Saturday, September 26, 2009

Some thoughts about Sonoma...

Sonoma is a beautiful small town with similar weather to Ashland. There are world-class wineries, many good restaurants, traffic is manageable. Signs of the recession, as in empty store-fronts, are sorely in evidence. Shopping in general leaves something to be desired, although there are two great food markets here, Whole Foods and Sonoma Market, that put Ashland 's Co-op, Shop 'n Kart and P.C. Market collectively to shame. Baksheesh Fair Trade, sellers of hand-made items from third-world countries, stands out as a model of what Ashland's similar businesses could be, a combination of interesting products and low prices. On the other hand, since I seem to be comparing pears and oranges, Ashland's shopping is much more diverse. We have two CD/record stores to their none, since Tower went belly-up. We also lead in Asian cuisine, movie theaters, etc. but why compare, really. Two great towns, each worth a visit if you live in the other. On the east side of the hill, the Napa valley has really grown and is typical California chaos compared to the relatively sleepy Sonoma side. Visit Sonoma!

The Cottage Inn is a beautiful group of seven all-different rooms merging modern and traditional decors. It appears to be run completely by beautiful women making me feel at first that I was in a James Bond movie. A couple of men were in evidence only on our last day, doing some heavy lifting. If you stay here, and I completely recommend that you do, splurge on one of the more expensive rooms and by all means submit yourself to massage! There is an overall but unobtrusive zen theme going on here, manifesting in their use of non-toxic cleaning materials and healthy breakfast items like cereals, skim milk and fruit. The only negative, and this is probably a minus only to me, is a zen-like (I suppose) disrespect for television. Yes the rooms have TV's, but VHS players and mainly the worst warhorse cable channels (they did have the Travel Channel and Fox News, though). Loved the super comfy bed, soaking tub and open shower, but I am not allowed to post those photos! There was a sexy picture of Diana on Facebook for about 10 minutes last Monday until she thought better of it. Sorry if you missed it. Where was I? Oh yes, the Cottage Inn is just down the block to Sonoma's famous plaza. There are orange and pomegranate trees along the short walk. Five stars.

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