Go to Railroad Square which is...
Go to Railroad Square which is on the west side of HWY101 at the downtown exit. It's a great little area of about two city blocks lined with wonderful antique stores and gift shops and great restaurants. Every Saturday morning in the fall every school field in the city was filled with shouting partent rooting for their child's soccer team I played those Saturdays for 15 years and they were great.
Would you like a tissue?
Neighbors of my mother breed horses for olympic jumping competitions. On Easter Sunday, we went for a walk along the country road by my mothers and stopped in for a visit with the horses. This particular horse is a big, beautiful boy, and very friendly. He came trotting up to the fence and you could almost hear him say, "Please come rub my muzzle!" So, of course, I obeyed. We had a lovely time until he let go a mighty *snort* and sprayed me pretty well with blech... Ah well, the life of an animal lover! I wiped myself clean of most of the mess, blew in his nostrils, pet his muzzle and said goodbye for the day.
The Hood House
The Hood House is a large brick house built in 1858 and one of the oldest surviving buildings in the region outside Sonoma and Petaluma. It was made by William Hood from bricks fired on the property. The location was previously the Mexican Rancho Los Guilicos, belonging to a daughter of Dona Maria Carrillo, who settled Santa Rosa, and sister-in-law of Mariano Vallejo. It is situated in a picturesque location just outside Santa Rosa at the base of rugged Hood Mountain on a small rise overlooking the northern Sonoma Valley and the portion of Santa Rosa that extends into the valey.
Eventually, the building ended up with the State, which used it as part of the Los Guilicos juvenile detention center, built up around it. It was eventually trasnferred to Santa Ros Junior College and is being renovated.
The site is actually right on the way up to Hood Mountain park, which has hiking, etc., and one will go right past it when travelling between Santa Rosa and Sonoma or Kenwood.
Although the public cannot as yet enter the building, one can walk all around it and look in the windows. The grounds are interesting and the setting quite picturesque, still able to evoke feelings of early California in this rugged eastern edge of Santa Rosa, a large town mostly situated in gentle, rolling countryside. In addition, one can look at the interesting, derelict old Los Guilicos buildings, including several attractive old brick builduings from about the 1930s to 1940s, as well as newer buildings from the 1950s or so. One also cannot enter these due to safety issues and some areas are blocked off but it's interesting to wander around the abandoned sites with no-one else around.
To get here, follow 4th St/Hwy 12 east from Santa Rosa. As one is just leavivng the town, still with some Oakmont area development around, turn left onto Pythian Rd. There are signs for Los Guilicos juvenile facility as well as for the Hood House itself. Then, head left at the fork or keep going to the right toward Hood Mountain park but take the next available left. The house is the tall white building.
Good Sandwiches/Deli Stuff
This is a great little neighbourhood deli with great sandwiches, etc.
It closes before dinner time and is not open on the weekends. Again, everything seems very good, although we have not had much here.
Great Vegetarian & Vegan Raw Food Cafe
This is a wonderful, chic little place jthat serves vegetarian food, mostly if not entirely vegan, with an emphasis on raw foods.
A note: it used to be just south of downtown in the Julliard Park neighbourhood, but for some reason closed that location in 2010 and is going to reopen elsewhere. I heard that they will reopen it in the JC Neighborhood (near the Junior College), but I am not sure. Check the website below. It currently states an undisclosed new location will reopen in February 2011. I hope it does, because it is great, and I am not someone who cares if my food is raw or cooked, as long as it's good.
Contrary to typical popular expectations, this isn't a bunch of seeds or sprouted bread with whole kernels and nuts or bland vegetables. Instead, it serves a range of highly crafted, very flavourful foods bursting with character and with no item tasting like any other one.
I should note that, especially for the price, one does not get a lot of food. Portions tend to be on the small side, but they are surprisingly filling, especially since they are pretty much all vegetable and the like. Even so, if one is starving for a huge meal, this is probably not the place to go. Here, the real purpose is to enjoy something different, a meal of fresh vegetables and the like, and to savour the wonderful range of flavours.
This is in the South A Street area on the southern edge of downtown between Santa Rosa Ave. and Hwy 101. A formerly derelict area, it has recently been rejuvenated. See my tip on that neighbourhood.
As a note, this is the spot that used to be Cafe Saint Rose, on which I had written a tip. That place, however, moved to a spot in the coutnryside near Sebastopol. Everything I have had is delicious and extremely flavourful. I recommend the combination tasting platter, which comes with small samples of several wonderful items.