Petaluma

Somehow, Thanksgiving is less than a week away, and I have remained almost entirely oblivious to it. I chalk this up in part to the dissertation madness, but also to the fact that, for the first time in my whole life, I won’t be with my family this Thanksgiving. Now, of course, I *will* be with my family because I will be with Eric, and he is my family and my home, wherever he may be. But a little tradition that has been going on for many years is coming to an end this year, and I am missing it and remembering it fondly. For the past five years or so, both my brother and I were both living in the Bay area, and my parents and my little brother would fly out to spend Thanksgiving with us. The first time we all stayed in a big suite in San Francisco, but in the years after that, my completely amazing parents would rent us a house at Sea Ranch, and we’d all get together and hike to the beach, read books by the fireplace, explore the surrounding towns, and, of course, do plenty of cooking and eating. My parents bought all the groceries (oh, happy day!), and Eric and I would trade off cooking with my brother and his now-wife. It was heavenly. So every Thanksgiving Eve, Eric and I would make the drive up the coast to Sea Ranch with a trunk full of brussels sprouts and pumpkins to spend a few glorious days by the ocean with all the people I love the most in the world. While I am bummed that it didn’t work out that way this year, I have been thinking fondly of the times it did, and one thing that came to mind was the cute little town where we’d always stop for lunch on the way up and back down: Petaluma.

When we’d pass through, they’d usually have just put up the Christmas decorations, and it was lovely to see the seasons blending in to each other one after the other.

Eric I actually had a chance to visit this summer too, on our way up the coast to a wedding of some sweet friends of ours. We ate at the glorious Della Fattoria, where I was apparently too busy stuffing my face to take any pictures, but I can attest that it is totally charming and totally delicious. After lunch we took a quick walk around town, and strolled across the bridge over the river.

It was lovely to see all the charms of the town in warm weather, like the little riverside coffee shops, with patio tables. I was smitten instantly.

The town is full of lovely old buildings and squares, and we had a beautiful stroll, hand in hand.

I love the old bank….which is now apparently an antique store. Sounds good to me.

One of the places we passed by was…a pie shop! Pie has found a special place in my heart due to the masterpieces of my friend Steve, who would frequently have me over for pie day, where I’d sit on a stool in the kitchen and watch butter, fruit, and flour turn into sheer magic. Steve is passionate about pie, so I wished he could have been there to see this place, the Petaluma Pie Company. He would have loved it. They even had a wall dedicated to the pie stories of all their customers. Steve, you must go there someday!

Sadly, we were way too full for pie (I suppose they call it Della Fattoria for a reason!), but I walked around taking lots of pictures and grinning like a small child and probably puzzling the employees. Sorry! They had all of these old-fashioned blenders and mixers strung across the front window: so cute!

And they had these tiny little ceramic pies on display: even cuter!

And they also had a mushroom and goat gouda pie. Hook, line, and sinker!

But eventually we had to leave the warm and buttery air of the pie shop to continue our peregrinations. I don’t know too much about the history of Petaluma, but I loved seeing some of the old buildings, which spoke of the bustling life of a little river town. I loved this little boarded-up window in a brick wall.

Eric thought it would be a great backdrop, so he took my picture. πŸ™‚ Petaluma, I will miss visiting you this year!

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