I recently got to host my two younger sisters, who are in their early 30s and have been visiting me in Sonoma County since they were barely teenagers. As we zigzagged the county, memories bubbled up almost everywhere: On the trail to Lake Ilsanjo on a gloriously warm Easter Sunday we remembered when Jamie got poison oak in another part of Annadel; driving up Highway 1 in Bodega Bay reminded me and Jenna of hiking the steep Red Hill Trail at Pomo Canyon with my firstborn strapped to my chest.
We were blessed with the first real burst of warm sunshine this year, the heralding of spring we’ve all been waiting for—particularly the folks running Sonoma Botanical Garden, which has been cultivating and protecting plants since 1987. Read all about their evolution and the poeticism of budbreak in Ursa Born’s Grow feature.
This spring issue also highlights other perfect destinations for enjoying mild weather, like the Horse and Plow tasting room on Hwy 116 in Sebastopol with its open-air bar and tree-studded grounds. Winemaker Suzanne Hagins serves libations with a side of art; don’t miss the Bits and Pieces show starting in May, showcasing monotypes by our featured artist, printmaker Wil Smith. For a less rustic but equally charming place to enjoy a drink or two, I recommend hitting the Astro Motel’s Louche Lounge, where I spent a memorable Friday evening with mixologist Milo Lawrence for this issue’s Adventures in Drinking.
Our Eat feature delivers the deets on three different pizza places that have hit the scene in the last few years, all with outdoor seating, including Pizza Leah, Psychic Pie, and L’oro Di Napoli, which took over La Vera on Santa Rosa’s Fourth Street. In the Locavore column, Sheila Shupe covers the ancient technique of pickling lemons, a perfect way to put those proliferating Meyers to good use.
The best part of my sisters’ visit was when we arrived at our destinations and found unexpected delights, be they a bargain five-dollar bin or a hillside full of poppies, to linger over. As these longer days coax reclusive buds out into the sunlight, may you too remember how expansive our county is, how poised with possibility.
Jess D. Taylor editor