10 THINGS…That Keep Me Living In Sonoma Valley


10 THINGS….That Keep Me Living In Sonoma Valley

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.

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

At some point you realize your friends and family are the bedrock of your life. Mine are here.


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


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.

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.

Posted In: 10 Things, Personal, wine


6 Responses

  1. Paul Gregutt - July 12, 2006

    Right on target re: small town living. Where Sonoma county was maybe 15-20 years ago, Walla Walla county is today. Our little “secret” — the Glen Ellen of WA? — is the teeny tiny town of Waitsburg. Everything you’ve written about your hometown is true there, only on a much smaller (and cheaper) scale.
    OK, except for the part about no snow.

  2. Toni - November 11, 2006

    Good Morning,
    I found you blog while trying to decide where to live while I work in Novato on a contract for the next 9-15 months. (I am a Cisco Network Engineer) I had lived in the bay area a few years back, and know how bad traffic is, so I thought I might live in Sonoma because it is close to Novato. I am In my late thirties and am a single female, so I am kind of concerned I may not have enough to do. I love wine and food and always enjoyed visits to wine country, but I am wondering what it would really be like to live there for awhile. Have you got any suggestions as to what town may be best for me?
    I truly appeciate your blog, as it gave me hope that I might like Sonoma.

  3. tom - November 11, 2006

    Sonoma is not the most happening town in the county. However, it is set in a beautiful environment. It’s easy to get around. Everything you’d need is here. There is a culture her that sets a premium on living well.
    That said, you’ll likely find far more 20s and 30ish folks in towns like Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park and Cotati.
    Thanks for your kind words.

  4. Toni - November 12, 2006

    Thanks for the input I will most certainly keep it in mind. I could do without the 20’s folks as 30s and 40’s are little more my speed. I may look at Napa too. It appears that I will have a choice of commuting between 33 and 19 miles daily. I am quite the fitness buff, so all of it needs to fit around that. I was in Santa Rosa once and was not so thrilled. I lived in Siena Italy for a while so I am a tad spoiled. Any futher input will always be appreciated.

  5. Rock Vintage T Shirts - February 3, 2010

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