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Sonoma County News

Op-Ed: Church makes movie to tell true meaning of Christmas Special

Petaluma - For many believers in the Christian message, Christmastime is something special. This is especially so for the members of Eastside Free Will Baptist Church in Petaluma. The emphasis for them is to move away from the commercialism of the holiday season.

Op-Ed: Santa Rosa cafe is 'like home' to many who enjoy home cooking Special

Santa Rosa - Walking into Sam's For Play Café has that diner feeling to it. Yet amid the memorabilia on the walls, there is a sense of family here that is more than just another family-style restaurant.

Op-Ed: Sonoma's Studio 35 is more than an art gallery, it's community Special

Sonoma - With a bundle of canvas in her arms, artist Sonja Bakalyar was literally just walking in the door of Studio 35 on Patton Street as sculptor/painter Marsha Klein was taking her works down off the wall.

Op-Ed: Sonoma State Historic Park a tour package deal for only $3 Special

Sonoma - For those who like bargains for travels and love history, this reporter stumbled upon a neat little tour-package deal in Sonoma, the heart of California's wine country.

Organic Sonoma produce opens crepes and coffee brunch place Special

Sonoma - Focusing on a very simple menu of crepes, coffee and salad, The Divewalk Cafe is open only for three days a week. "That's just for now to get started," said owner Lorene Reed

Op-Ed: No rolling stops with this driving instructor, safety is first Special

Cotati - Drive just about anywhere in Sonoma County and chances are Rolieen Miller of Miller's Driving School has taught someone in that neighborhood how to drive.

Op-Ed: Bubbles for summer are in sparkling wine, not just soda Special

Sonoma - Like the lyrics in the Gershwin tune, "Summer time and the living is easy," what can be more relaxing and refreshing about summer time than a cool drink. Usually when most people think cool drink, they grab for a beer or a soda. But what about wine?

Op-Ed: Vella Cheese of Sonoma is home to a 'dry jack' sealed with cocoa Special

Sonoma - Away from the town square or plaza is the other cheese maker in town, Vella Cheese Company who like the Sonoma Cheese Factory was also founded in 1931. But uniquely Vella has its own signature cheese

Op-Ed: Summer school for financial topics now in session in Sonoma Special

Sonoma - 'Investing for the Long Term' was the theme of financial advisor Daren Blonski's talk on June 3 held at the Sonoma office of Zainer Rinehart Clarke.

Op-Ed: Sonoma gathers for 56th annual Memorial Day ceremony for Veterans Special

Sonoma - Hundreds showed up on Memorial Day, May 26, 2014 at the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Park to honor all those who have served the nation in military service. This past Monday was the 56th annual Memorial Day Observance for Sonoma Valley.

Op-Ed: 'Buddy-poppies' appearing, it is Memorial Day, time to reflect Special

Sonoma - As summer approaches, just about everyone knows that Memorial Day is the official day that ushers in the summer season. But for veterans and those that still remember the wars Americans fought in to preserve freedom, Memorial Day is one of honor.

Op-Ed: Cheesecake maker hopes to get some help with his cafe Special

Sonoma - For cheesecake lovers, there is two basic styles of cheesecake, East Coast or "New York style" and of course "West Coast" or as cafe owner Kevin Fay would call his version, "California style" cheesecake.

Op-Ed: Wine Country Deli reopens, aims to please with BBQ 5-days a week Special

Sonoma - Nestled on a corner along a stretch of road in the Wine Country of Sonoma is Vineburg Deli and Grocery. Amid busy commuter traffic, over the years it has retained much of its rustic charm, even when it seemed to have its best days behind it.

Op-Ed: Wine Country Bakeshop not typical bakery, celebrates 2nd year Special

Sonoma - On any early morning in Sonoma you will see locals flocking to their favorite spots for coffee and pastry. Certainly there are the usual franchises (the one's we know like Starbucks, etc.) and the long-standing bakeries in town.

Op-Ed: An unassuming little shack opens the door to a world of wines Special

Sonoma - Just about every Wednesday night an unassuming cottage along West Napa Street called Valley Wine Shack has a tasting room gathering.

Op-Ed: 'The Wittiest Artist' in Sonoma, is looking for a new shop locale Special

Sonoma - Walking into The Frame Factory shop on Broadway, next to the Post Office in Sonoma, original art is one of the first things seen. The framing shop’s owner John Emil Brians is quick to show his work to any interested visitor.

Review: Francis Ford Coppola's wines are as good as his films Special

Great movies are made by great film makers and great wines by great vintners. Francis Ford Coppola is best known for his contributions to film with greats like “Apocalypse Now” and “The Godfather.”

The 'Plein Air' of Sonoma is filled with hues of Autumn Special

Sonoma - While some people may say New England is the best place to be in the fall, artist Kathryn A. Lewis would disagree. She is inspired by the very evident signs of autumn, especially as the abundant vineyards throughout Sonoma are changing color.

Op-Ed: Common mistakes retirees need to know about their IRAs Special

Sonoma - As speculations about the future of Social Security benefits stir in the minds of analysts and politicians, the number of Americans putting money into an individual Retirement Account is growing.

Op-Ed: Sonoma City Council not sold just yet on Clean Power Special

Sonoma - The issue of Clean Power is making its rounds not only in places like San Francisco, but in small towns like Sonoma. The idea has gained a following in wine country. And while it sounds good, more than a few are expressing reservations about it.

Op-Ed: Summer in Sonoma is alive with music at Bistro on the Square Special

Sonoma - Singer Amanda King brought some jazz standards to a warm summer evening at the Plaza Bistro on the square in Sonoma on June 14. She had the dinner crowd that Friday evening singing along to familiar songs and to some unexpected.

Review: Michoacana Ice Cream shop in Sonoma to celebrate anniversary Special

Sonoma - With the arrival of summer, ice cream is one of the first things people look for and all summer long ice cream shops like Michoacana Natural Ice Cream in Sonoma are busy.

Op-Ed: San Francisco Street artists are now settled in Wine Country Special

Sonoma - Walking along the main thoroughfare in Sonoma - appropriately named Broadway, not far from the town square is a row of shops, to this reporter's surprise and delight, a bead shop is among them.

Review: General store in Sonoma is reminiscent of old roadside attraction Special

Sonoma - Driving into Sonoma as if coming in from San Francisco, on the outskirts of town is The Fat Pilgrim. Can't miss it; in fact it is a roadside attraction. That's the impression it makes, especially to this reporter.

Review: St. Francis Winery in Sonoma County has wine with stunning views Special

Kenwood - Driving along Northern California's Highway 12 from the town of Sonoma to Santa Rosa there are dozens of wineries among them that stands out on this reporter's list is St. Francis Winery in Kenwood.

Review: All are welcome at Farmers Market, yet please leave pets at home Special

Sonoma - As farmers markets are becoming more popular some places like Sonoma offers more than one farmer's market to meet the demand for local, high quality and fresh produce and dairy products.

Review: 'The Square' has come to the Square in Sonoma and soon everywhere Special

Sonoma - "The Square" has arrived at the Square. Well, to the scooter cafe that's not too far from the town square in Sonoma. For those not as tech savvy, the little square attachment to a cell phone or electronic device is the next step in

Op-Ed: Spring reveals little gem spots like Sonoma's Glen Ellen Special

Glen Ellen - Springtime in Northern California's Wine Country region of Napa-Sonoma is always delight, especially right after a rainfall. This past March 20 as winter officially ended and spring began

Op-Ed: Locals of Sonoma remember when it was lumber and farms, not wine Special

Sonoma - A house in the suburbs, is what the American Dream is made of, or so it seems. And, what is a suburb? Well, most often it is or was a small town or village not far from a major city. The Wine Country of Northern California is no exception.

Review: Old hotel in Wine Country opens as a new getaway spot Special

Sonoma - Nestled in a cluster of trees above Warm Springs Road in the charming little town of Glen Ellen is an old hotel that has been "born-again" as the Olea Hotel. Owners Ashish and Sia Patel invited the public inside to their grand opening on August 29.
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The La Haye Arts Center is home to several artist s work studios. While the outside may appear as ju...
The La Haye Arts Center is home to several artist's work studios. While the outside may appear as just another store-front, the interior, once admitted through a hidden door is a haven and oasis for local artists and art-lovers. The space features some of the area's most prolific artists.
Four of the five bubbly wines featured that evening were from different parts of Spain  the fifth on...
Four of the five bubbly wines featured that evening were from different parts of Spain, the fifth one was from South Africa.
While sales have been busy  staff is never to busy to let customers try a taste of any of the dozens...
While sales have been busy, staff is never to busy to let customers try a taste of any of the dozens of flavors the shop has to offer. Here, owner Teresita Fernandez and clerk Maria Valencia are ready to greet customers.
Courtesy of Michoacana Natural Ice Cream, Sonoma, CA
Another specialty of Michoacana Natural Ice Cream in Sonoma is the fresh fruit frozen treats. Shop o...
Another specialty of Michoacana Natural Ice Cream in Sonoma is the fresh fruit frozen treats. Shop owner, Teresita Fernandez says they are all natural, made fresh, "Nothing artificial."
Courtesy of Michoacana Natural Ice Cream, Sonoma, CA
John Emil Brians is the owner of The Frame Factory in Sonoma  CA. He is looking for a new location. ...
John Emil Brians is the owner of The Frame Factory in Sonoma, CA. He is looking for a new location. Walking into his shop is like walking into an art gallery. Easy to talk to, he will happily give a tour.
The rolling hills and surrounding mountains of Northern California s wine country
The rolling hills and surrounding mountains of Northern California's wine country
 Technology is fascinating and can do lots of wonderful things  said Roileen Miller  owner and instr...
"Technology is fascinating and can do lots of wonderful things, said Roileen Miller, owner and instructor at Miller Driving School. But texting and driving or talking on the cell phone is dangerous," she said. "That is right next to speeding, drinking and driving and not looking both ways before crossing the intersection," she said.
Author and photographer Kent Sorensen provided a brief tour of the Olea Hotel at its grand opening o...
Author and photographer Kent Sorensen provided a brief tour of the Olea Hotel at its grand opening on Aug. 29, 2012. One of his favorite spots is the view from the second floor balcony of the "main house."
 Everyday  these vineyards change  their color palate changes  just as nature changes   said  artist...
"Everyday, these vineyards change, their color palate changes, just as nature changes," said, artist Kathryn A. Lewis.
About a dozen people attended the second in a series of  summer school  talks on June 10  regarding ...
About a dozen people attended the second in a series of "summer school" talks on June 10, regarding finances and financial topics provided by Daren Blonski of Edward Jones Investments.
A bridge over a stream-bed greets visitors as they enter St. Francis Winery in Kenwood  which is not...
A bridge over a stream-bed greets visitors as they enter St. Francis Winery in Kenwood, which is not far from the town of Sonoma, CA.
The  Easter Egg Hunt Cake  will be one of the speciality items featured for the upcoming Easter Menu...
The "Easter Egg Hunt Cake" will be one of the speciality items featured for the upcoming Easter Menu for this spring season of 2014.
Courtesy of Crisp Bakeshop, Sonoma, CA
At the Sonoma Community Center on  All Souls Day  the evening was filled with a remembering of the m...
At the Sonoma Community Center on "All Souls Day" the evening was filled with a remembering of the many souls that have lived in Sonoma.
Some of the names and faces remembered are well-known to the area and the world like Sebastiani and ...
Some of the names and faces remembered are well-known to the area and the world like Sebastiani and author Jack London.
Owner Nick Grimm and servers Lauren Henriksen and Bri Miller were greeting customers and serving cof...
Owner Nick Grimm and servers Lauren Henriksen and Bri Miller were greeting customers and serving coffee the day after Halloween. The motor scooter sales and repair shop offered coffee when business slowed down. Grimm and wife Carissa immediately thought of using Grimm's talents as a coffee barista to help keep business going.
Fat Pilgrim contemporary general store is located on Broadway  on the outskirts of Sonoma  south of ...
Fat Pilgrim contemporary general store is located on Broadway, on the outskirts of Sonoma, south of the town square.
Quarry Hill Botanical Gardens in Glen Ellen  CA has many paths for visitors to walk upon and enjoy t...
Quarry Hill Botanical Gardens in Glen Ellen, CA has many paths for visitors to walk upon and enjoy the extensive array of Asian-native plants and flowers.
 I like a wine that is fresh  has a fullness that is well-rounded and no aftertaste   said Katherine...
"I like a wine that is fresh, has a fullness that is well-rounded and no aftertaste," said Katherine Paus. She and her husband were among the first to arrive at the tasting room that Wednesday evening at the Valley Wine Shack in Sonoma, CA.
San Francisco Arts and Crafts Bead and Jewelry Store on Broadway in Sonoma also offers weekly classe...
San Francisco Arts and Crafts Bead and Jewelry Store on Broadway in Sonoma also offers weekly classes in bead stringing, necklace and bracelet making.
Like the roadside attractions of days gone by  Fat Pilgrim Contemporary General Store offers somethi...
Like the roadside attractions of days gone by, Fat Pilgrim Contemporary General Store offers something more than just a being a retail spot. It beckons people to stop and visit a while.