10 THINGS…That Keep Me Living In Sonoma Valley
10 THINGS….That Keep Me Living In Sonoma Valley
1. AN EPICUREAN LIFESTYLE
We all set priorities, some more important that others. The idea of putting epicurianism high on the list is a choice that is better than many. Just recently a cheesemonger and a chocolate maker opened up not more than 3 minutes from my house. I can purchase the best meat in the world at local markets. The restaurants in Sonoma Valley rival those of any town north of San Francisco. These are not the most important things in life. But they take the edge off in a lovely sort of way.
2. THE CREATIVE ENVIRONMENT
Sonoma County has always been a retreat for those wanting to remove themselves from the faster pace of the city and the suburbs. Amongst those who have been attracted to element are the artists and the artistic minded. Sonoma Valley has benefited from this continual influx of the artist and the mindset they seem to have blanketed the communities in which they live.
It’s the essential reason why the cost of housing is so high here. Our climate is near perfect. Not too hot in the summer, not too cold or rainy in the winter. No snow. We are able to grow nearly any plant we want here given the right microclimate
4. FRIENDS AND FAMILY
At some point you realize your friends and family are the bedrock of your life. Mine are here.
5. VINES AND WINE
After you live in wine country a while, and I mean in the middle of vines and wineries, you begin to realize that you are affected by the cycle of the seasons in a most comfortable way. Not by the coming of the snows, the thawing of spring or even the falling of leaves that many locations experience. Rather the subtle changes of the vineyards around you is something that gets inside your mind and body’s cycle. Add to this the delight of seeing the results of this seasonal patter in the form of new wines made from the vines you live amongst. It’s all pretty compelling in a "biopsychological" sort of way
6. SMALL TOWNS
Sonoma Valley is somewhat different than most of the other regions in Sonoma County insofar as it is broken up in to small, but very identifiable and historic communities. The town of Sonoma is the largest community at about 14,000 people. Yet it is decidedly small in character, even as it swells with tourists. Up Valley is my hometown, Glen Ellen, and farther north the little village of Kenwood. For those of you who have not or don’t live in small towns it’s hard to explain the draw. The intimacy of the small town acts as a regulator on people’s more base instincts. That intimacy also creates the kind of bond amongst neighbors that simply cannot be found in larger communities or cities.
I’m a sucker for a slow, winding backroad. Sonoma Valley is home t a number of truly inspiring sort of routes: Warm Springs Road, Bennett Valley Road, Trinity Road, Dunbar Road, Sonoma Mountain Road.
More people want to live here than we have homes. And the process of getting homes built in this neck of the woods is mired with all sorts of problems. I’m not saying that’s good or bad. However, I know my home and its continued increase in value will play a large role in my retirement.
If I were ranking the reasons that keep someone living somewhere, "safety" must surely be near the top. But this isn’t a ranking kind of list. Nonetheless, I’ve never felt unsafe in this community. We have crime, but it’s insignificant for the most part. I like this. It makes everything else about one’s life a little easier.
10. THE PEOPLE
I think it’s the pace of life here in Sonoma Valley, though I can’t be sure that’s the thing. Still, I’ve never lived anywhere in which the neighbors and people are more accommodating and helpful and caring. It’s down right weird. I’ve spent long periods talking with people whom I’ve just then met at the meat counter of the Glen Ellen Market. I can’t recall a frown or grimace pointed my way by anyone on the streets. It might be the water. Maybe the wine.