A few days ago Joan, my mom Joyce and I returned from visiting family in Sonoma California. Sonoma is nestled in a spectacularly fertile, rolling and green patch of the planet roughly 45 minutes north and east of San Francisco. The indigenous Miwok Indians called the land the “Valley of the Moon” for the way each full moon lit like day the entire Sonoma Valley. The photo above is of bro-in-law and host Steve and my mother in front of Sonoma’s famous “Valley of the Moon” mural just off the Square). The Spanish entered the area in 1835 looking for treasure, land and “heathen souls”to convert. Unfortunately for the proud and peaceful Miwok the Spanish proved most adept at spreading small pox, resulting in the convertion of a large number of the Miwok into corpses.
The Spanish made Sonoma the northernmost of their string of California missions. Today the Sonoma Valley produces some of the finest wines in the world and welcomes tens of thousands of visitors for year-round fun and frolic. Napa, Sonoma’s neighbor to the east, is the more famous of the two. but that popularity has turned Napa into a city with city-type problems, an outlet mall, and, shall we say, a crabby disposition towards the tourists who park in their spots, take the good seats at the restaurants and generally make the place Wine Disney World. Sonoma, however, is still at heart a farm town of around 10,000 where feed stores and fantastic restaurants live comfortably side-by-side and just about anyone you meet while walking the town still smiles and says “hello”. You also won’t find a fast-food restaurant or Walmart, and the only chain store is Williams Sonoma because the famed kitchen and home store was founding in, well, Sonoma. Although I no longer get to enjoy the fruit of the vine, I remember Sonoma wine as every bit as good as those in Napa, and in many cases, better.
Joan and Mom, boarding at FSD
I’ve often said that the older I get, the fewer things I know “for sure”, meaning that as time rambles on, the know-it-all black and white brashness of youth gives way to the reality that life is constructed mostly of gray. I’m in my 56th year, and I can state with certainty I know the following to be true: 1) People hate change. 2) It’s never too cold for ice cream. 3) There is always room for a little pie. And 4) If you are ever given the option of having loving family live in Sonoma, have the good sense to say “yes” and visit them often. More bits of Sonoma history and trip tales to come.