Evy’s Tree is in the heart of what is usually known as wine country, Napa Valley, and simply Northern California. Northern California is an entirely different world than its Southern section, or from the middle valley that runs straight up the state. We simply adore everything about where we live; from the weather and scenery, to the people and style of living. If you are fortunate enough to live here, you know what we mean! And if you are planning a visit to our slice of heaven, we would like to take you on a virtual tour of our favorite must see locales and businesses, starting with your arrival in the City, to our favorite and closest beach.
When people up here say the City, we mean San Francisco. It’s our closest ‘big’ airport (we have a great smaller airport in Santa Rosa), and all the usual big city things that you want to live close enough to have access to, while still enjoying living somewhere that is NOT ‘big city’. We love visiting the City, but we confess to breathing a peaceful sigh when we point our car north and head back across the stately Golden Gate Bridge. Just as you leave the Bridge, a terrific vista point gives you the chance to stop and take some great pictures…as long as there isn’t a fog cover. Fog is our finicky friend here in Northern California, and we will discuss it later.
A tad further north across the bridge is Sausalito, the picturesque town that perches on the hillside like one of the ancient towns along the Cinque Terre on the southern Italian coastline. The comparison doesn’t end there; the Northern California coastal area lies between the Earth’s 35th and 45th longitude, exactly where Italy lies. This is why the wine industry has thrived in this area for generations, and why we share similar foliage, culinary favorites, climate, and more with our European geographical cousin.
If you pause to shop or dine in Sausalito, just across Richardson Bay is Tiburon, a sweet little town with fun shops and a ferry that takes you back to San Francisco or to Angel Island. Continuing up US 101 (the “one oh one” is the longest highway of any kind in the entire state of California), you can’t miss Corte Madera and its fabulous shopping mall (one of Amy’s favorite shopping haunts and where many of the items are purchased for Evy’s Tree photo shoots!). San Rafael is a little further north, and then you soon arrive in Petaluma.
Petaluma is one of our favorite neighbor towns, especially for those of us who want to shop! Look for new bargains at the Petaluma Outlets, or browse the easily-walkable 15 city blocks of antique shops. You’ll need fuel, and while there are countless great eateries, we have to always return to either Old Chicago Pizza, Cucina Paradiso, or Volpi’s, an Italian food-lover speakeasy holdover from the Prohibition era.
East and slightly north of Petaluma (still south of Santa Rosa), is the wonderful town of Sonoma. The first town where Amy and Brandon stayed as a newlywed couple, Sonoma is a historical delight that combines Wine Country neatly with its Mexican colonial past. Considered to be the birthplace of the viticulture (wine-making) industry in California, Sonoma is rich in memorable places to visit, such as Buena Vista, the first premium winery in California. Sonoma Mission Inn is a lovely place to spend the night after shopping around on the Square or touring the Sonoma Mission, and you will get to choose to eat at such delicious places like Girl and the Fig, Sunflower Caffe, and the Vella Cheese Factory.
Further north on the winding Hwy. 12, you’ll find Kenwood, home of Cafe Citti. Cafe Citti has been Amy’s favorite spot to escape and enjoy amazing, authentic Italian food since she was a little girl. This small town also boasts the Ledson Winery and VJB Cellars, with its beautiful Italian courtyard and food (sense a continuing Italian theme in our area yet?), along with smooth Italian gelato and an indulgent chocolate truffle shop. On your way out of town, drop by the Strawberry Stand for seasonal local farm-fresh treats!
Not too much further up 101 (or Hwy.12 if you did the Sonoma/Kenwood detour), you’ll reach us in Santa Rosa. We cannot say enough about our beautiful and amazing town, and we certainly have more incredible businesses and favorite locations than we could list here for you. Obviously one of your first stops should be the Evy’s Tree showroom; we would love to greet you, and you have to make sure you have some hoodies for the fog! Our fog comes and goes, and is our natural air conditioner. It can turn our hot California day into a cool evening in only minutes; every NorCal kid learns to carry a hoodie in their backpack or car trunk at a very young age. This simple fact was one of the main creative sparks that led to Amy embellishing hoodies in the first place.
In Santa Rosa, you have to visit the area we call Downtown, or simply 4th Street. 4th Street is walkable and contains antique stores, book stores, sushi, and even an English tea room. We love eating at the Spinster Sisters or Jeffery’s Hillside Cafe. Yes, you’ll see many statues or pictures of Snoopy and Friends as you walk or drive around; Charles M. Schulz made Santa Rosa his home from 1969 until his death, and his artistic legacy and Peanuts character statues are seen all over our town, from his museum, to the ice skating rink, and all the way out to our airport named in his honor.
Montgomery Village is another of our most-beloved shopping areas, with it’s low-key outdoor simplicity. Grab some roasted-in-Petaluma Acre Coffee while you’re shopping, and if you’re in the mood for a truly organic, ‘farm-to-table’ meal you can’t miss The Pharmacy on Sonoma Avenue. We freely admit that we count on El Patio Taqueria for incredible Mexican food several times a week, and let’s just say that at Sea Thai Bistro, we are on a first name basis with the owner and staff!
Just north of us is yet another favorite neighbor, the chic town of Healdsburg with its great downtown area. This is where many of us go when we want to bask in more beauty of the wine country; there are several wine tasting locales to choose from, including the Francis Ford Coppola Winery. The Plaza is a great place to shop, and you must visit the SHED; a unique award-winning farm market, cafe, and community gathering place. Other incredible eateries include Barndiva or the Healdsburg Bar and Grill.
We have to include our heavily-frequented coastal escape as we end our wine country tour with you…escape the city and breath in the salty air and sight of the majestic Pacific Ocean as you drive through the fun hippie town of Sebastopol on your way to Bodega Bay. Swing by The Barlow market in Sebastopol, and keep your eyes open for several recognizable buildings on your drive west if you’re a fan of the Alfred Hitchcock classic “The Birds” (filmed in and around Bodega Bay for three years in the early 1960’s). In Bodega Bay, you can eat fresh and delicious seafood meals at the Fisherman’s Cove, and get your feet sandy on a relaxing walk at Doran Beach or Goat Rock State Beach (you might recognize some Evy’s Tree photo shoot locations!). If you want to extend your trip another night, The Tides is the perfect place to lay your head to rest.
We hope you enjoyed our little virtual road trip with us, and may it inspire you to turn virtual into reality! Grab some friends (or take a solo trip to recharge your spirit), print this out, and come see us (and our favorite places) soon. If you document your trip via social media make sure to tag us so we can all journey with you! Ciao!