleThread was two years in the making, with Chef Ryan Kavanaugh and family starting a five acre farm along the Russian River to support the restaurant operation. They now are SingleThread Farm, Restaurant and Inn so that you never have to leave the SingleThread universe when you happen to visit Healdsburg. Locals can’t really afford dinner at $295 before wine, tax and tip so you may not meet many there but walk around the Plaza after and see them at Duke’s having a mixology experience that will set them back $10. That leaves $285 to buy lunch and dinner for the rest of the week at El Farolito, Campofina, Chalkboard’s happy hour or any of the other local favorites…more later on those.

Indian Springs Resort – Calistoga

By Scott Silva

Many years ago I lived in Calistoga for a short time and I always admired the Indian Springs Resort. It is a historic property and was definitely in need of some TLC. A few years ago the property was renovated and many new accommodations were added along with a restaurant. In January we decided to stay there to celebrate my partner’s birthday. While the property is amazing and luxurious it lacks the pretention found at many of the other high end hotels in the Napa Valley. There is a casual relaxed atmosphere that permeates the property. If we needed something the staff was always available to assist us but otherwise they leave you alone. I love this! I am perfectly happy to open my own doors thank you. For me it was a very relaxing and calming stay. Though the real reason to visit Indian Springs is the pool. I like to think of myself as a connoisseur of hotel pools having stayed at most of the major resorts in the state of Hawaii and many others in the US and Mexico. None can compare to the pool at Indian Springs. It is fed with natural mineral water from the hotel’s own geyser nearby. Periodically you can see the geyser erupt with a tall spout of steaming water just like ‘old faithful’. The main pool is Olympic sized and was kept at a perfect 105 degrees. There is also a smaller adult- only pool that was at 95 degrees. But honestly forget about the adult pool. The main pool is where you want to be. I never thought much of the supposed healing power of mineral pools but I am a true believer now. The water just feels different and is very soothing. The pool is open until midnight and I highly recommend taking a dip under the stars after dinner. It is sublime. There is no alcohol served at the pool (bummer) but honestly I think that would be a distraction from just relaxing and enjoying the wonderful water.

We booked massages and facials in the spa and though expensive, they were some of the best I have ever had. They have many treatments available and you should do at least one. On weekdays you get a day pass to the pool if you book a spa treatment. And yes, it still is all about the pool.

This is not an inexpensive resort, but we were able to take advantage of some great winter rates that were almost half of what you would pay in the summer. We checked into a Palm View room in one of the newer buildings that are spread around the 17-acre property. The room was large and luxurious. It was definitely not a cookie cutter room like you might find at a Ritz Carlton for example. It felt like you were staying at the home of a rich friend. There are bikes spread around the hotel and you can just grab one and explore the property or take a quick ride into downtown Calistoga.

There is a new restaurant ‘Sam’s Club’ on property. No, it is not connected with Wal-Mart. Rather it is named after Sam Brannon, one of the founders of Calistoga. It is an attractive space with a fireplace and nice bar. We didn’t want to leave the property so we went there for dinner and it was delicious with great service. There is no room service.

If you want to relax and be left to yourself to relax with a very upscale yet bohemian vibe and a one-of-a-kind pool this is the place.

Santa Rosa Seafood

 

Whether you are a local or a visitor to the area looking for an awesome source of fresh fish, Santa Rosa Seafood is your spot. This family owned business offers a huge selection of both seafood and shellfish at competitive prices. You can get sushi grade fish, local crab and oysters, and a lot of specialty items when they are in season such as uni and mussels. Be sure to ask for a sample of the smoked salmon…. because once you taste that you’ll definitely want to take some home for later.

The owners recently opened a restaurant right next door serving the same fresh delicacies they sell in their shop. Both the store and the restaurant are open Wednesdays thru Sundays from 10am to 6pm. 707-570-9921

Don’t miss this spot if you are in the area….and it’s worth the drive if not!

The Emerald Cup

Whether or not you partake of California’s “other” crop you may soon find yourself enjoying some of the country’s best marijuana when you visit us here. Plans for all kinds of marijuana tourism are in the works here, but just so you can educate yourselves in advance here are the winners of this past weekend’s Emerald Cup which attracted over 30.000 people to Santa Rosa.

www.emeraldreport.com

Held over two days at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds the event is the largest marijuana competitions. As the legalities fall into place you may soon have the option of being picked up by a limo in Santa Rosa for a tour. Stay tuned.

Hana Japanese Restaurant

I had been hearing about Hana for a long time…. and finally tried it recently. Set in a relatively nondescript shopping center, the decor once inside is welcoming with a large Sake bar area and nicely spaced tables as well as an active sushi bar. There were five of us at dinner and our waitress was warm and knowledgeable suggesting that we go “family style” and try lots of items. While not inexpensive this was definitely the way to go. The two items pictured here were standouts, the Happy Spoon had two different types of salmon roe, an oyster and was bathed in a little crème fraiche. It was a perfect blend of flavors and textures. The chefs mixed sashimi was the best I have had. A generous portion, enough for two, super fresh and absolutely yummy. Seeing several of our chef friends dining here too is always a good sign.

We had one vegetarian along for our dinner and she found plenty of tasty items to try. The cooked creamy salmon hand roll again with a dash of crème fraiche disappeared quickly and more were ordered.

All in all this was truly outstanding Sushi. Don’t miss it if you are in the area…..and even if it means a bit of a drive take the time to seek this restaurant out.
http://www.hanajapanese.com

Sonoma Nesting

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lf you find yourself near Guerneville do not miss visiting the Sonoma Nesting Company. This shop has a beautifully curated collection of Antiques, Reinvented Furniture, Art and other reloved and restored objects.antique_pine_armoire_in_perrywinkle_grey

Owned by two Guerneville locals the shop is one of our favorite spots. There is always something new, and beautiful, to tempt one. In addition to all kinds of eclectic treasures they also specialize in original artisan-painted furniture. Whether elegant, intricate, rustic, or refined – even fun and funky – their painted furniture is among the finest available.

You will always receive a friendly welcome from the owners Dax and Smitty and often from their dog as well. Its worth checking back frequently for new items.

Airstream Camping at Autocamp

So I’m not really a camper. But this is a whole different kind of camping. Airstreams have always fascinated me. They have a long history, dating back to 1929 when the Bowlus company first built the now familiar sausage shaped, silver aluminum Airstream trailer. The very first one was called the Clipper and was named after the first trans-Atlantic seaplane. Here is a link that will give you lots of fun facts about these iconic modes of transportation.

If you think you would enjoy actually experiencing what a stay in an Airstream would be like then www.AutoCamp.com Russian River is the spot for you. I recently spent two fun nights here in Guerneville and now I totally want to own one of these. Granted….the Airstream I stayed in was a slightly expanded version than those you still occasionally see plying the highways and byways of Sonoma County. Open only 6 months, these gleaming examples, created for Autocamp especially by the Airstream company, have all the amenities of a cozy upscale hotel room, but with lots more charm.

Clustered in a semicircle around a great fire pit, lawn with native grasses and still slightly immature landscaping, each gleaming beauty is outfitted with luxurious hotel bedding, linens and towels. My bed was super comfortable and the room so cozy I actually slept in, not the norm for me, and then found really good coffee waiting for me in the beautifully designed club house. It was chilly in the morning among the redwoods, but a fire was going and the chairs were comfy so it was a nice relaxing beginning to the day.

Here are lots of pictures I took during my stay which show you what the place is like better than I can in words. But there is one important thing I want to be sure to mention. This place is super dog friendly!!

www.AutoCamp.com

 

Great Coffee Plus An Amazing View

img_8009Every now and then you come upon a cool little spot that makes you want to keep it all to yourself so that it does not get overrun. Unfortunatly the temptation to share is always too strong for me. I want others to enjoy the places I discover and Cafe Aquatica in Jenner is absolutely worthy a stop if you are craving a great cup of coffee or a light snack.

Only a few miles img_8011from Bodega Bay, Jenner is a tiny town with a population of around 136 people. Perched on a bluff above where the Russian River meets the sea, Jenner has beautiful views, amazing sunsets and world class birdwatching. Every spring the ocean waves and the rivers flow create a large sand spit at the mouth of the river Russian River Estuary home to pacific harbor seals, pelicans, ospreys and great blue herons. All of this is what you see while sitting and img_8010sipping your coffee at Cafe Aquatica.

Lake Sonoma Camping and Hiking

Every Sunday morning for years I would be at the “No Name Flat” trailhead at 8 o’ clock sharp (…everyone who knows me knows this means 8:10, at least) to meet up with friends and dogs for the weekly hike around the “Half a Canoe” loop.  The hike starts out at elevation with about a half mile approach until you reach the trail proper–at this point you are treated to a spectacular vista over the Warm Springs arm of Lake Sonoma and out West towards the ocean.  Turn right here for a gentle 3 mile descent to the lakeside.  If you have dogs under voice control there are a few good beachy spots where you can lob a tree limb out for them to fetch.

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Now — after a couple hundred yards by the water — this is where the fun begins, a strenuous, steep 15-20 minute climb back up to the ridge.  There are shaded picnic tables close to the top which make for a good point to regroup and wait for stragglers, and then it’s an undulating meander along the ridge with more great views and back to the approach.

Depending on how vigorously you bust it out, the hike usually comes out at just under two hours. Avoiding the heat of the day start at 8:00 AM and you might reap the benefit of a gentle marine layer fog, but if you go out in the evening to be back by dark you’ll likely catch a spectacular sunset over the Coastal Range. Call the Ranger Station at the foot of the dam (707) 431-4533 if you want to snag a walk-in or boat-in camp site, or try the Recreation.gov website (1-877-444-6777), for car camping or RV’s at Liberty Glen.

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