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Sonoma County News

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.

Op-Ed: Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce enjoys a slice of paradise Special

Sonoma - The Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce was enthralled by the splendor of the Quarry Hill Botanical Garden in nearby Glen Ellen as the garden played host to an "After Hours mixer" on August 16.
 

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Pam Arnold and her sister Kim Courier were outside Lucky supermarket in Sonoma on Saturday Aug. 30  ...
Pam Arnold and her sister Kim Courier were outside Lucky supermarket in Sonoma on Saturday Aug. 30, 2014 selling their jewelry designs for Our Lady of Guadalupe Church of Windsor, CA and the parish's hungry children food outreach program.
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Open in 2009  Michoacana Natural Ice Cream shop on Highway 12 in Sonoma has become so popular that o...
Open in 2009, Michoacana Natural Ice Cream shop on Highway 12 in Sonoma has become so popular that owner Teresita Fernandez wants to open another shop, in nearby Marin County.
Courtesy of Michoacana Natural Ice Cream, Sonoma, CA
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The California National Guard of the  Honor Guard  performed the riffle salute.
The California National Guard of the "Honor Guard" performed the riffle salute.
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Miller Driving School teaches people of all ages from beginners to veteran drivers who just need to ...
Miller Driving School teaches people of all ages from beginners to veteran drivers who just need to "brush up" on their driving skills. To schedule a lesson session or to learn more about 'package deals' talk to Becky.
Courtesy of Miller Driving School, Cotati, CA
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Now that spring time has arrived the Valley of the Moon Certified Farmers Market is eager to bring f...
Now that spring time has arrived the Valley of the Moon Certified Farmers Market is eager to bring fresh produce, dairy, olive oil, nuts, fresh soup stock and a host of many other locally grown and made products to the people. Open on Tuesdays the market is very popular and yes, some of the vendors do take credit/ATM cards.
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 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.
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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.
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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
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Hotel Olea is family friendly. Yet when this reporter asked a couple with two toddlers if they would...
Hotel Olea is family friendly. Yet when this reporter asked a couple with two toddlers if they would bring the family, at first they said yes. But then the wife said, "Actually, this would be a great place to get away, just for us, and get a sitter for the kids."
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Matt Clasen of Quintessential wine importers served six selections that owner Denise Bolek and Winde...
Matt Clasen of Quintessential wine importers served six selections that owner Denise Bolek and Windee Smith wanted to feature for that Wednesday evening tasting on Jan. 15, 2014. The wines were from Spain and Portugal, with an aperitif from Argentina.
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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.
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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.
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The rolling hills and surrounding mountains of Northern California s wine country
The rolling hills and surrounding mountains of Northern California's wine country
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 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.
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When spring arrives the farmer s market season is eager to begin. The Valley of the Moon Certified F...
When spring arrives the farmer's market season is eager to begin. The Valley of the Moon Certified Farmer's Market is on Tuesdays. Everything from dairy to olive oil, nuts and even fresh soup stock is available for customers to buy. Yes, some vendors accept ATM/Credit cards.
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Sam s offers at the counter seating as well as booths  tables and chairs. Catering is available for ...
Sam's offers at the counter seating as well as booths, tables and chairs. Catering is available for parties of eight or more. Sam's is open 7-days a week.
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Sonoma s Best is on East Napa and Eight Streets. A busy corner that also has a sign that points the ...
Sonoma's Best is on East Napa and Eight Streets. A busy corner that also has a sign that points the way to the wineries. The cafe, store and wine shop is a pleasant stop for any traveler on the wine country tour.
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There is no real main street in Glen Ellen  so it is easy to pass it by when traveling along winding...
There is no real main street in Glen Ellen, so it is easy to pass it by when traveling along winding roads along Sonoma County.
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Guest of Honor and key note speaker for the program that Monday May 26 was General Joseph P. Hoar  U...
Guest of Honor and key note speaker for the program that Monday May 26 was General Joseph P. Hoar, USMC (Ret.). He noted that "War is not an easy business."
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While maintaining a sense of rustic-rural charm  Fat Pilgrim general store is also part art gallery ...
While maintaining a sense of rustic-rural charm, Fat Pilgrim general store is also part art gallery and home design center.
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