20 July 2008

Petaluma exploration and unexpected trip to Sonoma

We had a very lazy, liesurely morning after the best night's sleep. Cool room, comfy bed, white noise from the fan...ahhhhhhhhh.

We had showers in the claw-foot bathtub then headed across the street to the cafe at the main hotel. There's no restaurant in the hotel but they provide coffee, tea and pastries in the morning in the lobby area of the hotel. We sorted through brochures and maps to decide what we'd do for the day.

We decided that today would be a good day to explore Petaluma on foot, get transit and tourist , etc information. We headed out and sort of followed signs to the transit mall in town where all the buses stop. We looked at schedules posted on the plexiglass windbreaks around the benches but didn't really see what we wanted to know.

There was a woman sitting on one of the benches with a carry-on size rolling suitcase. She (Victoria) was reading and waiting for a bus. We asked her about buses and schedules and she pulled a copy of the bus schedules from her purse and gave it to us and explained how to read it.

She said she wasn't sure if her bus was actually coming since it was a weekend. She mentioned trying to call some friends to pick her up but with the prevalance of cell phones these days, there are no pay phones to speak of any more and she'd lost her cell at another bus stop. She'd been so helpful that Alan gave his cell phone to call some friends. She called a couple of them and left messages along with Alan's number to call back in the next few minutes.

While we were chatting with her waiting to see if they'd call back soon, we found out she was trying to get to Sonoma, which was only abut 15 minutes from where we were. So we offered to give her a ride.

In the car on the way there, she made a list of things she thought we shouldn't miss on our trip. When we got to Sonoma, she directed us to the town square and we drove all around it while she gave us a little tour. Then we dropped her off at her house and we drove back to the square for lunch and tourist-ing...stopping at a streetside fruit market that she highly recommended to buy some nectarines and snacky things.

We drove around the square about 1 1/4 times before lucking into a free parking spot right on the square. We started walking around the square to look for a place to have lunch. We perused the posted menus of a few places then ended up at a sandwich shop (Sunflower something) and ate in their "garden" space behind the shop. It was a lovely spot to rest and eat...there was a fountain, arbors for shade, little tables and big booths, etc. Alan had a turkey and bacon on sourdough, I had a mango chutney glazed pork loin on foccacia. They were both superb.

After eating, we continued wandering around the square, peeking in shops, tasting cheeses and chocloates, taking in the historical displays and docent lectures, etc. wherever we ran across them.

An entrance to a back courtyard in Sonoma. --->

Details of the frescos in the hallway.

We killed most of the rest of the afternoon around that square before heading back to Petaluma.

Alan shaved and read the paper while I looked through brochures, sorting and tossing and organizing.

We discovered that the back part of our "cottage" (we'd named it Serendipity by then) was another hotel space occupied by a guy who was living there for the month because his previous place had burned and he needed somewhere to be while the damage was repaired.

We learned this because he rang our doorbell to complain about his missing paper. It was sitting on our front walk and, not knowing there was another space in the place, Alan assumed it was a hotel perk. We apologized profusely and offered to gather it up for him or pay him for it. He declined, just asked that we not take any other papers. He also asked us to shut the AC fan off. As mentioned previously, there really wasn't any AC, we just had the fan on to move air around. He said the noise bothered him. We turned it off. With the windows open and some small fans, it was really pleasant enough.

We walked up the street about a block and a half to Le Bistro for another excellent meal and then started a walk toward downtown but it was a little too chilly to make that pleasant so we headed back to Serendipity for the night.