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Late Summer Gatherings: Linens and Dishes

Summer in Sonoma

It is late summer, and the days are sunny and warm.¬† As we approach the September holiday weekend, I’d like to share a few resources for your summer gatherings at home.¬† The following is a peek into the shop Sue Fisher King in San Francisco.¬† It’s an inspiring store with many unique home goods, quite a number handmade.¬† They also have a comprehensive website for last minute ordering.

Summer Gatherings
This collection of beautiful white dishes would be welcome on most any table in Wine Country or beyond.

 

Late Summer Gatherings
Lovely place settings with a light, summer feeling, using white dishes and a natural themed tablecloth.

 

Summer Parties
Colorful artisan glass tumblers can add a spark of fun to brighten your home, inside or out.

 

Celebrations at Home
These handmade placemats and dishes are really quite special, perfect for summer gatherings or celebrations.

 

For many years I have visited this store, and Sue Fisher King now supports my Shelter Pet Card project, so I am especially grateful.  Wishing you and all with whom you may gather on this coming holiday an abundance of health, happiness, and wonderful moments.

Sonoma Insiders Guide: Favorite Ice Cream Spots and Homes with Space

Summer in Sonoma

It is late summer in Sonoma & Napa Valleys and truly quite warm.  Here, I share a few favorite ice cream spots and two lovely homes with pools that are wonderful examples of how to use the available space on a property for living the leisure lifestyle.

Ice Cream Spots

One of the many joys of life is an ice cream cone.  No thought of nutritional content or how it may look on you tomorrow; just the pure, pleasurable experience of going to the ice cream parlor, choosing the flavor, picking the type of cone, and enjoying the cold delight for as long as it lasts.  Slowly enjoying a little homemade ice cream is one of the timeless and true friends from our youth.  These paintings by a local artist are so evocative of the feeling of this authentically delicious frozen treat.  I hope that you may be able to step out and visit one of these spots soon, or pick up a painting as an endless reminder of the experience.  I wish you many moments of happiness and sustenance as you experience the Art of Leisure.

As expressed by International artist Hadas Tal

THREE SCOOPS, by Artist Hadas Tal
Christina Maybaum Gallery, San Francisco

CHERRY CHUNK, by Artist Hadas Tal
Christina Maybaum Gallery, San Francisco

Sonoma County:

Napa Valley:


HOMES WITH SPACE

On these hot summer days, we are reminded of the importance of the use of space at a home or property.  The homes below offer some portion of their outdoor space for a swimming pool.  This allows for swimming as exercise, a place for gathering with friends and family, something beautiful to observe most any time of the year, a way to break up an expanse of land with a view, and many other pleasures.

Homes with Space
A sparkling pool in the western hills of Sonoma at 3350 Vigilante Road.

Sonoma Homes with Space
Built in 1990, this home has a lovely exterior color and openness to the outdoor balcony area.

Open Space Sonoma
The view looking east from the balcony just outside the above doors.

Glen Ellen Homes with Space
A bedroom with history.  The lovely wood ceiling reminds one of the trees and land just outside the window.  A very relaxing and natural feel to the space.

New Home Sonoma
Brand new construction on two acres of Sonoma land with a pool to take full advantage of the outdoor space, a pool house, and open floor plan for the main residence.  Located at 21706 Hyde Road, Sonoma

Open Living Room Sonoma
The main residence living area offering a very airy and open use of space

Sonoma Homes with Pools
A fresh feel to the refreshment area in the pool house.

Homes with Land in Sonoma
Spare furnishings and new construction give this property an ease that has been well curated.

Books of Summer and a Shifting Real Estate Market

Summer in Sonoma

Summer is the season of leisure and mixing up the routine, whether this involves a hammock on a warm afternoon in the backyard, or a day in the woods.  I’d like to share with you a few of my favorite books of summer as well as some additional recommendations by the Wall Street Journal.  The subjects range from golf to outdoors to foods, and one of my favorite subjects: bees and pollinators.  Many of these have been around for a while, with a few new reads included.  I hope that you have a relaxing summer filled with the Art of Leisure that we each experience in our unique ways.

 

Books of Summer
Outdoor Scenes Expressed by International Artist Foad Satterfield
Available at Christina Maybaum’s Maybaum Gallery.

 

Books of Summer

Brenda’s Summer Favorites for Kids of all Ages:

Food and the Grill:

The Great Outdoors:

Outdoor Trips & Golf:

In Sonoma Valley, we often wander into the family owned bookstore Readers Books to peruse their well stocked shelves of great titles.  They are located just off lovely Sonoma Plaza.  You can also often find these books at your local bookstore or library to pick up at a moments notice, in addition to online.


A Brief Real Estate Market Update

We are in a shifting housing market.  Following are three highlights from the last couple of weeks in which we have seen the market slowing down:

VALUE: Homes are not losing value at this time; experts are forecasting continued appreciation.  Are we in a housing market correction?  The technical answer is no, as a correction is considered a decline of 10% or greater in the price of a security, asset or financial market.  Median house prices are increasing, according to the National Association of Realtors.  The median price for existing-housing types in May was up 14.8% from May 2021 nationally, NAR reports.  We are in a market that is attempting to rebalance itself.

Estimate Home Price Performance
A graph from the Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES) that displays forecasted appreciation over the coming years.

RATES: We have seen a quick and dramatic rise in mortgage rates this year.  This has been successful in slowing purchase demand with a decrease in new purchase applications.  To bring perspective, the average mortgage rates over the past 5 decades ,from the 1970’s to 2010’s, has varied from 4.09 to 12.70%, per Freddie Mac.  The Federal Reserve wants to see the housing market reset to more balance, with supply and demand closer together and lower inflation.

Mortgage Rates
Mortgage rates over the past year. Provided by Freddie Mac.

SALES: Existing-home purchase applications have declined with the economic slowdown.  Current data shows that we are heading in the direction of pre-pandemic demand and sales.  This is coming off two years of demand and price increases that we had not previously seen.

Existing Home Sales

The market currently has a housing supply shortage, which will take new home construction and existing home inventory increases to correct.

It is very important at a time like this, when the market is adjusting at a quick pace, that you work with a professional that is familiar with all the data to support your real estate investment needs.¬† Feel free to call me anytime.¬† If you need a referral to someone in another area of the country, I have contacts in most cities.¬† Also, I send a monthly market update to many friends and clients across the world; it would be my pleasure to include you‚Äďjust let me know.

Farms and Ranches in Sonoma & Napa Valley

Farms and Ranches in Sonoma & Napa Valley

It’s late summer in Sonoma & Napa Valleys; the days are warm with spectacular evening sunsets.¬† It is a wonderful time to be in the wine country!¬† Here I share a few special farms and ranches to visit at your leisure.

The slower pace of an outdoor activity, like visiting a farm stand, can be very inviting on the weekends.  Crisp, fresh country air, rustic barns filled with flowers and local produce, and the notion of discovering something unique and tasty to bring home are all tenets of the leisure lifestyle.

Farms & Ranches to Visit  

In Sonoma and Napa Valley, a favorite place to visit on the weekend is a local farm or ranch to see something new and get inspired by whatever is fresh and seasonal.¬† You get a true feel for wine country when you stop in at these rustic farms, and receive a warm welcome as you wander around. Whether you’re up for a quick pitstop, or would rather immerse yourself in a few days of the experience, these are a few of my favorite spots. It’s always worth a drive to discover an abundance of seasonal fruits, vegetables, jams, linens, flowers, and baked goods. The California ranch community has been a part of my lifestyle all of my life: feel free to contact me anytime to chat about life amidst the gardens, land, animals‚ÄĒwild or domestic‚ÄĒand meandering creeks. Wishing you many moments of ease and happiness as you experience the Art of Leisure.

Oakhill Farm and Flatbed Farm

The lovely entrance of Oak Hill Farm; the Red Barn has been hosting these markets for years.

Sonoma Farm Stand

A colorful bouquet of fresh flowers just picked from the nearby garden.  Oak Hill Farm offers a large selection of flowers, vegetables, jams, and much more for the home.

Napa Valley Ranches

Red onions and lemon cucumbers harvested from the land.

Farms in Sonoma

A few tomatoes; these may be heirloom varieties.

Napa Valley Farm Stand

The Entrance to Flatbed Farm just off Highway 12 in Sonoma Valley.

Sonoma Garden

A few of the gardens at Flatbed Farm.

Sonoma Valley Farm Stand

Dried grasses.

Napa Farm Stand

Very special offerings from the kitchen.

Farm Stands in Sonoma and Napa

Colored candles for the home.

Sonoma Ranch

Flatbed Farm has an expansive collection of both dried and fresh flowers.  They also serve coffee most Saturday mornings with freshly baked offerings from a Sausalito baker.

Rows of fresh blackberries bushes growing in the summer sun, just waiting for someone to pick them.

Sonoma Berry Farm

These will be perfect for a homemade cobbler.  Sonoma Garden Park market and grounds offer fresh produce, take a stroll and visit the chickens or view the active bee hives on the property.

Sunflowers in Sonoma

Sunflowers growing on the east side of Sonoma at Sonoma Garden Park, at which the Sonoma Nature Journal Club maintains a small plot.

Wishing you much joy and happiness as you visit these farms and ranches.

Farmers’ Markets and Strawberry Shortcake

As we begin to plan gatherings outside this spring and summer, our thoughts roam to where we will find the tastiest and freshest produce.¬† Farmers’ Markets and local farm stands are very prolific places to begin.¬† These superb places for fresh fruits and vegetables are generally open on a regular basis and quite well stocked.

Sonoma Farmers' Market

My purchases were abundant on this visit.¬† Beside me in the picture above is Hilda Swartz, who has served as manager of the Sonoma Valley Certified Farmers’ Market for many years.

What’s In Season

For the months of March, April and May in Napa and Sonoma Counties, you will most likely find these seasonal fruits and vegetables at local markets and farm stands.

    • Artichokes
    • Asparagus
    • Beets
    • Blueberries
    • Bok choy
    • Broccoli
    • Cabbage
    • Cauliflower
    • Carrots
    • Celery
    • Chard
    • Cherries (some early varieties)
    • Chives
    • Fava Beans
    • Fennel
  • Green Garlic
  • Herbs
  • Kale
  • Kiwi
  • Leeks
  • Lemons
  • Lettuces
  • Mushrooms
  • Early Onions
  • Radicchio
  • Radish
  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Turnips

Local Strawberries

Fresh strawberries from locally renown Watmaugh Strawberries farm stand.  The berries pictured above were probably thriving in the field at this favored spot just a few hours before being purchased.  They are picked throughout most days; field-to-basket fresh but somewhat delicate, so they really last only a few days.  Very sweet and ripe the day you pick them up!

Blackberry patch

Not far from Watmaugh Strawberries, this crop of young blackberries will be ripe after the peak heat of summer.

Strawberry shortcake has long been a family favorite.  As I used to own a hospitality venue, many mornings you would find me in the kitchen, testing scone recipes for guests to bake at their leisure in their private cottages.  Today, I will mix strawberries + blueberries with a freshly made scone and lots of organic whipping cream for this traditional seasonal dessert.  It brings not only so much pleasure, but also many memories of very festive gatherings in our beautiful wine country.

Ina Garten

A favorite source for scone recipes is Ina Garten’s the barefoot contessa cookbook. Truly a loved and well-used book for many years.

‚ÄĘ THE LIST ‚ÄĘ
Sonoma Valley & Napa Valley Farmers’ Markets 

Farmers' Markets

Sonoma Valley Certified Farmers’ Market
Year-round, Fridays, 9am-12:30pm ‚ÄĘ Arnold Field at W. First St., Sonoma, 707.538.7023,

Sonoma Garden Park Farmers’ Market
May-Oct, Saturdays, 9:00am-12:00pm ‚ÄĘ 19996 Seventh St. East, Sonoma.

Sonoma’s Tuesday Night Farmers’ Market:
May- September, Tuesdays, 5:30pm to dusk or longer ‚ÄĘ Sonoma Plaza

Petaluma East Side Farmers Market:
Year-round, Tuesday 10-1:30 ‚ÄĘ Lucchesi Park, 320 N McDowell Blvd.

Santa Rosa Farmers’ Market
Wednesday and Saturday 8:30am-1:00pm ‚ÄĘ Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, Santa Rosa.
Link to multiple markets in this area.

Healdsburg Farmers’ Market:
May‚ÄďNovember, Saturdays 8:30am-12pm ‚ÄĘ North and Vine, one block west of the Plaza, Healdsburg.

St. Helena Farmers’ Market:
May 1 ‚Äď October 31, Fridays, 7:30am-12:00pm ‚ÄĘ Crane Park, Crane Street, just south of town behind the St Helena High School.¬† 707.486.2662.

Napa Farmers’ Market:
Year-round, 8:00am ‚Äď 12:00pm ‚ÄĘ Temp site between CIA at Copia & Oxbow Public Market, Napa.

Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch Farmers Market:
738 Main Street, St Helena

Calistoga Certified Farmers’ Market:
Year round, Saturdays, 9am-1pm ‚ÄĘ Sharpsteen Plaza, 1234 Washington St., Calistoga.


Wishing you much happiness and many delicious gatherings with friends as you enjoy the bounty wherever you live.

Sonoma in the Summer

Beauty¬† ‚Äʬ† ¬†Home¬† ‚Äʬ† Community

The Art of Leisure really circles around these three ideas, all the time.  Now, as we continue to experience the ebb and flow of a national health challenge and the seemingly ever present smoke of nearby fires, this is as important as ever.  Once again, I share my wildfire resource blog post which can be found in the Community area of this blog, to help support those looking for some perspective on wildfires.

Here I also share with you a celebration of a few shops, restaurants and homes‚Äďland in our beautiful communities of Sonoma and Napa Valley.

Sonoma in the summer is truly relaxing and a retreat for people who live here and visit.¬† Let’s start with what is open and welcoming around the Sonoma Plaza today:

Coffee or tea at Taub Family Outpost first thing in the morning is a favorite spot. Personally I love the Chai Latte: extra hot please!¬† This is also a perfect place to pick up some wine for the afternoon or lunch.¬† Just so you know…when appropriate, the lounge upstairs will be available and I am sure become a very active stop for many in the community.

Taub Family Outpost
Peruse a fabulous selection of wines for take away or shipment.

 

Sonoma in Summer
The dining lounge upstairs which will open when appropriate.

 

Sonoma Bar
This bar area was beautifully designed byBecky Carter Studio and built by the skilled contractors at GMH Builders located here in Sonoma.

 

The exterior is clean and simple, quite conveniently located on the South-West corner of the Plaza.

Nearby SummerVine, which is so appropriately named, as it always feels like summer in this shop.  Owned and operated by two wonderful residents of our valley, this home goods store has an abundance of flowers year-round, and so many beautiful housewares and gift options.

Lovely exterior and ever changing window displays on the northwest corner of the Sonoma Plaza.

 

Basic items and imports from around the world.

 

Table settings are a specialty.

 

These are perfect for a picnic.

 

Summer in Sonoma
Home, personal and gift scents.

 

For an afternoon in the park with good food, sunshine, local ducks and your friends, the Girl and the Fig has a well loved “pop up” stand with fresh + local offerings for enjoyment by all.¬† As somewhat of a landmark restaurant, they are known for their creative and satisfying dishes:

Sonoma Plaza
Sonoma Plaza park in the center of town seen here with City Hall in the distance.

 

Sonoma Summer
A table in the park for lunch from Girl and The Fig’s outdoors offering.

 

Or visit the restaurant across from the Sonoma Plaza Park for patio seating or a Spot in front of the historic Sonoma Hotel.

 

Their back patio has comfortable benches and tables with an authentic feel.

 

The fig was part of the inspiration for local owner Sondra Bernstein.

Then, if you would like to go home…this nearby land offering is a perfect opportunity for someone to build the custom house of their dreams:

Lola Sonoma Land is located on the coveted east side of Sonoma with close proximity to the shops, restaurants and wineries, yet offering privacy plus expansive views!  This is an especially unique opportunity in our community.

Currently being used to graze sheep and grow vegetables, you can see more at Lola Sonoma Farms, which is right next door.  This is a true treasure of a locally owned and operated organic farm, featured this summer in the Sonoma Magazine as Becoming Farmers.  You can see all the details at their website Lola Sonoma.

Bounty from the vegetable garden on this Lola Sonoma Land.  This beautiful table display was arranged by my friends at Kati Kelly Interior Design.

Summer in Sonoma and Napa is filled with an abundance of beauty which once again centers around home, artisanal foods, wine and a warm and welcoming community.  I hope that you will reach out to me and know that my business is always a resource and provider of:

  • Community involvement and engagement
  • Local business updates
  • Clarity and powerful real estate related market data
  • Representation, assisting clients with purchasing or selling of a property in Sonoma and Napa Valley

Please contact me anytime chat or if I can help you or someone who you know.

Hot Summer Days

As the temperatures rise in Sonoma & Napa Valley, I wanted to share with you a few pictures of this wonderfully relaxing time of the year.  To begin, the orderly march of vines in late afternoon light.

cresting the hill at Clos Du Val Vineyards, Napa Valley

mid-summer fruit on the vines

the Scribe Winery Hacienda, truly a beautifully restored structure where you can sit outside and enjoy the view with refreshments

a quiet field of Queen Anne’s Lace, swaying with the light breeze on a hot summer afternoon

inviting cool & scenic resting spot under a stately tree

late afternoon amidst the vines at Gundlach Bundschu Winery in Sonoma

for the child in all of us, a moment of fun at a summer camp, Harry Potter’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Sonoma Garden Park

What would summer be without a neighborhood Farmers Market, this one is located on the East Side of Sonoma, very casual & authentic, all the produce & products are from either gardens behind the barn or from farmers who live and work nearby.

Here an orderly march of freshly picked blackberries, just waiting to be brought home and made into jam. With this seasonal abundance from the nearby berry bramble, jam making is a satisfying activity on a hot summer afternoon.

The Saturday market also sells jars of  jam & honey from nearby 5th Street Farm in Sonoma.

Afternoon light on a few summer flowers at the Community Garden Park, everything is refreshingly simple and real on this warm day in August.  I hope that you will be visiting Sonoma or Napa Valley on a hot summer day soon!

Anyone for a dip in the pool?

It is Labor Day weekend and the temperatures are getting a bit high (that would be over 100 degrees)!  Just could not let this time pass without showing you a few lovely Napa homes and their refreshing pools.  It all starts with water!  Cool, clear, fresh, clean, and directly from the earth.  Our dip in the pool could be only a  few steps from our living room or it may be at our weekend house in the country.

Sonoma home with a pool

Napa homes with a pool

Sonoma Pool

 Villa is in the hills above Sonoma


 Home surrounded by vineyards in Napa Valley with a pool that looks out over Sonoma

Some pools are larger and others- this one is the size of a small lake nestled in the hills above Sonoma

Wishing you a cool swim and a relaxing Labor Day!

 

 

 

 

room to breathe, summer at the farmer’s market

Ahhhh, eating outside under the shade of a tree, with everyone who matters around, is pure delight!  The beauty of a garden filled with flowers, an abundance of food on the table (with maybe a few puppies under it), and at the end, a feeling of satisfaction which comes only from a moment in life well lived.  This is true Sonoma and Napa Valley living any day of the year, but especially simple in the summer.

Of course, the beginning all this is a visit to the local farmers market on Tuesday evening or Friday morning. ¬†There we find the warmth of friends and farmers with just brought in from the field seasonal offerings of organic fruits and vegetables. ¬†Summer is the time of plenty – every market stall bursting with flowers, peaches, nectarines, tomatoes and green beans- it is tempting to grab a child’s vintage wagon and bring home crates of everything!

If it’s the Friday morning market, a very late breakfast of a brioche donut with rasberry filling or a homemade baguette sandwich is the perfect way to start! ¬†So many colors, smells, tastes and atmosphere – it is a wonderful lifestyle and way to buy food.


Brioche jelly donuts and baguette sandwich with brie, Meyer lemon & frisee by Harvest Moon Cafe and the most reasonably priced eggs, squash and dragon beans from Bee-Well Farms , Sonoma .

Lovely tomatoes from Quarter Acre Farm, delicious carrots and peppers from Paul’s Produce, Sonoma.

A stecca baguette and loaf of locally grown and milled Einka bread by Mike the baker of The Bejkr.

With over 500 varietals of organic fruits and vegetables, Long Meadow Ranch brings to the St. Helena market these baskets of melons, onions and so much more.  Gorgeous fragrant flowers are grown by Jesus just minutes from the stall in Sonoma.

Upon arriving home, you know that you are truly set for the weekend, at least.  Such an abundance of rich, bright colors everywhere to inspire an endless array of delightfully fresh dishes and floral arrangements for interior and exterior seating areas.  It is then that the cooking begins!  This is food and alfresco dining at its best, especially in the summer.